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The Movies

By Old Timey Gamer

Score 4.5 out of 5

Excellent production values, great characters, a complete catalog from action to horror, liposuction and pyrotechnics, “The Movies” for PC has it all, and the game play is more engaging than any of this past summer’s blockbuster films. “The Movies” combines two great elements in one package, an addictive tycoon/builder game and a simple to use movie-making tool.

The game begins in the 1920s and an empty movie lot. Players need to first build the facilities and sets that will allow them to begin making movies. The game adroitly takes players step-by-step through the action during the initial stages, making the fundamentals of “The Movies” easy to learn. Which is good, because once the business of movie making begins, players will have their hands full. The main problem is the directors and stars: they are moody creatures prone to boredom and stress. If not managed properly, they will turn to food, drink, or other vices in search of relief, which in turn can cause them to become drunks or get fat, potentially ruining their careers. Luckily, there’s rehab and liposuction to solve these two particular problems. In my first game, my movie studio, Missing Ear Productions, specializing in horror films, met with disaster when I pushed my director too hard and he became a raging alcoholic. Players must also keep their lot attractive, research new technologies, and maintain the buildings and grounds of their studio in order to gain prestige, win awards, and, ultimately, produce blockbuster movies

Even though there’s much to think about, “The Movies” constantly delights and surprises. The graphics are top-notch, one can zoom into the action and see many interactions and details, and there are elements of humor, throughout. In addition, the stars have distinct personalities and will come to feel like real people. There’s even the option for gamers to create their very own movie stars.

It’s all about making movies, though, and the game offers two options: a script can automatically be created or players can create their own script from scratch. Creating the scripts and editing movies became my favorite part. A script is created by combining any number of scenes together. The general action and number of characters in the scenes are pre-determined, each lasting anywhere from a couple of seconds to close to a minute. For instance, a scene will show two characters fighting each other. If the gamer wants to select this for inclusion in his movie, all he needs to do is decide who plays what role. A clear tutorial explains the process and it’s pretty easy to pick up. In no time, I was off making movies. The only shortcoming is that there are only a limited number of scenes and it’s not possible to control the camera angle, so that after the third or fourth movie, I wished there was more, or even that it was possible to create my own scenes.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

Overall, there’s much to enjoy in “The Movies.” It will even get the creative juices flowing. Hopefully, the creators at Lionhead Studios will build upon this success with expansion packs containing more scenes or even a more powerful movie-making tool, which will give gamers more choices and control.

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