Carmen Sandiego, Junior Detective Edition is a decent addition to the many Carmen Sandiego titles out there. However, this game is very different from the more adult versions of the game.
For one thing, in this game, you get helpers. A number of different photographers help you identify crooks by taking partial photographs as the crook blasts through your sight like the Tasmanian Devil. Their photos are faxed to you so you can put them together like a jigsaw puzzle and identify the crook.
In addition to the photographers, two ACME detectives, Zack and his big sister Ivy, help you find clues and identify what you've found. Also, the chief himself, a holographic artificial intelligence program, will identify clues and give you feedback. Not only that, but your Gizmotapper 586LC, nicknamed DeeJay, will also help you through each case.
When you travel to a country at the start of each case, you are presented with a picture of the country. You must run the pointer of your mouse, in the shape of a magnifying glass, over the photo until you find a spot where the magnifying glass lights up. Clicking will present you with a picture that is your clue. Once you have gathered enough clues to identify the place where the crook has fled, you can hit the map button and move to the next country.
Crimes take place in certain areas (the Mideast, Asia, Africa, Europe, etc.) and the crooks do not leave that area. At lower levels, you need only one or two clues to identify a given country. At the higher levels you may need three or even four.
Promotions are given after each of the first three cases. After dealing with all 13 V.I.L.E. villains, you will be a super sleuth and ready to track Carmen herself.
Kids will love the zany antics of the photographers employed by ACME as they try to catch pictures of the crooks. However, the crook-catching sequence is awfully repetitive. Every time you catch a crook, it takes place in the same way against the same backdrop, no matter where you are. Even if you catch Carmen, the only thing that changes is the color of the car, from red and white, to straight red. After a while, this can be mind-numbing to watch, and certainly doesn't give kids any type of thrill.
Nevertheless, this game is packed with tidbits of information about countries, objects, and places. It is enjoyable, although it does have flaws. Younger kids will definitely give it a "thumbs up".
Graphics: Except for the pictures of the main characters, the graphics are sort of dull to older eyes. But the country pictures are superbly digitized. I only wish there were more of them.
Sound: Voices sound realistic, and the Chief makes some animal noises that must be from actual animals. The music is forgettable.
Enjoyment: Younger kids will definitely enjoy this game. Older kids will find it a drag.
Replay Value: You can continue to play the game after you catch Carmen Sandiego, and each time you catch her you get a Merit medal. However, this is simply like replaying the game. Many kids may lose interest, since nothing really changes.
Carmen is up to her old tricks again but now there's some young blood at ACME.
This Carmen Sandiego game, designed for children ages five to eight, builds knowledge of maps and countries, along with memory and matching skills. Clues are discovered in various areas by moving the mouse over a random hotspot and clicking to reveal a clue. Each time you successfully follow a criminal you receive part a photograph that reveals part of their features, Collect all pieces and go in and capture the villain.A helpful robot assistant is always filled with facts about the visited countries and their inhabitants.
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