- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 14, 2007

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

‘Stranger’ online

A journalist goes undercover to get close to the man she believes killed her friend in Sony Pictures’ “Perfect Stranger,” now in theaters. The thriller stars Halle Berry, Bruce Willis and a Web site (www.action shaveconsequences.com) that allows visitors to investigate a lead character’s apartment.

Reporter Rowena Price’s photo-realistic abode is virtually opened up to strangers, as they can navigate around her dining room, kitchen, living room and bedroom to learn a bit about her life, her friendship with the deceased Grace Clayton, and both women’s involvement with powerful ad executive Harrison Hill.

Floating boxes invite entry into each area for a total of 13 interactive spots that enable visitors to walk around rooms and explore images, sounds and text clues to her life.

For example, going to the kitchen, I found a manila file folder with photographs I could grab to look at various shots of Mr. Hill. Also, a telephone answering machine can be clicked on to hear a message from the worried mother of Rowena’s deceased friend.

The best multimedia area is found in the living room, where visitors can delve into the reporter’s non-password-protected computer.

The opening screen interface offers clickable access, just like a real computer, to some of her e-mails; her browser, with a magically typed-in Google search for Hill (complete with links to faux news stories); and a pair of chat areas, one to Hill and one with a fellow reporter.

Rowena’s journalist friend with the handle MilesPerHour checks in to chat and offers a few intriguing, working links to viral video blogs set up by Hill’s cheated-on wife (https://need 2no413.blogspot.com) and the dead girl (https://fastfilly413.blogspot.com).

Grace Clayton’s blog is an especially creepy look into the world of a woman obsessed with an online relationship that turns into dangerous reality.

‘Pathfinder’ game

Also in theaters is 20th Century Fox’s “Pathfinder,” a movie devoted to the action-packed possibilities of Nordic warriors attacking American Indians 500 years before Columbus plus one viking boy’s struggle.

The film’s Web site (www.pathfinder themovie.com) is first distinguished by tiny symbol icons found in every section that, when clicked upon, reveal some historical data to support the story and explore the cultures represented on-screen.

One section definitely worth a look, Graphic Novel, offers 21 pages of artist Christopher Shy’s dramatic and haunting style highlighted in Dark Horse Comics’ sequential-art adaptation of the film.

The other section worth a look, Ghost Warrior, delivers a surprisingly deep third-person action game as the player controls the star of the film and battles vikings through a harsh climate in pre-Columbian America.

With stealth tactics and all-out brawls, the player works through areas to free the spirits of his people, gain some powers and weapons and eventually challenge the Nordic leader, Gunner.

Young warriors must register and then download and install a 34-megabyte game file that requires an 800-MHz Intel Pentium Processor or better and a Windows 200 or XP operating system.

The action involves keyboard commands to control the hero as he moves, sneaks and hides, attacks and blocks foreign invaders with the use of swords, axes and shields in a snowy terrain that has a gorgeous watercolor-painting look.

Beating any of the Dragon Men is no easy feat, as each is covered in armor, wields a heavy sword and is considerably larger than the Ghost Warrior. The player should try to avoid conflict at all costs, as his fingers will get cramped after just a few, very lengthy, encounters with the brutes.

A demo version of the game also can be run from the site on either computer (with no registration or downloads required), but it just gives a snapshot of the action in one-eighth of the screen area.

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 e-mail to [email protected] washingtontimes.com). Mr. Szadkowski 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.washingtontimes. com/familytimes/romperroom.htm.

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