The Dink Network

Eternal Suicide Chapter Zero : Wasted Life

March 9th, 2004
Score : 9.0 exceptional
Peasant He/Him
I can't help but feel that the description for this is misleading. There is a lot of plot here, and there are a lot of cutscenes, but what isn't mentioned is that neither of these have anything to do with the game itself, and there is no way of affecting them. There is a plot here, but it's so spectacularly obscure that you'll need to play it twice over, finding all the secrets, in order to get some inkling of what it's all about. And then you STILL won't quite understand exactly what the relationship is between the events of all the cutscenes and what you're actually doing as Dink. Virtually nothing plot-related occurs when you're actually controlling Dink himself, so the game is hardly story driven.

Instead, I'd describe this as an action driven D-Mod. And a really, REALLY good one.

In-between cutscenes, Dink is essentially dumped into one finely-tuned action setpiece after another. There is virtually nothing in the way of exploration, and Dink's statistics are static throughout - this is a brilliant idea, as it allows for a proper, continuous difficulty curve. You won't ever get into a situation where the enemies are too strong for you to hurt, or where you're too strong to be hurt by them. The abilities that Dink has are strictly controlled, so the fights are always fully tailored to your abilities. The encounters are full of variety - on one screen you may have to negotiate moving objects, on another you might have to avoid getting touched by a pig or suffer instant death. The pace is exhilerating, especially after so many mods which encourage a more sedate manner of play.

The action takes precedence over the graphics - the spikes screen doesn't make sense graphically, with spikes merging into floor seamlessly - and it doesn't matter, this is a good thing. This D-Mod is all about experimentation with all the different ways in which the basic Dink game mechanic can work as an action game, and it works brilliantly.