Death Song

a Grimdark Fantasy by EndMaster

Commended by EndMaster on 7/28/2019 5:06:53 AM

Player Rating7.18/8

"#7 overall, #1 for 2008"
based on 2436 ratings since 06/25/2008
played 62,392 times (finished 3,004)

Story Difficulty8/8

"mosie through a minefield"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a Snickers®"

Maturity Level7/8

"anything goes"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 18. If this were a movie, it would probably be R.

One musician's tale in a dying world

Additional Notes:

If you’ve read and liked Necromancer, then this might interest you as this story takes place during the same course of events of that story. (Not a prequel, not a sequel, but an equal!)

However, this story is definitely more “story” than “game”. In fact you shouldn’t even bother reading it if you’re intent on “winning”. You can’t. That being said, there is a “true ending” to this story and you’ll probably know if you get it. If you do get it, you can consider it a “win” if you like.

There are a few points in the story where there are links that lead to “Letters to Home”. While not necessary to understand the story, they do provide a little more insight into the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings on various situations.

Player Comments

I recently realized that I never reviewed this after reading a few months ago. So I decided to read through just one path as a refresher before writing up a review. I should have known I would be unable to stop at one. The only thing keeping me from rereading the whole, beautiful thing was the reminder that I had sworn to have the review written before bed.
And it truly is a beautiful story. It has a quite different tone from Necromancer, yet is structurally quite similar. While it seems to be the "Gloomy Sunday" of CYS, this story did not leave me with a crippling depression of any sort. However, I cannot say that I did not find the endings absolutely haunting--especially when he hummed a tune to bring himself to a different place before he died.
The story itself is very engaging. Reading it after Necromancer was a good choice, I believe, as that allowed me to enjoy the full SMITING OF THE ENEMIES to full effect before seeing the other side. I am sure my eventual rereading Necromancer will be an altered experience, and that's not a bad thing. It was also nice to see characters such as the vampires and the sister from another perspective.
The pacing was very well-done, and I enjoyed reading the letters to home. They added to the emotional impact too. None of the endings felt sloppy or rushed and as always, I enjoyed the Cave of Time branching style.
If you are looking for a light, feel-good story, Death Song is not for you. However, it is far from depressing. It is more like going through pictures of a dead loved one.
Thank you for this fine story.
-- Cricket on 4/2/2019 2:36:18 AM with a score of 0
After reading Necromancer and finding it the best and most touching multiple choice story I ever reed, it was only natural that I soon followed with Death Song. This story, as explained in the description, is an equal to Necromancer, so there will be references to it.

On with the review:

Being the characters one of the most important thing for me, I’ll start with them. The characters in Death Song are all fleshed out, even when most of them lack names. This is in part due to Necromancer not having names either, most characters in both of these stories are spoken to or about with titles. Still, this is completely intentional, as this kind of anonymity amplifies the “nature” of each character.

I can relate very well to the emotions of the main character, because these are pretty simple. He just wants to help his family and do what he loves most: play music. It is, in this sense, the most normal of Endmaster’s protagonist, as he is an everyman rather than someone exceptional (although some of the things he does could be considered as such).

There is a lot to be said about this one. The game doesn’t have a definite plot, and it could be simplified as helping your family whilst getting into terrible situations you have no control over. However there is far more beyond this, or at least that is my perception.

It really deals with the tragedy of human existence: death. Death is everywhere in this story, it surrounds the character until it finally gets him, no matter what he does. The take on this is masterfully executed by characterising death with a single individual, someone who everyone wants to stop as in the very embodiment of death itself. By doing this, it follows the finest tradition of science fiction and to a lesser extent fantasy by putting such philosophical thoughts in a distant story so that they can be understood.

The tone is very dark, serious and depressing, making Death Song a very distinct and unique story compared to others from Endmaster. This doesn’t detract from it, though, in fact, it does quite the contrary. It is the perfect tone to accompany such a tale, and it shows that the author can not only write well in one style but also excel at plenty others.

The main ending is probably one of the best endings I have ever seen. It is absolutely fabulous and it would be worth playing the entire story just for it (even if the rest wasn’t worthy, which is not the case).

My only complain about the plot would be the second way. While it is very interesting too, it is very short in comparison to the main one, and the ending isn’t quite as satisfying. It changes the atmosphere quite a lot, similarly as the alternate way in Necromancer, but that isn’t a bad thing.

It is important for a fictional world to have definite rules that are followed all the time; otherwise, it is inconsequential and its choices become just random luck. This isn’t generally the case with Death Song, as with Necromancer. There is something I don’t quite understand though, and it is the rules of the afterlife. Do bad people go to Hell always, or only when a demon kills them? It is implied that they always do, but this is the first time this is mentioned in this particular world. It can still be understood, so it isn’t a major problem.

Writing and vocabulary:
The vocabulary in Death Song is very rich and adequate, even more so than with the rest of Endmaster’s stories, although that is logical given in the general tone of this story. It is as such more distant, but that isn’t a problem as it feels pretty close despite this and it is still more appropriate to the tone. It can be read very easily, like the rest of these stories.

Technical details:
There are no noticeable grammatical or orthographical errors and the layout is just fine.

This is a special thing to rate. This story is supposed to be an equal to Necromancer, so it should then have perfect correlation with it. It has to a great extent, as it follows the “true” path of Necromancer flawlessly. As such, you should really read it before this one, as it will contain major spoilers.

This is a great story on it’s own right and a great equal to Necromancer, despite being completely different in tone and style. The main branch definitely deserves an 8/8, but since the side one doesn’t really keep up as well, It should be lowered to a 7/8. Then again I can't bear to rate such a grat story like that, and I am a very big hypocrite, so it gets the 8. Despite all this, I really recommend anyone who isn’t depressed to read it, you will thoroughly enjoy it. Do not take this warning as a joke, though, it is not. The tone is really, really depressing, and you probably shouldn’t play it if you already feel like this.

Also, thanks again to Endmaster for keeping the quality on all of his stories. This is definitely one of your best and I did really enjoy reading it.
-- Martin_Silenus on 1/7/2017 8:20:00 PM with a score of 0
At first, I was under the misconception that this is going to be another Necromancer, another epic adventure of a zombie bard who kills everything with his song of death.

I'm glad I was wrong.

The idea behind this story was ingeniously brilliant! Instead of a alternate reality spin-off or a sequel to the original Necromancer, we are presented with a tale of a single man, whose only desire was to support his family and play songs while making merry. The twist was that he lives in the same time period as the Great Lich Lord. Yeah, you can probably guess how that will go.

One thing I have to criticize on (which is rare since I mostly don't do those) is the sense of linearity to the story. I mean, Necromancer went pretty deep with its 'alternative' branching route and I was disappointed with Death Song lack thereof.

I guess it was unavoidable because Death Song is set in the same timeline as the Necromancer story and can't truly spread its wings wider without changing or even completely eradicating the events that had already been written in the previous story game. I have to praise EndMaster though, this story completely integrates itself into the timeline as if it was always planned to exist in the first place!

(That might have been the case maybe.)

Anyway, aside of the that I could confidently suggest this wonderful story to anyone who's in the mood for some minor feels and great writing overall. Reading Necromancer first is not mandatory, but extremely recommended.
-- PRONTO3000 on 12/8/2016 9:26:34 AM with a score of 0
It was fucking weird.
-- Castho7535 on 4/16/2021 1:06:31 PM with a score of 0
it was intresting, in the end, i only played to the end twice. Having joined the army, when engaging in the battle in nuro it was against my pride to run away. In the end i think i had a satisfying death, yet at the same time i wonder if i should have run away instead. I would still be alive and could find another way to support my family. But enough of my thinking. I enjoyed the world building of the story as well as the thought and emotion shown in constructing the plot (well, as much of it i have experienced) thank you for giving me a chance to take part in your story, and i awit more of your works
-- Akrim on 4/5/2021 12:45:59 AM with a score of 0
Absolutely amazing
-- Carter on 3/30/2021 8:10:23 PM with a score of 0
I always found that End Master's stories are some of the best and this one is no exception.
-- Roninwarrior47 on 2/14/2021 7:05:08 PM with a score of 0
Great game, amazing sequal/prequel/equal!!
-- MaximumPower14 on 2/8/2021 8:02:04 PM with a score of 0
Definitely worth retaking other paths just to end in the perfect ending.
-- Honeypancakes365 on 1/15/2021 10:19:39 AM with a score of 0
Good story, read it in class and was thoroughly enjoyable.
-- Robert on 12/29/2020 2:26:56 AM with a score of 0
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