Release dates Germany: CD-ROM: 17.12.2001, DVD: ca. 14.01.2002
CD-Version: 2 CD-ROMs, DVD-Box
A review by Elena Steingrad 10th December 2001
(translated by slydos)
This Review consists of two sections - the review itself and a comparison to "Versailles 1685".
Part 1: Review
I tested the French full version on CD-ROM. I believe that the German version will not indicate modifications compared with the French. Soon the game will also be released on DVD. On DVD the graphics resolution should be two times better.
1700: In the kingdom of France order and prosperity prevails under Louis XIV. since the agreement of Ryswick 1697. The castle of Versailles now accommodates both, the government head office, and the court of the sun king. Towards the city side are the external buildings: the "Communes" ("municipalities") and the wing of the ministers. The garden grounds are the actual main attraction of the castle. On the garden side one can see paths, flower patches, artful arranged views and cosy groves with statues, vases, wells and such things, which abduct the viewer into the typical atmosphere of a park of the French "Grande epoche".
In the year 1697 the Spanish succession to the throne, an event of decisive importance, which turns up all-side political passions, keeps the court occupied. Charles II., king of Spain, is dying and the selection of his successor will crucially influence the future political map. Who will inherit the Spanish throne - Archduke Charles, the son of Leopold I. of Habsburg, or the Duke of Anjou, a grandchild of Louis XIV.? And is a war between France and Austria - independent of the Spanish succession - inevitable?
You take over the role of Charles-Louis de Faverolles, a young nobleman and former page-boy at the Versailles Grande Ecurie. In the year 1699 you arrive one morning at the court. You have nothing but a letter of recommendation for M. Boisseuilh, your former instructor from the stables, and your savings of 40 Livres. Your most urgent task consists first of finding a lodging and work in order to find your way "to the court" later and to get a diplomatic job from minister Torcy. But the court is full of surprises... Various "affairs" are waiting for you; like those of the "Belt Buckle of the Monsigneurs", the "Spanish Letters", and the "Sinzendorf Affair". Will you be able to solve this cases and fulfill your fate? "Versailles II - The Testament" is an adventure game, which mediates an unexpected view of Versailles and entangles you into a tableau of political plots. In addition, it is a great sight-seeing tour of the city of Versailles, the castle and the gardens.
In the game you get the unusual possibility of observing the events on the court of the Sun King from the perspective of a novice. Our hero is called Charles Louis de Faverolles. When starting he has only 40 Livres. He must find a dwelling, which he is able to pay, a work, to earn money and also, quite importantly, find a way, how he can come more near to the king, so that he can make a glorious career. In "Versailles 2" you are mostly in the gardens or in the "municipalities". Very rarely you can visit the castle itself, and if there, only very few rooms are accessible. The locations are very beautiful and almost all of them still exist in Versailles. The story and all dialogues were written by Béatrix Saule - who is head Conservator of Versailles - briefly, she is the person, who knows most about Versailles.
Although the story of the game is freely invented, it could have happened so. Also our hero is an invented character. Without his will and without his knowledge Charles Louis gets involved into several intrigues. He becomes acquainted with ever more important persons at the court and achieves his target. As he is intelligent and honest, he is presented to the Sun King and thus his future chances are great.
If you are interested in the game also as historical source, you are perfectly right here. There is an encyclopedia with many pictures and texts, which is accessable at any time. One can enlarge all pictures. There are also many photos of the places, that you visit during the game and you can compare fast, whether something has changed during the last 300 years. The one thing I missed in opposite to "Versailles 1685" is the possibility to click on persons, whom you meet during the game to get a short on-screen biography.
That is not particularly important (all biographies can be looked up in the documentation), but it is more convenient to know, with whom you are talking. Else the historical part of "Versailles 2" is structured very well and depicted.
The puzzles in the game are relatively simple up to one. There is also a knowledge test, but that is not a problem - also for those, which do not have notion of Versailles. One can guess the answers or quickly look them up in the encyclopedia either. The puzzles are suitably inserted into the story, and do not look constructed. There are very different puzzles: Object/inventory puzzles, combination puzzles, logical puzzles (to be solved by conversations and actions), knowledge puzzles, a card game, a game of dice, a somewhat complicated puzzle, to solve by simplest mathematical operations (+ -), there are also some puzzles with time limit. In two tasks you get all necessary things and you only have have to apply them correctly.
The music is mostly original music of the epoch, which fits very well. Dialogues run usually automatical. Only very rarely, if they belong to a puzzle, you have to select the responses manually, and then it is important to click on the correct answers.
For all dialogues there are sub-titles (sub-titles can also be switched off). In the conversations you get many useful hints, so you have to speak to everyone. Since the conversations are always relatively short and take place with several different persons, no boredom arises.
The installation runs very fast and easy. You need at least 160 MB, at the most 810 MB fixed disk space (this is selectable during the installation procedure). Later you can start the game from both CDs.
The menu is very easy to handle (with the mouse). Here you can choose the following:
- starting / loading / storing a game
- look at the documentation about Louis XIV. and Versailles. In the documentation you can click on all pictures to enlarge them.
- visit Versailles without playing
- watch sequences from the game (however only such, which you have already watched during the game once)
- options - here you can make the following adjustments:
- save the game (manually/automatically)
- sub-titles (switch on/switch off)
- rate of motion (fast, normal, slow)
- volume music / noises
The game is a typical Cryo render adventure. You control it with the mouse, point&click style in a 360°-view. Unfortunately the game was strongly compressed and has a resolution of 640 x 480, which is today no longer acceptable. Therefore the graphics quality doesn't come near "Atlantis III". But in January or somewhat later "Versailles 2" will be released on DVD and with this version the resolution should be 2 times better. The game was squeezed on only 2 CDs and the graphics are somewhat blurred. Characters and buildings are unbelievably well modelled. The persons, with whom you speak, don't move during the dialogues apart from their lips, but not very synchronously.
The game is filling the screen, only the sequences have a "wide-screen-format". But what is very important in such historical games as Versailles, the park of Versailles and many historical characters are reconstructed very exact and look exactly the same, as they have looked at that time. If one considers the expenditure .....
Controlling the game is very simple - point&click, and if you click the right mouse button, an inventory menu appears at the bottom of the screen, by which you can also reach the main menu.
And what was very disturbing: In "Versailles 2" there are several "Game Over" possibilities. This would be actually no problem, but if you made a mistake and the game is aborted, then you don't get a message that it is a "Game Over", you simply find yourself again in the main menu. When this happened to me the first time, I was sure, the game had crashed. Then there is only one way out - restore a saved game and replay again everything up to this point, this time however correctly (the hero can't die, but there are some situations, where someone can get him, and that means "Game Over").
The game is very much succeeded. It is beautiful and interesting, the story is exciting and many varied puzzles wait to be solved. Only the graphics quality could be better, so we have to wait for the DVD-version ...
Part 2: Comparison to "Versailles 1685"
"Versailles II" and "Versailles 1685" are alike from concept. You can play each game, without knowing the predecessor/successor. From the environment one can call "Versailles II" an "add-on" for "Versailles 1685". In "Versailles 1685" you are almost the whole time in the castle and only a short time in the gardens (orangerie and labyrinth). In "Versailles II" you are almost the whole time in the gardens and in adjoining buildings of Versailles. You can rarely enter the the castle and when, you can only visit 2 rooms (war salon, stairs of the queen). If you would unite both games, this would mean a complete reconstruction of Versailles.
As I already wrote in my review, it is a pity that one can only use the encyclopedia as reference book in "Versailles II". In "Versailles 1685" you could click on all persons and immediately get the appropriate description/biography. In "Versailles II" there is no such possibility unfortunately. In the encyclopedia everything is included, but you have to search for the facts and therefore you sometimes don't know exactly, with whom you are actually speaking ...
In "Versailles 1685" particularly the etiquette procedures at the court were described. That was very interesting, since you normally would never get to know this. In "Versailles II" there are no such sequences. This game is an adventure game in the first line and subsequently historical.
Rating (max. 100%): 75 %
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- Pentium II 350 MHz
- 32 MB RAM
- 16 bit graphic card
- Windows 95 / 98
- 8 x CD-ROM drive
Recommended system requirements:
- Pentium III 450 MHz
- 64 MB RAM
- 16 bit graphic card
- Windows 95 / 98
- 24x CD-ROM drive
- AMD Athlon 1333 MHz
- 256 MB DDR RAM
- 32 MB Nvidia GeForce graphic card
I didn't notice any technical problems.
Charles-Louis de Faverolles (our hero)
The King's bedroom
This map leads you to the different parts of the castle
The gardens at night
Screenshots from "Versailles 1685"
* www.louis-xiv.de * 2000 -2001"CRYO-Games" is part of © "History Adventures" by Elena Steingrad © 2000-2001
All Screenshots, logos, covers and artworks are property of CRYO.