Le Grand Louvre
If, after that whirlwind Paris vacation, your memories of one of the great collections of Western Art survive only as a colorful blur, Le Grand Louvre, a two-disc setfrom E.M.M.E., will refresh them. The first disc contains the bulk of the information, broken down into four categories: the Building, Masterpieces, Guided Tour, and Works (which are accessed from the second disc). At first, it seems as though you can spend countless hours investigating every nook and cranny of the Louvre and the collections. You’ll soon realize, however, that the number of objects is finite and, furthermore, there really isn’t much information on what is included. If you’re interested in a quick tour, go directly to the Masterpieces section. Select one of the postcard-perfect images of your favorite Delacroix or Rubens, and you are presented with a concise history set to a soothing classical music soundtrack. Zoom in to explore the painting in detail. You can also access the collection floor-by-floor by clicking on the building diagram. Under Guided Tours you can view works arranged according to basic classical themes (love, still life, mythology, etc.), but with only three or four works per theme, you don’t get much of a tour. If you’re interested in the history of the Louvre, the Buildings section describes how the Louvre developed from a medieval fortress to a palace to one of the world’s preeminent museums. Finally, there’s a game involving thieves, missing paintings and monsters tacked onto the program, which will hold your attention for about a minute. The sum of all these parts is a limited overview of the museum and its’ collections, with great visuals but little else to draw you in. For a much richer experience, visit Le Louvre from Montparnasse/BMG, a CD-ROM that manages to pack in twice the material on a single disc, and does it in a superb way to boot.
– November 1996