Pytho­nian rab­bit and Tiki frog: A wild, witty world for ipad

The Washington Times Daily - - Life -

Here is a re­view of a pair of in­ter­ac­tive apps avail­able for the mo­bile mul­ti­me­dia mael­strom known as Ap­ple’s ipad.

Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days (Melcher Me­dia, re­viewed on ipad 2, rated 9+, $4.99)— Eng­land’s leg­endary com­edy troupe ex­tends its reach to die-hard fans of 1975’s “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with a slick in­ter­ac­tive app built for Ap­ple’s mul­ti­me­dia tablet.

Af­ter an in­tro­duc­tion from the leg­endary John Cleese — drip­ping with his vin­tage va­ri­ety of droll (it has taken him decades to for­get the whole rot­ten ex­pe­ri­ence) and worth at least 95 cents of the 5 bucks — fans dive into a mul­ti­me­dia com­pendium tied to each of the 28 days it took to shoot the movie.

De­liv­ered as the ex­pertly named Day by Day op­tion (view­ers also can pe­ruse ac­cord­ing to key scenes in the movie), the vir­tual book pro­vides au­dio, text, video and im­agery snagged from the pro­duc­tion vaults.

For ex­am­ple, Day 5 (May 4, 1974), ti­tled “That Is No Or­di­nary Rab­bit,” looks at Arthur’s knights’ en­counter with a crazed cot­ton­tail.

The scrolling screen presents a text roundup in gothic type­face. A se­lec­tion of icons pops up in the day’s script pages, and there is rough au­dio from the scene, Michael Palin’s typed diary, the daily con­ti­nu­ity re­port (24 pages of de­tail and sketches), two outtakes (one of­fers laughs from Tim the En­chanter) and a slide show from the set.

Best of all, for the Python purist, there is a way to swipe through a miniscene of a knight be­ing de­cap­i­tated by the furry ad­ver­sary and an au­dio clip from the FA Cup Final that the boys lis­tened to in be­tween fights with the rab­bit.

Also, Terry Jones and Mr. Palin are part of a video diary through­out the list­ings that has the pair tak­ing a nostal­gia trip through some of the “Holy Grail” lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing the rab­bit cave.

When all is ex­plored, view­ers are privy to more than 70 min­utes of nev­erseen-be­fore, be­hind-thescenes ac­tion, a Pythonized map of Scot­land and such bizarre click­ables as 360de­gree views of props.

A player uses a fin­ger to in­ves­ti­gate the in­tri­ca­cies of the Holy Hand Gre­nade, the Tro­jan Rab­bit and a bot­tle of the­atri­cal blood, and a flick of the digit causes the ob­ject to spin like a top for no ap­par­ent rea­son.

Of course, the cut-out-and­paste an­i­ma­tion style of Terry Gil­liam sat­u­rates screens through­out and al­ways is em­bel­lished with an au­dio sound ef­fect or line of di­a­logue. (“Bring out your dead!”)

I can’t be sure, how­ever, if the av­er­age hu­man who hasn’t been bit­ten by Python’s unique brand of wit will find the app as en­thralling as I do.

So, to of­fer ev­ery pos­si­ble rea­son to plunk down $4.99, the de­vel­op­ers also ex­tend the app’s func­tion­al­ity by ty­ing it to watch­ing the re­cent Blu-ray re­lease of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (Sony Pic­tures Home En­ter­tain­ment, $19.99).

New­bies get to en­joy a clas­sic com­edy and, as they hold the ipad, it be­comes a ba­sic con­troller for the Blu­ray player (pause and play buttons) and the app is synced to dis­play the Scene by Scene op­tion while watch­ing or au­to­mat­i­cally trig­gers the parts of the film tied to the app with a click.

Now, find your fa­vorite mo­ments, such as the rib­ald tale of Sir Gala­had or King Arthur’s en­counter with the Knights Who Say Ni and pain­lessly pull up all of the de­tails in this mirth-loaded re­source to get a mul­ti­task­ing les­son in cre­at­ing com­edy.

Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days may ex­plore why it was so mis­er­able to make a film about the Arthurian leg­end (so sayeth nearly all of the cast) but, thanks to the ipad, will keep a viewer laugh­ing and in­ter­act­ing for hours.

Zuma’s Re­venge HD (Popcap, rated 4+, re­viewed for ipad 2, $1.99) — An orb­spit­ting am­phib­ian relic chal­lenges a col­lec­tion of evil Tiki chief­tains in the re­turn of an ad­dic­tive puz­zler built for Ap­ple’s mo­bile gam­ing so­lu­tion.

With the goal of hav­ing at least three balls of the same color touch one an­other, a frog idol sits in an­cient jun­gle lo­ca­tions and acts as the fir­ing mech­a­nism to launch orbs at a snaking col­lec­tion of stone spheres rolling down a path.

When a shot sticks in the queue and matches, the matched group dis­ap­pears and the over­all num­ber gets smaller. To beat a level, elim­i­nate all of the balls from an arena be­fore any of them falls into the open­ing of a skull icon (that looks like a sewer cover).

Us­ing the ipad’s touch screen, a player can hold a fin­ger near the frog to line up a shot and re­lease to shoot, or sim­ply touch his goal, with laser guides help­ing the process. If he taps di­rectly on the idol, he can get the ball to change color, po­ten­tially help­ing with his strat­egy.

Some of the balls also act as power-ups when hit and in­clude rolling the line of spheres back­ward and the frog spew­ing a laser beam for a set amount of time, elim­i­nat­ing any tar­geted sphere.

A half-dozen boss lev­els help mix up the ac­tion as the player must hit a mov­ing Tiki chief as an ever-ad­vanc­ing stream of balls blocks his path.

Over­all, the cam­paign of­fers 60 lev­els of ac­tion that even in­clude are­nas where the frog must jump to dif­fer­ent spots on the map to shoot at hard-to-reach tar­gets and vis­it­ing lo­ca­tions such as the Lost City and Un­der­wa­ter Grotto.

Ad­di­tion­ally, a Chal­lenge mode pro­vides an­other 60 lev­els of var­ied dif­fi­culty (rang­ing from easy to se­ri­ously hard) tied to ob­jec­tives such as col­lect­ing 45,000 points.

The good news is the ac­tion comes alive through 3D designs, sound ef­fects, cliched na­tive mu­sic, a Tiki Stand area to check stats and some hu­mor­ous di­a­logue.

The wel­come or, in my case, not-so-good news is the game re­ally is chal­leng­ing and will re­quire a com­mit­ment rather than ca­sual al­le­giance in or­der to beat the Tiki gods.

Also, dur­ing later, su­per­fre­netic lev­els, I did find it a bit awk­ward to see my tar­get and shoot eas­ily while hold­ing the ipad; the game works much bet­ter with the de­vice flat on a ta­ble.

For the price, a bit high in the world of game apps, a mul­ti­player op­tion would have been wel­come.

Still, Zuma’s Re­venge HD de­liv­ers a great-look­ing and “rib­bet­ing” (you had to know I was go­ing to go there) ad­ven­ture for the gamer in the fam­ily.

Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days is a a slick in­ter­ac­tive app built for Ap­ple’s ipad. Fans dive into a mul­ti­me­dia com­pendium tied to each of the 28 days it took to shoot the movie. For ex­am­ple, Day 5 (May 4, 1974), ti­tled “That Is No Or­di­nary Rab­bit,” looks at Arthur’s knights’ en­counter with a crazed cot­ton­tail.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.