More Amstrad CPC 6128 game reviews! I don't know if you ever had one of these computers. In fact, I don't even know who you are. I'll call you Bobby Gershwin. Well, Bobby, I don't know if you ever had an Amstrad computer, but I sure as fuck did, and it was a glorious beast of a machine. Limited sounds and colours meant developers put all their efforts into the heart of the game; thinking out clever plots, tough puzzles and challenging levels. Well, they usually did. Sometimes, they quite clearly had too many burgers and simply said "Oota! Lazy time again!" Case in point being Seymour At The Movies. Now, there used to be a certain type of game on the Amstrad called graphic adventure. This involved you controlling a character that zoomed around an area (like a forest, or planet, or something) and picking up stuff to solve puzzles with. Kind of like a primitive adventure game, eh? Yes, but VERY primitive. Some were good and challenging, mostly in a series about a living egg called Dizzy. I'll write about them one day. More misery for sure! Anyway, another (brief) series of graphic adventures also proved popular - that of Seymour.
Seymour's exact species was never defined. Even the programmers referred to him as a "squishy thing". Seems he was some sort of movie star, because all his games had a cinematic theme to them. Seymour At The Movies even had the word 'movies' in the title! How thick do you need to be to get the connection? So it was set in Hollywood, and the plot as such revolved around Seymour trying to make a movie. Except not. You had to solve lots of puzzles, then find 16 Oscars, give them to people you'd met on your journeys, and then GAME OVER. Let's analyse the first problem, shall we, Bobby? See! I didn't forget your name! I love you really! If this game is meant to be set in a Hollywood movie studio, I have no idea which fucking street the studio is on. The walls of this crazy place are made of red and green bricks, people are either coloured entirely red, green, white or blue, and you can make a hot air balloon work with a bicycle pump. Yes, a bicycle pump. And that's further into the game. The madness starts at the very beginning, with quite possibly the stupidest puzzle (in terms of defying the game's plot) that ever existed.
You have to try and get Seymour inside the movie studios. Only problem is, there's some fat cunt guarding the entrance. If you try and walk past him, he shouts "Oy!" (Yes, Oy. He's either Jewish or a chimney sweep from Britain in the 1800s). Anyway, he shouts "Oy! We only let movie stars in here!" You naturally tell him you're Seymour, to which he replies "Nah! You look nothing like 'im!" and then kicks you in the backside. No, really, all this happens. Anyway, to get past, you have to go to your car (which is inexplicably as big as several buildings in the game. Believable graphics are the key!), registration number MEG 6A. Quite. Inside the car - apart from a DISMEMBERED HUMAN HAND - is a pair of sunglasses. You're allowed to carry three objects at a time, so I picked up both the freakishly gruesome hand and the sunglasses and made my way back to the entrance. This time, I walked up to security guard (the same assboat), who now says "Hello, Mr. Seymour, sir. Can I have your autograph?" WHAT THE FUCK? Then he says "I don't know how I'd recognise you without those glasses!" WHAT THE FUCK AGAIN?
So if Tom Cruise or Kevin Spacey or some other cutie pie wandered into Paramount Studios sans sunglasses, I'm sure the security guard would say "STOP! INTRUDER!" Then if the actor suddenly took out a pair of sunglasses and put them on, I'm just as sure he'd say "OH MY! Such a wacky mistake! I didn't recognise you for a minute!" Anyway, this completely pisses over the plot's general idea that Seymour is an internationally renowned movie star. Plus, when you meet other characters in the game, you are recognised straight away - without the sunglasses. Hey! Bobby! Did you just call me pedantic? Go fuck yourself then! Other puzzles in this game include the simplistic (giving pom-poms back to a cheerleader) to the convoluted (having to pick up three pieces of evidence to catch a murderer in a very specific order) to the quite frankly bizarre (hammering barrels and overpowering gorillas in a freakish real-life Donkey Kong movie set). Well, I say real life. This is just a computer game. But when you're writing for this site THAT'S AS CLOSE TO REAL LIFE AS YOU GET. The game involves a lot of walking around, picking up and dropping things, all to the beat of an in-game tune that repeats itself after about 30 seconds. Fun!
Also, I apologise for that unnecessarily long sentence in the last paragraph where I used lots of parenthesis. Are we back on speaking terms now, Bobby? Yes? Oh, good. Anyway, there are six or seven movie studios in the game, all with their own themes. For example, there's a Frankenstein-style horror set, the Wizard Of Oz, even a Dick Tracy-themed set (albeit called Rick Bracy. Yes, that unfunny). You have to solve certain puzzles in each set, such as help Rick Bracy catch a thief or find a foreign language dictionary to communicate with Tarzan (just accept it as normal, it makes it so much easier for insanity to pass you by). Only problem is, none of the puzzles are overwhelmingly difficult, but they involve lots of walking. Lots of it. Mostly just to pick up and drop stuff off, too. In fact, about 3/4 of the game is just Seymour walking around. Not really thrilling stuff. Nowhere as near as good as that Ghostbusters II game where you got to control Ray Stantz collecting slime in the sewer. What makes playing all of Seymour At The Movies worse is that once you've solved all the puzzles, the game still isn't over.
Oh no! See, the idea is that you're trying to make another blockbuster movie. And as any producer knows, movies need scripts and movie stars. Unless it's porn, in which case you just need bad acting, men and women fucking and shoddy production values. As you wander round the movie sets, you interact with certain characters. Bear in mind you need 16 people to join your cast. Guess what's next? Yes, after solving all the puzzles, you have to ask ALL 16 to be in the movie. And that's not all! They won't be in the movie unless they see a script AND get an Oscar. So you have to make sure you're carrying the script (easy to find) and an Oscar (not easy to find) every time you speak to any of them. If you do, they'll join your movie and soon enough it'll be game over. However, there's yet another stupidity clause thrown into this gaming contract. All 16 of the Oscars are hidden throughout the game. But stupidly, in the most obscure of places. For example, if you randomly try and pick up part of a staircase...OSCAR REVEALED! It's maddening and near impossible to find all 16 without beating up something or someone.
However, in the interests of quality gaming journalism (uh, just ignore that one too), I persevered and eventually found all 16 Oscars. Doling them out to people, I eventually had enough to make my movie. Expecting yet another fantastic puzzle about making a movie? Forget it! To reward you for what is literally hours of walking round the same few screens, doing mundane puzzles and getting myopia from trying to find the Oscars, you get a crap ending. All you can see is Seymour, on a podium, jumping up and down while flanked by some old hag from the Wild West set on his right and the cheerleader from the Grease-themed set on his left. Gee, thanks Mr. Game Designer! I love to get pissed on when completing stupid games! And I don't mean literally. I'm not into that freaky golden shower shit. Oh! More complaining! Another major problem with this and other Amstrad graphic adventures was that no one ever had the foresight to program a save game facility into any of them. This means you've got three options. Firstly, play the whole game from start to end, taking about two or three hours. Secondly, quit after five minutes. Thirdly, club a baby seal. I'd suggest two. Or maybe three, if there's enough profit in it.
You know something else, Bobby? Seymour is a stupid name. Mind you, so is Bobby Gershwin, but I made that up. Maybe there is a real Bobby Gershwin out there, somewhere. I sure hope so! Hey! I have an idea for a fun activity! Let's play good news and bad news! I tell you good news, then I tell you bad news. You cry about both. It is an easy game to play! I will show you how! It begins! Well, this review is over. That's the good news. The bad news is they made a few sequels to Seymour At The Movies, most notably Wild West Seymour, which was set in the, um, Wild West. Except it wasn't. It's hard to explain, and I can't be bothered to go into detail right now. It carried on the movie theme by focusing on a Wild West motion picture masterpiece that Seymour was trying to film. Except it involved bizarre time travel and other assorted crazies. Oh, but the whole stupid Oscar-finding thing was cut out of the game, which was nice. Anyway, that's enough description of Wild West Seymour for now. Suffice to say there's another page load of unfunny on the way!
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