|Developer:||Jaleco|||||Release Date:||1990|||||Systems:||Arcade, Amiga, Atari ST, CPC, C64, ZX Spectrum, NES, Game Boy, iOS|
This week on Super Adventures I'm taking a quick look at arcade action game Rod·Land! I'm tempted now to look up if there's some CSS trick I can use to display the title in color-cycling rainbow text. Though I'm not even sure if I've written it right, as sometimes it's called Rod Land and other times it's Rodland.
Rod·Land is one of the games I used to play as a kid on my Amiga, so I'm not exactly going into this blind. Though I used to cheat the hell out of it back then by pressing the 'Help' key five times and getting infinite lives; one of the few times that 'Help' button was ever helpful.
This is my first time playing through the arcade version though and I can already tell it's not quite the same. For one thing this title screen fanfare sounds terrible; it's all synth brass and clock chimes. Amiga wins this round.
The attract screen then goes on to tell the story of how our heroes got their magical gear.
That's Tam on the left and Rit on the right by the way. They fight crime.
I really hate it when birds do that in platformers. Though at least when it's happened to me they always used their giant claws instead of grabbing my character's hand in their beak. That looks so painful.
Alright so the goal is to climb the tower and rescue the parent. Not quite a damsel in distress situation, but I'm still sticking the label on the bottom this post.
Once all enemies are eradicated I can move on to the next single-screen level and repeat the process.
Hey there’s Maboots tower in the background! I just noticed it now.
Plus I just remembered how the flowers work. Once I've collected every flower on the screen the music changes, the lights dim, and I get a few seconds of EXTRA GAME mode! Which means the enemies all turn into these brown things and I need to smash them open quickly to get the EXTRA letters within.
When I get all the letters... something happens. Probably something good!
I was worried something had gone wrong at first because the screen started flickering like crazy. But then I suddenly found myself facing off against two arrays of crocodiles, each spitting out smaller crocodiles. So I started worrying about that instead.
Fortunately Rit's set her wand from stun to kill so I just have to keep zapping their noses to win. Hopefully.
A FEW STAGES LATER.
The Amiga port is actually pretty close to the original though overall and I can't say the differences have made it any worse. Well okay the arcade game's got better visuals and the Amiga game's too mean to give out even a single continue, but the Amiga port has far less irritating music and that almost makes up for it.
Here, have some YouTube links if you want to compare the sound yourself:
Arcade level music / Amiga level music.
Just don't look directly at the faces on the Amiga version box art.
These two are the closest you can get to an arcade perfect Rod·Land port. But the game also came out on 8-bit systems...
But the C64 port does run at a decent speed and it gets the gameplay right. Well, as right as any of the ports. Plus it has continues!
|ZX Spectrum 128K|
This is the only version of the game with scrolling, because the levels are so zoomed in that you can only see a section of it at once. Plus the sprites are half the height so they seem absolutely tiny. It feels very legit though, aside from having no continues and letting you fall onto enemies heads to stun them. It's even got in-game music, though one of the instrument tracks cuts out to make room for sound effects whenever you do anything.
But aside from that this is still clearly Rod·Land, and most changes are optional.
Also if you name the fairy children something dirty they get embarrassed and their face turns red. I've been told anyway, I'm not going to corrupt these innocent little squirrel murderers by giving them filthy names like "SHT".
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE ARCADE GAME.
T this round.
Plus it wouldn't have been safe even if I'd made it up there, as they'd have just taken a balloon up and followed me.
T. This really does not give me much time to collect these letters. In the Amiga version I had way longer.
The bird's come back to relocate her to a more secure part of the facility.
The levels are always limited to the one screen, but they do get more complicated, with balloons, magic doors and other things getting thrown into the mix.
FOUR FLOORS LATER.
I mean I don't want to sound ungrateful but it cost me a few credits trying to get those letters, so I would've been far better off if I'd left the flowers and just killed all the enemies instead.
I didn't have the patience to get the Amstrad CPC fairy, but that worked out for the best really as I check and it doesn't even have one. Amstrad CPC Rod·Land is the worst. Alright I'm going to fight a flying elephant in a nappy now.
Plus it's gross how it keeps spitting baby elephants at me. There should be a limit on how many children an elephant is allowed to carry in its mouth at one time, and the limit should be 0.
And so I continued through the levels, still trying to evade the enemies and collect all the flowers like an idiot. If the game was forcing me to collect the letters I would've gotten frustrated by now, but it's only me making me do it, so I'm the only one I've got to blame. Though I really could use some 1UPs right now as you may have noticed I've got zero lives and zero continues.
Scene 27 was as far as I got in the end, as the timer ran out and the enemies turned into evil blue cloud monsters and got me. I could've put more credits in, but I think 9's enough. GAME OVER.
But even though I'm collecting gems instead of flowers, in front of a background of Egyptian slaves, the gameplay hasn't changed one bit.
A COUPLE OF EXTRA LETTERS LATER.
Well I'm satisfied now, I can finally turn this off.
is a colourful joyful arcade action game with addictive gameplay, cute enemies, and the music's just about bearable too. Better than bearable if you're playing the Amiga game. I do have two problems with it though:
- It's an arcade game, so it gets repetitive.
- It's an arcade game, so it wants you to lose.
The best version to me was the original arcade game, but the Amiga and NES versions are different enough to be worth considering as alternatives. The Amiga game's got all the flash of the arcade version, but with slightly different mechanics, and the NES lacks the beautiful visuals and colourful BOOOOMS, but makes up for it with options like a jump button. No continues or second episode for them though.
Rod·Land may have been old-fashioned even at the time, but it's one of the best there is at what it does, and it's probably even better in co-op, so I'm giving it a shiny Not Crap badge. Personally I don't 100% love it, but I found it fun for a short while and if you like this kind of arcade game and haven't tried it yet, I'm sure you'll find some joy in it too.