Before the Chosneck Supplement, the Menace Demo!
NOTE:- This review is solely about the Menace Demo, and not the Chosneck
Supplement dismag. I'm hoping someone else will pick that one up, as I've
had way too much personal involvement with it to provide an objective
Here we have the welcome return of the Mystic Bytes after too long a time
away from us!
We also have an answer to the worrying question that came up when 'Beams'
was released, as to whether that demo was the swansong for standard Falcon
productions, and whether anything of that scale was going to follow on a
standard Falcy. Happily it seems that some people still want to try.
"Menace", which was a very large intro for the Chosneck disk mag in fact
grew up into a full-sized demo. It was originally intended for release at
the Noise party, along with the magazine, but various factors of ill-luck
got in the way. Still the extra wait was worth it.
It looks like the main inspiration for the coding was Mikro, who has
continued developing his DSP 3-D engine since the release of 'Moai', back in
the 2004 Xmas competition. So at least one person has decided to see what
more he can wring out of the venerable MC56001. Are there any more? I gather
Sqward is investigating his CT60, but we didn't get so much from his side
this time around, Maybe the next one?
Menace can be run in a standalone fashion, or from the Chosneck GEM starter
shell, and seems to be equally happy on 4 or 14 megabytes, (or at least 4mb
backed up with fastram!) and is good to go on anything from a standard
It kicks off with a flickering logo, which then swiftly resolves into the
first proper effect. This is a golden light-shaded DSP-powered poly-star
surrounded by a golden metallic crescent. To keep Moondog and Lotek happy,
there is a white background, and a bit of shadow too. The effect moves in
time with the musical beat. This first part is most definitely a case of the
technical goodies being subordinate to the god of design, but at the same
time showing the technical goodness shining through, which isn't a bad thing
The opening moves..
There is a splash of more logo's, and a bit of a kick to the soundtrack, as
some ultra-modish sampled speech announces that we're "Given one Choice,
let's make some noise!" Which, let's face it, this has plenty of.
The bit of the demo that shows off the tragically missed Easter release date
is next, as a larger than screen sized map of Europe appears, with all steps
leading to the Noise party. Still, it's a good idea.
There's another statement of intent, and we then get a greyish misty voxel
mountainscape undercut with a suitably 'noisy' guitar soundtrack.
There is a greets screen next. In keeping with the "Something oldschool"
theme, we go all Amiga-ish with a neatly done spinning vector line cube, but
this is replete with the names of several groups etched onto the outside of
it, also in vectors, which makes for quite an appealing nostalgia-trip in a
Another 'designy' bit features, with a small screen window shifting around
the main screen. This has the action going on inside it, with lots of small
DSP-based vector pyramid thingys. Of course, the effect builds and builds,
and there are more and more of these. So eventually it goes fullscreen, with
an impressive number of these little polys onscreen, arranged in a petal
pattern, complete with a green stalk at the centre of a DSP flower!
There is a well-finished and polished 'who does what' section, with the
various coder and creator credits set against some very smart bluish 3-D
effects. These are fairly standard fare, including a 'Hmmm' style thick
vector cube, with the camera view from inside it. Not to mention the
obligatory spiny ball. But they are very nicely done, so there are no
complaints from me.
The climax of the demo is upon us, as Mikro's famous 'Moai' DSP misting
engine is brought out to play here. We get various views of a virtual
windfarm, which is doing its best to cleanly energize the Atari scene! There
are more and more of these, Mikro anxious to cram more on, and you end up
with a scene remiscent of the Gorillaz 'Feelgood Inc' video and the flying
windmill on there!
Atariscene Abhors Ecocide!
This is just enough, as we gratefully sigh into the endpart of the demo,
which is made up of a 3-D poly music notation on a bright red background.
The music goes 'springy' at this point, which suits the mood!
And that is your lot!
So did it rock?
Of course it did!
As I mentioned at the start of the review, there was a real question mark
over whether there were any new productions coming out for the standard
Falcon '030, at a time when increasing attention is (finally) being given to
the CT60, with a series of high profile releases for that accelerated
platform. Happily, there are at least a few people still prepared to see
what the '030 and DSP has got left to give.
A welcome return to a long missing crew!
It's another DSP killer!
Good design, not just a random collection of effects..
Soundtrack helps it to hang together nicely..
Upfront and positive attitude rules!
Truthfully, not quite as polished as 'Hmmm' or 'Beams'.
Over too quickly, but that is just me!
CiH, for Alive Mag, July '06..