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