"May you die in bed at 95, shot by a jealous spouse."
ST DEMO REVIEW: ULTIMATE MUZAK DEMO IV BY PHF
by Richard Karsmakers
The PHF wrote history three times already. When it comes to
sound on the ST, they practically invented its history, or at
least the archiving thereof. Their three previous "Ultimate Muzak
Demos" already featured just about every single piece of music
ever programmed on the ST, both in demos and in games. I guess
they must have a pretty good system of ripping music, for it
seems they can literally rip anything.
Take "Ultimate Muzak IV", for example. Among the 348 selectable
tunes you will also find all tunes present in the ancient and
still playworthy game "Bubble Bobble", for example. Apart from
these odd balls out you get a large collection of tunes by Rob
Hubbard, Ben Dalglish, Big Alec, Mad Max, Driscoll, Jess (!right
on!) and about two dozen more sound programmers.
But let's start at the beginning.
After booting you get a "PHF" logo shot onto the screen,
followed by sortof a flash that appears around it, not unlike
those intros to the old FTL games only somehow better and more
impressive. Next you encounter some presentation screens, where
the individual characters are put on the screen in various
creative ways that really slow down reading speed rather too much
at times. Anyway, these screens inform you of who did what, where
the music came from, how you have to copy the demo, where PHF may
be contacted and the fact that there's 3.3 Mb of music in this
demo. It's a perpetual cycle out of which you can escape to the
actual demo menu by pressing space or something.
The main menu is the standard megademo stuff - a "Turrican"
clone platform menu where you move a character around the screen
with the joystick and make him enter the various clusters of
sound that are contained within the demo. There's also an
alternative, much easier and mouse-driven menu, accessible by
means of the [HELP] key. I am really thankful they include that
kind of thing too, as they did in their earlier demo.
Once the clusters are entered you get a kind of CD player setup
with forewind, rewind, exit and play buttons, and a VU display
of course. The tune played at the moment is identified by name,
and a number after it indicates the possibility of multiple tunes
hidden behind one name, accessible by pressing the "play" button
How about the actual music? Most of it is pretty good, most
notably the many clusters devoted to Jess of the Overlanders and
then of course there's some stuff by Mad Max and Big Alec that's
much worth while. Plenty of music - as I said there are 348 in
all - and some of it pretty darn brilliant. I am glad that people
like PHF put together all this music for music lovers like myself
Concluding, there isn't much to say. Technically it's adequate
but not of the kind of class that would make Union members go
drool. The music is competently ripped and clearly displayed,
which is basically what you want and expect with this kind of
demo. I think people should not be without this impressive series
of music demos.
Well, it doesn't work on the Falcon, of course, but who had
expected that? Too bad, really, but I hadn't even hoped it would.
I hope these guys will soon get a Falcon so that they can do a
megademo on High Density disk with all the tunes ever done in
their previous work, adapted to work on the Falcon and all.
Well, a man can dream can't he?
The screen goes out of focus. There are clouds sortof around the
edges of the screen. We enter someone's true dreams. At first
things are hazy, to say the least. Then we make out a form.
It's...it's...yes, it's a human. Most definitely. He sits behind
his computer. It cannot be seen which computer it is, but the
sounds coming from it indicate that it is one with good sound
The camera moves around and goes into extreme closeup. It's a
man, yes, and his eyes are closed as if he is enjoying something
tremendously. It is not yet clear what that is, actually, or
perhaps, yes, perhaps it's the music. His head sways to and fro
gently. Yes, there is no mistaking it. It's the music. He is
enjoying the music, not anything else.
The music indeed sounds rather nice. It sounds like those old 8
bit computers, you know, those computers with rather basic
abilities but with soundchips that would make any 16 and 32 bit
computer go to shame, including the significantly overrated sound
capabilities of the games machine of which the name starts with
But there is no 8-bit system on the desk, even though distinct
ring modulation and similar effects can be heard. The man uses
the cursor keys, probably, and the screen displays various titles
of music, or at least the names of games in which they were
originally located, or something. "Yie-Ar Kung Fu", "Parallax",
"Rambo", "Knuckle Buster", "W.A.R.", and several others too.
It is easy to see that the man behind the keyboard is wandering
back into forgotten years, when life was less complicated and,
certainly, when computer music was a class of its own. Rob
Hubbard, Martin Galway, David Whittaker, Ben Dalglish...their
names are impregnated on his mind, located on solid golden
pedestals of worship.
A demo like it had never been done on his system.
Let's see if we can make out what the system is. It's got a
colour monitor attached...a VGA one...it looks a bit like an off-
colour 1040 STf...it's...it's...none other than a Falcon!
Nonetheless it sounds almost identical (or perhaps even totally
so) to the 8 bit stuff. This is good. Really good. No wonder,
really, if you know that the Falcon has a DSP chip that should be
able to emulate Commodore 64 sound perfectly.
It can't be made out who the demo is by. Wait a minute...it can
be seen! Yes, it's on the top of the screen, and it reads...
At that instant an alarm clock totally obliterates this
otherwise singularly divine dreamscape.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.