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Alive 13

menace demo!

                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
Falcon upwards.

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
at all.

                               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
newschool demo.

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..

Alive 13