The Movies

Legendary U.K.-based game designer Peter Molyneux has teamed up with Activision on The Movies, a God playing tycoon game with all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood thrown in.

Imagine you could make any movie you want to. Imagine you could pluck someone from obscurity and make them the hottest star in Tinseltown. Imagine that you had control of an entire movie studio, competing with others to create a string of box office smashes. Imagine being able to use your judgement alone, deciding whether success lies with epic action pictures or lots of low budget hammy 'B' movies.

There is essentially two parts to this game, part one is the tycoon – God game. As anyone who has played any of Peter Molyneux's previous God games like Black and White will know this is a genre that Molyneux understands. In the movies you must perform all the business related tasks it takes to run an emerging film studio. You do the hiring and firing, decide what type of films your studio will make. Nurture your own budding starlets and physically build your own entertainment empire.

The game begins way back in the 1920's at the birth of the talking picture. You must use your business knowledge to develop your studio and staff. Do you move with the trends and make Cowboy movies if that's what is fashionable or do you stick to Sci-Fi movies because that's your true love. Do you bend to the whims of your biggest actors as their ego and demands get out of control, or do you make a star of the office tea boy and mould him into the next star of the silver screen?

Will you watch your movies being shot or do you want to direct the action yourself? Make movies that appeal to the masses in Story Mode or in Sandbox Mode. You can jump into any era and create your dream movie. This function is absolutely superb. The depth that is on offer is staggering. You can literally script, shoot and edit your own movie and there are seemingly endless options at each juncture. This file can then be uploaded to the web for other The Movie players to watch. You can shoot in grainy black and white or once the technology is available you can make the first ever colour movie.

Making your own movie is great fun, the control system is easy to use and the depth of options is great. You can produce some fairly entertaining stuff if you have a creative flair. The problem with this portion of the game for me is it isn't integrated into the tycoon portion of the title enough. It feels like the sandbox mode is a game unto itself.

Many of the things you've ever read or heard about Hollywood are in The Movies – from stars having affairs and hitting the bottle to teams of genius filmmakers creating the box office hit of the year. If you are into your film history you will notice the game tips its hat to the industry and lots of great moments in real film history appear.

Controlling The Movies is easy. As with most Tycoon games you grab your buildings and people, fling them where you want them and move on. The interface for choosing items is clear and effective. Graphically The Movies has a lot to offer, the detail of your film studio is wonderful and you can operate it from the skies or zoom down to ground level to see what your employees are getting up to.

Sound is also very good and any Hollywood lover will notice the parodies of real films in the voice acting. You can even add your own vocal talents to your own movies.

With over 30 hours of continuous game-play, thousands of exciting movie characters, and limitless options that allow you to vary just about everything, including the violence, romance, and realism you should get some value for money out of The Movies. I know that Lionhead studios have signed for add-on packs and a follow up title in the future, so we may see The Movies develop in a similar way to The Sims world, and with endless material to reference the world of The Movies may give the others a run for their money.

8.5 out of 10

Click Here To View The Movies Screenshots