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The Movies: Stunts & Effects review

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Thanks to last year's film studio sim The Movies, you no longer have to watch films contrived by lazy Hollywood execs; now you can contrive films of your own. The Stunts & Effects expansion pack adds more sets, costumes, props, vehicles and backdrops for your virtual productions, along with a new employee type: the stuntman. That's all great, and fans of The Sims -style "god gameplay" will appreciate the new bits as they hire directors, bankroll productions and try to keep their stars' scandals out of the papers. However, nothing radically alters the fundamentals of gameplay like the new Freecam mode - and that's where Stunts & Effects really brings the magic home.

Freecam mode blows the doors off of Advanced Movie-making. You're free to choose the camera placement and movement for each shot, rather than picking from a static palette of pre-rendered templates. This will profoundly change the way you approach the game and the movies you make with it. It's now much closer to the real-world filmmaking process: script, storyboard, shoot and edit, in that order. One of the biggest frustrations in the original game was pawing through heaps of stock clips and finally settling for something completely different from what you were looking for. Tarantino never compromises his vision, and now neither do you. Freecam alone is worth the price of admission, especially if you (like many Movies owners) enjoy the moviemaking aspects of the game more than the game itself. They should have called it The Movies: Camera Unleashed - it'd make more sense than Jaws Unleashed, anyway.

Stuntmen are hired just like any other studio employee, and have special facilities associated with them. If a stunt goes awry, your stuntman can be injured and require a hospital stay before he can perform again. Stuntmen are most useful in the action and sci-fi genres, but there's nothing to stop you from tacking a 30-story plunge onto the end of your wistful tearjerker. Flashy new fire and water effects make stunts even more spectacular, and pre-existing content has been tweaked to look better. Bullet squibs and lasers round out the new effects offerings. Still, the titular stunts and effects are but icing on the freecam's cake.

  1. Set the starting position for the camera here...
  2. ...then set the finishing position here for smooth crane and dolly shots
  3. The ESRB rating "T" does not stand for Topless, so get your mind out of the gutter
  4. FOV is a fancy-pants film geek way of saying Field of View - basically, zoom in and out

Development of the Stunts & Effects expansion pack was guided by feedback from The Movies' online community. Going forward, movies uploaded to the site that were created with the expansion pack will be flagged and a separate ranking board will track popularity. If you're at all like us, you're sick of ever-increasing ticket prices and gimmicky new ways of combining mass transit with phobia-inducing animals. We'd rather make our own cheesy flicks with the expanded version of The Movies than pay $10 to watch the latest pap from some Hollywood hack.

More Info

Release date: Jun 06 2006 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Lionhead Studios
Franchise: The Movies
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood and Gore, Crude Humor, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol, Use of Tobacco, Violence

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