playstation homepage   Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review
PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews

A.P.I Review: VERSAILLES 1685
Developer: Cryo Interactive OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Interplay 1 Player
Game Type: Historical Adventure Memory Card
Review Date: August 1998 Standard Joypad

Setting the Scene

"Okay, pay attention everybody!
That includes you Jones!
Wingrove, stop fidgeting!"

"During today's hist....
No, you can't go to the toilet Winterburn!
Well you should have thought about that before coming into my class!"

"During today's history lesson we are going to discuss the Court of 
Louis XIV in 1685.
Come on!  Come on!  Stop those groaning noises!"

"To help us debate this syllabus I am going to require the assistance 
of this little gray box of tricks - a Sony Playstation.
Glad to see I've finally got your undivided attention O'Conner!"

Rumor has it that a madman threatens the King.  You must play the role of 
Lalande, a lowly Valet of the Bedchamber who may freely roam around the 
Chateaux of Versailles without hindrance.  You must ask endless questions 
and then report back to your master when you find anything suspect.  Move 
swiftly because you only have one day and your eight hours on the clock 
begins... right... now!


Step back in time over 300 years to history's most beautiful palace. This 
ground-breaking 3D point and click adventure game will immerse you in a 
world of art, music, and royal protocol. On your way to stop an insidious 
conspiracy of destruction, explore every corner to find the clues that will 
unlock the mysteries of the Court. Versailles 1685 will let you see, hear, 
and interact with a world you thought was lost forever. 


The stunning scenery and decoration within the Chateaux of Versailles will 
undoubtedly put all other point and click adventures to shame.  Glancing 
around each of the rooms you will witness many sights of splendor.  
Intricately woven tapestry line each of the surrounding walls.  Velvet 
drapes hang either side of the full length panelled windows from where 
the brilliant sunlight reflects onto the highly polished timber flooring.  
Crystal chandeliers suspend under hand painted ceilings while each door 
panel has an exclusive gold leaf design etched onto the brilliant white 
surface.  There's hand painted dados, stylishly moulded architrave and 
cornice that must have been shaped by a master sculptor.

While investigating the surroundings you may point and click onto any of 
the 200 original oil paintings, a vast collection of maps and many other 
historical documents which were checked for accuracy by the director and 
historian of the Versailles museum.  In fact each painting may be 
scrutinised by zooming the camera up really close and then reading the 
help text that offers the name and artist of the piece.

Moving around each location couldn't be more simple.  Viewed from the first 
person perspective, Cryo Interactive new panoramic OMNI-3D engine allows 
the camera to smoothly pan 360° by pressing any one of the shoulder buttons.  
Should your cursor pass over anything, or anyone, of interest then a symbol 
will light up to alert your attention.

Although the 30 characters that you may interact with have been modeled in 
3D from actual period portraits, they sadly move around in a fashion from 
whence they came - as cardboard cut-outs.  In fact if there are any of you 
out there who remember those old Monty Python cartoon sketches where the 
lip sync involved the entire jaw being pulled up and down by a piece of wire 
then prepare to re-live those humorous memories.         

Sounds and Effects

If you are well into 17th Century French history then there is a good chance 
that you will adore the background music.  As Lalande wanders around the 
Chateaux of Versailles many soothing melodies serve to create the precise 
atmosphere required with over 40 minutes of authentic French Baroque Music.

Throughout the adventure a helpful narration is offered which provides clues, 
hints and additional historical information, while most of the voice-overs 
used to interact with the game characters are extremely well acted out.

Unfortunately the suitable music and voice-overs are all you get because 
there are little, or no, sound effects.  This leaves you with the feeling 
that rather than taking part in a gripping adventure you are wandering 
around a silent Art Gallery.  A few footsteps or a creaking door would have 
greatly added to the ambience of the surroundings. 


Versailles is a game of intrigue.  The beauty about the gameplay is that 
it may be played to the extent where it becomes a deep lesson in French 
history or taken more lightly as a compelling mystery.  Should you wish 
to divulge yourself in character family trees, accurate details of each 
item of scenery or the chronology of the 17th Century then all of this 
information is available in abundance.

The PSX control pad is a little sluggish when moving across the screen and 
the use of a mouse would be highly recommended.  Being a point and click 
game you must meticulously scan each room looking for helpful clues and 
vital information.  The cursor reacts to each source of knowledge.  When 
two characters are standing close together the icon switches to an ear 
indicating that you may eavesdrop in on their conversation.  Should the 
icon become a question mark then a scrolling text will appear offering 
an in-depth profile of this person.  Certain items may be displayed and 
can be collected and stored in the inventory to be used at a later stage 
of the game.    

The adventure is set out over several Acts beginning in the King's bed-
chamber.  Initially you are restricted to certain areas of the Chateaux 
and not allowed to wander freely until certain tasks have been completed.  
This makes the solving of puzzles a little too easy and shouldn't pose 
much of a challenge to most gamers.  For example, should you wander into 
a darkened room then the area cannot be investigated until the curtains 
are drawn.  Once opened, only one or two points of interest are highlighted 
allowing you to go directly to the intended objects, collect them and 
then it's time to move onto another area.

The interactive part of the gameplay usually involves running errands in 
return for snippets of information.  This can become quite frustrating, 
especially when you have just trudged from one end of the Chateaux to the 
other only to be informed of something that was plainly obvious. 

Value for Money

Overall, Versailles contains over 25 hours of point and click gameplay, 
set in one of the world's most visited monuments.  The SVGA graphics and 
the attention to detail is impressive.  In fact you'll spend most of your 
time just gazing in awe at the detailed surroundings. 

If it's a challenging adventure that you are seeking then this may prove 
a little too easy.  However, should you be looking to improve your 
historical education then Versailles 1685 certainly delivers.
GRAPHICS: 14/20 Some months ago I was posed the question asking if there were any educational games available on the Playstation.

There is now, but be warned as Versailles is more about art, architecture, and French Baroque music than traditional adventure gameplay.

What I found amazing was that since this title is aimed at the more intellectual gamer, then why are you guided by the hand through the simplest of puzzles?
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 15/20


    GAMES        Get your PSX games HERE!