Well, at least I know what the initials stand for (it's Mata Qjeta Music). But heaven only knows this coding team's country of origin. The title screens bandy about such places as 'BRNO' and 'CSFR' but wittily fail to tell what they mean. Why aren't there are any practical superheroes, eh? What we really need is for the window to crash open revealing the muscular figure of Geography Man, who in a single bound can tell me where the blithering heck these demos come from. (Hopeful pause.) Ah well.
MQM is yer basic music demo. No fancy graphics or effects, just a plain scrolly (in this unidentified language) and seventeen Soundtracker songs. To be honest, these aren't particularly interesting - the selection is mainly Amiga/ST/pop music stuff. But! There's one tremendous, stand-out piece of music in the pack. Yes, 'Casio Sound' is a truly amazing tune. Mata has sat down and converted the ghastly demo song you get with Casio electronic keyboards. Magnificent! (In a crap sort of way.)
MQM Demo 2: Hard Wedges Into Head is a considerable improvement over the first release. Some impressive intro screens roll aside to reveal a well thought-out music selection screen, in which you can select the music (No! Ed), adjust the volume and fiddle around with the speed of a scroller. The songs themselves are better than those in MQM - it's still the same mix of 16-bit conversions and pop music, but to add variety, the Hard Wedge of the title makes an appearance in five different versions. And at least those eye-wrenching coloured bars have gone.
MQM Demo 3: Total Brain Storm is a milestone for Speccy music. The MQM Team have managed to get a sample on each of the 128K Speccy's three sound channels and the effect is, well, amazing.
Sadly, the number of samples used is few, and the songs themselves aren't that impressive in composition (despite the technical achievement they don't sound as good as, say, Agent-X's Hypersonic 2 Preview track) but still, it's an incredible leap forward. Here's hoping the Digital Soundtracker (or whatever it's called) is released to the public at large.
Oh, hang on, don't wander off yet - I haven't told you the most amazingly amazing thing about MQM 3. Y'see, unlike every other PD music demo in the universe, it has an option for 48K owners. Yes! You too can experience the flavour of the three-channel sampled songs using only the weedy Speccy speaker.
Some of the timing is a little off with the drum samples, and overall the sound quality is rough, but it's thrilling to see someone still supporting the original and markedly AY-chip-less model.
Music demos are notoriously tricky things to rate - personally I like a little more action in my programs, and when all is said and done the songs aren't really up there with the likes of Pentagram's or ESI's.
But for the sheer astonishment factor of MQM 3, the reasonably toe-tapping tunes of MQM 2 and the bravado of 'Casio Sound' in MQM, I'm going to award this trio a whoppingly huge mark. Oh, and watch out for the dodgy language here and there. (For some reason, Atari comes off particularly badly in MQM 2!)