The Dink Network

Blood Scorpions

August 6th, 2009
Score : 9.5 exceptional
This is a very well-rounded, well-implemented DMOD. The story happens in the middle of the desert, in the Town of the Ancients. Dink is a new recruit, and must pass through the training in order to become a Servant of the Ancients. However, it is not very long before Dink realizes that something is amiss, and sure enough, after he finishes his training, the town gets overrun by scorpions, and Dink must save the day. It is a moderate-length quest, completeable in a couple of hours.

The Good:

At all stages, it is clear what needs to be done, but Dink must find out how to get there himself. The sign of a well-paced story.

The implementation is also smooth; no glaring bugs or niggling problems aside from the rare sprite depth issue. The scenery is outstanding; very atmospheric and well-placed decoration. The use of burnable cacti replacing burnable trees is a nice touch.

The monster difficulty as you progress through the game is also well-designed; it never feels too easy, and never feels impossibly hard.

Overall, the game has the shine of a solid, detailed implementation that speaks of high quality.

The Bad:

The story left a few things hanging at the end. How the orbs protected the city is never explained, and the whole blood-spawning-scorpions thing is never fully explained. The motivation behind the theft of the orbs isn't too well developed, aside from the usual evil maniac wanting to take over the world bent.

More scenery objects could be implemented; it is jarring to have, for example, a table with a skull on it that elicits a response when Dink tries to interact with it, yet have him say "I'm bored" when he examines some other furniture that the author just placed there for looks. This is just a nitpick, of course; the amount of scenery objects that *are* implemented already far exceeds most DMODs.

The final boss could've been made a bit tougher. Or perhaps have a unique kind of attack: poison spit, say. This would've made the endgame more interesting. As it stands, the final boss is defeated after the same amount of work as a previous miniboss; one would've expected a tougher fight, even if only by a bit. Also, the Scorpion castle seems kinda small... a gradual progression through tougher scorpions before reaching the final boss would've been a nice touch. Speaking of which... a castle seems a bit out-of-place for scorpions to nest in. What about scorpion caves instead? That would've added more to the atmosphere. Or perhaps a sand hill scorpion nest.

The final cutscene seems a bit too ... skippy. Is there really a need to show Dink walking through so many screens? After the first two, we get the idea that he's taking a long walk to the final destination. Good enough. We can just go straight to the ending.

Having said all that, though, this is still an excellent DMOD, and definitely stands a shoulder above the vast majority of DMODs. It's almost a pity that it was over so quickly! Many of the bad points are really quite minor in comparison with the flaws in other DMODs. I think it deserves a 9.5.