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                       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.

Alive 10