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Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
I'm called Tim. I've been playing Dink since it came out, when I was a young, dumb kid.

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2015-01-31 23:43:41
Bard Male United States
Please Cindy, say the whole name each time. 
352: Cast Awakening Part 5: Revolution Author: Dan Walma Release Date: January 5, 2015
"Is this really how you want to spend your death?"

Here's the shortest line from my brainstorming document from the lead-up to "Malachi the Jerk," when I was considering different ideas for D-Mods: "Is it possible to make a roguelike using the Dink engine? It probably isn't." Shows what I know!

I should explain what a "roguelike" is, in case anyone reading this doesn't know. Rogue is a 1980 computer game in which you explore randomly - or, more accurately, procedurally - generated dungeons. It was turn-based and had tile-based movement. If you die, you have to start over. "Roguelikes" are games that are very similar to Rogue, having all those features as well as others such as a hunger stat that requires you to eat to avoid starving to death. The most direct descendant of Rogue is NetHack. A Japanese series of roguelikes called Mystery Dungeon is quite popular and has many iterations based on various video game franchises.

Dan describes "Cast Awakening Part 5: Revolution" as a "rogue-like-like." Like a roguelike, it features random maps, lots of elements and items to discover, and a series of "floors" to get through in order to reach the end, but it differs in other aspects. There are a lot more "rogue-like-likes" than actual roguelikes. Blizzard's Diablo series is the most famous example. My first experience with this type of game was with the Sega Genesis classic Toejam and Earl. As a kid, I was confused at first by the unfamiliar gameplay but quickly fell in love with the unlimited replay value. When I found out that this kind of gameplay had come to Dink, I was excited.

Not to mention my excitement at playing another D-Mod by this guy.

In "Revolution," Dink must fight hordes of enemies while exploring a variety of stages. A complete run features 12 stages and a boss, but there are more locations than you can visit in a single run. When you clear a screen of enemies, you usually receive some kind of bonus. One screen per stage features a shop. 14 melee weapons and 14 ranged weapons (magic) are available. Dink's stats are different than usual: "Melee" is the same as the typical attack stat, but "Luck" replaces defense and the magic stat is split up into ranged rate and ranged damage. Taking out defense was a good move because it would so obviously have been the best place to put your points. Enemies also have no defense in "Revolution," avoiding situations where you can't really fight an enemy because you can hardly damage them. In a game that could offer a different experience every time, avoiding this kind of situation altogether is probably the way to go. I think that luck determines drops and the rate at which ranged enemies will attack you; I think it's worth putting points into it.

I'm tempted to just show you a shot of every location, but I'll restrain myself.

The game includes these lists of the melee and ranged weapons. There are also slots for lists of locations and enemies, but they must have been excluded for time.

A full run takes hours if you're thorough about clearing out the stages, which you should be (the game autosaves every time you change screens, so you can quit at any time and resume where you left off). You might think that the extreme repetition would get old, but there's a lot of variety to keep you interested. Each level up is accompanied by some kind of saying or quotation; I love it when games use unique text to keep you playing. Furthermore, many of the level ups offer a choice of special bonuses rather than a simple stat increase. At level 2, you're given the choice of herb boots or a map; trust me, the map is the correct choice. Not all level ups have positive effects. The variety of level up effects makes going through the levels more interesting and adds variety to the game. Lots of graphics are imported from various other D-Mods and graphics packs (I'm thanked in the credits file for taking the screenshots in COTPATD so he'd know where to get them). A huge number of MIDIs are used, including, for what has to be the first time, the entire 374 MIDI pack, so as you sink hours into this D-Mod you won't run out of tunes. Ah, the 374 MIDI pack. I hope you like the Eagles and Queen.

Here, you're given a choice between the ability to harvest rewards from two different types of decoration.

Decoration is randomly placed, but rarely is a decoration just a decoration in "Revolution." You can burn down the usual fir trees, of course, but even regular trees can be chopped down for an occasional bonus with the axe weapon. Mushrooms may be smashed to produce hearts, including new purple hearts that hurt instead of heal and blue hearts that give you temporary "superlife" if you collect them while already at max health. Flowers may be gathered to exchange to a certain randomly-occurring NPC for a megapotion. You'll always be paying attention to your surroundings while playing this D-Mod.

Gah, I can't stand the way those dead Avoca eyes just stare at me. It's... unnerving.

The weapon selection is great and features many new ideas. The breadstick produces food when you use it to kill enemies. All three of Bruce Harrison Jr.'s elemental swords produce different effects on the enemy that linger after you hit them. Ranged weapons include a selection of bows with different effects; their arrows pierce through enemies, but not quite as well as hellfire does. There doesn't seem to be any "acid rain" type weapon, oddly enough. Most weapons produce different effects rather than different amounts of damage. There are a couple of weapons that do higher damage, but there's typically some kind of associated drawback. My favorite weapons (not necessarily the best weapons) are the fire sword and hellfire (called the Super Fireball here).

I'm not sure what the drumstick is supposed to do. I guess you just whack fools with it.

"Revolution" is a heck of a technical achievement. Dan Walma is a mother ducking wizard. If I had moved forward on this idea, I would have had no idea where to start. Even having it in front of me, I don't quite understand how it works. The scope of the game is huge, but the actual map contains just 60 screens as per the contest's rules. It seems to contain a screen for each possible arrangement of exits to the four cardinal directions as well as several additional screens used for special purposes. The different appearances of the levels are accomplished using the load_tiles command; as such, this D-Mod is incompatible with Dink Smallwood HD. There's a significant loading time when you change screens (maybe a second and a half) and another pause about a step beforehand, at which point I assume the game is changing the value of &player_map so that you'll cross to the correct screen. What I don't understand is how the game keeps track of the entire current floor and all the things on it at once. The status of all objects on a screen are remembered for the duration of the stage. The powerups you earn for clearing a screen of enemies even remain in place if you leave them and return to the screen later. It feels as if you were traversing a real map laid out in the editor, even though you know you're not. It's amazing.

The maps for some of the later stages can get quite huge, too!

A list of achievements is provided to give you some incentive to check everything out. The achievement list features text for achievements both unearned and earned, like "Achievement Unlocked Edition." Here, the text is a brief statement from Dink's perspective. It's fun. It took me eight runs to complete the D-Mod 100%, and I feel confident that I've spent more time on it than any other D-Mod if you don't count those I've developed. A good deal of luck is involved in getting some of the achievements, but it's worth it. There's some cool stuff hidden deep in the game that you'll probably only see if you go for the achievements. I do feel that I was lucky that I got to level 32 on my third run. I didn't encounter enemies that paid off enough experience to get closer than level 29 on any of my later runs.

The final location you'll unlock is Azeroth from the old Warcraft games. I have played Warcraft, but this mostly brings back memories of Dan's early D-Mods, which kept me interested in Dink back in the day.

Presenting... the Compensator. hahahahahahaha

This D-Mod is fun as Hell, but I do have one complaint: it's too easy. "Too easy" doesn't bother me much with most D-Mods, but given this one's unique focus, I think this is a huge issue. Roguelikes are hard. Your life isn't worth dirt in them. Actually winning them is a rare event that requires skill, carefully accumulated knowledge and pure dumb luck to come together perfectly. Now, I don't expect or even want "Revolution" to be like that. This isn't NetHack. I'm not having to identify rings to make sure they're not cursed. Still, there should be some tension. Some things suggest to me that Dan intended this as well. The readme suggests that winning may require luck and that you should just try again if you lose. A sign that sometimes appears tells you to be "prepared to lose." It did take me three tries to win, but on that third try and my five subsequent runs, I never felt in significant danger. It doesn't surprise me that others won on their first try.

It looks hectic, but there are so many ways to make Dink strong that you're probably never going to be in big trouble.

Death is permanent; that should mean something. The intensity of the experience should rise in the later stages as you fear losing all your progress. Chances to transfer benefits to future runs, like putting money in the well, should feel precious. When the level up to 24 makes you drop one of your weapons, it should hurt instead of being a minor inconvenience. When another level up makes you choose whether to unlock the final boss stage and real ending or give you a 1up, this should be bitterly tempting even though you know you want to see that boss. Your choices should feel like they really matter. As it is, if you pursue optimal strategies (not even COUNTING the pig magic exploit, which badly unbalances the game), you will feel totally invincible. You won't even be able to remember the last time your health bar didn't stretch its red all the way across the screen twice. If you opt for less-optimal strategies - say, not choosing to get potions for killing NPCs, which is a huge advantage you're giving up nothing particularly desirable to get - you'll feel less invincible, but still in no serious danger. I still love this D-Mod and consider it one of the most replayable D-Mods ever, but I don't really see myself going back to it, as it is. If there were more of a challenge - if victory were something you had to stay sharp to earn - I could see myself returning to this game again and again. The replay value could be truly endless. I mean that. Anyway, I don't doubt that any imbalance this D-Mod suffers is due to the contest deadline, and that it could be perfect with some more time and testing.

I ran into some bugs:

*Encyclopedia images display behind some things.
*Flower girl is sometimes a dude instead.

Uh... hm. If you say so, game.

*One time I happened to win just as I would have hit level 28. I closed the program after the ending sequence. When I started the game up again, imagine my surprise when the level up hit at the title screen.

Hahaha what is going on

*When I pick "start with fist plus bow on future runs," I actually start with last ranged weapon I had on the previous run. There's no image in the ranged weapon box, but it works just the same.

*Level-up bonus "+1 level" does not work, does nothing.

The story only figures into the start and the ending. The intro starts by recapping the "Cast Awakening/Dinky Dimensions" series using screenshots from "Initiation," "FIAT" and "End of Time v2" as well as a couple of scenes from the nonexistent second installment, "Paragon." I guess Dan figured as long as he was making another D-Mod, why not try to provide a limited kind of closure to his old series? There's efficiency for you.

Remember this? No, you don't.

After his execution in "End of Time," Dink's voiceless soul is taken to a place in the afterlife where he can fight his way through a gauntlet... not to fight his way back to life or anything, just as something to do. I wish there were some way to rewatch this intro without removing your save file, as I had to do temporarily in order to take these screenshots. My favorite thing about the intro is when Charon breaks out into singing "Come Sail Away" by Styx, which is so perfect when you think about it. I started laughing as soon as the music started up.

And we'll try, ohhh loooord we-'ll try-yyy... TO CAAAAAAAAARRY ON!

The ending shows us Lyna and Martridge as they to resurrect Dink to help fight against the forces that have taken over since "End of Time." Lyna seems to have control over some of the robots from "Mystery Island." Marty manages to bring Dink's body and voice back, but his soul remains in the afterlife... and this spell requires the wizard to sacrifice his own life. Lyna and the undead Dink prepare for the climactic battle... and that's all we get. Still, it does provide closure at long last to "End of Time's" cliffhanger. We no longer have to wonder how Dink comes back to life.

Incidentally, this line drove me crazy. All it means is that they figured out how to control the robots from Mystery Island, but I went nuts scouring that D-Mod and everything associated with it on the site, somehow - against any reasonable logic - thinking there would be a place for me to enter this. I am HILARIOUSLY dumb.

Included lest you think the ending is too serious.

But the real ending provides a different kind of closure. Honestly, it put tears into my eyes. It seems to wrap up this very project. Part of me really hoped that "Revolution" would still be the latest D-Mod when I got here, because there couldn't possibly be a better note to end on.

Dink defeats the boss, Death, who suddenly asks a strange question.

I hope you found that entertaining?

Dink, against what we've been told about his voice, replies.

Yeah, it was alright.

Death doubts himself.

Soon, Death is revealed to be Martridge. All of this was just a fun diversion for Dink, a sort of magical vision game that the wizard created for his old friend. All Dink has to do to leave is say the magic words...

Mike Snyder's timeline may have been doomed from the start, but someone, at long last, has found a way to bring all of the D-Mods into one continuity. They're all just games that Dink has been playing, just like me.

The script counts the years since 1998 to display this line.

I felt overwhelmed. Did Dan have me and this project in mind specifically when he wrote this? It's too perfect. And everything from 17 years ago has come back at once. Dan's old D-Mods (including "Dinkcraft"). The original story. The friggin' 374 MIDI pack. All of it.

I'm sorry. I know that it may seem kind of corny. I know that I've "opened up" and blabbed about my personal issues here probably more times than I should have. But this game, this community and this project have mattered a lot to me, and this little ending just poked me in all of those places in my brain where it matters, it turned on all the switches labeled "meaning" tucked away in those odd locations, those long-forgotten hallways. I had feelings. I could tell that the author put some of his feelings in it as well, putting his voice into the wizard as he talks about how it helps him to create new worlds. I've spoken before about how the best thing about D-Mods is feeling a certain connection to the author. Here, I could almost imagine that he and I were conversing directly.

Dink: It was fun 'dreaming' through what might have happened.
Traveling, fighting, saving the world, all good stuff.
Even if things did get really weird at times.
It helped, kept my mind from focusing on the pain too much.

Martridge: It helped me, too.
Creating new worlds and whatnot.

Hell, you can go ahead and imagine that COTPATD ends with that screenshot if you want. It's bound to be a better ending than the real one.

If I inspired "Cast Awakening Part 5: Revolution," that's justification for this project all by itself. It still helps, Dan. Thanks.

Hey, stats! Everybody likes to post their stats.

Cocomonkey has released 11 files

Crazy Old Tim Plays All The D-Mods Volume 1: 1998-2004 (PDF)MiscellaneousExceptional 9.9June 16th, 2018
Crazy Old Tim Plays All The D-Mods Volume 2: 2005-2015 (PDF)MiscellaneousExceptional 9.9June 16th, 2018
Dink Smallwood: Achievement Unlocked EditionD-Mod, Add-OnExceptional 9.5February 17th, 2015
Dinkgon WarriorD-Mod, QuestGood 8.0February 2nd, 2015
Malachi the JerkD-Mod, QuestGood 8.9October 6th, 2014
Crazy Old Tim Plays the DMODs of 1998MiscellaneousN/ASeptember 8th, 2014
Crazy Old Tim Plays the DMODs of 1999MiscellaneousN/ASeptember 8th, 2014
Crazy Old Tim Plays the DMODs of 2000MiscellaneousN/ASeptember 8th, 2014
Tragic Death of Zink Smallwood (The)D-Mod, RompFair 6.1May 13th, 2006
CrossroadsD-Mod, UnfinishedTolerable 3.6July 27th, 2001
End of the World (The)D-Mod, QuestTolerable 4.8March 29th, 1999

Cocomonkey has written 5 reviews

The best way to play Dink Smallwood GNU FreeDinkNormalExceptional 9.7March 15th, 2014
Probably the best joke DMOD Goblin TroubleNormalFair 6.9September 15th, 2013
Utterly without value Mike Dingwell's First D-ModNormalHorrible 0.2September 6th, 2013
I Really Liked the Concept For This Dmod World of DinkCFeaturedFair 6.0May 9th, 2006
This Was a Very Good Dmod Green Voice in my Head (The) - Part 1 - Hangover & AgonyFeaturedExceptional 9.0May 9th, 2006

Cocomonkey has taken 165 screenshots

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