Written by  :  phil buckley (22)
Written on  :  Mar 30, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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the movies, a unique gem set to be put down by mere-sighted fat cats

The Good

Games of this type are almost always interesting at first and it’s generally longevity which is the major problem however this isn't so the case for this particular game which is why this game is rated so high!

A neat historically based time-line which runs across the top of the screen throughout play. As well as being able to use this to predict when you’ll have completed such-and-such research or when such-and-such a movie will be ready for release, you can see on in historical events occurring in the world which will affect what kind of movies people want to see. For example, the mid-20's depression in America which causes comedies to be more desirable (people need cheering up).

This game is packed with innovation and amazing new concepts, while still combing many genres together in one amazing package.

the graphics: Well, even with the lowest settings (default) it still looks a fine game, but with every little bit of graphic improvement it just shouts WOW! On full settings its as if your really in Hollywood directing movies and caring for your actors, directors and employees!

The power of the sound in this game is good, with a PA giving you advice on certain stuff and reminding you of stuff you may have forgotten. much like the green top hat man from the original Theme Park! However one other feature of the PA woman. is that you can turn her off, lower her advice and even have her so annoyingly concerned you want her to be your nurse!

The Bad

A bad and yet good part of the game involves whizzing around your studios chasing after your actors and directors and pampering them in a sims-esque manner. - I didn't like that as when you have over 15 actors and directors it gets a bit hectic with having to fly around all the time to please them and still manage your studio. However it also adds to the great feeling of managing your studio and still being the man-manager of your stars!

throughout the ages the fashion trends will change, certain types of dress code will become trendy or undesirable. This requires you to give your stars makeovers every 5 years or so. And this can sometimes become stressful while your trying to shoot several movies at the same time and a star is throwing a tantrum.

The Bottom Line

Imagine a game in which you take control of a Hollywood movie studio beginning in the 1920's. You are responsible for the more tedious business tasks of staff recruitment, finance auditing and construction planning; however, you also have control over the fascinating movie making process: the script, the actors, and the themes. Now, what you have envisaged at this point is probably something that’s like Peter Molyneux’s The Movies but not as mechanical, generic and partitioned. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good game; but the game’s premise is so theoretically grand that it’s not something which can be transferred to game format without it becoming a shadow of its own expectations. So, forget the hype. What we have here is a good strategy/simulation game which is much like a cross between The Sims and the Tycoon/Theme Park genre with some bonus movie making features thrown in.

The most interesting feature of this game is that you can write the scripts to your own movies, and then succeed or fail on the merits or flaws of your creations. In practice the game doesn’t actually work like that. You *do* have the ability to customize many aspects of your movies – how many scenes it has, who acts in it, what actions are performed by who and when, etc. After writing your movie you can watch your actors rehearse and record it; and then you can even export the finished product to a PC movie format. The problem is that success within the business model of this game doesn’t actually depend on you creating something that you consider ‘a good movie. It’s much more mathematical than that. You can pump out movies that make absolutely no sense whatsoever and still be the king of in-game Hollywood. Why? Because movies in-game are rated on how many scenes they have, how long the scenes are, how good your employees are, and what buildings/research your studios have. How coherent and well composed the movie is means very little in terms of in-game success. However this mode is still a great way to learn the game and to unlock everything for the sandbox mode (Sandbox where you can set your cash, the cast options, the options to have instant building time and 100% constant building maintenance, so you can concentrate on making your own movies exactly how you want them!)