Carmen Sandiego: The Secret of the Stolen Drums - Xbox

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Carmen Sandiego: The Secret of the Stolen Drums (Xbox)
Also for: PS2, GameCube
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: A2M
Publishers: BAM! (GB)
Released: 5 Mar 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 7+
Accessories: Memory Unit


Some of you may be familiar with the name Carmen Sandiego. If so, you may also recall that this is one elusive character, appearing (or not) in such past titles as Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego. In each case, where that particular person was obviously not known, but what they did was to head up the evil VILE Network, which was a notorious organisation that carried out thefts of some of the world's most precious artefacts and needed to be stopped by you. Well that premise continues in good faith with this revamp of the popular series, but now appears courtesy of a 3D action adventure, complete with plenty of exploration, puzzle solving and the now-obligatory bit of stealth.

The game's story tells how, on his deathbed, an African King revealed the existence of an ancient hidden temple, deep in the jungles of Rwanda, containing a great diamond that possesses the knowledge of all nations. Of course there's a map but, to make things a little difficult, it has been etched onto the skins of eight drums, which, unsurprisingly, have been scattered across the four corners of the globe. Recent reports of thefts from museums all over the world are hinting that Carmen Sandiego may well be on the hunt for these drums, so you must join the ACME team and once again take up the trail of the infamous thief.

You take on the role of Cole Gannon, ACME agent-in-training, and team up with Jules Argent and Shadow Hawkins as you explore nine exotic locations around the world, from a museum in New York, through the beaches of New Zealand, to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. Armed with a trusty PC for communicating with the ACME team and performing various techy procedures, as well as a handy staff that doubles as a blowgun, you must implement a combination of acrobatics, martial arts-based combat and puzzle-solving as you hunt down the mysterious Carmen Sandiego. As mentioned before, stealth plays quite a large part in the proceedings and, as such, along the way you must avoid detection, do plenty of sneaking around, and also make use of your staff/blowgun in order to do things like distract enemies and activate distant switches.

Another feature that was common in the older Carmen Sandiego titles is an educational aspect. This has also been implemented in The Secret of the Stolen Drums, meaning that, as you explore the diverse international locations, you also get to learn about their respective history and geography. So it's kind of like being at school, but having fun at the same time.