Where in America's Past Is Carmen Sandiego is the 5th game in the Carmen Sandiego mystery educational series. It was released in 1991 for Apple II and MS-DOS.
Where in America's Past Is Carmen Sandiego? also known in my room as "If I had known this game, I wouldn't have had such a hard time passing history," is an educational game developed and published by Broderbund in 1991. The entry is the fifth part of the Carmen Sandiego saga, which started with Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
As in previous installments, the story is based on taking down V.I.L.E., a criminal organization dedicated to stealing famous works and catching its leader, Carmen Sandiego, and her henchmen. In this case, Carmen and the other criminals steal pieces scattered throughout the history of America at different times and locations, where she even steals the Statue of Liberty with a helicopter. Same old Carmen, amirite?
We play an investigator from A.C.M.E, a detective organization that collaborates with Interpol to catch the most elusive criminals in the world. Thus, our hero is assigned the task of catching Carmen and the other criminals - not before being received by a secretary identical to Chucky; look at her when she reveals her face at the beginning of the game. Will the hero manage to catch the villain? It doesn't really matter; in the next part of the series, you have to see Carmen again and in space, which proves that the mistake of making sequels outside the planet comes from long ago.
The gameplay received a lot of improvements compared to its predecessors. First of all, it keeps the same mechanics as other adventures. As always, you must chase the suspect until you reach his location, although, without a warrant, you cannot arrest him. The document is obtained with clues from various witnesses. The criminal is constructed with several pieces of his description, and all suspects are discarded until only the culprit is left. A great addition is that it not only explores locations in the United States but different times in its history. Also, this is the most complete, complex, and the most extended entrance of the entire saga.
Being an educational game, there is obviously education. Throughout each time travel, the player will be put in context regarding what was historically happening in the place and time they are visiting. Besides, after each arrest, a historical question must be answered for the detective to rise in rank, for which you must read the book that comes with the game (lol) or simply google it.
The graphics also had some improvements. Now the artistic direction in the different locations is inclined to a much more sober orientation, where brightness and color saturation is much lower. Also, the sharpness was drastically reduced, giving a feeling that you are looking at an old photo of a historical event, which sometimes happens, as they also used real photos for some scenes. The negative part and it is worth clarifying that this is entirely subjective, is that sometimes they combine this new style with classic and caricatured animations. I didn't like this at all; it looked like a disconnected animation on top of a photo, although, in fact, it was. I also understand how it can work for a boy who is playing and needs those colors so that the historical images do not bore him and the playthrough is not monotonous in his eyes.
Finally, Where in America's Past Is Carmen Sandiego? is an excellent game for a reason I haven't mentioned yet. Unlike other educational games that feature math or exercises with a Mario Bros skin, this entrance in the Carmen saga strives to do much more. A few minutes after playing it, you forget that the game is educational because education is so well applied that you get lost in the gameplay, which is undoubtedly fun. Whether it is to play it by yourself or to encourage a young person to learn history, your search is over, you just have to start the game, and it will speak for itself!