The Movies Stunts & Effects Review


June 16, 2006 by

The Movies Stunts & Effects Image

The Movies: Stunts & Effects is the first expansion pack for Lionhead Studios Hollywood simulation game, which pits players into the role of an owner of an expanding Hollywood movie studio as they build their very own movie blockbusters. The game combines an element of management simulation as you are tasked with caring, training and promoting your stars, extras, scriptwriters and various other roles that a movie studio entails. Furthermore, you also need to construct a studio from the ground up, deciding on the location of management buildings, sets, chairs, ornaments and fauna to make your studio appealing. Outside of the games micromanagement phase, players can let their creative innards run wild as they take to the director chair and shoot their very own movie using the robust yet easy-to-use movie making tools that are available for use.

With this added expansion pack, Lionhead offers players additional tasks that they can now compete in, least of which includes the introduction of stuntmen and woman into your scripts, the addition of an assortment of special effects to add to your productions, and a handful of different sets to shoot your movies in.

The Movies: Stunts & Effects doesnt really alter the management side of things too greatly. Apart from the added need of looking after a new group of workers, your stuntmen/woman, very few changes have been made to the management of your studio. At the same time, it appears that no other previously annoying problems with the games management have been solved either. Theres still the presence of the overly picky actors and actresses who seem to be almost impossible to please, with their stress levels regularly hitting all-time lows for no apparent reason. The often severe staff shortage continues to plague the games expansion, where you are forever forced to switch the roles of your employees due to the rare occasion of applicants applying for a new job.

But if you can overlook the games management problems and focus more squarely on the actual creation of movies, youll likely be pleased with this first expansion pack. The pack introduces a handful of new sets for you to shoot your action-packed, effect-laden blockbusters on, least of which includes blue and green screens, allowing you to implement some advanced scenery and affects following the filming of the movie. Another particularly interesting new addition is a miniaturized city, perfect for filming scenes involving beautiful city skylines or producing a Godzilla-like flick that sees a monstrous creature crashing its way through the city.

With the inclusion of your stuntmen, three different training facilities have been included, allowing your stuntmen to practice their dangerous art for use in movies. Using these training facilities is carried out in the same way that you would get your actor to practice, which is achieved by simply placing your stuntmen on the appropriate icon on the training facility. As in the real world, not all stunts go perfectly to plain, and some painful accidents are fairly commonplace in the movie industry. If a stunt goes wrong, the condition of your stuntmen will deteriorate. For this, the expansion pack includes the debut of a hospital, where you can rest your stuntmen when they have experienced the unfortunate event of a stunt going wrong and re-build their condition.

Stunts & Effects is an expansion pack that is a more worthwhile purchase for those who make use of the games custom movie maker, where you take the direct role of writing and directing a script. With this, you can now manage your own stunts and implant a range of special effects, least of which include exploding cars, daring escapes from buildings that are on fire, death-defying leaps from atop of buildings, daring car chases and creative Matrix-like fighting sequences. Theres also the new free-from camera, which gives you greater control over the positioning of the camera for shots. For those who enjoy creating their own custom flicks, this expansion pack makes for a worthy purchase, given the addition of some helpful and varied new inclusions to play around with.

In the end, The Movies: Stunts & Effects is an expansion pack that is best suited to one of two different playing styles. For those who are solely interested in the management of the movie studio and have little interest in getting into the nitty-gritty aspects of creating your own custom script, theres little reason to pick up this expansion, as there is a rather shallow offering for this type of player. On the other hand, if you enjoy getting up close-and-personal with your movie creations and wish to add some additional flair and excitement to your productions, then Stunts & Effects makes a worthwhile purchase. All we want now is an expansion that addresses the key issues with the games management elements.

Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.