Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego for DOS

Sorry this is late again, I haven’t recovered fully from my cold yet!

The Elevator

The Elevator

Today I’m writing about Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego which was released by Broderbund software back in 1989. It was one of the very first commercial games that we bought for our old DOS machine. The game is very similar to its predecessor, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, which we played at school on the old Apple IIe machines in primary school, and early PC’s in high school. We used to play the game a fair bit, some of our favourite bits were the animations in the lab and coffee lounge, with the exploding lab equipment and the coffee machine that was often faulty.

V.I.L.E Henchmen

V.I.L.E Henchmen

The basic premise of the game is simple. Carmen and her V.I.L.E henchmen are stealing artifacts around the world in different time frames. Your job is to track the thief down by traveling through time to different locations to find clues about where they are going and who they are. Fortunately if you weren’t super smart already, the game came with a handy almanac containing lots of historic information, and the copy protection for the game. Of course nowadays with the internet it is much easier to find the same information.

Picking a Detective from the roster

Picking a Detective from the roster

The graphics in the game are quite pleasing, they are colourful and the animations are nice and smooth. The game supports many different graphics modes including CGA, EGA, and of course VGA. The best mode to pick is obviously VGA, but all the modes have nice graphics considering what they have to work with! If you look around the building when you first start the game up you’ll find some amusing little animations of the lab explosions, and a coffee machine that doesn’t work that well.

The Chronoskimer

The Chronoskimer

Sound can come from the PC speaker or Adlib sound card. We used to use the PC speaker sound which was quite good, but if you have a Adlib or Sound Blaster card I’d recommend those as they sound better. I believe digitized sound was also supported but I’ve never heard it as we never had it configured.

Capture robot

Capture robot

The game play is pretty good if you like puzzle games, and will stimulate your mind. I found that I didn’t often need to use reference material that often as the clues are often relatively intuitive. The limited travel options often help make the elimination process easier. It is important however to make sure you check for information about the person you are chasing. If you don’t know who you are chasing when you capture them, they will be let off as you don’t have the evidence and it won’t count towards your case record. As you catch more crooks you will get promoted and are given more difficult cases, this is where you’ll need the reference material more as the clues become more cryptic.

Lab Explosion

Lab Explosion

It’s a good game for kids that teaches them a little geography and history. The difficulty is fairly easy to begin with, but does get hard enough to challenge even an adults knowledge. It can get a bit repetitive as the basic formula for each case is the same, so it is best played in short sessions. Unfortunately some of the information in the game is a little out of date due to it being as old as it is, but for the most part the information is right. The internet makes a nice research tool for when you are playing, so you only really need the printed almanac for the copy protection.

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