Hollywood's problem is that as movies become more complex, the expectations of the audience keep getting higher. (The same could be said of games, as well.) This means that more effort must be put into creating larger spectacles. To capture this sense of escalation, we have The Movies: Stunts & Effects, an expansion to last year's combination Hollywood Tycoon game and virtual moviemaking studio, The Movies. Stunts & Effects lets you create bigger and more spectacular movies with the addition of death-defying stunts, as well as the ability to create summer-blockbuster-style movies.
Stunts & Effects will raise your level of moviemaking by adding exciting new elements to The Movies, such as burning buildings.
By integrating seamlessly with the existing core game, the Stunts & Effects expansion adds a slew of new facilities and sets that are geared toward action and special effects. For instance, the new stunt school lets you hire stuntmen (and women) so that you can create more intense action scenes, while the new green screen and blue screen sets are where effects-laden movies are mostly shot, since these make it easier to digitally insert the actors into any type of scene. Other new additions include a miniature-city set that will let you create scenic flyby shots of the skyline or let you indulge your love of monster movies by creating Godzilla-like epics, as well as new scenes, costumes, and more.
Even with the expansion, The Movies retains its dual nature of both a Sims-like management game and a virtual studio. As the head of a Hollywood studio, you oversee everything on your studio lot, from the placement of buildings, plants, paths, and walkways to what your various employees are doing, including the stars, extras, janitors, and more. The goal remains to make as much money as possible while churning out the highest quality movies to gain more fame and prestige, particularly during awards ceremonies. The addition of stunts escalates the challenge, as you have to create better stunts than your competitors. As such, you'll see lots of new things in the expansion, such as leaps off of buildings, smoky escapes from burning buildings, and more. Or you can film exciting new scenes featuring a variety of new vehicles, including models on a miniatures lot, which you can use to really capture an epic sense of scale.
All these new stunts and effects come at a slight expense when it comes to the overall complexity of the gameplay. Stuntmen (and women) are treated sort of like actors, in that they must be selected from a pool of applicants. You then train your stuntmen by constructing special training facilities to increase their stunt skill. The higher a stuntman's stunt skill, the more daring that stunt can be. Every now and then, you'll need to toss your stuntmen into the hospital (another new building in the expansion) to let them heal up from all the abuse that they take. Since you're also mothering over everyone else on the studio lot, especially your ever-fussy stars, all this micromanagement can be a handful, though it doesn't become overly burdensome. The expansion also suffers from the same staffing problems found in The Movies, in that you can never find enough workers to staff your studio. You'll constantly have to shuffle workers from one department to another to keep the place up and running at times, which sounds a bit odd since everyone in Hollywood wants to be a part of the movie business.