- The Washington Times - Friday, January 21, 2005

Each month, the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free, interactive sounds and action.

Ninja Net

Marvel Comics’ famed Greek assassin, Elektra Natchios, made her screen debut in the 2003 Ben Affleck superhero vehicle “Daredevil.” She stars in her own aptly titled film, “Elektra,” with Jennifer Garner reprising the role of the female martial-arts master.

A Web site devoted to the film (www.elektramovie.com) comes filled with red dragons painting across computer browser windows and plenty of attitude in honor of its strong female lead.

Most of the creativity of the developers has been poured into clever downloads and the online multiplayer game Ninja Assassin. Areas devoted to characters, a plot synopsis and the film’s soundtrack were still not polished.

Visitors with a color printer and access to specialized paper can design 8.5-by-11-inch sheets of stickers and tattoos incorporating Miss Garner’s likeness as Elektra along with plenty of sword and animal illustrations.

Those looking for a battle will really appreciate the Ninja Assassin experience, which allows a community of virtual assassins to battle one another in groups of three within 120 mini arenas. Players can register to keep track of their win-loss record or just jump in as guests for a quick match against someone online or the computer.

The action requires a player to select an open arena and then an avatar from among seven characters, such as the psychotic Typhoid Mary or sword-wielding Kirigi. In this traditional, turn-based role-playing challenge, each player selects three moves and watches the action unfold on a game board. Special powers, blocks and the energizing of a character all come into play. Online players even can chat via text messages to make the combat a bit more personal.

Surfing in Ohio

The witty folk-rock sounds of Eddie From Ohio have returned to the Birchmere (www.birchmere.com) for a three-night stay that concludes tonight.

Those unfamiliar with the acclaimed local band comprising Robbie Schaefer, Eddie Hartness, Michael Clem and Julie Murphy Wells will find an impressively designed Web site (http://eddiefromohio.com) featuring rustic colors and sweeping multimedia elements that are as easy on the eyes and ears as they are informative.

The cyber-stop’s best area is a mini audio player that resides under a left-hand side tab labeled Music. It presents 20 tunes encompassing tracks from the band’s nine albums. The player even includes balance, loop and shuffling controls with which to enjoy such soothing sounds as “Baltimore,” “Gravity,” “Let’s Get Mesolithic” and “This is Me.”

Web of the dead

Capcom’s zombified video-game franchise, “Resident Evil,” returned to Nintendo Game Cube screens last week, marking the fourth part of the creepy third-person survival game, which has existed since 1996.

In its honor, the company’s official Resident Evil Web site (www.residentevil.com) has put together a promotion inviting evil creative geniuses to compete in designing interactive Web pages.

Through a seven-step process, amateur developers can import their own photographs or use Resident Evil characters, offer a personal bio, choose text colors, select from six types of page layouts and incorporate a poll and favorite links, along with Resident Evil-specific picture book, movies, media cards and even America Online Buddy icons.

Those who attract the most visitors to their sites can win an Apple IPod. The contest runs through March 31, with a winner being chosen at the beginning of each month.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message (jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com).

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