The Dink Network

Historical Hero II: Armageddon

Don't mess with these guys! Dink receives a letter
February 7th, 2013
1.50.
Score : 8.9 good
goblins.gif
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.

Presentation:

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.

8.6/10

Story:

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.

9.2/10

Gameplay:

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.

8.9/10

Bugs/Stability:

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.

7.0/10

Synopsis:

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:

8.9/10
October 14th, 2012
1.10
Score : 9.1 exceptional
wizardb.gif
Kyle
Peasant Male Belgium
 
I'm going to preface this review by saying two things: I never played the first game, but watched the LP. Furthermore, because of limited spare time I decided to skip a lot of the optional stuff in this d-mod. I can't remember the exact completion percentage but it was not very stellar.

Story:

Dink is sent on a quest to recover an important crystal that was stolen in Old Tutras. Of course, nothing goes as planned and Dink finds himself sidetracked into other heroics. So far, pretty normal for a d-mod. However, the way the story flows is where the game excels. There's never a feeling of doing "useless" things, except maybe a few minor tasks that you are given at the start of the d-mod. And even in those cases, the tasks are brought alive by humorous NPCs. Indeed, just roaming through the first town in the game (a small one) immediately shows the attention that was paid to making the people seem "real" in their current situation.

This brings us to another facet of d-mods that I really enjoy and HH2 does a good job of achieving: setting up a world to play in. Some locations from the first game are revisited (albeit changed) and so there was already some sense of a familiar setting, but from the get go there is a lot of talk of other towns, cities, mountainranges, legends and myths, gossip about problems, etc... You just get the feeling that this d-mod wasn't made on a whim and that a lot of thought was put into how the world functions. Sure, there's not really any huge surprises in the locations that you visit like in Cloud Castle for example, but it feels a lot like an evolved, extended setting of the original Dink Smallwood game. To me, that's a good thing

If I had to give one point of feedback to improve this further it would be to have more characters play a role in the overall story rather than the substories of the particular area. There were quite a few interesting NPCs that I expected would show up again later or would advance the story in meaningful ways, but after finishing their task (if they even had one) they'd be out of the picture. In such cases I would prefer quality over quantity, with deeper personalities and ties to the main story. But I make that gripe about pretty much any game, commercial or not...

Graphics:

Although there's not a large amount of new graphics to be found in HH2, what's there is functional. I think some more community made stuff could have been implemented to spruce up some of the areas or offer more enemy variety, but you'll still be surprised now and then by what was selected to be in the d-mod. There's one particularly funny new graphic set that you'll definitely enjoy The UI has also been touched on and doesn't look out of place like it often does when authors try to skin the status bar. So good job there!

Map decoration, as touched on above, could have been improved. Most outside locations are standard and functional, with grass, trees and rocks (and some water) being responsible for most of the decoration. Dungeons are rather empty though and could do with some more details. Having said that, monster passability is good and I never had any trouble navigating around sticky edges.
The map itself is huge though. I didn't check in the editor but I assume at least 75% of the available map squares have been utilized, maybe even more. This further enhanced the sense of being part of a huge world. I hope Skull will put a little more effort in the decoration (boring as it might get...) to truly invigorate the landscape to encourage more and more exploration.

Sound:

This d-mod has a very large amount of music included and I would say 80% of the tracks fit their locations and events perfectly. Some locations definitely felt better because of the music and none of the tracks really ever detracted from the experience. Most of the music will feel familiar from other media, but that's unfortunately how it is when you're using midis. I hear Skull plays some guitar so I suggest he compososes a song or two for his next d-mod Even crappy self composed songs still bring something truly new and personal to the table.

Gameplay:

Boy this d-mod is hard. Very hard. I never cheated, but sometimes I really wanted to. Having said that, I rarely play d-mods these days so I could just be out of shape. Just be sure to dodge the boss attacks or prepare to load over and over Luckily there's enough savepoints spread around so it never becomes really frustrating. And I do enjoy a good challenge as long as I feel I can overcome it through practice, which I did.
Weapon/Magic wasn't really the focus of this d-mod and you won't be too surprised by any scripting magic, but I also never had the feeling that it should have much more in this area of gameplay. What's there worked well and was well balanced (no iceball, I'm looking at you PotA).

There seemed to be a large amount of optional things to do (the housing was touched on), but as I said I never went too far into that stuff. I might replay this d-mod later on (when a walktrhough is available) to experience all the little sidequests that Skull put in. I did collect as many Honorgems as I could find though, that was very fun. There's also a convenient questlog to keep track of which quests you activated, though the descriptions on these quest entries could have used some more detail. At some points in the story I got stuck and looked to the quest log for guidance, only to read a very vague description of what I'm supposed to do. Letting the player figure out stuff by himself is fine and a design choice, but here and there it could have been more obvious or perhaps just illustrated better in the quest log. The addition of a completion percantage, while arbitrary, is a nice addiotion for the completionists among us... And just depressing for the rest of us

There's one last thing I want to add that Skull did an AMAZING job at, something I always look to in d-mods and gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside: object interaction. Literally no matter what you talk to, punch and sometimes even try to push, there's some line of dialogue to accompany it. Some of it is mundane, some of it is funny, some of it is even disturbing, but god I love that about this game. I can only imagine the amount of time and determination it took to write all of that. It tapers off towards the middle/end of the game but it was still a gigantic success.

Overall:

Historical Hero 2 was a blast to play. I feel that if I had spent more time and less breaks in between play sessions I could have gotten more out of this d-mod, because it just has SO much to offer. The detailed setting, the talkative NPCs, the difficulty, it all comes together to form one big epic d-mod. And make no mistake, it IS epic. As usual there's a few things that could be improved such as the decoration and enemy variety, but none of those issues stopped me from enjoying the game If there's ever a third Historical Hero (the ending I got doesn't rule it out) I'll be one of the first to download and play

Good job Skull on making a d-mod that will go down in history!
March 19th, 2015
V. Silver
Score : 6.0 fair
peasantmp.gif
Skurn
Peasant Male Equatorial Guinea xbox steam duck bloop
can't flim flam the glim glam 
I'll get into what changed my mind later.

The sequel picks up right where Dink left off. Now he's in New Derlicon and tasked with finding a magic crystal that was stolen from a museum which apparently only had the crystal on display. I think the badguys took the entire exhibit, too. He also found out that Libby from Stonebrook was kidnapped by blue soldiers.

So already, we've got more going on that in Historical Hero I. The first only had a rescue mission, a very light goblin conflict, and an incompetent group of villains who want to rule the world for no reason. In fact, that's not even close to all we've got going on in this game. We've also got the threat of Armageddon happening because the Disturbed Rats are back and BatHat is somehow leading them. BatHat's plan, I think, is to release a demigod called AvoMal who the Ancient Gods warned Dink of. AvoMal is the Second Dragon King or some crap, and there's also another villain who is only mentioned called Armageddon who is the father of Dink's evil twin, Atraquis.

This one feels much more like an adventure when you factor in the world threatening magic beings like AvoMal and Atraquis.

The first big chunk of this game, however, is an absolute drag. It even starts out with fetch quests to be able to make your way to New Tutras which is the worst town I've seen in a dmod, I think. This place is a giant square that feels empty, is covered in shit, and has two dead ends. To the north, a guard won't let you passed because King Olympos is setting up some crappy festival to celebrate nothing. His daughter was also kidnapped by a dragon, so I have no clue why he's setting this thing up at all. To the west, there's another guard blocking your way to he goblin lands. Yes...goblins. Again. This time, they play a larger role but they are still a side thing. But at least they're there to expand the events in this game I suppose.

After ducking around for a very long time in New Tutras, I finally got to pass the bridge to face Olympos. The next task was to rescue the princess from a dragon. A classic scenario that I remember being fine with.

What I was not fine with, though, was the dragon boss. This guy was not a good boss. What he does is occasionally stick out from the sides of the screen to blast a week fireball at you. Sometimes, he flies through the middle of the screen to give you a slightly better, but still not very good chance to hurt him. Why is that not a very good chance? Because during the course of the fight, spikers fly out from the top to chase Dink around and they do huge damage, so I had to keep my distance and throw fireballs at them. When the dragon flew by, the spikers were in the way.

The game didn't improve afterwards when I had to battle a goblin war on my own. The guards at the battlefield gave me 6 minutes to sweep the area and kill every single goblin there was. The first few times, I got killed by the catapult even though I returned to the place the guards told me to before they go ahead and launch the catapult at the goblin town. They didn't say to kill every single one of the goblins, so I ended up coming back only when I was low on time. I don't know why the catapult launches a nuclear bomb with an invisible explosion and no sound or why the guards were at a spot endangered by it, but that's what happened.

Eventually, I killed all the goblins after I left to get the acid rain spell which is actually a pretty alright spell as opposed to it in the original game which is absolutely worthless.

Next boss - a boring damage sponge. Now I had to battle the goblin leader who would take a few hits and then enter an invincibility state that lasted about 9 hours while he spun around in one place while I stood back to wait. I had to mostly wait here as my acid rain charged up, but it barely did damage. Hellfire worked much better, but it was still a game of waiting. On top of that, there was a lot of stuff in the way while I ran around, so that wasn't helping.

Speaking of stuff in the way, the goblin lands has a lot of stuff in the way. Almost all the places do, I guess, but the goblins lands even had stuff placed at the edge of screens so I couldn't enter them from certain places without becoming stuck.

Finally, we get to where the game became much better. After I farmed gold and gained several levels, I took down Hades and received the Hades Sword. This thing is the Nightmare Sword from Cloud Castle 2 - hyper boots + clawsword or lightsword I guess. Now the game is incredibly easy. I can tear through anything with ease. At this point, I was going through the game much quicker since there was no more mindless wandering to do and I really just had one final dungeon to enter. There, I also had no issues with combat - the polar opposite of what happened in the final dungeon in Historical Hero I.

Now, here's where the bosses became fun. I imagine they would be much better if I didn't have the Hades Sword, but whatever. The four wizards including BatHat was easy as hell. It was just a fight with a dragon. The fight with Luna, a new villain was a speed-charged fight with flashy fire spells, but also very easy. Afterwards, it was time to face off with AvoMal.

At first, I thought I was supposed to lose this fight since there was no way to harm him. So I stood around for a while and let him kill me which took a while since I was only capable of taking 1 damage at a time at this point. Didn't work. So then I thought I needed to complete this scroll a little girl was selling at New Tutras for 5000 gold pieces. I tried leaving the castle but Dink wouldn't let me.

At this point, I think I looked it up and found that you need to wait it out and kill 10 dragons before AvoMal takes you into the sky to have the true final battle with him. Ok, not really obvious.

Now the final battle with AvoMal is probably the coolest fight I've yet seen in a dmod. He takes you to a tower where it's pouring down rain and there's occasional flashes of lightning. He does similar things in this fight, but he actually walks around now.

...he can also be hurt suddenly, so I ended up crushing him easily.

But even that wasn't the final boss. Before being able to leave, I had to fight Atraquis one more time. But this time, he's fused with Seth and AvoMal...because. And he could do it because. Uh.

Whatever, Dragon Kings are easy.

So to put it bluntly, this started off feeling worse than the first I think, but the action picked up and there was some pretty flashy battles going on at the end, so I guess it's not too bad after all. I don't think I'd tolerate playing through it again with that huge chunk of bad, though.

Also, Hydra Fire. If you get that spell, have fun being a touhou boss or something.
September 26th, 2012
1.30.
Score : 9.2 exceptional
wizardg.gif
leprochaun
Peasant Male Japan xbox steam bloop
Responsible for making things not look like ass 
Story:
Dink receives a letter from the mayor of Old Tutras regarding a stolen crystal. While on this quest he discovers that Libby was kidnapped. His new quest is now to find and save Libby, and on this quest he must go through various obstacles; clearing a beach of monsters, looting the king's treasure room, getting red spider blood, and much much more. There is a story ending, and a 100% ending, and I liked that.

Mapping:
The screens were rather simple to me. There wasn't anything too over or under detailed. It was a very big map too.

Sounds:
Good midis, and the waves all fit in well.

Final comments:
I enjoyed this quite a bit. I really liked the system he used and upgraded from historical hero one. I like buying houses and books, destroying rocks with my fist, and collecting honorgems and familiar corpses. There were a good amount of challenging bosses too. Overall this is a very fun game to play.