- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 15, 2006

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

A Pirate’s site for me

The latest ode to the life of the swashbuckler arrived in theaters July 7 with Walt Disney Pictures’ “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” and the film’s lively Web site (https://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/pirates/main.html) gives fans a virtual theme park’s worth of fun.

After an electrified treasure chest moves to the bottom of the screen, giant squid tentacles pull away stone pillars to place visitors on the deck of the Black Pearl, where they find Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew.

Greedy pirates first click on the Plunder section to learn they will need to collect 10 items from various locales on the site, which will grant them access to a very scary place.

While still on the Pearl deck, they will find a collage of character cutouts and scenery from the film that reacts to a mouse pointer and combines with hot spots, music, sound effects, dialogue and plenty of animated activity.

They also will run randomly into items that, when touched with the mouse pointer, offer digital trading cards, also called tokens, that are stored on another Disney site (https://tokenzone.go.com/pirates2/).

After registering to receive the tokens, collectors are able to trade virtually with online pals and acquire more colorful, framed imagery from the film.

Those wishing to leave the Black Pearl can either click on the key slot at the ship’s main cabin entrance or view the World Map, where they can stop by Jack’s Quarters, Pelegosto Island, Tortuga Port, East India Trading Co., Tia’s Shack and a Turkish Prison.

All locales offer the same type of interactive multimedia found at Jack’s ship. The Turkish Prison becomes the point where successful plunderers learn of their fate and can access Davy Jones’ favorite musical instrument.

What would a Disney site be without challenges? The Pirates cyber-stop does not disappoint. A click on the Games section drops down a layer of planks to reveal seven activities to hone the brain and reflexes.

Games include yet another Whack a Mole permutation called Catch the Monkey, a quiz titled Black Pearl 101, a fortune-telling simulation called Crab Claw Destinies, the side-scrolling Isla Cruces Beach Sword Fight and — my favorites — Pirates Dice and Rogues Battleship II.

Rogues Battleship II is literally a blast as the player controls the Black Pearl, moves it back and forth, and fires cannonballs at other aggressive vessels. The player dodges return fire and works through three levels of battles.

Pirates Dice, featured in the film, is especially a brain drain as it gives a cup of five dice to the player as well as Will Turner and Captain Sparrow. After each rolls and hides the dice, they take turns bidding on what they think is face-up on the table (i.e. two “sixes,” four “sixes”), until a player calls another a liar; then the truth is revealed. Liars and wrong guessers lose a die. The last player with any of the numbered cubes remaining wins.

Additionally, more fun can be found at the first film’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” site (https://disney. go.com/disneyvideos/ liveaction/pirates/main_site/ main.html).

Multimedia-filled pages take the visitor on a hunt to find Aztec gold among more virtual locations while he stumbles upon a few more challenges, including an online version of the card game War, along with some conceptual art and behind-the-scenes footage.

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 an e-mail message ([email protected]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 www. washington times.com/ familytimes/ romper room.htm.

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