The Dink Network

Castle of Lore

Original autumn tiles. From the COTPATD project.
August 11th, 2004
v1.01
Score : 5.0 fair
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MadStalker
Peasant Male Finland
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Ah. Castle of Lore. One of the first D-Mods I downloaded many years back when I first found DN. Back then I played it a little bit, and thought: Cool! I wish I could make a D-Mod like this!

But soon I forgot it, as well as Dink. Just a little while ago I downloaded and played this again. This D-Mod proves me how my standards have skyrocketed since...

Alright, on with the review.

Graphics: Most are modifications of the originals, such as the autumn trees and ice floor. Pretty good use of the originals as well.

Sounds and music: Author of the 374 midis. What do you expect? Lol, I laughed my ass of when I saw some of the bosses. The bosses itself weren't that funny, but the RAPE of the Sabbath's legendary Paranoid made me laugh. The midi version is so crappy that it would make Ozzy crap in his pants. I disliked the other music, too much Metallica (Although Metallica rules) in crappy midis. But... Gotta love it... Frank Zappa and the Mothers, were the best place around, but some stupid with a flare gun, burned the place to the ground... Ah, it's so classic

Map: Started out pretty good. On from the second land where you get the red knight suit, the quality started to lower. Just open up WDE and look at the map, lots of screens with NOTHING in them!

Gameplay: TOO HARD in some points! (And too easy in others) E.g. the red knight and the slayers are impossible to kill without cheating. Lots of bugs in some places, most notably failing Dink to unfreeze.

Overall: The game started out really good, I actually liked it but towards the end... Prepare to be frustrated. Score: 5.0
March 3rd, 2003
v1.01
Score : 6.3 fair
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I guess it would be good form to explain the history and myself
a little about why things are as they are, and why they don't
get fixed.
Okay Castle was the first dmod I ever did for the dinkiverse. It
was quite a long time ago when my coding and software design
styles well.. weren't very well thought out. It was first quite
a bit larger, but later re-did the whole thing. The storyline
would be the only thought out part in the game, but it does
have many weaknesses. Like previously stated it has a strong
start, but since I didn't quite plan the plot twists or general
getting to end stuff most of it was thrown together on the fly.
Therefore, a lot of the quests just happened to appear, very
inconsistent story-telling. The d-mod became a race to figure
out exactly how to end it later on. It caused many setbacks in
release dates and was three months late on the first very bugged
version of Castle. When finally released the second town
couldn't even be finished let alone the whole game. Just then
a good friend decides to send a virus causing me to reformat.
Reformat = bye bye source code (Yes backing up would have been wise)
So the project just stood still for a very long time. Finally
an answer to the problem, Gary's Decompiler. This inspired a second
build which worked a little better then the first, not quite so many
bugs and a few coding and story fixes insued (mostly grammatical and
hints).
Save anywhere and refill health bug. Hehehe yes it's a bug I was
doing extensive testing and needed to be invincible and be able
to save at certain key points so that I could return to them after
implementing fixes. Then a quick compile and distribution. D'oh forgot
to take out the escape script which I used.
Midi's were also a planned out part of this dmod. Took me quite a few
hours deciding what fit where and sometimes I would get annoyed and
just add something in fast. What can I say I was 16 and in a rush.
The rushed aspect left some spots which could've have faired with
better music.
As for some of the annoying puzzles, they were intentionally
made a little complex e.g. The door puzzle in the frozen dungeon/
ice dungeon/ odd looking brick wall dungeon lol. I actually forgot
the method to those doors for a while and got pretty annoyed with
trying to test my way through the game. Thought I would fix it in
the next release but decided against it. As for the slayer maze
I thought I had made it both easy and difficult since I could make
a straight run through 18 times out of 20 without getting hit
by a slayer, but it helped that I knew the fastest route.
This leads into overpowered monsters and bosses. Balancing was an
issue from the beginning as everything was still new and beta-testing
wasn't as easily arranged as it is now. Basically I wrote the game
alone and tested alone and balanced alone. A lot of the monsters
were actually toned down about 20% from the initial release. Didn't
want to make the game too easy so it turned out I made it too difficult.
Now the question of the many bugs. The knight bugs were a pain since
I was new to the scripting language. I had knowledge in c++ and still
didn't quite get used to it. So when I thought of how I was going to
actually have dink be the same knight when he reloaded after a save
was quite difficult. I turned out to try and use complex checks in
the escape file (a very big mistake). If I had given it more thought
I would have noticed that the game checks for what weapon was
equipped when it saved. A big D'oh on my part for that one.
Hardness bugs in frozen dungeon. I had maxed out on the number of
lines I could add from DinkEdit and didn't even realize it. I know
it now, but back then it eluded me for a long time.
There are some other various bugs which I couldn't actually
reproduce so no comments there.
I think I rated myself too well for what I think of my own work
but I'm privy to the context with which it all happened so I
graded myself up a bit.
Authoring resources in those days were very limited and pretty well
everything was some sort of pioneering. It was a rough time
for authors back then. Except for those who were especially good
at working with the scripting language. So here is my history/review.
A few other points while i'm bored and have nothing to do. The
big question, "If this is all so apparent then why not fix it" the
answer is this. It will be updated somewhat when I have the time
but it really isn't important to do so. The dmod has been out
so long it would have to be a total revamp of everything to
even have it halfway up to par. By my guess it was played for 10 mins
and then was forgotten. Therefore, it is better to continue on
larger projects which have been in the works for years rather then
smaller ones which are long past retirement.
October 4th, 2002
v1.01
Score : 6.0 fair
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Binirit
Peasant Female
 
Dink has to get to the castle of Droch to find out what happened to some lost soldiers.

Storyline: The storyline lacks consistency. At the beginning it is all quite clear, but halfway through the game you do not know what to do anymore and you do not get enough hints.

Map and graphics: The title screen is nice. New things have been done with old graphics, like bunkbeds. The brownish trees look good, as do the ice tiles. The map is huge, but after I checked the editor, I did not have the feeling that you could visit all the places on the map. Considering it is such a huge map, it is nicely made with enough details.

Music: There are a lot of midi’s in this D-mod, but while playing I did not really notice them, which means that they were not that impressive. Otherwise I would have remembered them.
Good: Dink can disguise himself as a knight. There is a shopkeeper that sells little toy bonca’s. Rotten floors have mushrooms growing in them. There is some humour in it; one of the options of the choice menu is ‘I forgot’ and when you choose that one, Dink indeed says: “Uh uh, I forgot.”

Not so good: There are savebots but you can also save by pressing escape. There are red hearts but you can also heal by pressing escape.
The monster are tough and numerous, and some are on top of an entrance, and that could have been a problem, but since you can heal anytime you want, it takes away the excitement. I really wonder why the author used both savebots and the escape possibility to save, and both healing hearts and the possibility to heal by pressing escape. You can even unlock the screenlock by pressing escape, which is in my opinion a very strange feature. When loading a saved game the disguise of the red and gold knight switches. Most of the time is not clear what to do.

Overall: A somewhat mediocre D-mod.

Fit for: If you want to play an adventure that involves a lot of fighting and not that much gameplay.
July 6th, 2002
v1.01
Score : 6.5 fair
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IceMan
Peasant Male
 
Castle of Lore, James Perleys first D-MOD (I think). Anyway, you liked his 374 midi collection, didn't you? You liked how each of them was put together, you liked the endless choice he gives you from 374 midis. Well, THAT was good. However, I did not like this game as much as I could have done. Basically Dink is sent to another Dimension to discover the mystery of Droch. Okay, good storyline, very good, here's the pros and cons...

Strengths
---------

A GREAT! storyline, very well thought out. Superb midis, probably the best part in the game. The midis, keep James' storyline going on its goods. The midis here are excellent, just the right midis for the right times and places. Very well thought out. The storyline, as I have previously said, has been constructed well, and once again, it is the midis that are keeping it going so well. I feel that the actual gameplay is pretty good fun, untill the weaknesses come in, which show why you may not want to download castle of lore after all these good points...

Weaknesses
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Lots of the battles are hard, for example, monsters are very difficult to beat at the level you are, and are also very hard to dodge. The game doesn't seem to let you level up quick enough to take monsters like slayers and stone giants on. This is a sign of a bad D-MOD. Too hard to beat, a good potential storyline, but sitll too hard to beat anyway. To read my quick overview of castle of lore, look in the overall section of this review.

Overall
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A good D-MOD, had a good potential, has very good midis, has a very good storyline, but gets boring when you begin to fight monsters. Too hard to beat, very tough, wont let you level up quick enough. The best part of it, however, are its midis. Superb, every single one of them. Well done Perley, on this half, but bad gameplay due to monsters.

Total 6.5
Grade C

End Comment "Hard monsters, good midis and storyline"
March 13th, 2004
v1.01
Score : 6.3 fair
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The game was over before I knew what was going on. I feel I missed alot of the map, rushing around tring not to die and all of the sudden i was at the boss and didn't get to explore around. The areas I did explore seemed to be on the plain and undecorated side. A little bit of humor here and there. Having magic would have been nice in the start of the game to help with some of those over powered creatures. No bugs (that i noticed). It needed more little side things to do. Good music.
November 16th, 2003
v1.01
Score : 4.5 tolerable
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matrice
Peasant
 
One word: NO MAGIC (ok, so that's two words...)

Anyway, the short of it is:
* Lots and lots and lots of fighting and then some more
* Monsters in general are WAY too difficult, though some are terribly easy (no balance)
* Game freezes all over the place (happened at least 5 times to me)
* Lots of other bugs (hardness and such)
* Massive map with little or nothing to do, very little attention to map detail (I actually saw the same screen repeated approx. 10 times next to each other.)
* I'll say it again: NO MAGIC
* No real (sub)quests / puzzles to do - gameplay is as unbalanced as they come.

The only things which upped the score are:
* Good use of scripting possibilities for the knights (at the time this was innovative)
* Some new graphics, notably the "autumn trees"
* The "cheers" tune in the bar (love that !)
August 24th, 2003
v1.01
Score : 6.0 fair
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SimonK
Peasant Male Australia
 
Dink must go to another Land and find out about some missing guards.

This DMOD has promise, but still needs a lot of work. I had to use WinDinkEdit, decompress the .d files and find maps using sprite replacer to get through this one when the sheer frustration level got too high. Part of the reason it got so frustrating is the extremely average map design and game design. Way too much fighting the same monsters, repetition.

Graphics: some modified tiles and trees and some new (average) graphics

Midis: some of these I liked (like Smoke on the Water… etc even though it’s a song based midi, it’s a classic song!)

Sounds: nothing memorable here

Map: it’s large, over half the squares are used, but it is way too simple. No attention to detail and lots of repetition.

Gameplay: Varies from easy to too hard. Finding out what you have to do is sometimes strange/weird/down right random. Kill all those dragons, screen after screen after screen… phew – was that boring.

Bugs: These exist. The mayor of one town freezes the game if you don’t talk to him again, he also gives you the key twice. Somehow I managed to progress without finding the boomerang just by going back to the temple knight.

Overall: If you feel like getting frustrated, play this DMOD. 6 out of 10.