[educationally smooth jazz plays] Greetings folks! Once again we’re nestled into the month of April, and on LGR that means edutainment time! And time for a game about time, this timebeing Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego, popping up for a plethora of popular personal computersin 1989 by Broderbund Software.
It’s actually the fifth main entry intothe Carmen Sandiego series, after the original game in 1985, Where in the USA in 1986, Where in Europe in 1988, and Where in North Dakota in early 1989.
[chuckles] Yes really, how amusingly specific.
Then in the latter half of ‘89 came Wherein Time Is Carmen Daggonit, because she just won’t stop at messing around with geographyanymore.
The international woman of mystery is on theloose once again, serving up shady looks in life-size cardboard standee form, and nowshe’s aiming to screw with world history! 1500 years of history, to be specific, spanningfrom 400 AD to the mid twentieth century.
It’s still a globe-trotting adventure though, with China, England, France, Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Spain, and the USA all possible targets of her chronological perversions.
But in lieu of traveling by plane to all cornersof the Earth, now you have your own Tardis — er, Chronoskimmer, letting you wander throughtime and relative dimensions in space while tracking down Carmen and her gang of V.
Where in Time did exceptionally well at retail, selling over a hundred thousand units by January of 1990 and spending plenty of time in thebest-selling educational software charts for years.
It’s little wonder that it ended up gettinga board game version in 1996, a full-on remake with a point and click style interface in1997, and a TV show airing on PBS until 1998, superseding the first Where in the World isCarmen Sandiego show.
As before, Where in Time was a half hour gameshow, this time being hosted by Kevin Shinick, along with the late Lynne Thigpen doing afantastic job playing The Chief of the ACME Detective Agency.
And yep, it has its own catchy theme songtoo, though it’s not nearly as timeless as the original by Rockapella.
♪ ”Tell me where in time is Carmen Sandiego?” ♫ ♫ ”Stop her crime and solve this mystery!” ♪ ♪ ”Tell me where in time is Carmen Sandiego?” ♫ ♫ ”We're on the case and we're chasing her through history!” ♪ Back to the game though, packing a selection of goods similar to previous entries.
Notably a 1, 374 page copy of the 1989 New American Desk Encyclopedia, acting as both a reference guide to the game’s take onworld history and as a form of copy protection as we’ll soon see.
There is of course the game itself on floppydisk, with both a 5.
25” and 3.
5” copy to choose from in this version 1.
You also get a Broderbund registration card, a couple of quick reference cards for installing the game on Tandy and IBM PC compatibles, a fold-out poster detailing the most-wanted criminals you’ll soon be tailing throughtime, complete with all the naming puns you’d expect from a Carmen Sandiego game.
And a 23 page black and white Detective’sManual, covering basic setup, gameplay options, and examples on how to solve cases using deductivereasoning and cross-referencing of in-game info and real world historical facts.
Enough time on that though, it’s time forWhere in Time is Carmen Timediego time.
Starting with a short time watching this timelyintro sequence, complete with an AdLib rendition of the original Carmen Sandiego theme.
[bouncy AdLib music plays] Then you’re greeted with a view of ACME Headquarters in San Francisco, this being the first game in the series toestablish them being there as a matter of fact.
And man, I dig the way those graphics lookin VGA but I think the game really shines in EGA.
There’s something special about the wayit makes use of the smaller color palette and lower resolution, especially on an actual EGA display like this delectable IBM 5154 monitor.
Mm, crispy 16-color graphics always make me smile in no time.
Regardless of your choice in graphical mode, the next order of business is ordering this elevator around.
[elevator dings, doors open] This acts as the game’s menu system, with each floor of the ACME building providing something to do at different points in the game.
Your first stop should be the Personnel departmentthough, where you’ll meet Diane who explains that becoming a Time Cadet is exceedinglydangerous so you need to sign this waiver before moving forward.
Ahh, liability release forms, how educationallyentertaining! Once you’ve brushed aside those pesky rights, congratulations! You’re a Time Cadet! Here’s a time machine, try not to die orscrew up the spacetime continuum.
[time machine buzzing] In reality, there’sreally no risk of either one happening, but the game’s commitment to world-buildingis appreciated.
And yeah, just like that you’re pilotingyour very own Chronoskimmer 325i, presumably built by BMW.
No word on whether it’s an automatic orstandard model, but I’m leaning towards the former considering the thing immediately begins diagnostics and presents to you your first assignment.
The overall process is similar to previousgames, where something’s been stolen by one of Carmen’s V.
goons and it’syour job to recover it and put ‘em behind bars.
The twist of course is that the criminal istravelling through time now, so instead of only tracking down where they are, you needto find out when they are as well.
The Federal Time Travel Commission limitsall Chronoskimmer usage, meaning you can only jump around for a set number of in-game hoursbefore time runs out.
Even though you, uh.
You have a time machine.
So part of me thinks you could just, get allthe clues and then travel back to when you had more hours left to guarantee success, but whatever.
Time travel hurts mah brain parts so let’snot dwell on it and accept that there’s limited time to travel through time.
Tracking down a V.
gang member happens in three stages as usual: the chase, the warrant, and the arrest.
The chase involves traveling to a certaintime and place, and then searching for clues as to the thief’s identity and intentions.
You do this by talking to witnesses, seeingwhat informants have to say, and using your Sonic Screwdriver — er, Chronoscanner to zap the area and magically reveal useful objects in the vicinity.
Each of these options will provide some kindof clue as to the thief’s identity, along with where in the world and when in time they’re headed next.
If you’re on the right track, you’ll geta threatening little animation upon arriving in a new location.
music plays] [tommygun firing] This simply indicates that you’re headed the right direction, it’s not showing the criminalyou’re chasing or anything.
It’s just a random encounter with a bendycowboy, a barrel pirate, a ropey man, a fancy lady, a robin hood, or whatever it doesn’tmatter, they’re just silly but useful distractions.
All the truly pertinent evidence comes inthe form of identifying the unseen perp’s characteristics and an array of historicalevents, people, and artifacts.
And this is one reason Where in Time comeswith that desk encyclopedia, so players have a way to quickly look up historical factsin a pre-internet era.
The other reason being that it acts as thegame’s off-disk copy protection, where you’ll be asked to type in a heading from a specificpage in the encyclopedia after completing your first assignment.
But yeah, most of the time you’ll be usingthe book to look up people, places, and things throughout history and decipher out how theymight relate to things going on in the game.
So if an informant says the criminal lovesreading French authors, you can infer that that means they prefer Victor Hugo over RudyardKipling, for example.
Or maybe it’s said that the criminal wantsto find out who threw the rock that killed Montezuma, so you can assume they’ll betravelling to Mexico in the early 1500s.
Wild guesses won’t cut it here, so it’salso advised that players take down a few notes as needed since the game doesn’t keeptrack of location clues.
Once you’ve got what you believe to be aclue, it can then be entered into the ship’s computer and cross-referenced against a dossierof known criminals, with the goal being to narrow down the possible suspects to justone.
Keep travelling through time and space asneeded, look for clues in that location based on the context of the time period, and afteryou’ve acquired enough evidence, apply for an arrest warrant.
This will awake your ship’s Capture Robot, a cyborg justice-bringer armed to the teeth with little toothy arms of justice.
However a warrant isn’t enough though, soyou’ve still gotta track down the thief’s current position in spacetime, so keep followingthose clues until you’re attacked by something.
Crossbows, catapults, snakes, whatever itis, you’ll know it when you see it.
As long as you’ve got enough time left atthis point, you can perform a final scan of the area and capture the criminal, whoeverhe or she may be.
Aw yeah, it’s time for robotic justice! [ominous robot tractor beam] And there you go! One less time-traveling delinquent in theworld, one step closer to tracking down the master thief herself: Carmen Sandiego, who only shows up after you become an Ace Time Detective, so it'll take a while.
But yeah, after each successful arrest, congratulationsand possible promotions are in order, and after that it’s up to you whether or notyou wanna continue playing or head back to headquarters.
If you do decide to head back, why not checkout those other floors? Like the detectives’ lounge, with a coffeemaker that rarely works as intended.
[coffee pours haphazardly] Or the laboratory with science experiments that go wrong with a concerning frequency.
[acid drips, explodes] And don’t forgetthe creepy basement, with its blazing furnace next to the vault of records, which is whereyou manage savegames.
Then there’s the hall of fame, a place oftriumph once you ultimately succeed, but for a long time is ominously empty with not asingle detective having pulled off the task of catching Carmen.
Again, I appreciate the world-building goingon, it paints a picture of ACME being this run-down fly-by-night operation that’s barelyholding on.
Everything’s broken and worn out and noneof the other detectives are really doing a good job at anything.
Despite the place being on its last legs, these folks are still the best hope at saving the world and human history through federallyregulated time travel, so you make do with whatcha got and accomplish your very bestin a terrible situation.
And that’s Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego! It’s got all the sleuthing and worldwidetravel you’d expect, augmented by a welcome set of additional challenge in regards tothe extra research needed to pinpoint criminals’ locations, as well as the hourly time managementgoing on.
With every move you make during the chasetaking up a number of hours, the whole process is much more intense.
Chatting with witnesses, talking to informants, scanning object samples, even running evidence through the computer.
All of these slowly whittle away the hoursuntil you either pull off a successful arrest, or you’re left with nothing and The Chiefsends a message ordering you back to the present, with the case remaining unsolved.
It’s an effective way of incentivizing playersto follow clues much more carefully than before, and making sure they’re sure about gettingtheir historical facts straight.
Because heading off to the wrong point inspacetime is a huge setback, costing multiple hours each leg of the trip, so it’s oftenworth spending a couple extra in-game hours in each location to be doubly sure where youwanna go next.
It’s all on the player to pay attentionto each line in the game, look stuff up and extrapolate data themselves, and either memorizewhat they find or write things down.
That’s some darn good edutainment rightthere, man.
Fun, factual, fast-paced, fantastic.
Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego is not onlya great entry in a classic series, but it’s an excellent game in its own right, entirelydistinct from the others while keeping that original fun factor intact.
[upbeat bossa outro] If you liked this video then might I recommendchecking out the other edutainment classics, and not-so-classics, I’ve covered in thepast.
Or LGR things in general, I upload videoseach week on all kinds of topics, so stick around if you’d like.
And as always, thank you for watching!.