The Dink Network

Once in a Lifetime

Simeon says, "The king asks Dink to visit a part of his kingdom to see what's going on there. However, the only way to get there is by boat. Dink's boat sunk and he washes ashore somewhere..."
Released:May 28th, 2002
File Size:235.52 KB
Release Notes:v1.1u
Play:Play this D-Mod right now in your web browser! (More Info)
June 1st, 2003
Score : 8.0 good
Peasant Female
Note: This indepth review was made on request by SabreTrout for his DinkMagazine that however never saw the light of day. Since I thought it a shame to just delete this indepth review, I decided to submit it as a regular review. That is why this review is so long: it was inteded to be in a magazine.

This is the first D-mod made by Simeon.

In this D-mod, King Daniel summons Dink to investigate whatís going on in some part of his kingdom. There are some problems, but the player doesnít get to hear what kind of problems. Dink has to go there by boat, but the boat sinks and Dink washes ashore on an island. The D-mod is separated into two parts: on the first part you have to level up and find out what is going on, while on the second part the game relies more on fighting.

I wondered what the title has to do with the game itself since I could not find any references, but the author states that he just liked the title and that you could say that creating this D-mod was a once in a lifetime experience, which is of course exactly what it is: creating your first D-mod!

Let me first start by giving some numbers: this D-mod has one update, 129 screens, 6 midi files, 104 .d files, 2 new tiles (diary/notes), and the estimated time to solve it is between 1 and 2 hours. I finished it in about one and a half hour. This D-mod is classified as a quest. The author says it is a puzzling and adventure D-mod and indeed it is.

Letís start at the very beginning, with the title screen.

The title screen
The letters of the title resemble gothic letters, in bright red. The start, load and quit buttons are in dark blue and become a lighter blue when you move the cursor over them. The text ĎA D-mod by: Simeoní has letters that have different colours, the begin letters of each word are yellowish, the others dark red. The version number v1.07 is still there. There is also the notice Ďcopyright 2002í
The title screen is not very artistic and has no graphics. The notice about copyright seems a bit overdone, and the version number is not necessary. Since the author used just Paint to make the title screen I consider it to be quite good. The author also states that there was not any specific reason to not use graphics; he thought that the title of the D-mod and his name would do just fine.

The music
The title screen music is calm and relaxing, and I consider that an excellent choice.
The music played in the introduction is very familiar. Alas, I am not that good in recognising music or telling which artist it is, but it resembles some pop/country. Hearing it when seeing at the same time King Daniel is plain hilarious! In fact, the music was so much fun, that I just laughed out loud and didnít pay any attention to the intro so I had to restart to see that part again.
The first part of the game has the same music as played in the introduction, and alas, after a while it gets really annoying. It is a pleasure when you can go on to the other part of the island, not because you can then proceed, but also because you can then listen to some different, and very nice, music that doesnít get irritating at all.

Now letís have a look at the game itself.

The first part: the map
The first part of the game, right after Dink washes ashore on the island, is rather small. It consists of 11 screens. Those are decorated with trees, bushes, and rocks and such. Some ducks too. The borders are made nicely: some have seashore, others a cliff or a low rock border. The side of the cliff is nicely camouflaged with some trees. Without the trees you would see a cut off cliff, but now it gives the impression that the cliff indeed ends or bends towards the north. There is a blocked path and some other blocks that consist of trees, but those are obviously to prevent the player from going there, while the blocked path is an indicator that you should go there. There are not too many details, nor too few, so that keeps it interesting.

The first part: the interiors
All the interiors are as nicely decorated as the outdoors. The interior of the bar is just an average bar, but the tree adds a nice touch Ė and it is necessary for the gameplay too. Itís nice to have some cellars too. Not just houses, but also some other rooms you can investigate.
The little goblin village inside Gobbieís house is nicely done, as is the cave with the pillbugs and the goodies. At first you see a junk yard of some sort, but later on when you have progressed in the game, you realise itís the shopís backyard. Real nice. Itís also nice that the areaís where you can not do anything or very little are nicely decorated as well.

The fist part: the game and story
While on the island, Dink finds out that the blocked path is there because the inhabitants placed it there. It turns out that on the other part of the island there are monsters and by setting up the roadblock the monsters can not go to the village.
Gobbie, the goblin, speaks a sort of human-goblish as almost all goblins in D-mods too. Although there are several people, only the goblin has a name.
The cave with the pillbugs is not too difficult, nor to easy to investigate.
You can play a game in order to get a sword. You need to find ten food items that the guy has hid somewhere. If you manage to find them all, he will give you a sword. The nice thing about the interior of the guyís house is that heís obviously interested in food since there is a table loaded with food. That is always nice, if things are correct. Itís only a shame that the guy has no name. He knows that Dink is Dink, but you never get to know his name.
Itís very easy to find 9 food items, and you already think that that is too easy, but then you have to find food item number ten and that one is a lot harder to find.
It is a bit of a shame that the conversation is so little.

The first part: the humour
The guy in the bar on the island looks like Milder, but he denies it. The old lady in the bar has some nice conversation too. The bar pet (a pill bug) is funny. The music played in the introduction is very familiar. Alas, I am not that good in recognising music or say by which artist it is, but it resembles some pop/country. Hearing it when seeing at the same time King Daniel is plain hilarious! In fact, the music was so much fun, that I just laughed out loud and didnít pay any attention to the intro so I had to restart to see that part again.

The first part: overall
Overall is the first part of the game the most interesting part of the whole game. It is a small area where you can do a lot without having to walk endlessly, which is good. You have to puzzle, talk with people, search for different items and the gameplay is very good.

The second part

The second part: the map
The second part of the game is larger then the first part. It is as nicely decorated, with many different details, as the first part is. It never gets boring. There are different types of landscape, such as forest, grassland, seashores and rock borders. The sandy parts are very good, with a combination of natural bridges and bridges that are placed on screen. You can explore a larger area here then in the first part but there is not that much to do, apart from fighting enemies. There are several hearts and potions, and you need both. It is obvious that the monsters have taken over, since they are almost everywhere.

The second part: the interiors
There are several houses in this part, but they do not play a role, apart from one house. They are decorated very nicely. The inside of the houses also tells the story about the monsters since there are dead bodies and the houses are a chaos. And there are monsters of course.

The second part: the game and story
The second part is mostly about killing enemies. There are several screenlocks. It is a good thing that you have the fireball by now, since the monsters are much tougher in this part then they are in the caves in the first part. Even with the fireball it takes some time to defeat them.
In one of the house you can read a diary by John, but that does not enlighten you on why the monsters have taken over. You have to puzzle in this part, which is nice. The puzzle consists of some wells and you have to drop some coins in them. You have to figure out not only what to do, but also how to do it. This puzzle is a splendid example of a nice and, most of all, original puzzle that can indeed keep you puzzled for a while. But if you just give it a couple of tries, you will soon find out what to do.
The good part about proceeding in this part of the game is that you actually come back to the first part of the game and something that did not work at first now does, so you can proceed. You can also get an even better weapons, and, if you have found and picked up some orbs, you can use those in a very nice way. The good thing about the Ďorb puzzleí is that you do not have a clue what the orbs are for. And, if you finally know what they are for, you wished you had found some more! From this point on it is quite obvious what to do: you can not explore anymore, but you just follow the path until you have reached the end boss. The author states that, when he looks at this D-mod now, and if he had to redo it, he would change the end boss since you can only make it faster and stronger but it just is not an endboss.
There is almost no conversation in this part, which is a shame, since now you are just slashing and hacking your way through.

The second part: the humour
There is no humour in this part. The only conversation is from the end boss and a guy in the cave, and although the guy says something logical after you visit him a second time, I consider that sentence not funny.

The second part: overall
This second part depends mostly on fighting. A bit more conversation would have been nice though.

When considering all in all, I would say that this D-mod is a very nice quest. Even the two parts of which the game consists and their plusses and minusses do make a good game if you consider it as one game instead of two. It is of course one game and not two, but when you only look at the differences between the different parts you would easily say that the first part is better then the second part. But, if you look at the game overall, the two parts just make one good game: in the first part you find out what is going on and you level up, and in the second part it is action time and you kick some ass!

I wondered if the author intended it to be that way, that is, dividing the D-mod into two parts, and he states that he in fact did not intend it to be that way. He first had the part with the village but since that would have been to small and too short he added the part where Dink has to explore a village that has been attacked by monsters.

The thing I like most about this D-mod is that you can see that the author tried to make the map as beautiful as possible. You can just feel all the effort he put in it. This D-mod is a very good one indeed!

TopicPostsPosterLast Post
Once in a Lifetime  - Where's the pimple?3EsoSeptember 9th 2013, 12:42 PM
once in a lifetime3lanceJanuary 1st 2007, 07:23 PM
Weird download.3millimeterDecember 17th 2005, 02:02 AM
Once in a Lifetime - Help!3SimpletonFebruary 1st 2003, 07:57 AM
Well puzzle in 'Once in a life..'.3snazzyDecember 16th 2002, 11:56 PM