Review of Strange Days by Venture for the Amiga 1200/4000
Back in the year of 1996, a demo party called Intel Outside 3 (catchy name!) was arranged in Warsaw, Poland. The gathering was organized by a group called Union and roughly 800 people attended the event. Quite a good turn-out if you ask me! It’s worth mentioning that this was the first time PC users were welcome to participate at an Intel Outside party, as earlier editions were Amiga orientated.
The demo we’re going to look at today is called Strange Days. It was developed by Venture, a Polish demo group, and released at the party mentioned above. The winner of the competition was Muscles (legendary demo!) by Impulse, with Embraced by Floppy trailing just behind. Strange Days captured the third place.
I actually wrote a review of this demo for another website many years ago. Thought I’d watch the demo again and write a new review.
The credits for this demo is as follows:
- Noster (programming)
- Pippen (programming)
- Korbatz (graphics)
- Majkel (graphics)
- Wierza (music)
This demo requires an Amiga 1200 or 4000 with at least 4MB of Fast-RAM and a hard drive.
One thing I like about Venture is that their demos have a unique and special style. Often they had an opinion about a subject that they wanted to share with the viewers. This could for example be about politics, war or drugs. This made them stand out from the crowd. Strange Days is no exception, as it contains an anti-war message. They shed light on all the cruelty and the devastating conflicts that are taking place on our planet. Another example is Fallen Angels, which (if I remember correctly), is about the dangers of drug-abuse.
The first part of the demo contains a home-made black and white video by Venture that shows people fighting. Viewer discretion is advised. First you’ll see a car arriving at a desolated area and two guys jumping out of the vehicle. They open the trunk and pull out a poor guy that gets his ass kicked. He then tries to run, but they catch him and.. I will not write more about it, but it’s not fun to watch and fortunately it is just acting. It just seems more real with regular people and the black and white footage.
After the video is finished, the main part of the demo starts. It contains many texture-mapped 3D effects with various shadings applied. Some of these are a bit slow on a 68030 CPU, so a better CPU (or WinUAE) might be in order to get the most out of the presentation. You’ll also see images that characterizes the evil in our world.
The music in the background is rough and heavy and fits the design and idea of the demo. It works well with what is being shown on the screen. Everything you’ll see is synced with the music, which makes watching Strange Days a smooth ride. It is clear, when you watch it for the first time, that a lot of work, effort and thought have gone into this production. It is clear, though, that this isn’t a demo to run if you’re looking for something to cheer you up. It’s a demo that reminds you of how our world is and how cruel humans can be to each other.
In my opinion, there is nothing really wrong about this demo. It has an interesting theme, contains many cool effects and provides you with good music. The effects could be optimized to run better on slower CPU’s, but that is of course easy to say so many years after. After all, many people claimed that the Amiga couldn’t handle such kind of effects to begin with.. 😉
Strange Days is not your average demo, but it is an interesting one. definitely worth watching!