- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Here’s a look at some multimedia fun tied to a sacred text:

The Bible Game, from Crave Entertainment for PlayStation 2, rated E: content suitable for ages 6 and older, $19.99. Up to four players compete in a cheesy game show called “Do Unto Others” that mixes “Beat the Clock” and “Press Your Luck” action with 1,500 trivia questions.

Serious religion students need not apply, as the title caters mainly to younger gamers through 20 minigames that present a humorous introduction to main figures and events from the Old Testament. Within 10-, 20- or 30-minute timed games, players must accept challenges and accumulate points to win. Rounds end when a player unintentionally hits the Wrath of God space and loses all the points accumulated in the round.

The rounds range from taking part in multi- and single-player games to answering a multiple-choice question to playing a game for another player, who then gets the points.

The arcade-style multiplayer games include players hurling stones at cutouts of the Philistines and a moving Goliath in a shooting gallery, fleeing Egypt as quickly as possible while running through a parted Red Sea and climbing Jacob’s ladder by following on-screen directional arrows.

A final bonus challenge ultimately determines the outcome of the game show as each player takes a turn to garner the Grace of God by choosing mysterious icons from a tree in the Garden of Eden. Pulling down a fruit quickly multiplies point totals; selecting a snake sends the totals back to zero.

Single players are in for the most un-Christian experience as the computer-controlled opponents are vicious and nearly impossible to beat in most of the arcade simulations. To further the lack of Christianity, in one minigame, players must kick false idols into a molten pot. My avatar can sneak up behind another on-screen character and kick the idol he has carefully positioned for disposal and steal his points — didn’t I just break one of the Ten Commandments?

Despite some conflicting messages, the Bible Game still delivers family fun in an entertainment-console world often dominated by much meaner and violent titles.

The History Channel Presents: The Bible DVD Game, from BEqual for DVD-enabled computers and entertainment centers, $19.99. The digital video medium is a conduit for learning about the Old Testament and New Testament in a trivia challenge that uses the dynamic leveling of questions so children can compete against adults.

Christian musical artist Jeremy Camp stops by to offer a music video, introduce the action and occasionally embellish the on-screen knowledge in a title that features 1,300 questions presented as anagrams and fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice and true-or-false challenges.

With DVD controller in hand, up to four players choose an adventure guide such as Joseph, Moses, Peter or Abraham to enter a virtual game board. The game, contained on a single disc, offers 10-, 20- or 30-minute time limits and is geared to the better-versed Sunday school student, as knowing the lineages of Bible figures, the specific names of books and minor points of the Scriptures’ stories will lead to a win.

The Ten Commandments: 50th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition from Paramount Home Entertainment for DVD-enabled computers and entertainment centers, rated G, $24.99. One of my fondest memories from my youth is watching Charlton Heston lead the Israelites out of Egypt every Easter. With this three-disc DVD set that celebrates director Cecil B. DeMille’s fascination with the book of Exodus, I no longer have to wait for a televised version of the classic.

The first disc presents an introduction by Mr. DeMille of his Vista Vision epic before viewers witness a gorgeous reproduction (unfortunately, not digitally remastered) of the first act of the 220-minute film, which relays a Hollywoodized story of Moses.

An optional commentary track from author and DeMille expert Katherine Orrison comes packed with minutia about the man and his movie.

In addition to the second act of the film, the second disc includes a six-part documentary that pales in comparison to Miss Orrison’s words, some footage from the premiere and a “making of” trailer hosted by the director.

The final disc offers the complete 1923 silent version of the film, directed by Mr. DeMille, that could be seen as a cinematic blueprint for the 1956 version. Viewers also get more interesting commentary from Miss Orrison and a hand-tinted scene of the parting of the Red Sea.

Write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; or send e-mail (jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com).

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