Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Treasures of Knowledge

Spring 2002 Software
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Price: $24.95
School Use Price: $69.95
Platform: Mac OS, Windows 95,98,2000, ME, XP
A household phrase in households with children of certain ages, the name of this new and buffed-up upgrade of the original world-wise detective game for kids hasn't changed--except for the subtitle: Treasures of Knowledge. The concept is the same: Helping the ACME Detective Agency follow and foil globehopping super thief Carmen Sandiego's latest criminal escapade across several continents--all the while learning history, geography, map reading, data collection and research, among other skills.

This gumshoe adventure begins in Rio, where detectives Jules and Shadow are tracking Carmen's whereabouts and which valuables she's ripping off this time around. There are plenty of cool scenes to scope for clues, with rich cultural details embedded in every animation, including music, language, art, food and historic landmarks.

As players case the premises for clues, the cursor changes into a magnifying glass symbol when it passes over hot evidence. Witnesses provide valuable info and lead the detectives to other destinations, from Cuba's sugar-cane fields to Japan's temples - wherever Carmen has been spotted. A country database provides easy access to detailed information about 50 nations to help solve the mini-puzzles throughout the game. And detective Jules keeps a personal journal that automatically updates notes while the on-screen laptop tracks the detectives' travels and the clue inventory.

Except for occasionally trying too hard with witty banter between Jules and Shadow and a few too many non-interactive video clips, this classic global romp is a steal for any kid intrigued by the far side of the world.

Don Oldenburg   ©2002 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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