xmas 2004 demo
This is the first production in a while from Paradox, the STe fan-club. They
were last remembered for their tasty 12-bit high resolution video mode demo
on the STe, which we enjoyed at the Outline party. There were suggestions
of more to come at the time. It has taken a while, but the first fruits of
their more recent labours are now to hand.
This Xmas intro signals a strong rebirth of that most despised of demo sub-
genres, the Xmas intro. Well in considering "most despised", we'll skip over
the subject of fake demos for now! Traditionally, the Xmas demo was the
repository of the lamest cast-off code, and some clunkingly greeting card
styled cliches in design. The number of good Xmas demos can be counted on
one hand, well on one finger in fact. I remember the DHS 'Two in One' intro
managed a swift kick to the genre back in 1999, combining a Xmas theme with
some decent effects, but since then, nothing comparable has come out.
However, it seems that for the 2004 season of goodwill, Paradox are
motivated to try a bit harder than most. Have they succeeded?
The main members of Paradox, Paranoid and RA are on the job. They are ably
supported by ZWF doing the graphics, and of course, we can't forget 505 on
the soundchip drums.
It is advertised as an STe or Mega STe demo, although it will mostly run on
an RGB Falcon, so we fire up the STe, insert the disk, and...
Well it does start in a cliched enough fashion, it's a greetings card still
graphic, as you are given some Germanic seasons greetings, with some
'Paradox' footprints in the snow. This is pleasant enough to look at and
well drawn, but hardly dynamic.
The first effect proper is a slightly austere and grown-up looking title
screen, where the demo title and group name scroll upwards in a parallax
vertical scaled kind of thing. For some reason, I'm reminded of an old
Armada/Aggression screen where Postscript scaleable fonts suddenly became
aggressive! In this case, Paradox think the font used was 'Impact', and blue
in colour? The audio is pure STe, a looping sample, playing some ambient
Swedish thing which crops up as incidental music in the places where Moby
and Daft Punk aren't used! I forget the name, it will come back to me after
I've sent off this review to Cxt, ah well..
Another rip-roaring ZWF still graphic, taking the Xmas theme a bit further,
with a Santa manga babe, unfeasibly huge eyes and all. But your attention is
slowly drawn to the large squashy breasts!
It's time for a bit of newschool next, as we are treated to a fiery tunnel,
which is like a normal tunnel, but with fiery bits spurting towards the
viewer as it slowly rotates. At the same time, a fresh musical direction is
taken as 505 throws in his contribution.
The tunnel burns out all too quickly, and we get to the final screen in this
short but sweet demo. This is a bit of a conspicuous oldschool style, but
with a few nice twists. There is a huge 'Paradox' silver font logo which is
slightly bigger than the horizontal resolution at the top of the screen. It
has to fidget about in the confined space so we can see it all. It also
changes colour from time to time. There are some classic rolling raster bars
right behind it. The bottom part of the screen has a 'fire and water' theme,
with a gold medium sized textscroll reflected in a watery bottom layer.
Paradox have exploited a nice quirk of the STe hardware, as they combine the
505 zik, with a looped watery sploshing sample which plays on the STe DMA
hardware. This can be user controlled, as to whether you want it on or not.
There is a very long and detailed infoscroller which tells us about the
making of this demo, and indicates that there is more to come from Paradox,
especially on the STe! We sincerly hope so!
The demo ends here, or rather, it doesn't end until you had read enough and
switch the machine off. It can be said that Paradox have raised the quality
bar for the previously lame field of Xmas demos with this fine effort.
Graphics:- 75% - About fifty percent Xmas, the rest of it not ;-)
Sound:- 80% - Good use of STe DMA and also a nice 505 tune.
Coding:- 80% - Good quality material on show, a taster for the future.
Overall:- 78% - It manages to elevate the despised Xmas demo higher.
CiH, for Alive! Mag,Jan '05..