In Hollywood (Theatrix Interactive) kids write and create their own animated movies. The suggested age range, 9 to adult, might fall on the high side – we know some computer-savvy seven and eight year-olds who might get more out of this than older kids; and, in fact, some older kids might be frustrated by the limitations of the program. The most blatant one (and this disc’s biggest failing) is the fact that each movie can only take place on one of the 20 available “sets” – no change of background is possible. If you begin the scene in the “newsroom” set, you’re stuck there for the duration. And you’ll wish there were more than ten characters available. Given those constraints, however, the disc still offers numerous options for tinkering. Characters can be moved across the stage simply by dragging and dropping, and there is a full range of expressions, attitudes and postures available for use with each one. One of the strongest aspects of this program is the sound capability – characters can speak any line you type with any one of the 20 or so available voices, and there are tons of fun sound effects. The pronunciation of the speech synthesizer is excellent, although there’s still the familiar tinge of the “computer voice.” Hollywood will appeal to younger children who will overlook the obvious limitations that will frustrate their older friends.
– December 1995