This game has a great story that makes you want to continue playing through it. I think that Carmen Sandiego is probably the coolest female character in a video game ever. You play as a policeman named Cole and have to try to stop her from stealing drums amongst other artifacts. I do think it is cool how clever she is with the clues she'll give you for the next country that she will rob. One of them, she even speaks French to you to indicate the location of her next heist. I did like the end a lot though; it shows that Carmen is quite a sporting lady. Lastly, before each level begins, you do get a nice historical overview of the land you're in, such as Rwanda or Paris. The in-game graphics were nothing special but I really liked the graphic novel (comic book) style presentation; the art looked pretty cool; Carmen sure has style. The game had some notable music themes like the puzzle theme and had decent acting.
This game is mediocre as a platformer. There are some flaws, but at least the bosses were competent; you had to figure out a weak point and they weren't cheap. You have a double jump and long jump with your staff.
Fighting normal enemies is pretty decent, even though you have 1 combo since some of them you'll have to creep up on and hit from behind to win; multiple combos aren't really needed here. Unfortunately, some areas are too dark or the camera can get obstacles in the way. However, this isn't too much of a problem because the times these problems happen are not when you need to jump. You also pick up these icons that let you shoot darts for puzzles. The enemies you fight that you don't have to sneak up on have a little too much health too, but fortunately later in the game if you collected those icons to power up your staff, you can take them out in about 3-4 hits instead of about 6-8 hits except for those enemies you cannot defeat without the invincibility barrier.
The puzzles are pretty interesting too. Some are matching, Simon Says, and other things. I thought it was unique and made memorization pretty interesting; look at a picture for a few seconds and pick the right pieces to make it up out of a selection.
Carmen Sandiego: Secret of the Stolen Drums was pretty much a generic platformer with a couple of flaws, but the story made it pretty fun to play as well as make it feel a little better than run of the mill. Too bad the drums didn't really get used in the plot but maybe they were supposed to be explained in a planned (but probably not ever released) sequel. Still, the dialogue was well-written and it was cool to see Cole take some chances by disobeying orders. Lastly, I thought the puzzles within the platforming elements such as finding the right area to shimmy across or an unexpected area you'd probably have to traverse was pretty interesting too. There's really nothing very innovative about the game, but it's a good playthrough, especially if you're a fan of Carmen Sandiego.