The YM Rockers go back in time!
It's been a while since the YM Warriors last tickled our soundchip
appreciating noses, so this current release is somewhat overdue. In fact,
you might want to ask whether the warriors have got themselves caught in a
time warp perhaps? It seems they've been struggling to get themselves out of
a seedy Hamburg amusement arcade for years!
A contrary mood has seized our heroes of the soundchip, as they have shunned
the current "ever upwards" advanced synthing ethos of the YM music
community, and have gone back to basics in an early 80's retro style! This
'size limiting' is well known across the rest of the demo scene, but it is
the first time that deliberate constraints have been put on the already
inherently limited YM soundchip! What next, a Stylophone music collection
for your Atari?
So this collection does not have a drop of Tao Sid, or any of gwEm's
bleeding edge weirdness. In fact it may not be incorrect to say that even
Mad Max c.1987 might be a little bit too advanced to get in here?
Instead, what you are getting, is (almost) pure 'blip-blop'. We've gone back
to a very basic form of sound synthesis, simple tones, basic white noise
effects, maybe one or two little tweaks, but certainly not any of the
refinements that have evolved since the late eighties. The lack of heavy
synthesis and emphasis on simple effects would lead the composers to
concentrate on making a strong and catchy melody to make their efforts
worthwhile. You can judge their success with the fact that one or two of
these tunes are rattling around in my brain, and are very hard to shake off!
In fact, it took drastic measures such as the release of a whole other bunch
of music demos, to shake these off! Within the beepy constraints, there are
some nice variations, such as gwEm's 'Love washed away with the tide', the
intro part which put me in mind of the Puggsly game endtheme. Crazy Q
manages a 'Zip zap Space attack', and Tao keeps up the ingame music theme
with his 'Crazy Train' zik. Lotek manages to cheat a tiny bit, with some
very low-tech sampling at the beginning of 'Spieler 1.Los!' Several other
famous names of zik-tunes also rally around, so we get to hear from Dma-Sc,
Nemo, Timbral, Beast, and Bodenstandig 2000.
The presentation of tYMewarp goes beyond the simple menu that we've got
used to in previous rockers productions. There is a greeny monochromatic
colour scheme, and a fake vector tribute for the music selector main screen.
Never has an Atari ST looked more like vector line Battlezone tanks ought to
be taking cover behind it! The music selector is a fake vector barrel
But this is not all, as there is an extra treat included in tYMewarp. In
keeping with the 'zapped through time by an arcade machine' theme, there is
a little game to play with the music! This is also retro styled, and is a
cunning amalgam of Space Invaders and Breakout. You use the bat and ball to
destroy the bad guys! This is such a simple but classic idea, I'm surprised
I've not seen it before?! Or has it been done like that elsewhere?
It isn't too hard to get a respectable score, but there is an increasing
difficulty level, so it does get harder as time goes on.
I might also mention the excellent readme file. Normally a minor part of any
release, gwEm has made a real effort with the storytelling. I am put in mind
of Mr Pink's efforts on his 128 byters. With those, the readme was vastly
more entertaining than the effect! At least with tYMewarp, the demo is
able to offer a fair competition of attraction.
To sum up, tYMewarp is a cleverly themed compilation. The music is
simplistic, but the underlying abilities of the composers shine through
regardless. The game is a worthy addition, and a nice touch to prolong the
interest levels. I'd be very interested to see how the warriors are going to
follow this? Will a return to the old style plain menu system be possible,
or do they have something else in mind for their next collection?
A clever concept.
A good implementation.
The hybrid invaders game works a treat!
The tunes are nice.
Readme file is one of the best I've seen that is not written by Mr Pink!
Tunes perhaps a little bit too simplistic for some tastes?
Not clear how they will follow this?
CiH, for Alive Mag,March '05.