Where in America's past is Carmen Sandiego? (computer game) (evaluation)
by Peter Scisco
Once again, one of America's most infamous scoundrels is on the loose. And, just like the last time and the times before that, it's up to you to seek her and her accomplices out and bring them to justice. You're an operative for the Acme Detective Agency. You're familiar with the MO. You're an old hand with the SOP. So how are you with time travel and American history?
As with Broderbund's last Carmen release, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? Deluxe Edition--an update, actually, to the classic--Where in America's Past takes full advantage of your computer's VGA graphics adapter and monitor, provided you're using that state-of-the-art display. As you move through the game from scene to scene, you'll see beautifully rendered pictures and graphics in 256 colors, and finely detailed photographs in black-and-white from our nation's past.
What's more, the game supports Sound Blaster, Ad Lib, and Roland sound devices, as well as the Tandy digital and 3-voice sound chip. The sound effects and ambient music add a dimension to the game that's not to be missed. Even if you don't have a sound card, the sound effects for the internal PC speaker are quite acceptable.
One of the most innovative and interesting facets of the Carmen series has been its insistence on using tools other than the computer for solving puzzles and winning the game. It's a true multimedia experience, and it reinforces the idea that books are full of interesting facts that, if well presented, can be fun to browse through. It also posits the idea that research can be rewarding on its own merits. If either of those ideas catches fire in a child's mind, stand back and watch the sparks fly.