"Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal": Netflix Interactive Adventure Perfect "Edutainment" [SPOILER REVIEW]

Last week, Netflix released a new Carmen Sandiego interactive adventure. I'm sure this was a way to test out the interactive element geared more toward children, but it makes perfect sense considering the source material.

Carmen Sandiego was originally a computer game, and it is absolutely perfect to see it come full circle and inspire a new generation with the same characters.

Carmen Sandiego
Carmen Sandiego / Netflix

Below is a walkthrough, but I strongly advise you play through for yourself and see all the care and work that went into the story here. Animating that much content is impressive – not to mention all the different voice lines and story points that are so well done.

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Walkthrough / Outline of ChoicesCarmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal

Shanghai, China. Carmen is up to her usual game of stealing from VILE with the help of her crew. But alas – Vile has laid a trap for Carmen on this heist: they kidnapped Zac and Ivy and unless she steals for them, they will wipe Zac and Ivy's minds and turn them into VILE thieves.

1- First choice – figure out how to best infiltrate the building to get to the vault: Top Floor or Ground Floor

Top Floor > she zip lines across the rooftops and lands in a janitor's closet.

Ground Floor > she sneaks up the elevator shaft, and encounters two guards she takes out. That could come into play later.

Player has a visual on the van – it's on the move.

2 – Rescue Now vs Steal for VILE and rescue them later

Rescue Now > it's a decoy van and Zac and Ivy get brainwashed into becoming VILE operatives. GAME OVER.

Steal for VILE > steal a terra cotta warrior statue for Coach Brunt to use as a towel rack.

Carmen goes to the tomb in Xi'An and sees Tigress. Next choice:

3 – Sneak past Tigress or talk to her and try to get her to spill on where Zac and Ivy are being held.

Sneak >  Carmen encounters guard dogs and escapes, but still runs into Tigress and talks to her.

Talk > The banter we know and love is back, and they sneak through a tunnel to get to the statue…that is, until Tigress gets caught up taunting Carmen and steps on a trap. Carmen has a gadget that saves her the fall…leading to the next decision.

4 – Save Tigress (just this once), or leave her?

Leave her > Carmen leaves Tigress trapped in the pit. *Tigress will remember you left her*

Help her > *banner at the top of the screen saying that Tigress will remember that you helped her* Carmen leaves her some wire so she can get out of the pit.

Carmen continues to the chamber alone, where she facetimes Coach who picks a statue. She rigs up the statue so a VILE plane can hoist it up and away.

5 – The police are here and closing in – what do you do?

Hitch a ride with the warrior statue > Two guards grab onto each of Carmen's legs as she's dangling from the statue. The warrior falls and smashes, but Carmen gets away. Coach is angry. Zac and Ivy are mind melted and Chief gives you the chance to go back and start over. GAME OVER.

Hide amongst the statues > Carmen blends in while they mistake the statue for the thief escaping.

Mission Completed!

Before VILE puts her on her next mission, she gets to chat with Zac and Ivy, who are being held in what I assume a VILE prison cell somewhere. And best part: they rap the original Carmen SanDiego theme song!

She sneakily snaps a picture and sends it to Player, who works on devising their location.

6 – Your next choice: which caper to go on: Dr. Bellum's or Cleo's?

Dr. Bellum's caper exploring the distant past > She sends you to get a dino bone in Montana – one recently dug up with some actual soft tissue attached. That's right – she wants to play Jurassic park and clone a T-Rex.

7a-1 – The bone is just getting packed up as you arrive at the dig site. Do you:

Find the lab > Carmen takes off to the lab on her motorcycle.

Catch the plane > Both risky and dangerous, Carmen catches the plane, but can't get inside, so she ends up back on land having Player ping her the address to the lab.

Speeding towards the lab, Dr. Bellum calls and send backup, after Carmen says she doesn't normally work alone.

7a-2 – Who do you want to work with?

El Topo > The sassy and suave El Topo meets Carmen in front of the lab/theme park and keeps lookout. Once she's inside, he calls Carmen and informs her they have company: ACME.

Le Chevre > You make it to the lab and Le Chevre stands watch while Carmen breaks in. Once in, she gets a call from Le Chevre – ACME is here.

7a-3 – What do you do about ACME?

Hide > Carmen is found, but escapes the agents. She promises Dr. Bellum that she'll get the bone, but too late. She's introducing the twins to her cranial dranial and it's GAME OVER.

Run > She takes out a drone, which sounds an alarm. She grabs the bone and sneaks out an air vent, then passes the bone to Le Chevre while she distracts and evades the ACME agents.

Mission Completed!

Countess Cleo's caper, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous > She's after all the tins of Beluga caviar that's being served tonight at a gala charity dinner in Monaco. She's really hung up on stealing from a charity.

She spots both Agent Ardent and Mime Bomb there as well, when she's asked to dance.

7b-1 – To dance or not?

Dance > "Scarlet Santa Rosa" waltzes with the distinguished gentleman, and immediately after is spotted by Agent Ardent. But we get a great dance number before that!

Decline > She declines and is immediately spotted by Agent Ardent, who is relived to see her and assumes she's here to secure the caviar. Carmen feels super guilty now.

7b-2 – Trick or trust Jules?

Trick her > *Jules will remember you tricked her* Carmen takes away her ACME communicator pen and locks her on the roof.

Trust her > *Jules will remember that you trusted her* Carmen tells her that she is the agent VILE sent and that she needs to trust that she has her reasons.

7b-3 – You see them preparing to open and serve the caviar. How to best steal it?

Stash > Carmen disguises herself as a waitress. Mime Bomb chokes on h'ourdorves and Carmen has only one choice: save his life. Unfortunately, in the time it takes for her to do that, the real kitchen staff has plated up the caviar. She puts it all in a flower vase, but Countess Cleo is angry – she didn't get to it in time and now it will go bad. Zac and Ivy get mind melted – GAME OVER.

Dash > She wraps the tins up in a table cloth and glides off the balcony and into the night. Heist successful (with a side of guilt). Standby for further instructions.

Mission Completed!

*If you chose Dr. Bellum's mission, you are given the choice to steal again or risk saving Zac and Ivy in the Arctic. If you steal, you are led on Countess Cleo's mission then directly into the ending. If you chose Countess Cleo's mission first, you skip the "save or steal" choice and go right into the ending.*

Player still can't get a match on their location – so Carmen calls back and refuses to steal any more until she knows they're safe. This grants her another peak at their cell, which she again snaps and sends to Player.

Despite the photos being taken at two completely different times of day, the sunlight is the same. Which means they're either faking them out, or they're being held above the Arctic Circle, where it's always daylight this time of year.

8 – To save or steal? Launch a risky rescue mission to the Arctic, or seal for VILE one last time to seal the deal?

Save > She tells VILE she's en-route to the next mission. Of course, she doesn't mention that this is her rescue mission. She's in, but gets blocked by Tigress. Depending on which you chose in China, Tigress either returns the favor and lets you pass or turns you in (if you did not save Tigress, Zac and Ivy are brainwashed and it's GAME OVER). Zac and Ivy are about to be brain wiped when Carmen swoops in and stops it. Zac and Ivy rescued, bad guys taken down! Now, who wants to go for ice cream?

The Chief comes on and tells you that you saved the day, and gives you the choice to start over or play a bonus scene that comes with this ending.

Bonus scene > a music video and the full version of the Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego theme song. All the characters are here and it's the freshest remix of a theme song I've heard since all those Little Einstein's trap remixes went around a few years back.

Steal > It takes you on either Dr. Bellum's mission – same as if chosen the first time. After the mission is successful, the instructors will send you an e-ticket to the ferry to the Ile d'Oleron. It's totally a trap, and she knows that.

If you trusted Agent Ardent at the party, she helps Carmen and disguises herself in Carmen's coat and fedora while the real Carmen infiltrates the prison on a the French island Zac and Ivy have been moved to. They escape in a helicopter and return all of the stolen artifacts to Agent Ardent and ACME.

The Chief comes on and congratulates you for a mission well completed and offers you the same Carmen SanDiego music video bonus scene.

If you tricked Agent Ardent at the party, she storms off at the airport when Carmen asks her for help. Carmen herself gets on the ferry and is ambushed (with a cameo appearance from Paper Star) and taken to a the VILE brainwashing chamber, where she and presumably Ivy and Zac are brainwashed to steal for VILE forever. Everything is awful and GAME OVER.

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About Eden Arnold

Having spent far too much time in front of the television growing up, Eden has lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in many print publications, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter at @Edenhasopinions
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