|Playstation > Whats New > PlayStation Reviews > Staff Review|
|A.P.I Review:||VERSAILLES 1685|
No.1 No.2 No.3
|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you may point and click onto any of the 200 original oil paintings, a vast collection of maps and many other historical documents which were checked for accuracy by the director and historian of the Versailles museum.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.
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?