Where in the U.S.A. Is Carmen Sandiego? (1996)

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Where in the U.S.A. Is
Carmen Sandiego?
File:Where in USA cover Broderbund.gif
The former box cover artwork of the game. It was redesigned when Broderbund was sold to The Learning Company in 1999
Developer(s) Brøderbund
Publisher(s) Brøderbund
Distributor(s) The Learning Company
Series Carmen Sandiego
Platforms Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Release date(s) 1996
Genre(s) Educational
Mode(s) Single-player

The remake version of Where in the U.S.A. Is Carmen Sandiego? was released in 1996 by Windows and Macintosh and features Lynne Thigpen playing "The Chief" from the World game show. The game's opening credits finds Carmen arriving in her underground V.I.L.E. outpost in Washington, D.C., as she and RoboCrook plans to steal America's greatest treasure. Carmen later contacts each of her 39 V.I.L.E. operatives telling them to begin their missions.

The Deluxe Edition released in 1998 (also sometimes subtitled as "version 3.5") added an "ACME Global Language Link-Up" satellite which quizzed the user on facts about the current state they were visiting.

The Chase

File:Where in USA 1996 travel.jpg
After receiving enough clues to where the thief went, the player may choose the next location on the map and travel to the next state.

Unlike in the previous games, the image of the locations took up most the screen, with the game options only taking up the bottom third of the screen. Each location had an elaborately painted backdrop that could be scrolled around a full three hundred and sixty degrees. Each location provided clues in the form of several bystanders and scraps of paper lying on the ground. The scraps of paper exclusively provided clues about the suspect's appearance.

The warrant and the arrest

Another change is that the user is not given dossiers describing the members of V.I.L.E. and that all the clues given about the suspect are physical traits, enabling the user to identify the crook on sight. This means that the user will have to compile a full warrant rather than one of just enough traits to distinguish which crook is responsible. In the final destination, the crook is seen walking around the location with several innocent bystanders, meaning the user will have to use the warrant to identify which person is the criminal. The crook's name is only given after the arrest, in which a newspaper (U.S.A. Someday) appears with a headline declaring the criminal has been captured. If the person arrested does not match the warrant, they will be found innocent and released just as they would if the warrant were inaccurate or not issued. Eight of the thirty-nine crooks captured over the course of the game each provided a single line of verse. These eight verses, once pieced together, created a part of Carmen's letter to RoboCrook:

Dear RoboCrook,
Soon we'll pull off the perfect theft-
A scheme of grand design.
The greatest treasure in the states
will very soon be mine!
When we convene for our exchange,
Don't get caught by surprise.
Be sure you don't forget
That I'm a mistress of disguise.
I've made myself look shorter
And that's harder than it sounds.
I've transformed my slender size
By putting on some pounds.
An apron's tied around my waist.
My slippers hide no socks.
Underneath my red bandana
Lies a wig of golden locks.
Signed, Carmen Sandiego

Upon returning to Washington, D.C. on the final case, the Chief calls to inform the user that the thief is Carmen Sandiego and because that Carmen is a master of disguise, she will not look anything like what the user would expect. The user must find the person who matches the description in Carmen's letter to RoboCrook. If the right character is arrest, she will shed her disguise, revealing her true identity as Carmen, who will escape along with RoboCrook in a drilling machine made out of the spare parts he has been trafficking throughout the game. The user and all the seven Good Guides pursue Carmen and RoboCrook down the tunnel they create and discovering along the way that Carmen steals the Declaration of Independence from the National Archives. The user and the Good Guides pursue Carmen to her underground V.I.L.E. outpost, later revealed to be below the Capitol Building, where the user and the Good Guides eventually manage to disable RoboCrook and trap Carmen in a display case before she can lock away America's greatest treasure. Afterwards, the user is later inducted into the ACME Detective Hall of Fame and retired. If the user does anything that causes this mission to fail at this moment (such as capturing the wrong character), Carmen will escape and breaks three of her henchmen from ACME prison and the user has to arrest them to follow Carmen's trail again.

Characters and animation

Another added feature were the ACME Good Guides, a group of colorful characters who, if called upon, provide information about the United States. If the user calls an ACME Good Guide during a case, that guide will call back later to inform the user whether or not their warrant has any errors. If the user wishes to take tours with the Good Guides and travel to states without the inconvenience of having to track a crook, "explorer mode" is available.

The animation in the game closely imitated the look of traditional animated cartoons. The animations that alert the user that the correct destination has been reached featured either Carmine from Junior Detective Edition, a pair of bumbling janitors named Rick and Nick ICK, or RoboCrook. These animations, as well as the animations that depicted the arrest of the crooks, featured much use of cartoon physics (with cartoon sound effects). Ivan Idea will summon his floating orb that sprouts a large glove that flattens the crook; Herman Nootix will literally throw his book at the crook to trip them; Dee Plomasy will trap the crook with her turban; Renee Santz will play her saxophone, where a musical note will trip the crook; Rock Solid will toss his tree and hit it with his axe, causing the tree to split into several logs that traps the crook; Ann Tickwittee touches her magic lamp to summon a Genie to capture the crook; and Kim Yoonity will give the crook her balloon that causes them to float up and Kim later pops her balloon that causes the crook comes crashing down.

Critical reception

A review by William T. Yates for the website WorldVillage Software Reviews on March 9, 2005 praised the game. The review concluded with "The whole package is well-designed and constructed. The graphics are good as is the sound. And there is no shortage of content, both educational and recreational. In fact, it’s hard to differentiate between the two. Broderbund has done an excellent job and provides you with excellent value". The game was given a rating of 5 globes.[1]

Allgame said the game "represents a huge leap forward in the Carmen Sandiego series" as it is the first one "presented in more of a graphical format", as opposed to the older games which were largely text-based. It gave the game a rating of 4 stars out of 5.[2]

A review of the game Where in the USA Is Carmen Sandiego? off TopTenREVIEWS summarised by saying "The interesting facts that are included in Where in the USA Is Carmen Sandiego? are fun and educational for the whole family. It has long since been a favorite of geography students. The software is quite old, but still playable with the right operating system". Whilst stating that "this program specializes in USA facts and material", it continued to say that "it does not have materials for the entire globe". The verdict was that "this is a good product with a lot of great facts about the United States". The game was given an overall rating of 2.5/4 stars.[3]

List of stolen items

Each of the 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.) has only one item that can be stolen from it.

State Item Stolen Location Visited Good Guide
 Alabama Rocket City Montgomery, Alabama Dee Plomasy
 Alaska The Alaska Oil Pipeline Sitka, Alaska Ivan Idea
 Arizona The O.K. Corral Sedona, Arizona Rock Solid
 Arkansas The Dripstone Trail from Blanchard Springs Caverns T. R. Pugh Memorial Park Renee Santz
 California Hollywood Walk of Fame Yosemite National Park Rock Solid
 Colorado Pikes Peak Aspen, Colorado Kim Yoonity
 Connecticut All the hour hands from the American Clock & Watch Museum Mystic Seaport Renee Santz
 Delaware All the state's certificates of incorporation New Castle Historic District Kim Yoonity
 Florida The countdown clock from the Kennedy Space Center Kennedy Space Center Ivan Idea
 Georgia (U.S. state) The recipe for Coca-Cola Swan House (Atlanta) Kim Yoonity
 Hawaii The sand from Waikiki Beach Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park Ann Tikwitee
 Idaho America's first ski lift from Sun Valley Snake River Plain Rock Solid
 Illinois The recipe for Chicago-style pizza Grant Park (Chicago) Renee Santz
 Indiana The checkered flag from the Indy 500 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ivan Idea
 Iowa Field of Dreams Iowa State Capitol Dee Plomasy
 Kansas The Little House on the Prairie Spring Hill Stock Ranch Flint Hills Rock Solid
 Kentucky Abraham Lincoln's log cabin Churchill Downs Kim Yoonity
 Louisiana The receipt for the Louisiana Purchase French Quarter, New Orleans Herman Nootix
 Maine Every lobster bib in the state Portland Head Light Ivan Idea
 Maryland The Mason–Dixon line Inner Harbor, Baltimore Dee Plomasy
 Massachusetts All the socks from the Boston Red Sox Harvard University Herman Nootix
 Michigan The hand crank from Henry Ford's first Model-T Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village Ivan Idea
 Minnesota The Mall of America Basilica of Saint Mary (Minneapolis) Renee Santz
 Mississippi The paddle wheel from the Delta Queen riverboat Natchez National Historical Park Renee Santz
 Missouri The head of the Oregon Trail Old Courthouse (St. Louis) Renee Santz
 Montana The Continental Divide Glacier National Park (U.S.) Rock Solid
 Nebraska Chimney Rock Omaha Rail and Commerce Historic District Ivan Idea
 Nevada Hoover Dam's drain plug Las Vegas Kim Yoonity
 New Hampshire All the ballot boxes from the presidential primary Canterbury Shaker Village Herman Nootix
 New Jersey The Jersey Turnpike Cape May, New Jersey Ivan Idea
 New Mexico The Bottomless Pit from Carlsbad Caverns National Park Taos Pueblo Ann Tikwitee
 New York The electronic billboard from Times Square Ellis Island Kim Yoonity
 North Carolina The Wright Brothers' runway from Kitty Hawk University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herman Nootix
  North Dakota The entire town of Rugby Bonanzaville USA Herman Nootix
 Ohio The Pro Football Hall of Fame Wade Park (Cleveland park) Herman Nootix
 Oklahoma John Wayne's boots from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Indian City USA Ann Tikwitee
 Oregon All the water from Crater Lake Washington Park (Portland, Oregon) Rock Solid
 Pennsylvania Valley Forge Independence National Historical Park Ann Tikwitee
 Rhode Island The Breakers Newport, Rhode Island Renee Santz
 South Carolina The flag pole from Fort Sumter White Point Garden Herman Nootix
 South Dakota The Mitchell Corn Palace Mount Rushmore Ivan Idea
 Tennessee The gates to Graceland Nashville, Tennessee Renee Santz
 Texas The Dallas Cowboys' playbook Alamo Mission in San Antonio Ann Tikwitee
 Utah The organ from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Zion National Park Rock Solid
 Vermont All the maple syrup in the state Arlington Green Covered Bridge Kim Yoonity
 Virginia Monticello Williamsburg, Virginia Dee Plomasy
 Washington The Space Needle Pike Place Market Kim Yoonity
 Washington, D.C. The card catalog from the Library of Congress National Mall Dee Plomasy
 West Virginia Seneca Rocks Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Dee Plomasy
 Wisconsin The recipe for sharp cheddar cheese National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame Rock Solid
 Wyoming The schedule for Old Faithful Grand Teton National Park Rock Solid

V.I.L.E. villains

The V.I.L.E. agents the player runs into are the following:

Suspect Pun Gender Hair Color Height Weight Wearing Captured by
Ann Arky Anarchy Female Gray Medium Heavy Glasses Ivan Idea
Barney Cull Barnacle Male Brown Short Average Hat Ivan Idea
Beau Zoe Bozo Male Black Tall Heavy Hat Renee Santz
Bee Smirch Besmirch Female Red Medium Average Glasses Dee Plomassy
Belle Igerent Belligerent Female Red Medium Thin Hat Dee Plomassy
Ben E. Ficiary Beneficiary Male Red Short Thin Hat Kim Yoonity
Billy Flop Belly flop Male Black Tall Thin Camera Ivan Idea
Bob Sled Bobsled Male Black Tall Thin Watch Rock Solid
Boone Doggle Boondoggle Male Brown Tall Thin Hat Herman Nootix
Buck Aneer Buccaneer Male Blond Medium Heavy Hat Dee Plomassy
Buzz Word Buzzword Male Blond Tall Heavy Glasses Ivan Idea
Carrie Kature Caricature Female Black Short Thin Glasses Kim Yoonity
Cassie Nova Casanova Female Brown Short Thin Watch Kim Yoonity
Charlie Horse Charlie Horse Male Red Short Heavy Glasses Rock Solid
Clement See Clemency Male Blond Short Average Glasses Ann Tickwitee
Cliff Hanger Cliffhanger Male Blond Tall Heavy Camera Herman Nootix
Cora Spondent Correspondent Female Black Short Average Hat Ivan Idea
Dan Gerous Dangerous Male Red Medium Thin Camera Dee Plomassy
Deb O'Naire Debonair Female Black Tall Thin Glasses Rock Solid
Dee Linquent Delinquet Female Blond Short Average Watch Ann Tickwitee
Diane Toshop Dying to shop Female Red Medium Thin Camera Ann Tickwitee
Emma Welcher I'm a welcher Female Gray Short Heavy Glasses Rock Solid
Gil Tee Guilty Male Gray Short Heavy Camera Kim Yoonity
Hope Less Hopeless Female Blond Tall Average Glasses Herman Nootix
Ivana B. Rich I wanna be rich Female Blond Medium Heavy Watch Ann Tickwittee
Joy Ryder Joyrider Female Gray Medium Average Hat Dee Plomassy
Kat Astrophic Catastrophic Female Brown Short Heavy Watch Kim Yoonity
Kay Os Chaos Female Red Tall Thin Glasses Ivan Idea
Les Ismore Less is more Male Gray Medium Average Glasses Ann Tickwitee
Lily Livered Lily-livered Female Blond Tall Heavy Hat Renee Santz
Luke N. Ferloot Looking for loot Male Brown Tall Average Camera Renee Santz
Mandy Lifeboats Man the lifeboats Female Gray Tall Average Hat Renee Santz
Noah Clue No clue Male Red Short Heavy Hat Rock Solid
Paul Lution Pollution Male Blond Medium Thin Watch Dee Plomassy
Perry Syte Parasite Male Blond Tall Average Glasses Herman Nootix
Rhonda Voo Rendezvous Female Blond Tall Heavy Camera Herman Nootix
Rob Burr Robber Male Red Medium Heavy Camera Ann Tickwitee
Robyn Steele Rob and steal Female Red Tall Thin Watch Renee Santz
Tim Tation Temptation Male Red Short Average Watch Rock Solid


V.I.L.E. villains

Luke N. Ferloot: You may have netted me, but my money is still on Carmen Sandiego!

Perry Syte: Rats, I've been caught! I guess this time I bit off more than I could chew.

Ann Arky: I tried to be unpredictable, but you found me out anyway!

Paul Lution: Curses! All my foul plans have gone up in smoke!

Dan Gerous: I'm all yours, flatfoot, but they haven't built a hoosegow yet that can hold me!

Tim Tation: Drat! I couldn't resist one more crime, and now I'm going to do some time!

Kat Astrophic: Oh, this is a disaster! But Carmen will move much faster.

Boone Doggle: Catching me was a tall order, but you made short work of it!

Bob Sled: I thought I pulled a snow job on you, but you put me on ice!

Noah Clue: I thought I could relax, but you uncovered my tracks!

Joy Ryder: Just when my plans rolled into high gear, you come along and stall my engines!

Rhonda Voo: Curses, I've been caught! I didn't expect to meet you here.

Beau Zoe: I've been spied! I don't suppose it would help to say I was just clowning around…

Billy Flop: Darn! You got the drop on me before I could make my big splash!

Cora Spondent: I guess the writing's on the wall. I hope I get letters in jail.

Dee Linquent: I can't believe you found me! I suppose it's too late for a plea bargain...

Buzz Word: You found me?! I'm speechless! I guess you got the last word in.

Hope Less: Oh, my! I didn't expect you to catch up with me! Relish your victory while you can...

Emma Welcher: I'm caught! I knew I should've stolen away when I had the chance...

Gil Tee: Go ahead and take me in, but Carmen is still gonna win!

Carrie Kature: Oh, no—I've been caught! I guess it's back to the drawing board...

Diane Toshop: I have to give you credit for catching me, but Carmen will still make out like a bandit!

Ivana B. Rich: You may have me over a barrel, but I'm bankin' on Carmen to roll me back to freedom!

Ben E. Ficiary: Oh, dear! Pardon me, but is there any chance they'll pardon me?

Deb O'Nare: My word! You may be smiling now, but Carmen will have the last laugh!

Buck Aneer: I thought this would be smooth sailing, till you lowered the boom on me!

Charlie Horse: Don't expect me to congratulate you for catching me. I'm a sore loser!

Rob Burr: You've won this match, but Carmen Sandiego is way out of your league!

Bee Smirch: Go ahead and read me my rights, but you'll never get Carmen in your sights!

Belle Igerent: You may have pulled the rug out from under me, but Carmen's plans will still floor ya!

Robyn Steele: You've proven your mettle against me, but you’ll never clap irons on Carmen Sandiego!

Clement See: How dare you defeat my designs! Carmen will hear about this!

Barney Cull: I've been nabbed! I knew I shouldn't have stuck around here!

Cassie Nova: I guess the jig is up, but you'll be dancing to a different tune when Carmen hears about this!

Ivana B. Rich: You may have me over a barrel, but I'm banking on Carmen to roll me back to freedom!

Carmen Sandiego

"You better kick up your heels, flatfoot, because I'm one step ahead of you."

"You've been a worthy opponent so far, but I'm so far ahead of you now, you'll never catch me!"

"I have to admit you foiled my plot, but the sequel belongs to Carmen Sandiego!"

"I couldn't help overhearing. I just wanted to warn you that you'll have to work hard to confound my next caper."

"This is Carmen calling to wish you luck. You'll need it!"

"Carmen here! Catch me if you can!"

"You've stopped me for the last time! You'll never cancel my current crime!"

"You stopped my previous plot, do-gooder, but it'll do you no good. Carmen Sandiego always has something up her sleeve."

"I hate to interrupt, but I thought you'd be interested to know that my next underhanded scheme is already underway..."

"You came out on top last time, gumshoe, but you'll never get to the bottom of my latest caper."

"I know it's rude to intrude, but I just want to let you know, I'm off to commit another crime. And there's nothing you can do about it."

"You got the better of me this time, gumshoe. But the best is yet to come."

(when promoted to Detective) "Well done, detective, but you don't have a clue what my next crime will be."

(when promoted to Master Detective) "So I hear you're a master detective now. Let's see how good you really are."

(if the mission is failed for whatever reason) "Sorry my scheme was a success, but I suspect we'll meet again soon..."

Where in America is Carmen Sandiego?: The Great Amtrak Train Adventure

This was a cross-promotional version of the game which featured Amtrak's logo on the travel map, among other things.[4] It was released in 1998. A Travel Weekly article explained: "Amtrak said its version of the [game], [would] help drive family sales to agencies. The special spring fares [were] valid for sites highlighted in the game...Travel agents [could] offer their clients coupons to purchase the game for $7.95 plus tax, which is $2 off the advertised price."[5]

Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? School Version

In 2004, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt released a school edition of this game. The new version included "the "State-A-Base", an electronic database filled with essays, maps, music, color photos, and video clips that can be searched by key word". Also, all the data within the program was updated to 2004; the game could be supported on Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Mac OS X; 50 printable state outline maps were provided, which could be used in classrooms; and a Full Install Option which allowed teachers install and run the software without the CD. The "Teacher's Resource CD-ROM" included a comprehensive user's guide, 19 lesson plans, tutorials, blackline masters, and an annotated bibliography of resources.[6]


  1. "Where in the U.S.A. Is Carmen Sandiego?". Worldvillage.com. Retrieved 2011-02-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Savignano, Lisa Karen. "Where in the U.S.A. Is Carmen Sandiego?". allgame. Retrieved November 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Where in the USA Is Carmen Sandiego? 2011 - TopTenREVIEWS". Geography-game-software-review.toptenreviews.com. Retrieved 2011-02-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jr0jXLCMEI
  5. http://www.travelweekly.com/Destinations2001-2007/Amtrak-Offers--Great-Getaway-Fares--to-See-the-Country/
  6. "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? CD-ROMs for Schools". Retrieved November 17, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>