by Dragoljub Andjelkovic, Dusko Dimitrijevic, F. David Thorpe, Mario Mandic, Bob Wakelin
Imagine Software Ltd
Crash Issue 26, Mar 1986   page(s) 20,21,22

Producer: Imagine
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Dusko Dimitrijevic

Early in 1985, Dusko Dimitrijevic invested in a one way plane ticket from Yugoslavia to this country. Confident that he could sell two computer games he had written to Bug Byte and thus fund his trip home, he arrived in Liverpool to discover that Bug Byte were no more. Dusko had a problem.

Fortunately, he managed to track down one of the directors of Bug Byte, who advised him to see Ocean. Ocean bought the games from Dusko, and used them as promotional freebies. Before he went home, the Yugoslavian programmer spent a little time with Ocean's programmers, picking up tips and hints on programming and getting a feel for the type of games Ocean wanted.

Six months passed, and then M.O.V.I.E. arrived in Ocean's offices. The game was snapped up, and appears on the Imagine label. Dusko Dimitrijevic should be able to afford return tickets in future...

M.O.V.I.E. is based on a New York gangster theme, and puts you in the shoes of a Philip Marlowe character. You're a private detective who's been hired to recover an audio tape from a gangster's HQ. First, you have to find a girl, who will lead you to the mob's base - but to make life that bit more difficult she has a dead ringer, a twin sister no less. The bad sister spells trouble, with a capital T. The first major task in the game is to find the right girl, then it's a matter of following her and protecting her arm on the way to the Boss's hideout.

Set in New York, the game begins with your character in an office in the Big Apple. Suddenly, business becomes brisk. It's time to leave, and take a closer look at the neighbourhood. Along the bottom of the screen there's a row of icons used to control the trenchcoated private dick. Pressing the fire button puts the icon selecting cursor under the control of joystick and keyboard - another press on fire selects an icon. At the start of the game the cursor rests over the Move icon - a footprint - and it's possible to move in four directions around the room you're in. All the locations are monochromatic, presented in the three dimensional view that has become familiar with Ultimate's releases, and games such as Fairlight and Sweevo.

Some of the objects found in locations can be shoved around - like chairs and tables. Others can be picked up and dropped using the appropriate icon, or even thrown. As you follow the girl, she'll ask you do things for her, or fetch things, like a whisky. Bottles and bags come in handy when your guide needs bribing!

High on the list of priorities for any self respecting gumshoe is a gun. Once you've found one, the Gun icon comes into play, and a row of bullets appears above it. Each time a shot is fired a bullet disappears from the display. At last - you can waste people - but once the ammo runs out, all you can do is hurl the weapon at a baddie's head. It's time to find another gun.

The playing area encompasses several buildings, interlinked by streets in which dustbins and packing cases as well as the odd telephone booth can be found. The mob realise what you are up to, and heavies lurk in some locations waiting to give you a bad time. Some just punch - and using the Punch icon, you can fight back - while others pack a mean shooter. Getting too close to a bullet spells curtains, and your trenchcoated figure dissolves before the game returns to the start screen.

As an aid to communication, the Speech icon allows conversation by inflating a speech bubble above the figure of the Private Investigator. Type in what you have to say, and consider it said. The other characters in the game won't accept direct orders but can be friendly and sometimes downright helpful after a bit of verbal. (Don't be tempted to make improper suggestions to the mini-skirted girls - they reject your advances.) Some of the doors are guarded, and you'll need to pop the password into a speech bubble to get through. It's possible to guess some of the passwords, but persuading the girl or other characters to let you have passwords is an important part of the game.

As you collect useful items, they appear in an area of the screen above the icons. A cursor points at your latest acquisition and if you want to throw something, make sure the cursor (controlled by its own icon) is pointing at the right missile. Sometimes you need to lob objects at things in a room so they can be moved within reach. The zigzag Throw icon sends missiles bouncing round the room, and a little practice is needed before throwing becomes accurate. Lobbing a bomb is very satisfying - when it comes to rest it explodes into the words "Bom" and wastes anyone in the vicinity!

At the end of the game (or after quitting with the A icon), two scores are presented. One score indicates the number of rooms visited as a percentage of the total number of locations in the game. The other, on a scale from 0.00 to 0.99, indicates how many tasks you have completed during play. It ain't easy being a shamus, Mac...


Control keys: 1 to 0 fire, Q to P up, A to ENTER down, Caps X V N Symbol Shift left, Z C B M SPACE right
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive, once you get the hang of it
Use of colour: monochromatic locations
Graphics: detailed, and well animated. No wait between screens for rooms to be drawn
Sound: only footsteps as you stump around
Skill levels: one
Screens: 199 rooms

There's lots of fun to be had exploring the locations in M.O.V.I.E. - nearly two hundred in all - and the detail in some rooms is very pleasing. Clocks tick and tape recorder spools whirl. The animation on the girls is really neat: they wiggle along enticing you to follow very convincingly. The icon control system is straightforward enough, but it can get a bit tricky at times when you need to enter a location which contains a gun-toting baddie - you have to flip from Move to Gun icon very quickly to get a shot in. The girls begin in a random location, so each time you play the game is a little different. Overall a great game, with lots of atmosphere. It's a shame there's not more sound, though. Should keep anyone busy for quite a while, solving the puzzles it contains.

WOW! Great graphics, the same viewpoint as in Knight Lore, Alien 8 and Fairlight, but with 'real' objects with which you can identify, like armchairs, crates, TV's etc. They're not just fantasy objects. The game is quite original, presenting a fair challenge. The graphics far surpass the other game elements. I won't do the obvious thing, and say they are 'filmic', but excellent they are. Sound is a bit sparse, little beyond footsteps, and maybe the use of colour should have been a bit more adventurous. For me, M.O.V.I.E. keeps Imagine, of Yie Ar Kung Fu and Mikie fame, well up at the Ultimate level.

I decided to don my raincoat and CRASH hat for this one. 'Brilliant' was the first word that came to mind as I entered a very posh American type tower-block office, a quick look out of the window and I thought I'd better dash, so I ran out of the room and promptly bumped into a very suspicious looking coffee table. I proceeded and found an un-fingerprinted gun - might come in useful, I thought. I was right... Imagine's first step into the monochromatic world is a success - in my mind anyway. M.O.V.I.E. is the most enthralling game I've every played. The scenario is a classic one, and one that I've never seen implemented before in a proper arcade/adventure game. (Mugsy was strategy, before Ed starts getting letters.) Everything's fabulous - the graphics are amazingly detailed and realistic, the game goes at a very sinister pace, a cursor with inertia and a parrot that repeats everything that you say. Stop watching those old gangster movies and jump into one via your Spectrum and a copy of M.O.V.I.E., game of the year so far, for me. Now leave me alone and let me get back to finding this twin sister.

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Use of Computer: 90%
Graphics: 95%
Playability: 93%
Getting Started: 91%
Addictive Qualities: 92%
Value for Money: 94%
Overall: 93%

Summary: General Rating: A neat development on the 3D theme with a very different scenario.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 3, Mar 1986   page(s) 72,73


Of all the Spectrums in all the world, Imagine's new game Movie ad to walk into ours. Settle into your back row seats, forget the Pearl and Deans and read Gwyn Hughes's review of this gangsters and gumshoe mega-game. Play it, Sam...

Game: Movie
Publisher: Imagine
Price: £7.95
Joystick: Kempston, Interface II, Cursor
Keys: Top Row - Fire; Second Row - Up; Third Row - Down; Bottom Row (Alternate Keys) - Left/Right

Call Mike Hammer, call Sam Spade.... but when you want the best you call me - Jake Monkey-Wrench. I tool around and get the job done.

The voice on the phone said, "Jake, I've got a problem. I'm the Ed." "That's some problem." I agreed. Ignoring me, he continued, "I want you to find a cassette tape. It contains enough evidence to send Mr Big down the river for a very long time." Pausing only to wonder why the Ed should went to send a gangster on a boat tour, I asked, "Tell me where I might find it." "That's the problem," he told me, "It's hidden in a computer game!"

And so it was. I sat in my East Side office, in front of a computer monitor, the whole of New York to search and I'd never have to leave the building. Luckily the city was no stranger to me - the same 3D view that seems to turn up everywhere nowadays. However, I was pleased to find that I could choose between up/down, left/right movement or rotation and forward techniques. And what was this - 'IQ On'? A neat touch means that if I walk into an object the computer can take control and guide me past it.

10.32 pm: I'd found a gun and I was going to need it. In the very next room some hood began taking pot shots at me but I was quick on the draw. I transferred to the icon menu and fired, filling him full of holes and he faded away. No room to be trigger happy though - the city may be a jungle but not everyone's an animal. Soon after I'd plugged the punk another slouched figure approached. I stopped but his speech bubble appeared. But what did he mean by, "I'll see you later"?

1.03 am: I'd lost count of how many rooms and alleys my nicely animated figure had trudged down, but there were lots, filled with hazards of the most unexpected types, like animated suits of armour. Something strange was afoot. I'd had to use my wits to push the furniture around and shift objects and I wasn't sure I was getting anywhere. Then I met her the dame.

The Ed had warned me that there were two sisters tied up in the case - identical twins but while one was good, real good, the other was evil incarnate! I hoped I'd made the right choice as I followed her. Perhaps she could lead me to the gang boss....

1.07 am: You win some, lose some. Like a kid, I'd followed her straight into a trap. I'd dodged the bouncing bombs, the suits of armour and the low down rats who'd hoped to fill me full of lead. But I'd always been a sucker for a frail and now I'd paid the price. This game is as cool as a trench coat and as atmospheric as a misty street. Here's looking at a VDU, sweetheart!

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Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 10/10
Addictiveness: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 48, Mar 1986   page(s) 58,59

Publisher: Imagine
Programmer: Dusko Dimitrijevic
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston

Marlowe stood and stared out of the dirty window. It was hot in the office and his long raincoat and matching snap-brim brought out the sweat.

As if on cue he turned and walked to his desk. He found nothing there to give him a clue to the location of the cassette tape which would lead to the biggest gangster bust N.Y. had ever seen.

The girl must be somewhere, and her evil sister not far behind. If he picked right the girl would take him to the cassette, if wrong her sister would lead him to his death.

Hands in pockets, he walked out into the alleys and mean streets of gangster city.

You're the director of this screen play but the executive producers at Imagine dictate the script. Movie uses similar perspective graphics to those in Knight Lore, from Ultimate, and Fairlight, from The Edge. The concept, however, has not been tackled before in such an original manner and the graphics successfully create a seedy, sleazy, atmosphere.

One departure from the traditional Ultimate approach to 3D arcade adventures is the ability to converse with characters in the game. The detective in Movie can talk to gangsters, parrots and mysterious women. Press the speak icon and a balloon will appear at your detective's mouth. Type in a question, such as 'Do you want the money?' and the listener will reply using the same type of speech balloon.

The balloons extend the Ultimate technique and give the game a comic book feel. Usually, only the good guys will talk to you, although the evil twin sister may say a word or two.

You control your private eye through the icons at the bottom of the screen, using a spy glass as a cursor. They are easy to understand and with them you can manipulate objects, speak, shoot, and hold or abort the game.

In the beginning the detective has no clues or means of defence. He must find them in the maze of rooms and streets. Initially you should not be looking for the lady with the answers. Your first task should be to find weapons.

Because the background colours and the character colours are the same, weapons blend into the scenery. Your gun, which is only two rooms from your office, will probably go unnoticed the first few times you enter the location. Walk through the blue reception and you will find it on a juke box in the yellow room.

Picking up objects can be irritating. You may have to try several times before you get the correct angle, either head-on or central to the object. Any deviation in angle, even by millimeters, and the object will refuse to be lifted.

On some occasions objects will be out of reach, on top of a stack of packing cases or perched on an old wireless set. To get them down you must use one of the objects you already have and use the throw option. Bags and guns can be rescued in that way with no trouble, but if you aim to knock a bomb from the top of four packing cases you will be in for an explosive time.

The weapons are not easy to use, as the gangsters which you come up against shoot on sight. For that reason you should enter each room with extreme caution. Move the detective to one side of the doorway before entering. The gangsters tend to shoot towards the centre of the doorway and you get no second chance if you're shot - it's back to the beginning and, with no Save option to allow you to choose the place of your reincarnation, you'll have to start collecting objects again.

Bombs are no more efficient than guns. They have a very localised effect and you can be in the same room with victims when it explodes.

The problem is to get the victims directly over the bomb. To do that you should wait for the gangsters to get near you, throw the bomb and then punch them. They will back away into the path of the bomb.

Alternatively, you can lob the bomb indiscriminately when you enter a room. Be wary, though, as the bomb only travels a short distance and most gangsters tend to be in the middle, or far side of the room.

Once armed you must find a bag. a bomb, and a wad of money. They can all be found in the same places on each play of the game.

Although you are free to get the objects in any order the most sensible - and shortest - way is to pick up the bag after the gun, then the money and then try and find a bomb.

To find the bag you must first leave your office building, walk up or down a back street to a dead end and enter a music hall. You can go into the auditorium. The bag is somewhere in there, together with a nasty-looking gangster and a harmless good guy.

On the way back from the manager's office take a peek into the white room. The mystery girl may be in there.

Collecting the money is a more difficult affair and one in which you will encounter a Mafia hit man who, if you are not quick on your reflexes, always gets his man. To avoid him walk to the right of the doorway then, gritting your teeth, enter and head straight towards the mobster. His fire will have no effect and you'll be able to turn left into the next room.

The route to the money takes you through six narrow alleys, each a different colour. Once through the alleys a quick jaunt through two offices, an empty room and a small room will bring you to the spondula, lying on the floor of yet another office.

The money is obviously for bribery and you don't have to look hard to find a likely candidate. You may be wondering why some gangsters make no attempt to kill you, but seem to want you to stay and talk.

In this way you might get some cryptic information, including a clue to help you in your search for the cassette.

Bombs are found in bars and store rooms - balanced on tables or crates. Once you have collected the money a bomb will be useful and you'll find one in the same building as the bank notes - in a bar protected by two heavies.

Gangsters you can destroy with bombs and bullets, but there are other obstacles which will get between you and the incriminating tape. When I first played the game I thought it was a straight detective story faithful to the spirit of Dashiell Hammet or Raymond Chandler. Soon, however, I walked into an audition for Poltergeist with articles of furniture, suits of armour, balls and dogs flying around rooms. Those are aimed - literally - at the arcade player.

They all have different methods of movement and timing. Knights move their counterparts on a chessboard - at right angles - while dogs swoop from the ceiling and balls roll up and down rooms horizontally, vertically but never diagonally. Some rooms contain more than one type of obstacle and a few have immovable crates to further complicate matters. All of the rooms have a solution.

Unfortunately, the mystery girl is not so easy to locate or, dare I say it, control. The program dumps the girl anywhere on the map when the program begins but there are some places in which I would advise you to look first.

The white room in the music hall is a favourite haunt. I found her there several times. She can also be found in an office in the building marked by potted plants, down the alley leading from your building.

On first impressions her character is animated smoothly and well. Imagine probably blames her high-heeled shoes for the strut with which she walks, though after a time it seems mechanical and irritating to watch.

Is she supposed to lead you to the cassette tape? That's hard to believe when she can't even negotiate a plant pot standing in a doorway. She kept getting stuck in the leaves and even with help couldn't unravel herself.

Her evil sister puts in the odd appearance but there is no physical way of telling them apart. You could try talking to her - if nothing else it might get her moving.

If you ask her the right question she might also betray herself. When she says 'I hate you' you will get the feeling that all is not quite right. If, however, you insist on following her she will waste your time and then lead you into the arms of the Boss's hit men.

Success in Movie is measured by two ratings. The first is a percentage score based on the number of locations you have visited. Moving around from location to location is easy and you are likely to end up with a hefty number of points.

The other score which ranges from 0.00 to 0.99 is calculated on the number of special objects you have, the number of clues you have taken advantage of, and the puzzles solved.

If your score is 0.15 and you have the gun, bomb, money and password - which amongst other things will help you get into some guarded rooms - you'll be doing well. It took me several hours of play to get that far.

Movie's graphics may not be better than Ultimate's and, compared to Fairlight, they're a little creaky, but the novel plot makes it a winner.

The seedy atmosphere, together with the innovative bubble speech makes the long hours which you'll have to put into crack the puzzle well worthwhile. It's a story worthy of the movies.

Overall: 5/5

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 12, Sep 1988   page(s) 78

Spectrum, £7.95cs
Amstrad, £8.95cs

This isometric 3D arcade adventure was very nearly a brilliant game, but just fell short on a few points. It stars Jack Marlow, a rain-coated private detective trying to recover a tape recording from Bugs Malloy, a bad dude gangster.

The unusual thing about the game is that it is icon controlled for all actions - drop, pick up, shoot, walk, talk, punch and throw. Accessing them is slow but you've got interesting features like talking, which allows you to type into a speech bubble and try to get information from other characters - including a parrot.

There's a strong arcade element with lots of henchmen wandering around shooting at you. There are even twin sisters - one a femme fatale who will get you killed and the other a friend who plays an important part in solving the game. Not a game for text specialists, but captures the atmosphere well.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 53, Mar 1986   page(s) 17

MACHINE: Spectrum/Amstrad
PRICE: £7.95 (Spectrum), £8.95 (Amstrad)

The neon light outside the IDEAS CORP security HQ flickered fitfully as I sat gazing out of the window and the rainswept street. The private eye business had been slow since I'd solved the case of the Maltese Porcupine.

I noticed a shadow in the street below. Suddenly it threw something up at the window - my window! The glass shattered and an object crashed down on my desk.

Brushing the shattered glass aside I picked out a cassette - a computer cassette it showed no anti-social tendencies. Like going BOOM! when I touched it. So I pulled my trusty Spectrum from my shoulder holster and loaded up the tape.

That's when my world changed. After the pretty ordinary loading screen disappeared I found myself in the real life world of a 50s private eye!

My job is to locate a gangster HQ and discover a tape. Simple. But once you get inside the maze-like collection of rooms and streets you'll find a while bunch of hit men waiting to rub you out.

Like any good gangster "movie" there's a couple of good looking broads involved. Two identical twins to be exact. Not quite identical - one is a goodie the other is downright evil. The good sister will lead you to the tape. The evil sister will lead you into a trap!

You'll find useful items lying around as you explore - like a useful equaliser - gun to you - in the third room you come to.

You'll also come across bombs which you can throw around - and booby traps which could blow you up.

The whole game is icon-driven. Which means you have to use your joystick or keyboard to select which feature or action you want to access.

You can pick up or drop items, use the "speech-bubble" to communicate with other characters via the keyboard, throw things, pause or abort the game - and even decide to punch someone.

It's important to examine each room carefully. There might just be something useful hidden on that desk top or on the floor. Don't disregard anything.

Some of the baddies can be avoided by some careful footwork or with a well aimed punch. Only use your gun in moments of severe danger. You only get one life - so use it wisely.

The rooms are drawn in Ultimate style forced perspective 3D. Only one colour per room - but each room is packed with intricate details.

The vocabulary is a bit limited but sometimes you can have interesting conversations. Don't spend too much time chattingup the girls!

Movie is a brilliant game. It has atmosphere with a capital 'A'. Catch it when it comes to a shop near you!

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Value: 10/10
Playability: 10/10

Award: C+VG Game of the Month

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 4, Apr 1986   page(s) 46

Arcade Adventure

I was in a computer game. So what. I had been in tighter spots before. I looked round the office - fancy decor, pot plants, desk, chairs, all very tasteful. A note on the desk said I had to get a tape from the mob's HQ, get back here, in one piece, and play the tape. After reaching the street, I soon discovered there was much more the note didn't tell me, like the joint was jumping with the mob's heavies. I found a gun, the heavy weight in my pocket made me feel better. No more finger in the pocket stunts. I still had to visit my old friend Bugs Malloy. Not having a street map does not help when all the streets and apartments looked the same.

I was getting nowhere and then I met the girl. She told me her name was Tanya. She said she would show me the way to the hide-out. Following Tanya was the kind of work I could get to enjoy and, anyway, she was my only lead. I was getting close; you could cut the atmosphere with a knife until some guy in the second row of the circle crunched his sweet paper. I had to think fast, some of the goons could be bought, others fooled or, when that failed, I always had the automatic.

While I was busy with some gooks, I lost sight of Tanya, and when I caught up with her, I noticed a subtle change. After she had led me into the third ambush, it all fell into place. This was Vanya, the twin sister, one of Bug's molls. I have never shot a girl in cold blood before: it seemed a hell of a waste somehow.

So by the end of the final reel I had the tape and, of course the girl. My advice to you is to visit your local computer dealer and get into your own Movie - this one is mine.

Graphics: 4/5
Sound: 3/5
Playability: 3/5
Value For Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 24, Apr 1986   page(s) 53


The new, revitalised Imagine are continuing to turn out some very good games, the latest being Movie, a game set on the streets of New York in which you play the part of Jack Marlow, a Private Eye in search of a valuable tape recording.

The style of the game is similar to that of Knight Lore and the more recent Sweevo's World, giving a slightly overhead 3D view of the streets and rooms that you travel through. But instead of being a cute little sprite, Jack Marlow is a shady looking character in a trench coat and trilby, and as he walks along there's an effective crunching sound effect that sounds as if Jack is walking along the gritty New York sidewalks.

The tape that you're looking for is in the hideout of the gangster Bugs Malloy, but getting there isn't going to be easy. As you scout the area you'll bump into some of Bug's henchmen, and there are more and more of them the closer you get to the hideout. Some of these people may be able to help you, but most of them will try to bump you off with a well-placed bullet or a haymaker to the chin. Fortunately you can pack a mean punch as well, and watching the hoods disintegrate after a slugging match is very satisfying. Also, if you can find them there are guns and bombs lying around that will let you shoot your way out of tough spots.

As well as the Ultimate style graphics, Movie also features an icon menu that allows you to perform a variety of actions; you can pick up/drop objects which can also be used or simply thrown, you can punch or shoot other characters or even talk to them. This last option is very novel - when you select the 'talk' icon a speech bubble appears over Marlow's head and you can fill the speech bubble by typing text on the keyboard. The level of conversation is fairly basic, but it is sufficient to let you get a password that you will need later on in the game.

The icon menu takes Movie a step further than similar games as it allows you a wider variety of actions (it's interesting to wonder what a version of the game for the 128 might do with the extra memory and sound facilities).

You'll need help to locate Bug's hideout and this arrives in the form of the twin sisters Tanya and Vanya - one of these is on your side and will lead you there, though you'll need to do some quick thinking to follow her all the way. The other sister is a 'plant' and she'll only lead you info an ambush so it's up to you to work out which sister is on your side.

My only quibble with the game is that you only have a single life to play with and it can be very frustrating to reach a late stage in the game only to lose everything by making a single mistake. Even so, the quality of the graphics and the gangster setting make Movie stand out from the crowd.

Award: ZX Computing ZX Monster Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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