The Dink Network

If Ducks Ruled the World

Dink sneaks past a sleepy guard. From the COTPATD project.
August 6th, 2009
v1.00
Score : 8.0 good
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This is a generally well-implemented DMOD which sees Dink being sent on a vague expedition to solve a "disturbance", which eventually turns out to be a funny twist.

The Good:

The premise is quite funny, as is the dialogue and responses from NPCs. Scenery is generally quite well implemented, and sports some neat tricks such as the potion on the tree.

There is also lots to do and explore, and a good amount of secrets to keep the obsessive player coming back for more. The difficulty level gradually increases throughout, as it should (although this isn't perfect, see below).

The Warp Crystal is a good idea for simplifying the latter part of the game when you're just picking up loose ends and don't want to do inordinate amounts of walking. (Sadly, it caused my game to crash after a first use---most likely a bug in the Linux version of Freedink that should be fixed by the next stable release. Nevertheless, it is very well implemented.)

The Bad:

The player really should be informed that real-world time matters in this game. As it stands, it's unclear that you are *literally* expected to hurry up and finish the tasks, and the only way you find out is after a first attempt at thorough exploration and levelling up lands you into a ... monochromatic ending. Even after you realize that you're racing against the clock, it is still no small feat to finish everything in time. I resorted to the walkthrough, but even then, I was only a few minutes short of the time limit. I think this is a bit cruel given the sheer amount of tasks that have to be completed, and their relative difficulty. There are also some tasks that become much harder (I won't spoil what it is---the walkthrough mentions it) if not done within a certain time limit, which seems a bit unfair. It seems as though the only way to finish the game without the walkthrough is by trial-and-error, replaying from the start each time to minimize the time taken. This is a bad point about this DMOD.

The first miniboss is also an order of magnitude above what precedes it: this is a bit too sudden. Fortunately, the subsequent more difficult mountains area can be negotiated easily by simply choosing not to fight.

The locked chests, while a good idea, becomes annoying after a while, especially given the time constraint (you don't have time to spare to level up and stock up on some cash to buy keys, for example). This may be deliberate, though, since you don't *have* to get everything in order to win the game, so this is not really a big minus.

Finally, the endgame is a bit of a read-the-author's-mind proposition: without reading the walkthrough, it is difficult to imagine how you could guess the method by which you must defeat the boss. Unless, of course, you do a lot of trial-and-error runs from copiously saved games.

Given these little niggling issues, the rating for this DMOD is a real toss-up. On the one hand, its implementation is high-quality (compared to your average DMOD), its game map well-designed, and there are even clever bits (the potion on the tree, the locked chests, etc.). On the other hand, it suffers from some read-the-author's-mind situations, and a time constraint that makes the requisite exploration for solving tricky puzzles a tedious reload-saved-game-and-try-again task. I guess 8.0 is a fair score for it.
December 13th, 2006
v1.00
Score : 8.5 good
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Arik
Peasant Male
 
The major question when it came to playing IDRTW was one of time - how might Wesley's authorial style have changed over the past few years and how much about module making he could remember, as well as the deadline that would inevitably limit the module's scope - so it comes as a pleasant surprise to see a module that uses time so effectively.

This module puts Dink in a race against the largely invisible clock in order to put a stop to a dastardly plot - I say "largely" invisible because there are some ingeniously subtle indications of how far the timer has progressed - the landscape will change over time as the plot proceeds, and the occasional cutscene will warn the player of the rapidly encroaching deadline. This is an ingenious way of depicting a changing world, albeit one that seemed to only affect one portion of the map (and if I'm wrong then the changes are even subtler than I thought).

Anyone who has played Wesley's other modules should be right at home - IDRTW retains the pleasant atmosphere of the Friends Beyond trilogy with its uncluttered but never underdecorated map, its easily navigable geography and its plentiful secrets. In many ways it is an improvement of Friends Beyond, avoiding the trilogy's occasionally oversized and underpopulated areas in favour of an island that is not small but is populated enough to never feel boring. There is very little in the way of aimless wandering and the environments never feel too maze-like. The plot is slight but engaging and the dialogue is bathed in gentle humour that can't fail to raise a smile.

There were some problems. There were bugs - nothing to compare to the original rewrite of FB1, but they are occasionally problematic - I haven't been able to reproduce the problem I had with the guard, but I'm not the only one to have on. The keys - one of this module's brilliant minor innovations - sometimes do not disappear after being picked up, damaging what is otherwise an excellent mechanic. Other minor glitches abound, but all these things could well be fixed in the future. More problematic is the guard you meet early on - in an interesting move that continues the focus on time, getting around him requires the player to think in real time as well as game time. Whilst this is very clever it's not very well hinted at, and considering the player can waste considerable game time wondering why the guard won't move the walkthrough becomes an unfortunate necessity.

No huge complaints there though - it's an excellent and considerate walkthrough to complement an excellent and considerate d-mod. This is no epic world-beater, but its a thoroughly pleasant and enjoyable game with masses of tiny innovations and comes highly recommended.
October 4th, 2006
v1.00
Score : 9.0 exceptional
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Marpro
Peasant Male bloop
-- Marp Ro 
I haven't been here for so long time. Just some months, so I'm not so familiar with Wesley's D-Mods. This D-Mod was created for the failure contest. When Wesley said on the board that he would also join the contest, I didn't think so much of it. But little later Joshriot said "am i the only one who cares that WESLEY MADE ANOTHER DMOD?!?!@? this is monumental!". It was then my curiosity for this D-Mod grown. If Wesley was so great on D-Mod making as Joshriot says, I didn't think of my D-Mod would stand a chance against it. Now when I've played it I can see how experienced Wesley is.

Good aspects:
My first try on this D-Mod I got stuck, and didn't know what to do, so I left it for a while. Later I wanted to try it again, it was then I realised how clever this D-Mod really is. The screens are very beautiful and well made. This D-Mod have some excellent touches. I really, really liked the warp stone! It's a thing all D-Mod's should have
The ducks were very cool, I liked their new attack. The music fitted the situations some times. But in some places, like the forbidden forest, I didn't think the music fitted at all. Thank's to the forests well-made screens it was good anyway. The end-boss is very hard - until you realise how to kill him One thing that I really liked was the chests that needed keys, who leave a chest unlocked? When I had completed this D-Mod I wanted to have a look in the readme file. Which don't exist. Instead Wesley have made an amazing manual, including a map, cheats, hints, and walktrough! I can see Wesley put some time on making this D-Mod, it's a very good D-Mod!

Bad aspects:
I found some hardness bugs, I could walk trough some of the trees. Some of the signs isn't scripted? I found a couple I couldn't "talk" to.
I did find a lot of items, like mushrooms, but I couldn't use them anywhere(maybe a secret?) I bought a special potion for 300 gold in the store, hoping it would restore more life or increase my strenght but I couldn't use it As I said above, some of the music didn't fit the situations, but it was just on one or two places. It's not much talking in this D-Mod, the most of the people you meet didn't want to talk very much.

Overall:
This is a really cool D-Mod (Don't we all love to kill ducks? ).
I don't know which of the failure D-Mods that I like the most. Either this one or Sabretrouts "The Basilisk Smile". Both are very good and high quality D-Mods. This took me about a hour to complete, a hour of lots of fun I recommend this D-Mod for all who likes Dink Smallwood.
Good work Wesley, I hope you'll make more D-Mods! (Sorry for my bad spelling and bad grammar by the way).