The Dink Network

Historical Hero II: Armageddon

Avalanches... they tend to happen. Dink receives a letter Don't mess with these guys!
February 7th, 2013
Score : 8.9 good
Like Kyle, I have not played the original Historical Hero. Unlike Kyle, I haven't seen a Let's Play of it. I can say, though, that Skull seriously put a lot of effort into this DMOD, and the story stands on it's own without having to have played the original. This is no short romp, in fact my ending file (93%) has 8 hours and 36 minutes. The good part though is that most of the time you spend playing the game does not feel like you are mindlessly running around and it stays interesting (well, unless you get stuck, but I'll go over that later). I'll break down my assessment of the game into categories, but keep in mind that my final score will not be an average.


The early game was actually probably one of the least interesting parts for me. It didn't help that I got stuck for a couple hours looking for the MageFist. It is also the low point of the game's main story and events. It is common for RPGs to start out slow and I think the pacing would have been okay if I hadn't got stuck, so it isn't a major deal. However, I think the MageFist could've been a little less problematic to find, and it could have been a little less difficult to get stuck on false leads on how to find it. I think the issue that got me with it, is after hearing the strange guy in the cave say "MageFist," I loaded my game to get to town quicker and talk the wizard. But he will only give you the MageFist if you have talked to the man underground. So I ended up getting stuck as I thought that going back down there without the MageFist would be pointless. Luckily the recent walkthrough Skull made saved the day for me so I could finish the DMOD. For the rest of the game, the pacing is much better and although it's possible to get stuck, I found it a lot less confusing than the beginning.

Graphically, the game is quite good. Most of the new graphics are from other Dinkers, but they blend together very well and add a nice touch to the game. Also, the map is decorated quite well and never felt like it was too empty to enjoy. Some rooms in particular have a lot of work put into them and look very convincing.

Musically, there were only a couple tracks that I didn't like so much. Almost all of them fit in well and gave me a proper mood for the situation. One that I didn't like was the track for the boss of the secret dungeon; it was way too short, as I tried to fight him for a little while before using the spell to kill him it must have been looping every thirty seconds or so, and with a really bad transition into loop as well. But this is the exception and not the norm (and it was an optional part of the game at that) so don't think of it as a big issue. Of course, I'd love to see some homemade midi's too (or even mp3s), but that's just the musician in me talking, and is certainly not expected.

In short:
Most of the points in presentation are lost in the early game. After that, the game speeds up and becomes a lot more enjoyable. Graphically and musically, the DMOD is good.



The plot is relatively straightforward and certainly nothing too special, but the large number of villains and their interactions add a lot to it, especially Atraquis and Luna near the end. I do think Atraquis and Luna's relationship could have been developed more, but it was still a lot more than the average DMOD would put in. It's also very nice that you get to battle the villains throughout the game, which makes it feel like the plot and villains are actually important, compared to only fighting any of them at the end of the game.

Where the game really shines though, is the lore: You can talk to and hit almost everything for interesting text. Even more impressive is the enormous town of Tutras. There are tons of NPCs around and almost all of them have something interesting to contribute, either to the lore or a sidequest. It helps that their text occasionally changes as the story progresses, which makes them feel more like real people and gives more incentive to talk to them again.

Despite all the great things, there are two things about the story that I didn't like. The first thing is that the game can leave you doing what feels like unrelated missions or wondering where to go for a while, creating a feeling of bad pacing and a disconnectedness with the main narrative. A perfect example is when the (spoilers) person disguised as a goblin asked me to go get him "treasure". I just wanted to kill him and move on with the game, and tell the king I had to exterminate a traitor if suspicion arose (sadly, there was no such choice). It still may have been alright if this had been brought up again later, but instead the character vanishes forever after doing the task. (/spoilers)
The second issue I had, was the dialogue. Yes, I know this is Dink Smallwood here, and he's never really been expected to be a really serious hero with great dialogue. But some places where it felt like the dialogue should have been better it reeked of cheese and marred my feeling of immersiveness. It was good that the dialogue between Dink Smallwood and Atraquis was a little silly because it makes sense. But there are also some places where the silliness should probably have been toned down some. There were a few minor grammatical and/or spelling errors, but not enough to be a big deal.

In short:
For me, the story was the highlight of game. The villains in particular are really fun and present themselves often in the narrative. The lore and NPCs of the world are also very enjoyable. Where the game loses points is in the missions that don't really feel like they add enough to the story and the sometimes too silly dialogue, but neither are enough to diminish the joy of learning more about the villains.



Historical Hero II is simultaneously extremely fun and quite boring. As for normal enemies, there is never really anything outside the ordinary I can recall, other than the spikes that go in their shells when you hit them, and the rare giant spiders that shoot acid. The secret dungeon was the only place in the game I found myself having to think to defeat the normal monsters, even though they too are just very normal enemies with very high stats. The game could have benefited from having a few more varied monster techniques.

The bosses, on the other hand, almost always have some kind of trick up their sleeves and can be pretty fun and challenging. Hades in particular was a very satisfying battle, because of those dastardly pillbugs! Some bosses, like Coca and the goblin probably could've had a little bit less health, but for the most part the bosses were balanced and a joy to fight.

Despite the bosses having a lot of interesting techniques, I wasn't really impressed with the final boss. Most of the techniques were very easy to dodge, and at the very end battle I was only taking one damage from radical negative rainbow attack that used to be dangerous, making the absolute final battle a joke. I had the Hades Sword so I decided to switch over to the Satan Sword to increase the challenge but it was still too easy for me. I did play through the secret dungeon before going to the final one, but then I accidently overwrote my post-secret dungeon data with an earlier one, so I didn't end up keeping the boosts I had found. Regardless, the final dungeon was very easy, including the bosses. So if you are playing, take my recommendation and beat the last boss and then go back and do the secret dungeon. Otherwise the end will be no challenge at all.

Other than battling, the exploring factor is good. There are a lot of collectibles of varying types to find, whether they be honorgems, stat boosts, friendly corpses, or destructible rocks. Other than the stat boosts, my favorite was the rocks, since you actually got something (some money) for breaking them and occasionally they even blocked the way to a hidden area. The honorgems were nothing special because they didn't really do anything except raise your percent (plus they were easy to find), but they didn't harm the game either. The corpses were kind of neat but it may have been better to have Dink make a slightly longer comment about them when you find them, to make it more rewarding and to make the nostalgia more effective. For the longest time I didn't know how to read the books that I bought. It wasn't until super late in the game when I finally decided to buy the house that I discovered I could then read them. It would have been nice to be able to read them without a bookshelf, so it doesn't seem like you are buying them for no reason. It was mostly a problem because early on I thought a book might have something to do with getting the MageFist.

There are several different each of weapons and spells, but nothing that will change the way you play Dink Smallwood much, with a possible exception to the heal spell. What's there works, although not everything is useful. For example, you should not buy the broadsword as it barely helps your damage at all from the previously best weapon which is way cheaper. I'm not sure how useful it's bow counterpart is but never felt the urge to buy it. I bought hellfire from VB, but never used it, because the ordinary fireball was majorly better. The rain magic might have been better but I never felt the urge to buy them either because the heal spell was so darned useful.

In short:
While the normal enemies are kind of boring, the gameplay is saved by it's interesting bosses and varied collectibles.



There were a few bugs I ran into, one of which might allow getting 101%, and one of which made my game crash when killing the green slimes in the secret dungeon. There are some other minor ones but those are the only ones of note for this review. If you want to know more there is a topic in the file discussion.



Historical Hero II is a wonderful DMOD. It does suffer from some of the common flaws of Epic DMODs, but at the same time combats others. For me, it's most important facet was it's character driven storyline. The villains were especially great. I recommend this DMOD for anyone who can take a challenge who wants to experience a good story with good lore and strong characters. No, really, play it!

Final Score: