Montparnasse Multimedia – The Louvre: Virtual Visit review

finally, a good use for DVD-ROM
Photo of Montparnasse Multimedia – The Louvre: Virtual Visit

The Louvre is without doubt the world’s most impressive greenhouse, although it’s depressingly bereft of fruit and veg produce. What were those foolish Parisian architects thinking…? Apparently there’s a few reasonably famous doodlings underneath it, though.

The Louvre, in all seriousness, is a rather impressive museum – obviously that’s a subjective assessment, although it can’t be argued that the works of art it houses go beyond impressive. Thus making it a pretty good subject for a DVD-ROM.

As this disc is a DVD it contains half a ton of data. Precisely. In fact, there really is a virtual visit here; the sub-title of the product isn’t mere marketing-speak. From the main menu you can choose to visit any part of the museum as there’s an interactive map showing all the main galleries.

Each room has been filmed and you can wander through it using the arrow keys, taking in the sights in full motion video. You’re not given freedom of movement mind you – there’s a set filmed route to move along, with the occasional diverging pathway. The video quality is impressively high and a spoken narrative piece reveals gobbets of historical information about the exhibits in the particular room you’re in when you first enter.

Many of the works of art are interactive in that you can click on them to bring up a full picture, which can also be zoomed to reveal a remarkable level of detail. Not only do you get an extraordinarily high quality image, but a scale marker and an in-depth textual history of the piece.

One thousand works of art are given this close-up treatment throughout the twenty five rooms on the disc – which is enough to keep even the most ardent browser or art fanatic busy for some time.

Aside from the main ‘virtual visit’, there’s a section detailing the actual history of the museum itself and another facet dedicated to studying the history of the civilisations which contributed art to The Louvre. These contain a wealth of animations and although they’re just fairly general overviews of historical cultures, they’re interesting nonetheless.

There’s only one place in which The Louvre DVD puts a foot wrong, and that’s with the interface, which is less than intuitive at times. However, it’s only finicky in places and this hardly ruins the virtual visit experience.

Company: Montparnasse Multimedia

Contact: 020 8805 1000

This package makes good use of the capacity of DVD-Rom to make you really feel like you are taking a trip through The Louvre. The presentation is excellent and the program thoroughly absorbing, only marred slightly by an interface which is a tad arcane at times.