- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 3, 2007

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

Robin on the Net

BBC America’s new 13-part television series “Robin Hood” debuted last night and offers the latest take on Sherwood Forest’s most famous outlaw.

Robin’s adventures also come to life through the show’s official Web site (www.bbcamerica.com/content/195/ index.jsp), which offers a dynamic design and enough interactivity to keep rogue archers in top form.

Through pages built upon greenery and earth tones, along with noisy arrows that fly in and lodge themselves in section announcements, visitors can click quickly on areas to learn about the main heroes and villains, read about the series and view a 24-image photo gallery culled from the shows.

Most impressive is the Outlaw’s Revenge section, which challenges a player to complete a varied selection of six games. Each stars main characters from the show.

Great looking and photo-realistic, the action and puzzles come in two difficulty levels and can be enjoyed independently or in order to reveal a classic Robin Hood saga. Accompanied by a rousing musical score, the games will take the player from the woods of Sherwood to a final sword-fighting encounter with the Sheriff of Nottingham.

For example, an adventurer may be tasked with playing a flute as Maid Marian to put three guards to sleep as she sneaks through rooms to find a locked strongbox. Direction keys are used in the challenge, which will remind the player of a finger-fueled version of Dance Dance Revolution.

Or, as Will Scarlett, the player uses a crossbow to fire smoking arrows at a castle’s guard towers to create a diversion and then shoots an arrow with a code through the window of a room where Marian waits to open the box she found.

The complicated mission has a five-minute time limit and 15 arrows and uses the space bar to power up the bow and fire a shot. Photo imagery, sound effects, narration and an interactive map scroll deliver an impressive multimedia experience.

A 12-question multiple-choice quiz concludes the fun on the site as visitors are challenged with trivia that encompasses the legend in cinema, television and real life.

New episodes of the program premiere every Saturday night at 9 EST, with encore showings Sundays at 7 p.m. and Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Also, viewers can catch up with the series through a minimarathon of the first six episodes on April 15 at 1 p.m.

The site to Terabithia

Author Katherine Paterson’s imaginary kingdom came to life through the Disney’s film “Bridge to Terabithia” a few weeks back and continues to play in theaters.

Its official Web site (https://disney.go. com/disneypictures/terabithia/) is not nearly as great as the movie but still manages to offer a bit of interactivity and information for fans.

Besides information on the film, concept art galleries and plenty of downloadable art, visitors will find a pretty deep puzzle game.

The timed objective is to uncover a hidden image from the film by flipping tiles on a gridded board. (Players start with a 36-piece layout.) Each part of the image successfully uncovered is worth 10 points.

However, monsters also hide under the tiles, and when uncovered, they will either cost the player a certain amount of points or, if he is unfortunate enough to pick the Key monster, he will lose he game. Bonus tiles also can be found to offer extra points or guidance on avoiding the monster.

Additionally on the site, visitors can hear part of the fourth chapter of the book read by actor Robert Sean Leonard and download a six-page teacher’s guide in color (in a PDF format) for fifth- to eighth-graders that explores the history of the author and book while offering written activities and an art project.

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 jszadkowski@ washingtontimes.com). Mr. Szadkowski also writes a Web-exclusive column for The Washington Times’ Web site in which he reviews educational software and family-friendly video games. Check it out at www.washingtontimes.com/familytimes/romperroom.htm.

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