- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2007

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

Surf Free, Browse Harder

The explosive life of Detective John McClane is back on the big screen with 20th Century Fox’s action-packed thriller “Live Free or Die Hard.”

Fans of the Bruce Willis-fueled series will be very pleased with the film’s loud and fiery Web site (www.live freeordiehard.com/ index_site.html) which leads them down a cyber-path of interactive challenges, goodies and multimedia.

Besides a look at the regular sections devoted to the movie’s production and its trailers, visitors will want to stop by Downloads for a generous supply of stuff they can incorporate into their computers and social networks. A screen saver, MySpace skins, AOL Buddy Icons and e-mail signatures are available, as well as sound bites of the hero at his most ironic. Of particular note is the wallpaper maker that enables artists to select from seven environments in the film and add 16 elements to liven up a computer screen.

Most who stop by the site, however, will jump immediately to the Games section for a pair of fun time-wasters.

First, Bare Knuckle Brawl is not as complicated as the Transformers slugfest (www.transformersgame.com) reviewed last week, but it takes its cue from the current Nintendo boxing simulation as the player controls the hero against solo terrorists and uses the mouse to upper cut, jab, head butt and duck opponents’ attacks.

Under the topic of way too cool, owners of Nintendo’s Wii can use the system’s browser to pull up the fight game (www.livefreeordiehard.com/brawl game) and use the console’s motion-detecting controller to participate in the brawls.

Next, vehicle encounters always have been a part of McClane’s film legacy, and visitors get to take part in combat racing scenes through Drive Hard. The player controls a police car and maneuvers it through traffic while firing at the bad guys’ vehicles and not hurting civilians.

Under Promotions, fans will find an odd challenge created by the Arby’s fast-food chain (www.diehardarbysfan.com/) that attempts to offer the type of white-knuckle action seen in the film. Except this time, players find themselves interrupting an office heist and must chase down a food thief by clicking on Arby’s thought bubbles to have their running avatar perform acrobatic maneuvers through a pretty cool side-scrolling presentation.

‘Kyle XY’ party

Fans of ABC Family’s sci-fi drama series “Kyle XY” have a new way to get together online and enjoy the show via a slick interactive viewer.

Developed in tandem with the technology created for the Internet portal Lycos, this screening room (http://kylexy.lycos .com ) offers up to 10 viewers per party the chance to watch and simultaneously chat about the program in real-time.

Viewing parties can be scheduled by hosts (who cleverly control the ability to rewind, fast-forward and pause the show) and a password can be assigned to block any unwanted watchers to the gathering. Thirteen episodes of “Kyle XY” eventually will be available through Sept. 14.

Lycos “Watch & Chat” technology is also part of its Cinema area (http://cinema.lycos.com/). Film fans will appreciate a stopover to its area to set up rooms to watch such classics as “Brain That Wouldn’t Die,” “Flynn,” Charlie Chaplin shorts and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.”

They also can compile video clips from cyberspace and gather friends to experience the same type of share-and-discuss features in an interactive setting that would make for a great online film history class.

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, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail (jszadkowski@ washingtontimes.com). Joseph also writes a Web-exclusive column for The Washington Times’ Web site where he reviews educational software and family-friendly video games. Check it out at www3.washingtontimes.com/ familytimes/romperroom.htm.

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