The Dink Network

Eternal Suicide Chapter Zero : Wasted Life

June 7th, 2004
Score : 6.4 fair
Noble Male United States xbox steam
Super Sexy Tal Pal 
As much as Nitronic hyped the coming of the Eternal Suicide saga many moons ago, I looked forward to it with moderate interest. However, many hyped D-Mods never actually see the light of day, so I was admittedly skeptical about Nitronic's promises of D-Mod goodness; I hoped for the best regardless. I was taken by surprise when the first part of the series, Chapter Zero: Wasted Life, was suddenly released mid-2003. I wanted to play it, especially after reading a handful of rave reviews, but I was simply too busy at the time to do so.

Fast forward to June 2004. I have more time than I know what to do with, and I try my best to catch up with all the hot D-Mods released over the months (maybe years) that I have neglected hardcore Dinking. Chapter Zero was one of the first D-Mods I chose to play, and I came across quite a surprise by doing so. Much to my dismay, however, it was an unpleasant surprise... despite all the positive remarks about Wasted Life, I was severely disappointed by it. Nitronic's first D-Mod defies many standards found in the typical D-Mod, and while this is usually fabulous, I'm sorry to say that I was very annoyed.

The game almost entirely scraps exploration and interaction, substituting most of it for numerous cutscenes which attempt to establish the story and characters. Unfortunately, this element of the game falls flat on its face for many reasons. The dialogue is constantly lame, the various sound effects are ridiculous and do not seem to fit well at all, and perhaps most importantly of all, the story is almost incomprehensible. Dink deals justice. Dink pursues slayer thing. Lana is bad. Lava is worse. And the rest is up for interpretation.

In addition, the action - which is basically all you have control over, save two or three barely-decent puzzles - is of mixed quality. The game is so linear that you're practically shoved from one situation to the next, which aggravated me. There is an abundance of clever ideas, such as the lava chase, but a few of them are executed poorly. I can tolerate running back and forth through a dungeon, but it grows tiresome after waiting for unlocked entrances to take their time re-opening over and over again. Despite all this, there is at least one nifty factor to the game: to compensate for all the battling and inevitable bloodshed in the D-Mod, of which there is a lot, your health is replenished each time you choose to save; also, save points appear after most of the fights. Even if you can't survive this game, Dink will.

The visuals are a mixed bag. Most of the new graphics are animated gifs taken from various places online, and it shows; some don't seem to fit well with the Dink world, attractive as they may be. Considering that he probably did little to no graphical work himself, though, Nitronic did a decent job of implementing new objects for variation's sake, and he must be commended for that. The game's sound, on the other hand, isn't very impressive at all. As previously mentioned, many of the sound effects are awkward. Most of the music is irritating as well, though a good tune plays from time to time.

As far as I can see, Nitronic is actually very capable of making a great D-Mod: Chapter Zero's map design is pleasant, scripting seems alright, the bugs were kept to a minimum. With a little more emphasis on exploration and non-linearity, and perhaps some adjustment to the story and characters, Nitronic could release a masterpiece. Sadly, Wasted Life seems more like wasted time... I expected so much more.
March 12th, 2004
Score : 9.0 exceptional
Peasant Female
Storyline: I really have no idea what this was all about although I watched dozens of cutscenes with a LOT of conversation, but somehow it does not matter that you have no idea what is going on since you are driven to find out what kind of action you are going to see next. It is just like an action movie: a tiny plot, a tiny story, but ton loads of action.

Map and graphics: The mapping is done painstakingly and a lot and time and effort has put into making something very nice out of the map. And therefore it never gets boring; there is always a lot to see. Actually it is just like an action movie: a lot to see, but since you concentrate on the hero, you do not actually see it and you would have to see the move (or play the D-mod) twice in order to notice other things that are there or that are going on.
There are some new graphics. I particularly liked the screen with the flames on which you have to fight the stonegiants. There are huge bronze pots from which flames arise; very impressive. A very elegant scene, and very nicely done. The cloud part looks good too, considering that is really difficult to get clouds show up correct in the Dink palette.

Music: Very good music and very nice sound effects.

Good: This is a purely action based game and it sort of rushes you to hurry up. The intro of the game is also like a lot of action movies: it just drops you right into the action. The whole game is like a ride in a rollercoaster and when the ride is over you are a bit shaky from the ride!

Not so good: You have to like the fact that you walk from screen to screen and kill all kind of stuff, since that is the only thing you can do in this D-mod. There is no exploring on your own and you can not talk to anyone. All the conversations take place in cutscenes. After a while I found it irritating that you can not do anything on your own. It is almost never obvious what to do next and you have to do rather silly things in order to proceed. Killing all barrels or all spiders on several screens is not the most logic way to open a gate or get a note. And that you have to kill machines and poles in order to get the game going is also something that is not logic.
If you have killed the monsters on the screen with the old lady and come back on that screen, the scene repeats itself and you have to kill them again. The game froze on the screen with the old lady and also on the screen after the lava cutscenes. That you can not decide when to save the game is annoying: if something fails you have to start from the saving point and sometimes that means that you have to watch a long cutscene again or kill the same monsters.

Overall: Ask me what it was all about and I would have to answer that I have no clue what the story was about. But ask me if it was action packed and the answer is: all the way!

Fit for: If you want to enjoy a D-mod that looks a lot like an action movie.
March 9th, 2004
Score : 9.0 exceptional
Peasant Male
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.
May 19th, 2003
Score : 9.2 exceptional
Peasant Male Belgium
Nitronic's Eternal Suicide Saga has been in development since early Octobre and now the first chapter, chapter zero, is ready. It introduces a whole lot of original characters and many mysteries, most of which aren't even resolved in this chapter. This is exactly what's so attractive about the d-mod. The story is well-built and seems to follow a certain theme. I won't go into any details, but the main goal of Chapter Zero is to kill the last slayer on the planet.

The gameplay elements are quite limited, but on the other hand, what's in there is usually pretty original. There's an arcade minigame you're required to do in the beginning of the d-mod that's really fun once you get the hang of it. The downside of this mini game is that you need to get a certain amount of strength boosts in order to reach 18 strength. In the readme it says you can't finish the game with under 18 strength, so if you're not good at the mini game you'll have a hard time getting through. Having said that, even with 18 strength this d-mod is rather hard. There is only one part of the map where you can actually run around and kill enemies. Aside from that, fighting is mostly reserved for boss battles and some predetermined skirmishes. The bosses usually require some strategy to win against as they're balanced to survive with only little HP left.

Okay, so there isn't much gameplay to it, then how does he fill almost 2 hours of playtime you ask? Simple.
Chapter Zero includes a great amount of cutscenes that can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes without skipping text. The cutscenes are excellent tools to proceed into the story and never become tedious in any way. If you succeed in finding the secrets you don't only get a cutscene referring to the next chapter for every secret you find, but also an extended ending. Herein lies a disadvantage however. In my opinion, most secrets are insanely hard to spot, unless you find the secret note which presents you with some hints to find them.

Chapter Zero contains about 50 midis and every one of them fits the mood exactly. There are also some new sound effects, not only for simple stuff like rocks moving, but also in the form of vocal spells. As some of you may know it's particularly difficult to add timing to events and sound effects, but Nitronic has done a great job here too. The only bad thing about this is the engine's way of handling wait commands. If you were to play this d-mod on, say, a laptop you'll be in trouble.

Not much spectacular in the graphics department, except for some animated gifs ripped from the net. They do look nice though and take away the feeling of just being an ordinary d-mod.

Overall, Chapter Zero surprised me in many ways. It's an alternative way of telling a story and playing a d-mod. Nitronic describes the story as being a linear story-driven d-mod. I must agree with this and together with Cycles of Evil they make a great new genre, one worth to explore.

Can't wait for the next chapter.
May 18th, 2003
Score : 9.6 exceptional
Peasant Female Canada
We can out-drink most Americans! 
Eternal Suicide Chapter Zero : Wasted Life 1.00 by Nitronic

In this first saga, Dink must fight monsters and solve riddles in this first of ?? sagas.
My 13-year-old nephew and I played this game together.

The Good: A very large intense story, with a lot of cut-scenes. Quite a few monsters, a new one at the end and new puzzles, some very tricky. No save bots as persay, but the game will save itself at different time. The music and sound effects, although quite interesting kept reminding me of something from a movie. My nephew easily solved the different puzzles, with my yelling in his ear, and the lava walk or run was interesting as it took us a few times before we could make it to the end and have a strength point of 18. No bugs that we could find. It is an interesting game, which was interjected by cut scenes, (which I found confusing), and unusual monsters to kill (warp machines gone amok)

The Bad: No weapons, except the usual sword and a bow and arrow. One potion, which we desperately saved till the end. No magic, and No Level Ups. A lot of walking/running to be done, and that irritating voice that sounded like it was from a movie as Lana tossed around her spells.

Overall: You have to play this game rather fast, yet at the same time, be on the lookout for clues and tricks. I recommend playing this game, if you like to play Dink dmods in a different, yet hauntenly similar way.
July 16th, 2009
Score : 3.5 tolerable
Peasant Male
I Bring Tidings of Spam 
Now, I would have liked this game a lot better if the story wasn't so confusing. The story jumps from a party in some club or something to going through random levels that are really freakin' hard to beat. The first level, the Red Hot Chili Swamp, seemed easy enough, if there wasn't so many obstacles in the way. I had more trouble in this level than any other level in the game. Actually, I only played up to the part where you have to fight those clones of your self, and that is where I stopped. Why? Because after you defeat the clones, you can do nothing else, and if you kill yourself...well. You die. I don't know i that's the end of the demo or what, but they could have clued you in if it was.

Overall I give the story: 1/10.

Next are the graphics. They are the same like any other d-mod, but this one has a few new ones. The addition of the spiders in the battlefield was tasteful. But the part where they had pieces of creatures stattered evetywhere, in my opinion, was over-doing it. Though I like how detailed the maps were, they could have done without the heads and arms.

Overall I give the graphics: 3/10.

Lastly I will review the sounds. Most of the sounds you could be familiar with: The sound of dink smashing things, the 'UH!' that dink yells when he's hurt, and the punching sound. But there are some sounds you may not be familiar with. Everyone once in awhile, someone will chant something. Here is when you'll here poor quality of some woman chanting some strange spell that I somehow recognize. I did encounter some problems with the sound though, such as when I hit something and the sound played back to me the rest of the time I played. I guess the sound is o.k, but the chanting and play-back sounds can be taken out on future installments.

Overall I give the sound: 3/10.

The game overall i would give: 3.5/10, and the reasons are simple: Read my review.