- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2010

Highlighting the best interactive features from the high-definition format.

SGU survival

I’ll skip the diatribe about consumers having to purchase two Blu-ray sets to enjoy the entire first season of one of the better science-fiction shows currently on cable.

Instead, let’s just focus on the interactive bounty found on Stargate Universe: SGU 1.5 (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, not rated, $39.99).

After enjoying the 10 high-definition episodes highlighting the perils of a group of military personnel, scientists and civilians stuck on a starship called Destiny moving about the universe (but never back to Earth), viewers will find a pair of extras worth checking out.

First, each of the three discs contains the Destiny SML interactive, a group of behind-the-scenes production segments accessed via a swirling star map peppered with icons.

Click on an icon to learn how to make a cool CG-enhanced alien or watch interviews with the creators and cast.

Next, the more ambitious Survival Instinct challenge places a player within a Stargate landing party and finds his decisions determining the group’s fate.

A story complete with an optional video introduction about wormholes begins the action as Destiny has dropped out of FTL (faster-than-light).

Through the point of view of a roaming Kino (a floating video-camera orb seen in the show) and a presentation culled from the episode “Time,” the player watches team members arriving on a jungle planet through a Stargate.

A wormhole anomaly traps the team, and it is up to the player to get everyone back aboard the Destiny.

The video gamer will fondly remember Dragon’s Lair as he uses the blue or green buttons on the Blu-ray remote, when prompted, to make choices depending on the situation. He has five seconds to choose or suffer the often-deadly consequences.

For example, decide who will get water for the team, either Eli or Chloe; choose the correct path through the jungle; or decide to fire a weapon at some nasty attacking aliens; or run.

The player works through nine stages to survive, and depending on the rank he picks (lieutenant, master sergeant or colonel), he’ll have up to three lives to make it through the gantlet.

It would have been nice to have a “save” option between stages, as dying occurs often, which means going though the stage from the beginning or starting all over again.

Although the game has no replay value and is nothing more than a pretty memorization puzzle, it at least represents an attempt by Blu-ray developers to expand on the format and give consumers a little extra for their purchase.

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