Hugi Magazine #33: MP3 Power

Hugi #33 header graphic

Review: Starstruck by The Black Lotus (Done by Magic of Nah-Kolor)


When watching the demo competition on the Assembly 2006 live stream I never imagined to see a new TBL demo! On the other hand it was then that I remembered Kalms/TBL had told me at BP'06 that something else would come in 2006 but I had forgot about it until now. When I had seen the demo I knew for instant that this demo had to win over all PC demos in the Assembly 2006 combined demo competition if there was any justice on this earth, and ironically, in anno domini 2006, it did! Let's start with this review.

It Strucks Hard..

The demo starts off with the loading picture. 'Loading, contains 20% new content', it says. Well, how about that. I hope it will be more than 20% though. Next the usual TBL logo appears. But now it's animated. Nice. The music starts. Composed by Blaizer (ex-member of The Silents), this music is really building atmosphere. Raising what you ssee on the screen to new heights! How can anything look bad with this kind of uplifting and atmospheric music playing in a demo? One of the best pieces of music in a demo ever in my humble opinion.

The demo starts with multilayer graphics scrolling from right to left. Buildings, computers, guns - looks nice. Reminds me a little of the "Shadow of the Beast" game by Psygnosis from 1989 ;)

The Credits part starts. Mostly if not all employees of Digital Illusions, though I heard Blaizer left them not so long ago. Kalms, Rubberduck, eriQue (of Sonik Clique - fame) and Rej for the programming. Graphics by Louie 500, Tudor and DUffe and the music - well, as said, by Blaizer. Their names are presented on top of dark clouds scrolling downwards with 'shadows' of images put over it for example planet earth or a woman. The names of the sceners who made this demo are somewhat hard to read though.

Coming up next: We break shit! We can read. Before we enter a spinning room with droids, the female dancer with ribbons from previous TBL demos comes flying into the scene attached to a robot arm wearing some kind of computer glasses. Her arms are really moving in a natural way. Great! The "we break shit" scene looks likes being ripped from the website (see "IdN Design Edge on that page" - we break shit, eh? :) The next scene is in an industrial enviroment. We see a walking robot spider. It jumps from the ground on a wall and continues walking. The camera goes to a new angle so it looks the robot spider is walking on the floor again ;) Nice! Then a mountain scene is presented. The music playing while this scene is being displayed is awesome! This time it's not a mountain with snow but with grass. The shadows are nicely done.

Next comes something I would like to define as sort of a Star Wars scroller but with black letters on a wall which has a woman painting on it hiding her breast with her arms :) A voice tells us: "What do they want? To destroy all life that is not their own they believe that only they have a right to exist in the universe. That all other life forms are inferior and must be exterminated." Then a robot is smashing the names of Loonies, Mawi, Ephidrena, Iris, Complex, Fairlight, Farbrausch and Nesnausk with a huge hammer. Those names fall apart when they were hit, and we hear the sound-fx of broken glass. Haha, original credits part! Glad to see that TBL let groups like Mankind, Drifters and Nah-Kolor live ;-)

The next scene is about a robotfish swimming at the bottom of the sea. That bottom looks very real and so is the shadow of that fish on the bottom. Then many fish swim looking from an angle towards the surface while the sun is shining in the water. A grey ball is spinning around with some kind of fractal trees on it. Maybe some codersporn? Then we zoom out into a picture with a red eye which belongs to a crow. When we zoom further, we see this crow standing on a roof behind a man. Lots of black crows fly away in this picture. The music now starts to sound very dramatic if a climax is going to be reached. A picture of a city landscape is zooming out with more black crows flying away, and then... the music reaches its climax, and we see a crow animation (?) which looks very natural in motion! We hear the sound-fx of the wind in the background and the sound a crow makes. The crow is standing on a metal pipe as it looks like you can hear it when he hits this metal pipe with his feet. A logo appears: TBL Amiga Assembly 2006. The demo is over.


What a ride! What a demo! And it won against all PC demos released at Assembly 2006! In my opinion this is one of the best demos ever released. We of the hugi staff can barely imagine what TBL can come up with as for their next Amiga demo to top Starstruck! Hugi rates this demo a 10 out of 10!


Dr.Doom of Iris: "I found Starstruck a little uninspired. I like the demo in itself, and Louie's work is better than ever, but the whole style is a little.. meh.. you know. I love that it won the combined compo at Assembly, of course, but ultimately there's nothing in it that really makes me go 'Wow, I wish I could do that.' And also, I wish they'd stop using animated skyboxes for like every single effect. It gets old."

Stingray of Scoopex: "Pretty good but nothing extraordinary compared to the quality we know from TBL. Lacks innovation for me."

Xeron of Iris: "No real new routines from TBL here, but the artwork, composition and sheer skill that has gone into it makes it one of the best uses of the TBL codebase ever. Simply an amazingly brilliant demo."

Axel of Brainstorm: "It totally rules, deserved to win, although the name TBL surely works on its own a bit :) but it was great for them after a bit of a disappointing Breakpoint to put things right again with a victory at Assembly it's perfectly 'choreographed'."

Magic of Nah-Kolor