- Alternate Character Interpretation: One potential explanation for the Good Guides' apparent Idiot Ball is that sometimes they know just where the thieves are at, but they want you to figure it out. Especially prevalent in 1808, since Renee Santz should have spotted the sousaphone right off the bat. Course, this doesn't excuse the Idiot Ball of the people in said-timeframe not spotting the thieves themselves. (Honestly Edison? Dee Cryption was RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU.)
- Annoying Video-Game Helper: Averted; the Good Guides tend to pipe in with somewhat useless commentary, but they won't try to "help" you unless you ask them to. So you can simply go through and not speak to them and only listen to the commentary (which often serves as exposition.) and they won't pipe in and try to help you.
- Nightmare Fuel: Jacqueline Hyde. Given who she was named after, it's not a surprise to find that she has another personality, but it is kind of a shock when her other personality expresses itself in a harsh, distorted, loud voice that comes out of nowhere.
- That One Level: 1493. You have to sail all the way across the Atlantic ocean tile by tile and repeatedly click on it, twice. Plus, there are the winds that can push you back in the opposite direction both ways, though they also can help navigation to your destination. Think that's annoying enough? Well Rock Solid announces what direction you're heading in every time you move, and you hear that annoying ship bell every time."We're now aiming toward the wild, wild west!"
- 1776 also deserves a mention. It's one of the longest cases in the game, is filled with Guide Dang It! moments (what do you mean, you can use the Minuteman's fishing pole?) and putting the Declaration of Independence back in order can easily be That One Puzzle, especially if you're not American.
- If you are tone deaf — Hollywood or otherwise, Beethoven's era is a pain in the ear. Music pun totally intended.
- But if you remember the Fantasia films, the case as a whole will at least be a bit easier.
- The era is flat-out Unwinnable if you're actually deaf. Good thing the game actually has a special "deaf-friendly" version of the puzzle, if you know how to activate the feature.
- The ending. You chase Carmen through all the places you've been before. Good luck figuring out where to go next.
- The Inca Empire case. If you're not good at math and you don't have a calculator, doing the subtraction might take a while- and then you have to remember how to correctly put the numbers down.
- Case 7 is a trial-and-error level. Every other level does have hints and help, including the one with Yuri Gagarin. You may know the answers to the quiz, but correctly balancing the salt block is close to impossible on the first try unless you know that the second-smallest and the second-largest molds of gold are the only two molds that don't need to placed on the scale.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: For some reason Polly Tix gets radically less screentime that any of the other Good Guides, with only two cases. Granted, one of them was That One Level, but still...
- Unwinnable by Mistake: In the Aztec level, it's possible to accidentally duplicate the headdress, and become unable to beat the level as you cannot leave the room with a headdress in your inventory.
- What an Idiot!: Carmen tells her minions to tear up the note she gives them so the ACME agents can't track them.
You'd Expect: For them to destroy the note entirely.
Instead: All of them simply tear the note into three pieces, with it never occurring to just completely obliterate it entirely, which not only is completely idiotic, it also means every single one of them can have their steps retraced.
Compounding it: Many things in the environment make this even more obvious as an option. For example, in the first level, you find a scrap of note near Hatshepsut's feet. And she's standing next to a pair of flaming torches. Nice one, Sir Vile.
YMMV / Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? (1997)