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The Movies is the latest massively ambitious simulation from Peter Molyneux (maker of classics such as Populous and Black & White) and can be seen as logical progression from his Theme Park/Hospital series of games.
Unlike these games though the actual micro management of your studio--building lots, picking stars and handling unions--isn't necessarily the most interesting part of the game, engrossing though it can be. Instead actually making your movies becomes the most fun part, for although you can just specify a genre, cast and budget you can also paste together films yourself, scene by scene.
For each scene you can choose the actors, sets, costumes and script and then alter the mood and flow of the scene through a number of slider bars. This allows you to create a completely unique movie of your own, which you can even export from the game and show to other people. You probably won't be worrying Steven Spielberg, but other lesser directors--they better watch out! -- David Jenkins
Beginning in the 1920s, gamers start with a dirt lot and race to the year 2020, researching and introducing every technological advance from colour to computer graphics and beyond. Players build, use and re-use thousands of sets, props, locations and costumes, and break new ground to achieve movie mogul status. Gamers handpick which projects they want to green-light and which scripts need rewrites. Players can remake the films they love or create an all-new masterpiece.
Players can make every kind of film, from action flicks to teen comedies, suspense films, thrillers and horror movies. Gamers can explore different film genres to please audiences and express their creative vision. Players can either go for a box-office smash, or try pleasing the critics and winning awards. The Movies gives gamers the opportunity to be a mega-rich bigshot, calling the tunes and hiring and firing the best. Players will choose between listening to the stars' tantrums and ridiculous requests, or showing them who's boss by crushing their dreams and ruining their careers as they create a distinctive Hollywood legacy and earn their place as a silver screen legend.
Ultimately, gamers are judged by the movies they create. Players can post their short movies to the Web for the world to see or e-mail them directly to friends.
A smoothly run studio lot produces better films - keepn the crews, stars and directors moods high and they produce better work to make a better movie, which will in turn make more money. There is even an Award Cermony that takes place with the best studio's awarded for thier good work. The graphics in the game are amazing - really bright, colourful and vivid and watching back the movies your studio made is always alot of fun. The game isn't a system hog either - it will run well and some of the more modest styems out there. I play on an Intel Celeron 2.8GHZ with 1.25GB RAM and a GeForce 6600GT - the game runs at a perfect 60fps most of the time with drops in speed only a couple times.
This is a really great, fun game with so much to offer. You can even make your own films with the powerful Movie Maker, without worrying about running a studio. Movies you make can be uploaded to the website and shared with others. "The Movies" is a totally slick product from Lionhead, and if you love to watch films or just want a great new Business Sim, you'll find it in "The Movies".
After you've played the game for a while, you get the option to make your own scripts for movies. This is by far, the best function in the game. It sounds restrictive when written about, as you have to pick a scene such as "Shoot Gun 1", and then you add which actor you want. However, the seemingly restrictive scences, allow you far more freedom then you would think. There are options to change almost everything. You can change the time of day, weather, actor, actor's clothes (you can even dress them as aliens, monsters and even a giant chicken!). The advanced movie making tools are fantastic in short, and with the option to subtitle the movies afterwards, you can have hours of entertainment!
You can also upload your movies online, and download or view other people's movies, which is a nice feature.
All in all, its a great game, and its clear a lot of thought has been put into it.
I however, HAVE played the game and can safely give it 5 stars.
Pre-release, I was little confused and intrigued as to how you would be able to create such different and personal scenes and movies. Essentially, most of the work is done in the "script" phase, where you basically decide where, who, and how things happen - There are preset animations for every scene - e.g. "Two people enter the room, shivering", or "Three people are having an argument" etc. The possible roles are represented by wooden mannequins - to assign an actor to that role, you simply drag them onto the relevant mannequin, and then they will act it out when it comes to shooting.
If this sounds restrictive, be assured that there are dozens and dozens of these preset animations - enough to create a truly unique and atmosheric film every time.
The best way to think of it is not "I must make a film around these animations" but rather "I'll think of a film how I want it, and see how I can use these tools to make it look good".
You really get the chance to be infinitely creative with this game, and soon you will be spending all day at work considering your next big blockbuster!
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