Best Cheap/Free Link Directory System?

I’m going absolutely nuts trying to select a links directory system for my site. I’m basically looking to set up a Yahoo Directory-style subsection of my stie to categorize links and give brief reviews of them. Currently I’m using Gossamer’s free Links 2.0, and it actually has all the features I want, but it’s crusty–flat file database, not particularly easy to customize the look, and hasn’t scaled well.

So now I’m stuck, and thought maybe someone here could offer some advice.

Features I’d Like:
*Free or very cheap
*Categories and sub-categories
*Basic category and link suggestion system, with admin review before posting
*Either nice looking or very easily templated
*System for automatically checking the database for dead links
*Text descriptions, and some way to rank some links higher than others in the list (“editor’s pick” or whatever)
*Ideally MySQL backend, but builds static HTML pages
*Also ideally has been updated some time in the last, say, 5 years (not a dead project, that is)

I’m wondering a bit about the static pages–on one hand, with the recent changes with server loads at DH maybe it’s silly to try and do static pages when it’s not likely to generate enough traffic to warrant worrying about sever load with dynamically generated pages. On the other, on the freak chance that it gets very popular, I care more about content than flashy features, so it seems silly to be hammering the server when all I really want are static pages (since they only update when the admin aproves new links, anyway!).

Am I being silly about the static thing, or is this a legit concern?

The systems I seem to have narrowed it down to include:

  1. cpLinks: Beautifully simple, uber-easy templating, builds static pages from a database, but under-featured (no validity checking, no “editors pick” system, doesn’t look like the admin panel would scale well).

  2. PHP Link Directory: Looks cool, there’s both a free 2.0 version and a $25 3.0 version with a few extra fancy features I probably don’t even need. But no static pages.

  3. Hot Links SQL: Looks absolutely ideal, does everything I want… except it’s $89. That’s a little stiff for a hobby page, and I can’t test to see if it’ll even run on DH. Anybody tried this? Is it worth the money?

  4. Snow Blind Development Directory Script. Attractive design, not overloaded with features, and has a nice but obvious feature that you can suggest a new category and submit a link at the same time (do others offer this and I’m just not seeing it?). However, no static pages, and it doesn’t say anything about dead link-scanning, plus it’ll cost $40 to find out.

I also tried Barracuda, which is slick looking, but uses HTTP authorization so required me to run PHP as a module, plus it doesn’t build static pages and it’s sprayed with their advertising if you don’t pay.

Are there any other good options I’m missing here? Am I being silly looking for static HTML, or is that worthwhile future-proofing? Anybody tried the above scripts and have an opinion?