Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge
|Developer(s)||The Learning Company|
|Publisher(s)||The Learning Company|
Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge (sometimes referred to as Carmen Sandiego's Think Quick Challenge is an educational and entertaining computer game for kids ages 8–12 (although PC Mag suggests it is suitable for ages 10 and up). The title, which is a part of the Carmen Sandiego franchise, was released by The Learning Company on June 1, 1999. It can be played by up to 4 players, and runs on the Mohawk engine.
The player(s) are on a mission to stop Carmen Sandiego and her Master Thieves (consisting of Count Hypno, Dr. Depth, Dr. Ima LeZaarde, Jane Reaction (one of the original thieves in the 1997 version of Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?) Otto "Gnash" Readmore, and Snarla Swing) from taking over the modern world. At the beginning of each mission, Chase Devineaux, the ACME Detective Agency's top agent will brief you on the suspect and which essential concept to survival in the modern world has been stolen by the Knowledge Robots (KnowBots) working for that suspect. KnowBots will try to stop the ACME agent from disabling them (or delay the destruction and automatic surrender of 1/2 of the code that reveals the suspect's location) by challenging them to several Jeopardy!- like rounds of questions in the subject areas of History, Geography, Math, Crime Scene, which is similar to a memory game, English, Life Science, Physical Science, or Art and Music. If the player(s)answer correctly, they gain a certain amount of Knowledge Points dependent on the type of question being asked (For example, Multipick questions are worth 950 Knowledge Points and Rapid Fire Sort questions are worth 200 Knowledge Points apiece). If they get a question incorrect, they lose one point of Capture Energy, which is essential to the capture of the Master Thief.
There are three difficulty levels. Level One's questions are intended for the 4th and 5th grade student; Each player starts each mission with 30 capture Energy points. On Level Two, the questions are intended for 5th and 6th grade students; Each player starts their mission with 25 Capture Energy points. On Level three, the questions are for 6th grade students and above; Each player starts with 20 Capture Energy points. Overall, the object of the game is to get past Carmen's Know-Bots and correctly answer the questions to capture the current thief out on the loose. Players will meet Carmen on the way about six times per storyline, but she is not captured during the course of the game and her presence in the game is mostly as a symbolic figurehead. There is no known end to the game, as many players have reported that they have exceeded 300 missions with no end in sight. The player has 30 distinctive missions to complete in order to complete the storyline.
ThinkQuick presents information in a game show format, and "test...students' ability to recall information previously taught". Players receive points for correct answers. Original content can be created for the game via the custom content creator (and for example inputted by teachers for school quizzes).
Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge offers a multiplayer option in which the player can play with friends. There are two types of multiplayer: The players can play cooperatively or competitively. If the player choose to play cooperatively, they will work in teams and score the same amount of points if one player answers a question correctly. Whereas in competition, it's vice versa. The player with the most capture energy will have the opportunity to capture the thief, but if there is a tie in capture energy, the player with the most Knowledge Points will have the opportunity to capture the thief.
Players have the option to create their own questions as they wish and up to 50 questions using Multipick, YingYang (True/False), Sequencer, Matchmaker, and Gridlock (Finding all the answers in a graph.)
In a review of a package entitled Adventure Workshop: 4th-6th Grade which featured the games The ClueFinders Reading Adventures Ages 9-12, Carmen Sandiego's ThinkQuick Challenge, and Super Solvers Mission: T.H.I.N.K., Hilary Williams of AllGame said that it is "one of those rare compilations where all of the included titles are superb", adding that ThinkQuick was "another great [Carmen] game that will interest older kids due to its international espionage theme" and that the game "retains the educational value of previous titles in the series, without losing entertainment value". Newsday commented "[the game is] great, because four kids can play it together on the computer, and it has more than 1,000 questions in seven subject areas, so you are never bored". SuperKids gave the game a rating of 4 out of 5 for educational value, 4.5 out of 5 for kid appeal, and 4 out of 5 for ease of use. Infotech said it was a gaming title of interest. ThinkQuick was selected as one of the games offered for this project where games were donated to the Harmony Public Library for students' learning. Teacher Librarian deemed it "another Carmen Sandiego hit" and a "CD-ROM title of interest".
In a negative analysis, Robin Ray of the Boston Herald commented that ThinkQuick was part of a growing trend of gaming franchises in which previous titles which "could wholeheartedly [be] recommend[ed]", "[were not] a complete waste of time", and "[were] near-perfect combination of fun and learning" contrasted greatly with the new releases which instead "cause...slow burn". She said "this is not Think Quick, this is Spit Quick". Home Computer Buying Guide said the game had a weaker and less interesting theme than previous Carmen Sandiego titles. Anne Sushko of [null The Book Report] recommended the game as "well developed and of high interest", though noted that it was not compatible with Windows NT. The Boston Herald gave the game a scathing review, writing that the game has lost the girl customer, that the questions are "random, narrow,[and] boring", and that "the Knowbots sneeringly insult you if you give an incorrect answer", concluding that whoever designed the game should "should be asked to clear off his or her hard drive".
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