- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 12, 2012

With the third “Men in Black” movie landing in theaters May 25, fans get to enjoy high-definition versions of the first two films in the Blu-ray format, with a handful of multimedia games to refresh the sci-fi experience.

Based on the Malibu Comics series from back in the early 1990s, Men in Black and Men in Black II (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, reviewed on PlayStation 3, $19.99 each) explores the adventures of agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones).

The duo star as intergalactic police from a super-secret government organization that monitors and deals with extraterrestrials immigrating to and illegally hanging out on Earth.

After watching the original film and appreciating its welcomed wry sense of humor and awesome selection of aliens, viewers can take part in an interactive quiz.

Mildly innovative to the Blu-ray medium, Intergalactic Pursuit: The MIB Multiplayer Trivia Game involves answering multiple-choice queries (choose from four answers) with a 10-second time limit.

A player can go it solo (in a 10-, 15- or 20-question round) or host (or join) online tournaments to quickly compete against up to eight players touting up to 25 questions. A mixture of video clues or standard questions tap into details from the film, for example, “Who was the only eyewitness to Edgar’s murder?”

Also, look for off-screen trivia about the cast (be ready to explore Tommy Lee Jones‘ days at Harvard) and even questions about the INS. After playing multiple rounds, I saw very little duplication of questions, a common problem in the days of DVD-driven trivia challenges.

A second interactive called Ask Frank the Pug is much less entertaining, offering a Magic 8 Ball-style approach. A viewer asks the pooch questions tied to topics such as money, romance, career and health and with a click of the directional pad receives a vague answer.

The big bonus on the “Men in Black II” Blu-ray certainly is not the film’s plot, but a playable demo of the upcoming Men in Black: Alien Crisis video game for owners of the PlayStation 3 console.

A pair of those caffeine-addicted worm guys greet the player, who is then unceremoniously thrown into a third-person battle against the original form of the second film’s protagonist, the Kylothian Serleena.

In control of an agent who resembles an amalgam of the Baldwin brothers, it’s a fight to the death with a mutated and massive Venus fly trap atop a building.

The player can switch between the agents’ standard-issue weapons  the noisy cricket pistol or tri-barrel plasma gun, use a freeze ray, can duck behind objects, slide out of danger, target and shoot powerups for health, add weapon attachments, and scan the alien for weaknesses. His initial targets  without giving too much away  are the giant pustules growing out of the Kylothian’s stem.

Offering just a wisp of the game’s potential (maybe five minutes or so for the real gamer), this demo is a hugely disappointing and uninspired event — especially when compared to a similar extra tossed into last year’s Blu-ray release of “Battle: Los Angeles.” Then, players enjoyed a much longer demo of the incredible Resistance 3 video game.

It’s too early to tell if MIB: Alien Crisis will land in film-to-game-adaptation purgatory, but its preliminary graphics were mediocre at best and it looks as if distributor Activision is targeting the not-so-battle-hardened tween, not a good sign for the serious shooter crowd.



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