A little story
There once was a crew called "The Pendragons". They originated
from France. It was consisted of 3 coders and a few graphic
artists and friends. Like any self-respecting demo crew in the
late '80s and the early '90s, they did some guest screens here
and there. And then they went on to produce a megademo. They
baptised it "The lightning demo".
Now, I'm not sure how well it was received by the public back
then, but since it was one of the few demos I've seen on the ST
until about 1998 I tend to have a soft spot fot it (yep, no
Atari contacts abroad for me, and no Internet until then
either). Anyway, it has all the good ingredients for a nice
megademo: Intro, Loading screen, Main menu that's a minigame
(which looks nice in fullscreen :), quite decent screens (these
guys weren't afraid to do fullscreens or use soundtracker music
or just about anything else), a guest screen to die for
(codewise and musicwise - especially musicwise, Doclands' tune
for the plasma screen is absolutely fantastic!), a reset demo...
It even featured some original tunes (as far as I know :), which
is a major plus!
Then, for reasons unknown (at least to me), they decided to
split: the 2 coders (that did most of the coding for the
Lightning demo) joined the Overlanders, and the rest of them
decided to form another crew and they named it Prism.
Now, as far as I know/remember there has been little output from
this group: a couple of guest screens here and there, and then
nothing. Until, that is, a few months ago...
Raytrace me beautiful
As much as I like to see new demos on the ST, this technically
isn't a new demo, just a new release. Actually it was finished
in '92, but it hasn't seen the light of day till now (Never
released? Never spread? Who knows). Anyway, fact is that we have
a new demo in our hands. Let's see what's in there...
On booting the disk we get a introductory text about the demo,
credits, contact addresses, etc. One thing we note is that there
is a monochrome screen if a proper monitor is detected. We'll
get to that later. For now, pressing space brings us to a nice
graphic that tells us the demo's name. After another tap on
space we get to the main menu of the demo.
The main menu itself is a very simple one, it just displays the
three choices we have and a scroller says some stuff about the
demo in the bottom of the screen. Now, the three screens we can
select from are just animations that were created using a
raytracer, rendered in a Spectrum 512-like format and then
displayed on-screen. The only thing you can actually do is
change the animation speed or exit and select another animation.
Then there's the reset demo. Another good picture is shown while
some vector lines are being around the center of the screen.
Actually the same lines are drawn with 3 different colours, as
if to create a blurring effect, but they don't follow the
leading color exactly. They look like like they're projected or
something, creating a visually nice effect (at least nicer than
the classic effects of this type). Pressing space gives us the
final screen, which is a slow-ish oscilloscope being drawn on-
screen and a scroller writing the usual things that we get to
expect. Also, pressing 'help' brings us a menu where we can
control the parameters of the curve being drawn on screen.
That's it for the color part. Now, let's get mono! Ok, basically
we get the same logo we got with the color version on top of the
screen (dithered of course), then an oscilloscope (surprise
surprise :) but this time you cannot control any parameters of
it (as far as I know). Also, some sprites of the crew's name are
whizzing about, and the same scroller scrolls along in the
bottom of the screen.
Well, apart from the Spectrum display code of the animations and
the nice wireframe effect on the reset demo, there is nothing
too interesting about this demo. Anyway, from its title you
don't expect too much. To be frank, I expected even less than
what I actually got. The graphics are very good, which is
expected because Megadeth did them. (he did very good graphics
on the Lightning demo as well as this one). Musically some Mad
Max tunes are thrown in there, the scene's favorite choice at
Final verdict: nice try, but outdated (maybe even for '92).
GGN for Alive, 2006-12-19