Starring Charlie Chaplin

Author: Nick Roberts
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #53

Starring Charlie Chaplin

Scene One: After making a note of his starting balance, the prospective director chooses a script from the eight provided. Each one displays production costs and includes a short synopsis together with a list of actors and props available.

Cut to black and white set: Against a background of bars, city street, drawing rooms and parks a number of actors are busily acting their parts. Taking the role of Chaplin, the player attempts to turn the scene into an episode of slapstick comedy. How efficiently Chaplin twirls his cane, shrugs his shoulders, worships his sweetheart and beats up his rivals determines the film's success.

Pan to cutting room: Here the film can be paused or shown at twice normal speed. Dissatisfied directors can opt to re-shoot a scene any number of times but at an extra cost.

Starring Charlie Chaplin

Opening Night: Once complete, the movie is shown to a cinema audience. The response of the critics, indicated by the tone of a Variety headline, determines how much money the film makes. A profit and loss sheet displays the financial fate of the movie. Make a loss and the director's film career is over, make a profit and he survives to make another Chaplin film.


Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: totally black and white. The detailed characters and backgrounds make all the scenes atmospheric
Sound: a few very simple spot effects
Options: choice of eight scripts (levels of difficulty)

Kati … 57%

'The slapstick world of silent movies is particularly suited to the capabilities of the Spectrum and US Gold certainly exploit the possibilities. All the sets are finely detailed and the presentation of each film, from script to final showing, is faultless. Chaplin survives the translation into machine code particularly well, his characteristic walk being perfectly portrayed. Unfortunately the substance of the game doesn't match up to the high standard set by the graphics. Neither shootting nor editing provide much scope for variety. Chaplin's moves are very limited: all he can do to show affection for his sweetheart is twirl his cane, shrug his shoulders or punch her in the face. A little more attention to content and Chaplin might have starred in a completely different story.'

Nick ... 63%

'Starring Charlie Chaplin makes a welcome change from the usual 'shoot the alien' or 'rescue the medieval monk'-type games that a lot of software companies have been churning out lately. The cartoon style characters are all well animated and Charlie swings his stick in a very convincing manner. According to the inlay the idea is to do as many whacky stunts as possible, but all I could seem to do was hit everyone! Mind you, I did make £10 profit - who said you couldn't make money in the film business! The game includes many neat touches, such as the curtain-opening sequence, but there just isn't enough to keep you occupied for long. It's a pity because Starring Charlie Chaplin had loads of potential.'

Paul ... 60%

'Starring Charlie Chaplin would be a fantastic game if only it had more variety. There's no doubting the quality of the graphics - they suit the Spectrum computer perfectly - and the sound in a silent film can hardly be inspirational. But all you have to do is knock people over - that's it! You'd have thought US Gold would have given Chaplin more violent things to do - like banging doors in people's faces. The game requires no directing or financial skill at all - all you do is hit people! The more times you hit people, the more money you get. The game has so much potential it's a pity the idea hasn't been exploited to its full.'

Nick RobertsPaul SumnerKati Hamza

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