Death Song

a Fantasy Adventure by EndMaster

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

Player Rating7.20/8

"#5 overall, #1 for 2008"
based on 2181 ratings since 06/25/2008
played 53,859 times (finished 2,591)

Story Difficulty8/8

"mosie through a minefield"

Play Length7/8

"It keeps going and going"

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
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
Beautiful, touching and powerful. Fantastic storytelling as always by EndMaster, but I think this storygame shows a different side to his writing than usual. There's less incest, infant homicides and the like. The protagonist isn't a grumpy misanthropic badass tyrant. This is the story of just an ordinary guy doing his best to survive as everything he holds dear is slowly destroyed.

As other people say, the 'true' ending was a real tearjerker. It is one of my favourites out of all of this author's endings. Heck, it's probably in my top 10 favourite endings of all works of fiction.

The not so good ending was the final ending of the mercenary path. I know it was mentioned in the description that you can't 'win' but I was still disappointed. It felt like a very unsatisfying finish after having played through all the rest to get there.
-- 31TeV on 9/10/2014 2:32:19 PM
It has a lot of reading which isent that bad, but the first time, I got in hell with big red to play music forever. I kinda a wish there were pictures in eny of the stories in this website.
-- Reginawolf on 7/24/2019 6:30:20 AM
Ah, magnificent. I played Necromancer and playing this story was a beautiful compliment. I give it a simple 10/10 since, well, it's simply fantastic. There are a couple grammar mistakes near the beginning, but I was too engrossed in the story to notice them much. I am a great fan of all your work and eagerly look forward for more.
-- MeetaCheeta on 7/14/2019 6:59:07 PM

Welp, I guess my 'soft spot' for demons fucked me over. I was doomed to an eternity of playing the lute. I assumed the mercs spoke ill of the demons mostly out of bloodthirst and somewhat misplaced anger. Throughout this path I chose, I never felt truly in control, but that's probably because I overthink things like these to the point of self-defeat. This is my first time ever doing something like this; I appreciated both the amount of complexity the story provided and also the lack of it. Hopefully that made sense. I believe you've just started a new hobby for me.
-- wait...fuck. on 6/28/2019 2:20:29 AM
Really good. Really long. But very logical and practical choices. Kudos to the Endmaster for great storytelling
-- RamDanny on 6/10/2019 9:54:47 AM
This was a great story. Especially at the ending (SPOILER) where you play one last time for the great lich lord (SPOILER) it made me think deeply about my own life. What my "music" is, so to speak, and about the inevitability of things. Though I disagree that we cannot overcome our natures, I loved the concept and theme of the story all the way through.
-- Zealot on 5/24/2019 3:57:39 PM
And amazingness has struck again. I was blown away when I figured out that the mercenary captain was the father from necromancer. While I like that one better this one is amazing as well. Though playing necromancer first enhanced the experience a lot
-- Serpent on 5/15/2019 7:26:50 PM
-- Peebis on 5/13/2019 9:33:45 PM
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