As a detective, the player must hunt down Carmen Sandiego's henchmen, who have stolen outrageous items that are important in US history and heritage. Using clues, the player will follow the henchmen from city to city.
The game came with a copy of Fodor's USA, an actual commercial travel guide book, as well as a map of the USA and a "scrap book" filled with descriptions, pictures, etc. of Carmen Sandiego and her henchmen.
The IBM/Tandy version didn't have the intro animation that the Apple II version had.