The Movies: Stunts and Effects
Is it worth and extra twenty notes? Not to use a cop-out phrase, but yes - if you're a fan of the original.
PC, PS2, Xbox, GCN
There are a number of reasons why reviews arrive later than expected - missing [or late - ed] review code, catastrophic private lives or (in this case) heatwaves rendering poorly ventilated PCs useless for anything resembling gaming. But thanks to the miracle of the highstreet and a desktop fan, balance has been restored in the universe and the expansion pack to Lionhead Studio's rather spiffy The Movies: Stunts & Effects has been played to near-death.
To be fair it's not entirely unexpected to hear that Stunts & Effects is an expansion that's most easily recommended to established fans; an expansion pack is exactly that, and will never really change a game in any huge way, rendering a game playable to those who hated it or vice-versa. For those in the know, skip forward over the next paragraph. For those who know nothing of The Movies, we'll skim over the details:
A sandbox management game of classic Molyneux style, The Movies puts players in charge of (shockingly enough) a movie studio. Starting as a fledgling company at the beginning of all time - well, the 1920s - players go through the highs and lows of the industry over the ensuing decades. Hiring and firing all manner of actors, scriptwriters, researchers and (in classic Molyneux style) janitors is a big part of the game, and a lot of joy in the experience comes from seeing an actor go from a 20-something nobody with absolutely no talent turn into the next *insert generic good actor here* through his or her career.
Whilst the game is undoubtedly fun - check out our earlier review here for our verdict - it was plagued with Lionhead-itis. Micromanagement takes over the experience, and past the initial buzz of the first few weeks of play only the most dedicated players will continue without giving up or simply whacking the game in sandbox mode and skipping forward a few decades. So what does Stunts and Effects add to this strong, if flawed, framework?
Well, as an add-on pack it isn't light on the.. err.. add-ons. New employables come in the shape of stuntmen, who perform the dangerous acts (commonly known in the biz as 'stunts') that you as a bigwig don't want your top stars to risk trying. With the stuntmen comes a host of other extras tied in with them - new sets such as burning buildings, new properties for the movie lot such as training areas and a vital hospital to heal battered bodies. Other than the stunt and effect-related additions eluded to in the pack's title, there are only a couple of other real additions; a freecam, allowing the player to film scenes from any angle they see fit, thus adding a fair bit to the movie creation mode and allowing an even greater level of creativity and flair to be injected into the player-created movies posted all over the internerd; and green/blue screen stages, allowing actors to be digitally inserted into scenes.
Everything in this expansion pack is integrated seamlessly into the original game, leaving newcomers free to experience the entire game plus additions for the very first time whilst simultaneously not alienating veterans by offering them the chance to choose a quickstart mode and have instant access to the death-defying stunt action.
Problems with the game come in the shape of the aforementioned Lionhead syndrome - micromanagement is a pain, and with the addition of stuntmen to babysit there is even more of this dreaded feature present. Whilst there are people who can handle this kind of forced hand-holding, I personally cannot. I do not have the patience for it and as a result the game is impossible to digest in large chunks, leaving a saved game that is only returned to sparingly and in short bursts.
Those who are fans of the original will want to pick this up (and probably have already, actually). Those who are looking to The Movies for a new experience should think carefully before they make the double purchase - the original game and the expansion pack, that is - do you have the patience and anal retentiveness required to invest huge amounts of time into this game? Can you be bothered telling each individual member of staff, from dozens this is, exactly where to go and what to do AT ALL TIMES? It's one to think about, that's for sure.
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
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Stunts & Effects Videos
The Movies: Stunts & Effects
Direct feed trailer (PC - Activision)
|01:27||18MB||DF, SD, 16:9
The Movies: Stunts and Effects
First trailer (normal quality)
|1.31m||13MB||SD, DF, 30
Previous Videos (The Movies)
|1.36m||16MB||DF, SD, 30
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