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US Gold Ltd
Not Known
1987
Strategy: Management
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

42
Duncan MacDonald
Chris Bourne

Aaah, Charlie Chaplin, doncha just love him? (Eeerm - no, actually). Waddling around twirling a stupid stick and wibbling a useless 'Hitleresque' moustache does not, in my book. a comic genius make! Let's face it, what the old chap needs is a 'catchphrase', "Don't touch the pack, well be right back!" or 'Come on down!" or "Awright???" -something like that. I'll see if I can come up with something later, but now its review time.

The game is set in the 1920's and you are a movie producer/director/actor and editor. As a producer its up to you to pick and, erm, produce eight silent movie classics, each of which has to make a profit. You're on a tight budget, so if a film bombs at the box office then you bomb as a producer, because your dosh will run out. Film one finances film two finances film three and so on.

First you've got to buy a script. As I said, there are eight films to make, so guess how many scripts are on offer? (Pete 'Puzzler' Shaw eat your heart out). That's right, eight - each of which not only differs in price but also in the number of 'scenes' there are to 'take'. Let pretend we've plumped first for the cheapest script with the least number of scenes.

Boing!!! Now you're the director. Say "Scene x, take n..... Action!" and press the fire button on your joystick.

Boing!!! And now you're the actor, yup, ol' Charlie himself and this is the 'action' part of the game. The cameras are going to be 'rolling' for one minute, and for a successful Chaplin movie that means 15 billion nanoseconds of rib-wrenching slapstick larkery, 15 thousand million femtoseconds of tactical tomfoolery or, to return to the more comfortable world of feasable positive integers, sixty seconds of knocking your fellow actors/actresses onto their derriers with well placed and deftly timed punches. This is where the 'jocularity' points are scored.

Click! Your minute's up, the celluloid is 'in the can' and you're now (being) the editor. You can replay the whole scene, just sit back and watch what you did as Charlie. Were there enough knock-downs to keep the punters happy? You can always re-shoot the scene -but it'll cost.

Once you're happy with the scenes you've done it's time to commit yourself to a public screening of the whole film. The curtains open and the whole thing is played back - all you can do is sit and wait (which can become a trifle boring, but adds brilliantly to the frustration factor when a film bombs - all that waiting for nothing). Following the screening, a headline from the front page of Variety pops up which let's you know what the critics thought. Thumbs up and you remain in the black and can make another film. Thumbs down and more than likely you'll be in negative dosh zones and will have to start again.

Everything about this game is good - except one thing: lastability. There isn't really quite enough to do. Not that it's easy (it isn't), but simply walking around and positioning yourself correctly for a successful punch, does soon become a bit, erm, tedious. There's not enough interaction.

Full marks, however, for originality and high marks for the graphics (which really have a nice 'twenties' feel). What a shame about the 'action' part of the game. Definitely a case of the 'could have been really good'.

Anyway, I've had time to think about that catchphrase and I must say - it's a corker! Here it is (cue trumpets and a drum-roll): "............Cor blimey Missus!!!". (Crikey).

Original vehicle for a knock-em-down. The vehicle's great, shame the action doesn't match up. Nice try.

8/10
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