Monet, Claude Oscar (1840-1926), French painter, a leading figure in the late-19th-century movement called impressionism. Monet's paintings captured scenes of middle-class life and the ever-changing qualities of sunlight in nature. His technique of applying bright, unmixed colors in quick, short strokes became a hallmark of impressionism.
The culminating honor of Monet's career was the installation in the Orangerie des Tuileries, a museum in central Paris, of monumental paintings of water lilies, on which he had worked for more than a decade preceding his death. In these works reality seems to dematerialize as he expresses the interplay of color, light, foliage, and reflection in a tangled mass of brushstrokes.
The Mystery of the Orangery, 2001 Wanadoo Edition/Media factory Publishers
When I was a young child my favorite story-book was the kind that you opened and the pages popped out to produces a 2 dimensional pictures…
My dictionary defines mystery as an action, affair or thing that causes curiosity or suspense because it is not fully revealed. This is certainly not the case in the game Monet. We know everything right away. The plot is revealed in the first minutes and so is the identity of the leading bad guy. The identity of his cohorts does not stay a secret for long either, we know at once what they are planning to do. So much for the mystery.
Right at the beginning we find ourselves in one of Monet painting in the harbor of Le Havre and at the first puzzle soon after, it is timed and you have to act fast with few clues. In this game you use both the mouse to point and click to operate the inventory, which is never tiresomely full and the arrow keys to walk around. The pageUp and pageDown keys have a significant role also along with the Ctrl+arrow and the Shift+arrow. These are not hard to learn.
I do not have to tell anybody who has ever seen a Monet painting that the scenes are beautiful, the colors are gorgeous, the stills are spectacular. There are magic touches, like the billowing smoke at the railway station, the flaying bird, the flowers and the reflections of light and color on the pond. There is a lot too see both at the pond and inside the artist’s studio and other places where if you click on the pictures the narrator tells you about them. There is a lot of eye candy here, some of it is 3D, some of it is like my old story-book.
I do not want to create a spoiler here but I have to talk about the puzzles. Yes there are puzzles if you want to call them that. You have to work out some situations which are not hard at all if you play attention. Some of the puzzles are timed and there is a timed puzzle and maze combination which will test the best player’s keyboard managing abilities if not his brains.
If you ever wanted to walk into a beautiful painting, this game is for you. I you expected to find mystery, your expectations will not be fulfilled. The game is very short, to mask this the programmers created technical difficulties at some of the puzzles which are big time annoyances but do not fool anybody to believe that the game is longer than it really is. The overall playing is nothing but tiresome. Everything takes ages to load. I do understand this of the pictures with their many colors but you have to wait and wait until the menu comes up. There are plenty of slots for saved games and you can name your own which is a must here because you will have to plays some parts over and over again and this has to do with the annoyances I have spoken of before but by the time you saved your patience will truly be tried.
You will have the pleasure to interact with Mr. Monet who is pleasant enough but if his hands are that of a painter I will eat the box the game came in. I have enjoyed whatever there was to enjoy in this game, but I do not think it justified either the brouhaha that preceded it or the cost.
My advice is if you want to enjoy Monet’s paintings you should buy one of the many books on the market, there are probably cheaper and better reproduced. I you want to have a mystery with logical puzzles play Schism or any number of other games on the market. I you want to walk around in a petty pop-out story-book here you have it…
Oh, about the ending, it reminds me of an old Peggy Lee song: "Is this is all there is?"
Minimum system Requirements
233 MHz Pentium PC
32 MB Ram (64 Mb with Win 98)
16 bit sound card
3 D video card
8x CD Rom
Compatible DirectX, 8 Mo
"I am not young enough to know everything."