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Demo Reviews (Part 1)
by HCL/Booze Design

IRRATIONAL/CHORUS

Chorus is one of the hottest groups in the demo scene today. Two top-artists make it all, however with help from various musicians. Their productions are like a fresh wind in this polluted scene. Polluted, yes! I was almost active in the scene when it was still a fresh and healthy place to be, and much has passed my eyes since then, believe me.

The big problem with Irrational is that it is being compared to Demode, a most brilliant demo which is hard to match. That's what always happens when releasing a follow up of a hit production. Irrational is a very nice and slick demo, full of tricks and effects, nice graphics and music. But still, compared to Demode it has less of everything. However, I consider this demo more like a strong effort made in a short time to show us all that: Hey, you can count on us!

Irrational is a "press-space" demo, very out of fashion. I have made it myself, but between the two of us Clarence: We're done with that now, aren't we? It may make the demo feel a bit longer sometimes, and since it *only* contains 4 parts perhaps that is what they wanted to achieve. Btw. by pressing space in the end parts, the demo loops (!). Watch out Clare, I own the rights to do that! On such a demo, I just have to mention something technically on each part. Skip this section if you don't care.

Part 1. 4 screens high line-crunched bitmap picture. Afrika can do that! However, the picture is wonderful, and the sprites in the lower border pretends to be 10 by a 3fff-trick, that's what makes a huge difference. Add nice fade-in/out and music, this could be the intro of any double sided demo.

Part 2. Pretending to do FLI-plasma. This is just a tech-tech which updates every second line, plus that the whole thing moves to the left. A bit tricky, nicely implemented and designed. Part 3. 25 sideborder-scrolls. I won't say that this is impossible, and it is less beautiful than the other parts, mostly due to less graphics and colors. Tell me if I should be more impressed ;).

Part 4. A nice picture again, fitting perfectly to the one in the intro. The last screen looks a bit funny, but doesn't really fit to the rest. Looks like party-gfx to me. A nice picture (or two) would have made this a better end part, but ok for this time.

All in all a good demo, but I wonder if Clarence is hiding something in his diskbox. ;)

BOOMBOOM/ASPEKT

This is what I like, fullscreen effects with funny traffic signs synced to the music. Even the otherwise ugly 4x4-pixels are nicely designed and a pleasure to watch! The music is especially nice, with the raw drums and heavy beat. The only thing that ruins this demo is the shaking 8x8-effect. The effect itself is ok, but that gfx-mode is simply forbidden! I hate it from all of my heart!! I would have wished some more effects, and less text, but all in all it's a good production.

Pollution and atomic waste is a great demo theme! I may have my soulfriend in Ruuvari, who knows, but this demo fits my taste exactly. In order to fit even better to this theme, the music could perhaps have had more distorted sounds. I complain now, but when I made my own contribution to trash (Industrial Breakdown) it also suffered from too harmonic music. Also the tune fades out nicely in the end, which is a bit sad. ;)

Anyway, thumbs up! Keep it going!

BOOGIE FACTOR/FAIRLIGHT

A masterpiece! No hard code what so ever (ok, hit me if you have to ;)), but music and graphics fit so good to the effects that it's almost frightening. This shows that a really good demo doesn't need the coolest tricks or the hardest FLI-timing. By working a lot on getting the right colors, finding the right mood in the effects, combined with the groovy music, this team made a top demo anyway. The tempo is not fast, but not really slow either, perfect I guess.

This demo has already been reviewed quite alot, even though it's still hot (with today's measure), so I will not write too much about it that you already read once or twice. Only the most delicious details will be mentioned which makes this production worth a 10 instead of a 9. Some stars drop through the trailblazer! The colorful sprite-spiral thing together with a big affro is ultrakool! The vertical bar-screen is a bit slow, but looks really nice as well. The zooming circle looks like stolen from Wok Zombie, but is only used as a nice fade-in.

The only negative detail I can find is that the name-flasher in the beginning seems to be emulator-timed. It flashes exactly with that 0.1 seconds sound delay in Vice, but on the real machine it comes a little bit late. Or is it really made on purpose? I can hardly believe that!

I resume, Finland-Sweden 1:0.

YOU CAN'T STOP US!/TROPYX

10 years celebration? Blame me, but I hardly ever noticed Tropyx as a demo group before sometime this year. Hmm, checking their log at CSDb... Ok, they seem to have been around more or less all the time since 1998, so that gives me no excuse. ;) One thing that is good with this demo that suddenly comes to my mind, is that it has a through presentation of all group members. I definitely needed that!

Some comments on the demo then... Over all it gives a crappy impression, of a few reasons. First of all it's hard to run the demo from the beginning to the end, without that it hangs somewhere. The age of broken disks is long gone, so there is no reason for releasing something that doesn't run! The graphics also look like from a different era, but at least the music gives me some joy. And the code... Well, I don't know. It's mostly text screens, animations and 8x8-effects. Not really my cup of tea, if I put it that way.

To be honest, I never transfered this demo to disk (which I usually do when reviewing). I needed to run the demo about 15 times (!) in order to reach the end screen, and without warp-mode that would have made me nuts. So, you can say that it was a relief to see that end-rose in many ways. Even though it has weird yellow colors, it is by far the best picture in the demo.

Ok, changed conditions. I did transfer it to proper disk, and it works a lot better. On the second run it reached the end, and bugs that appeared in emu-world did not appear in reality! This gives me some good vibes again. :) Even though Krill's loader is abusing my disk drive, making it sound really unhealthy, I'm happier now than I was before. That is actually a great wisdom of today's demo scene. Skip the f**k'n emulator, all demos are better in reality.

ANNIHILATION/PADUA

A demo by our favourite mag editor: Cactus. He is not only the main editor of this mag, he also codes the mag system, so you can understand that he's not really a beginner. However, none of that will give him any mercy when I get to review what he has done. >:) Most earlier attempts from Cactus has either been text based or collection-like stuff, but this actually looks like a real demo. I say welcome to the demo scene. ;)

None of the effects are technically impressing, and mostly 8x8-effects of different kinds. They are freshed up with some graphix, which is nice but not ground-shaking. The plasma is a bit too slow to be acceptable though, 4-5 frames per update I guess. It shouldn't be too hard to make that one a one-framer. It's also a mystery to me why that small Padua-logo is reduced in color before the fade-in/out. the music (by Vip) also helps this demo to get better, even though it's hard not to think of Insomnia when the intro tune plays. Later in the demo there is a strange conversion of a Mitch&Dane tune from Krestology... I sit here like a big question mark, unable to say anything. Otherwise the music is good.

So with some more technical training, as well as giving up this mag I suppose ;), Cactus may very well become the new Padua coder-star. It's clever to code for Padua, since the Oxyron code standard will be much harder to match, right? :)

HABEMOS DEMO/K2

If you're into circular effects today, you should really know what you're doing. Glitches and low update frequency doesn't help this effect-based demo to look better. It is well timed to the music, on the real machine that is, not the emulator. That is of course a big plus! There is nothing that I hate more than demo-timing with Vice. Btw. does anyone know why that sound delay is still there in Vice? It's f**k'n version 1.16 or something today, but still you can't use it for proper demo-making because of that silly detail. Never mind...

This is also a demo that has a hard time to compete with its predecessor, however that is no base to judge any demo. I know that K2 can do better than this though, perhaps it was just the time factor that made it less interesting this time. Or maybe the party factor. :) "Habemos", if I translate it from Spanish using my own very primitive translator, it says something like "we are" or "we exist". If that's the purpose of this demo, it sort of makes sense. :)

SPHAERISTERIUM/TRIAD + HORIZON + INSTINCT

Seeing the classic Horizon-logo in the beginning of this demo made me shiver! It's like Dath Vader is coming back once again to show you who is the true ruler of the galaxy. The childish Instinct-logo naturally has a hard time in the company of these two legends, who wouldn't? However, Jack Asser is probably responsible for the most hardcore routines in this demo, even though I'm not sure wether vector animations are cool nowadays or still only lame. Iopop, the master of demo design, shows us some new ideas and some old, not too impressing this time. His effects work more as the glue which other effects can attach to. And all effects fit very well, maybe except for the vector animation on side 1. The most disappointing thing about this demo is probably the music. After the excellent tunes Ne7 has given us in Borderline and other productions, this one was not as enchanting as expected. Only late in the demo I start to feel the vibes.

The most impressing effect is the ice-canyon, apparently made by Pernod/HZ (!). The perspective adds a lot to the impression of this effect, and the black outline makes it look a bit cartoonish. Small glitches make me wonder even more how that effect is implemented. Also the color-cycled circles looks really nice when moving, and the colors are chosen very well. A simple effect normally, but moving it makes it a bit more complicated.

I like this demo basically because it's a bit different, and because of the unusual fact that three coders have worked on the same demo. Nowadays most coders are working more or less alone, here we have a delicious mix of grand-dad Pernod, grown-up Iopop, and the new Swedish kid JackAsser. ;) Hmm, I'm gonna get what I deserve for this review I guess. :) Let me just point out the graphic (singularis) in this demo as well. Twoflower is almost alone to master this delicious graphics-mode: Interlaced standard single-color bitmap, when a pixel isn't small enough. Very nice. A last goof: If you run the demo in the emulator with the sound switched off, the basic-screen fade-out gets stuck in a loop. :) A big extra PLUS for that! Over all a nice demo that manages to impress me without breaking any world records (that I am aware of, that is).

HELLO::FRIEND/FAIRLIGHT

YIIEAPP... Okay, let's see. I have done all I possibly can to prepare for reviewing this demo. Lots of beer has been used to get into a deeper dimension of consciousness and understanding. Now I've been watching the demo non-stop over and over again in about 1 hour 30, penetrating all hidden messages and deep philosophies. Yes, Dane, there is more beer in the refrigirator. Now shut up, I'm typing seriously. Hummdidumm dumm. Yes, the demo. The overlayed flowers and butterflies are such a relief from all the other horrible things in this demo. And those disharmonic sounds make a scar in my musical heart. Uhhh I feel so cold. Dane! Please give me that woolen plaid. Ok, time to confess. I'm not the right person to review this demo. I will never understand it or ever feel happy while watching it. Maybe that's exactly the purpose, a dark production aimed only to cause pain. Hollowman is so evil! Time for some deeper shit than beer now.

BLUEPRINT FOR ORGANIC TOY/PANDA DESIGN

Like your first basic program "hello world", this is something like a "hello demo" from RadiantX of Panda Design. Don't you laugh, because you may find yourself beaten in future party-compos by this guy! Comparing with FruitSalad, which was more like an intro, Radiantx has now managed to do a whole trackmo, if ever not that large. You're ready to fly, man! This progress took me over five years.

It's also worth to point out that he has done the music as well as graphics for this demo, and everything sort of fits well together. The only thing I'm missing is a bit of design, Fruit-Salad was actually better in that aspect, but I'm sure it will come in later productions as RadiantX will learn how to master this machine. Some smoother linking would also be nice, but we can understand from the note that it was tight on schedule for the compo.

Radiantx is definitely our new Luke Skywalker in Sweden, but next time bring your light sabre as well. ;)

HCL/Booze Design

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