Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego
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Table of Contents
[START] Getting Started
[CLUES] Interpretation of Clues
[QUEST] Frequently Asked Questions
[VERSN] Version History
[CONTC] Contact Information
Navigation tip: Press Ctrl and F to bring down a search bar. Then type in the
name of the section you're looking for - like [DOSSI] for the Dossiers.
Here's VinnyVideo's third guide for a Carmen Sandiego game (and forty-ninth
completed guide). Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego dates back to the late
1980's, so the graphics and sound are simplistic, even though they get the job
done. But like all Carmen games, it's still fun and educational, and even 20
years later, nearly all of the clues remain relevant. The game is aimed at
preteens, but it can be fun and enjoyable for people of all ages, even though
this is one of the easier Carmen games.
I wrote a skeleton framework for this guide back in June 2008 and submitted it.
I said I'd release an update in July. Well, it's January 2009 now, and this is
the first full version. I didn't totally forget about that...
Note: I played this game on a PC/IBM-Compatible/DOS computer and used Version
2.1 (released in 1990). This is a later release, although I don't think there's
any huge difference between the versions. I should also note that I purchased
my copy from my school system's surplus sales center, so my game also included
a teacher's guide (which wasn't too useful).
Getting Started [START]
Before you can play, you'll have to install the program. Simply create a new
directory (probably C:\CARMEN2 or C:\CARM-USA or something like that) and copy
all the files on the disk(s) to that directory. Be patient; old floppies can be
slow. When you're finished, change to that directory and type CARMEN (or
double-click CARMEN.EXE from My Computer) to start the game. You shouldn't have
to restart in MS-DOS mode to run Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego.
First let's take a brief look at the controls and menu options:
The main screen displays the current location, the day and time, a photo from
the current state, and general information about where you are.
The useless "See" icon shows a list of places you can fly to from the "Depart"
menu. This is useful only if you want to see a list of possible future
destinations without being able to hit a wrong key and fly to an unintended
"Depart" puts you on the airplane to the next destination of your choice; there
will be four (sometimes three) options; one will usually be your previous
location. Don't leave until you know where to go next, and this is done by
"Investigate," the button marked with a magnifying glass, is the most
frequently-used choice. It takes you to a menu with three locations you can
investigate in search of clues about the suspect's identity and whereabouts.
The more places you search, however, the longer each one will take.
"Crime" sends you to the Crime Computer dialog. This allows you to input pieces
of evidence into the various fields, such as hair color or favorite food. When
you think you have enough clues to get a warrant, select "Compute" to get the
warrant, which you'll need to make a valid arrest on the suspect.
As for menu options:
~ About Carmen... shows game credits. Not very exciting, but I think it would
be nice to watch it run by at least one time.
~ New begins a new case. Use this to terminate a mission in progress without
saving it, perhaps if you become hopelessly lost and you know you're going to
run out of time.
~ Save ends your case and saves it so you can resume it at a later date.
Remember that you won't overwrite another player's in-progress case when you
save and quit.
~ Quit ends game play, giving you the option of saving, and returns you to DOS
~ Sound lets you turn off the sound. The PC speaker-based sound effects can be
noisy, so you might want to uncheck this feature.
~ Joystick toggles joystick support on or off. Even if you have a joystick
equipped, it might not be compatible with a game this old. Personally, I always
play using just the keyboard.
~ Detective Roster displays a list of players who have signed in, along with
their current levels and number of cases completed.
~ Hall of Fame is a list of players who have completed many cases and beaten
the game. Expect this elite group to be empty or short.
Primarily for entertainment if you have this guide, these show information
about each of the V.I.L.E. villains.
Remember that if you're not using a mouse (at least for me, the mouse doesn't
work for this game), you can press Alt and the underlined letter (such as Alt+A
for the _A_cme menu) to access the menus on the top of the screen. Also, the
Esc key will usually return you to the previous screen or menu.
This walkthrough is different from the walkthroughs in my previous guides. In
most walkthroughs, the writer guides the player through every level and step of
the game. That isn't very practical in a Carmen Sandiego game, so I'm going to
direct you through a sample case, showing the methods and strategies used
during the game. Most of these clues appear in the actual game, although this
case is shorter than they will normally be.
Sign in with your real name or your favorite alias. Our briefing tells us that
a masked male was seen stealing Chimney Rock from Omaha, Nebraska. It's 1 P.M.
Tuesday right now, so since there's a time limit of six days, we have to catch
him by 1 P.M. Monday.
Our mission begins in Omaha. There are a number of buttons on the screen, but
for now we should click on the one with the magnifying glass - "Investigate."
This is where we can search for clues regarding the suspect's whereabouts and
physical appearance. There are three places we can check: the Library, the Auto
Club, and the Stadium. All of these locations have people who know something
about the case. It doesn't matter which order you check them in, but do
consider this: The longer you stay, the more time the investigations will
consume. The first person you check will cost one hour. The second
investigation takes two hours, and the third place you investigate will set you
back three hours!
Anyway, let's check the Library, where we meet up with a librarian (surprise!).
She says that the suspect was looking for books about the Magnolia State.
Referring to a good almanac, we learn that the Magnolia State is Mississippi.
We could leave right now, but we decide it would be wise to investigate a
little further in the hope of getting some more character clues.
Next we search the Auto Club, where we find an inspector who says that someone
wanted to tour the campus of Ole Miss and was whistling an aria. The University
of Mississippi is in Oxford, Mississippi, so that doesn't do us much good.
However, we know that an aria is a song in an opera. This tells us that the man
we're after is an opera fan.
From the main screen, click on the "CRIME" button, which is where we input
information we've learned about the suspect's identity. Keep scrolling right on
the "SEX:" entry until it comes to "Male." Do likewise with "MUSIC:" - "Opera."
If you modify the wrong field, just keep scrolling until it's blank again. We
can't get a warrant yet because these clues aren't sufficient to rule out all
possible suspects except one.
I think we can probably go ahead and leave now. Select the "DEPART" icon and
we're provided with a list of possible destinations - Tulsa, Helena, Boston,
and Jackson. Jackson is the only one located in Mississippi, so we pick the
town named after the flamboyant seventh U.S. president. This flight takes just
four hours - pretty good in the Chertoff era. Now start investigating - perhaps
at the Tourist Bureau.
Yikes! It's a burly man with a wrench and an "I LOVE CRIME" T-shirt. This vile-
looking guy is a V.I.L.E. underling who has been summoned to spy on you. When
you see people like this, you know you're going in the right direction. The
suspect himself, however, is not in this city, so we must investigate further.
Regardless, we learn that the suspect was trying to learn more about the home
of Benjamin Franklin. We select "Depart" and find four available cities:
Boston, Philadelphia, Pierre, and Jackson. Let's go to Boston.
We talk to a researcher at a university, who says: "Sorry, I haven't seen
anybody like that around here." What this means is we've gone to the wrong
location. It's time to fly back to Jackson and see what we did wrong.
We investigate the Tourist Bureau and learn that the man we're after was
heading to the City of Brotherly Love and that he digs grits. Actually, while
Ben Franklin was born in Boston, he spent most of his life in Philadelphia.
Acknowledging our error, we get on the plane to Philadelphia, though not before
noting on the Crime Computer that the suspect likes Southern food.
In Philly, we check the Historical Society. This looks dangerous - a bag of
cement fell down, just barely missing our heads! And the witness says there's a
rumor that the gang is in town. When this happens, you know you're very close
to the crook! However, just finding him won't be good enough. You can't make a
valid arrest for someone if you don't have a warrant - or if you have the
warrant for the wrong person. Getting a warrant is not all that difficult if
you've been playing carefully. Click on the Crime Computer and then select
"Compute." If you've entered enough clues to narrow the list down to just one
possible suspect, you'll get the warrant you need. If you haven't found enough
clues, you'll be shown a list of possible suspects. And if all possibilities
are eliminated, then you know you've made some kind of mistake entering clues.
Remember that getting a warrant costs two hours of time, so use my dossiers to
make sure you know you can get a warrant when you try to. In general, obtaining
a warrant requires three or four character clues (besides gender). Sometimes
you can get a warrant with just two clues, but occasionally you'll need all
five, especially if the suspect is female.
Anyway, we should now have a warrant for the arrest of Alexander Graham Edison.
We search the next place on the investigation list, and someone throws a bomb
at us! Then we check the final location. A suspicious car goes flying by...
with the cops just behind! If you have a valid warrant, you'll reel Alexander
in and put him in the pokey (at least until he escapes a few cases later).
You'll also be one case closer to getting a promotion. After the message from
ACME, press the Y key if you want to play again; strike N to return to the
This is the same information provided in the game's Scrapbook, but my data is
easier to use (though less hilarious).
Name Sex Hair Food Sport Hobby Music
Benjamin Hana M black Creole hockey gambling country
Karl La Fong M black Tex/Mex football fortune-telling rock
Alexander Graham Edison M brown Southern basketball auto repair opera
Ken Hartley Reed M brown seafood basketball spelunking classical
Sheriff Paul Drive M blond Creole baseball auto repair country
Mylar Naugahyde M blond Southern baseball gambling opera
Titus Canby M red seafood football spelunking classical
Sven Galli M red Tex/Mex hockey fortune-telling rock
Carmen Sandiego F black Tex/Mex basketball gambling classical
Gypsy Rose Lasagna F black Tex/Mex basketball fortune-telling rock
Polly Esther Fabrique F brown seafood baseball fortune-telling opera
B.B.D. O'Brien F brown seafood baseball spelunking classical
Heidi Gosikh F blond Southern hockey auto repair country
Venus H. Pencil F blond Southern hockey auto repair opera
Wendy Pauper F red Creole football gambling rock
Brenda/Cobina Vanderbilt F red Creole football spelunking country
Interpretation of Clues [CLUES]
Please note that references to the male gender in this section are only
intended to promote clarity and brevity.
Black hair - Ebony tresses, Raven-haired, Black hair, Hair as dark as midnight
Brown hair - Mahogany tresses, Mouse-colored hair, Brown hair, Mousey hair
Blond hair - Flaxen-haired, Peroxided hair, Towheaded, Blond hair
Red hair - Auburn tresses, Red hair, Auburn-haired, Titian-haired
Seafood - Calamari, Sashimi, Crab, Squid
Creole - Gumbo, Crawfish, Jambalaya, Red beans and rice
Tex-Mex - Burrito, Nachos, Chimichangas, Bowl of chili
Southern - Grits, Ham hock, Fried chicken, Black-eyed peas
Baseball - Had a Tom Seaver T-shirt, Had a Mets ticket, Had a Cubs ticket, Had
a photo of Babe Ruth
Football - Had a Raiders T-shirt, Had a 49ers T-shirt, Was carrying a pigskin,
Was a real Bears fan, Has seats on the 50-yard line
Basketball - Had a Knicks ticket, Was dribbling like crazy, Was practicing
rebounds, Practiced slam dunks in the wastebasket
Hockey - Had a puck in his pocket, Was wearing shin guards, Had a N.Y. Rangers
T-shirt, Mentioned the Stanley Cup
Gambling - Had a lottery ticket, Had a racing form, Had an ace up his sleeve,
Was looking for a poker game
Spelunking - Had a book on speleology, Had a hat with a lantern, Was carrying a
rope, Had bat guano on his shoes
Fortune-Telling - Had a crystal ball, Was reading tea leaves, Was carrying
tarot cards, Had a book of the I Ching
Auto Repair - Was carrying a spanner, Was carrying a fan belt, Had a lug nut in
his hand, Was carrying a wrench
Classical - Was humming a scherzo, Had a Mozart T-shirt, Was humming a fugue,
Had a Scarlatti tape
Country - Had a Willie Nelson tape, Was listening to Hank Williams, Was picking
a tune on the banjo, Was dressed for a square dance
Rock - Had a David Bowie tape, Had a Fats Domino T-shirt, Had a Talking Heads
tape, Had The Boss on his shirt
Opera - Was humming Rigoletto, Had a Pavarotti T-shirt, Had a ticket to The
Ring, Was whistling an aria
Frequently Asked Questions [QUEST]
Q: What are the differences between each detective rank?
A: As you progress through the ranks, cases gradually become longer and
therefore more difficult to solve. Sometimes clues become a little more obscure
on harder difficulty levels, too.
Gumshoe 4 0
Jr. Investigator 5 1
Investigator 6 4
Sr. Investigator 7 7
Inspector 8 10
Sr. Inspector 9 14
Jr. Detective 10 18
Detective 11 23
Sr. Detective 12 28
Master Detective 13 33
Super Sleuth 14 Catch Carmen
Hall of Fame - 80
Q: How can I make the game run faster?
A: If you're still playing Carmen on your 286, you'll get a much faster
performance if you run it on a Pentium-era processor.
Q: How long does it take to complete a case?
A: It depends on the current detective rank. In game time, your time limit is
six days, regardless of your rank, but you can complete even Super Sleuth-level
cases in just four days. In terms of real-life time, for experienced players,
approximately 20-60 seconds for each location visited. Early cases can be
completed in less than five minutes; a complicated Super Sleuth case may take
15 minutes (or five if you're really skillful and a little lucky). Players who
are less proficient at geography may take considerably longer.
Q: How many locations are there in this game?
A: 51, one for each state (and Washington, D.C.). Remember that clues pertain
to the entire state, not just that specific city.
Q: I'm having trouble with a clue. What should I do?
A: If it's a clue relating to the suspect's identifying features, check the
"Interpretation of Clues" section of this guide. As for hints about where to go
next, try looking up key names and places in an almanac, encyclopedia, U.S.
atlas, dictionary, the 1986 Fodor's USA travel guide, or other sources. You may
find a list of state nicknames (the World Almanac and Book of Facts is a good
source for this) to be especially helpful.
Q: I'm close to the crook, but I don't have enough clues to get a warrant. What
do I do?
A: You're probably going to have to make a guess, unless you have time to
return to your previous location in an attempt to gather more clues. Suppose
you know the suspect is female and has blonde hair. Your two possibilities are
Venus H. Pencil and Heidi Gosikh. Fill in all of one of those suspects'
features in the Crime Computer and get a warrant. After all, it's better to go
with a 50-50 chance of solving the case than 0% odds.
Another option: Save your game and copy the numbered save file to another
directory (the save file is deleted when you resume the game). Then resume the
game and find out who the crook is. If you guess wrong, copy the old save file
to the game directory and resume the game from the same point as before. Now
it'll be a piece of cake! This "save state" trick works best on longer cases.
Use it at your own risk.
Q: Can I issue a warrant for more than one person?
A: No. If you've gotten a warrant, and you select "Compute" to get a new one,
the original warrant is invalidated. You might do this if you've forgotten
whether you got a warrant earlier or if you've found new clues that contradict
earlier information (because you made a mistake or misinterpreted a clue).
Q: Why do I have to answer a question before I get promoted?
A: This really isn't a test of your readiness for the next level; it was
intended as a deterrent for people who made unauthorized copies of the game.
This was something called "off-disk copy protection," and a fair number of
games used it in the early 1990's. It usually involved answering a question
about the manual, or in this case, a book that came with the game. But for
those of you who have lost the 1986 Fodor's USA travel guide, the last bold
word at the bottom of page 169 is Nantucket; p. 243 Chinatown; p. 664 Pecos.
The state featured on page 217 is Maryland; p. 300 Virginia; p. 370 Alabama; p.
Q: I tried to get a warrant, but I got an "All suspects eliminated" message.
A: This is not a good situation! See if you can remember how you got some clues
- if one was a little ambiguous or might have been recorded improperly. Try
leaving an additional Evidence field empty - preferably one of the more dubious
clues. Then issue a new warrant, and if you're lucky, you'll get one.
Otherwise, use trial and error, leaving other fields blank, or just give up and
start a new case.
Q: What does V.I.L.E. stand for?
A: Villain's International League of Evil. How vile!
Q: What happens if you try to sign in using the name of a V.I.L.E. henchman?
A: You get the following message: "You have a criminal record. Access denied."
Q: What other notes and tips do you have?
A: Here are a few miscellaneous tips, tricks, hints, and observations for this
* Be quick but take your time. It's faster to check two or three possible
sources to get a more specific clue than to fly to a series of wrong locations
or to be forced to return to your original location to gather more information.
* In earlier cases, investigate each location to get sufficient character
clues to obtain a warrant; as you move up the ranks, you'll need to investigate
as quickly as possible, while still being careful to avoid going off course. As
a Super Sleuth, try to get just one clue from a location if it's specific
enough to tell you where to go next; you'll usually get enough character clues
to obtain a warrant.
* Once you get a warrant, don't go sightseeing needlessly; only check enough
locations (ideally one) to know where to go next.
* No single sentence will tell you both a fact about the suspect's identity
and where the character went. Also, identity clues will never appear alone;
they will always be mentioned after a location clue.
* Carmen Sandiego herself will never appear until you become a Master
Detective. For this reason, if you're following a black-haired woman who likes
basketball and Mexican food, you can usually be confident it's Gypsy Rose
Lasagna, not Carmen.
* It can be helpful to keep notes on paper while playing. For example, you may
want to write down a certain clue or keep track of the locations you've been
to, in case you need to backtrack after making a mistake. It can also be
prudent to write down your case deadline in case you forget.
* The sign-in screen is case-insensitive (except for the first time you enter
your name), as is the Promotion Quiz entry.
* The farther a possible next destination is from your current location, the
more careful you should be to be absolutely certain where to go next. Suppose
you're in Honolulu. After investigating one source, you've got it narrowed down
50-50 between New York and Raleigh. You'll definitely want to search further so
you're sure where to go, as a mistake will cost days' worth of time because
you'll then have to fly all the way back to Honolulu before going to the right
city. Inversely, if you're in Raleigh and your next stop is either South
Carolina or Tennessee, a wrong guess won't cost any more time than it would've
to gather more information.
* Press ENTER to skip the opening sequence. I'd watch it at least once,
* There's no way to skip the cutscenes showing the V.I.L.E. henchmen and
* You have to sleep nine hours per day, and the sleep break never occurs while
you're traveling. You may end up waking up as late as 2 P.M.!
* Flights may take as little as two hours and as long as eight.
* When you become a Master Detective, you'll have to catch Carmen Sandiego
before being promoted to the final rank. If you learn that your suspect is male
or doesn't have black hair (or otherwise can't be Carmen), don't quit, as
solving these cases will still count toward reaching the Hall of Fame.
* Mozart wrote operas as well as classical music, but all clues referring to
him mean the suspect prefers classical music.
* Be careful not to confuse the two cities named Charleston; one is located in
South Carolina, the other in West Virginia.
* One particularly tricky clue says the suspect wanted to see the gold nugget
that started the Gold Rush. This nugget is exhibited in a museum in Washington,
* Read carefully when a clue refers to the Wright Brothers; depending on the
wording, it may direct you to either Ohio or North Carolina.
* One of the screens for Ohio mentions the Cleveland Browns, but not the
Cincinnati Bengals. Too bad.
* If this program is to be used in an educational setting, it may be
advantageous or necessary to pair students up, especially since most young
people have studied very little geography and history in the modern school
* Some of the stolen items are pretty silly, like J.R.'s Stetson hat.
* Gypsy Rose Lasagna seems to be the most frequent villain, at least in my
experience. On the other hand, it wasn't until my 63rd case that I saw Sheriff
* As a hardcore Cubs fan, I'm rather offended at the idea of Ken Hartley Reed
or Polly Esther Fabrique being a west side rooter (they must be Mets fans).
* My game crashed a few times during game play, and once I got an "illegal
operation" message. I don't know why either; playing in full DOS mode might
* I don't use the non-ASCII symbols found in "Broderbund" and "Pokemon" since
they may not display properly on all web browsers or word processors.
* I made the title art myself. Only recently have I started using ASCII text
Q: Why do you write so many guides?
A: The top seven reasons, besides being narcissistic:
1. Because I can
2. It's fun and a challenge
3. It improves your writing skills
4. Writing a guide forces you to understand and master every aspect of the
game, including things you would not have otherwise cared to notice
5. The Wikipedia Effect - the desire to quantify and disseminate human
6. The Pokemon Principle - the pursuit of writing very large numbers of guides
7. I like receiving mail and feedback from my readers (even though I don't get
stuff all that frequently)
I posted this question on the contributors' forum, and they were able to come up
with a few more reasons (like helping people play the game).
Visit www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/74793.html to see the whole list of
Version History [VERSN]
Date | Version | Size |
6- 6-08 | 0.15 | 14KB | Began guide. Did most of Interpretation of Clues.
6-16-08 | 0.4 | 16KB | Wrote Dossiers. Submitted first version of guide on
| | | 6/25/08.
7-29-08 | 0.42 | 17KB | Did very little.
12-22-08 | 0.45 | 18KB | Did a little.
1-10-09 | 0.6 | 23KB | Processed notes up to Junior Detective level.
1-11-09 | 0.75 | 30KB | Processed notes up to Senior Detective level.
1-12-09 | 0.8 | 32KB | Processed notes up to Super Sleuth level.
1-13-09 | 0.85 | 33KB | Proofread more than half of the guide.
1-14-09 | 0.95 | 34KB | Finished proofreading.
1-15-09 | 1.0 | 31KB | Removed guide list and finished things up.
Submitted first full version on 1/16/09.
9-22-09 | 1.1 | 32KB | Clarified the Raleigh note and extended one of the
| | | FAQs a bit.
(c) 2008-2009 Vinny Hamilton. All rights reserved.
All trademarks mentioned in this guide are copyrights of their respective
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Remember that the latest version will always be available at GameFAQs.com, but
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You can't post this guide on your Web site if you're going to change anything
in this guide that took me so many hours to write.
If you don't comply with these guidelines, your hard drive will be reformatted
inexplicably and you will suffer from constipation for the rest of your life.
Heed this warning.
Contact Information [CONTC]
If you have any questions or comments about this guide, please send an e-mail
to VHamilton002@gmail.com. That's zero-zero-two, by the way. Remember that not
all e-mail messages will be read. Please follow these guidelines:
Do include "Carmen Sandiego" in the subject line.
Do send polite suggestions for ways to make this walkthrough better.
Do tell me about any errors or omissions you find.
Do send information about any glitches, tricks, or codes you find.
Do ask any questions you have about Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego
gameplay. I will respond eventually if you follow all of these rules.
Do make a reasonable effort to use decent spelling, grammar, usage,
punctuation, and capitalization so that I can understand what you're trying to
Do use patience. I check my messages quite sporadically.
Do not ask for technical support except as a last resort.
Do not send spam, pornography, chain letters, "flaming," or anything that
contains profanity or vulgarity. Again, violating this rule will result in
deletion of the message and permanent constipation.
And lastly, a public service message: Fight for and affirm the rights of all
humans, regardless of race, age, or creed! And... Please don't operate motor
vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. No one's going to read
For Tom Coburn, one of the few responsible U.S. senators (I think)