ROD-LAND / ROD-LAND REIMAGINED - ZX Spectrum it lives reviews a 1991 classic and the re-imagined 2012 Homebrew mod by Rafal Miazga

It's Tam.  And Rit.  And...WTF...

Storm Software released this game and very few others, apart from the acclaimed Street Dragon, or should that be Saint Dragon? But this was way too late in the Speccy's heyday for me to have caught it first time round, so it's all new to me now. And it received a colourful update in 2012 from that man again Rafal Miazga. He's not actually sponsoring my website honestly, though maybe he should at this rate.

The game was advertised with the line "So cute, it'll make you puke!" which is quite something, interesting PR approach. I guess they were trying to appeal to the Rainbow Islands/Bubble Bobble kind of audience, but felt slightly ashamed of themselves for doing so.

It's a bit like Spectral Panic, only....Well, you know

So just how cute is the plot? Am I in danger of barfing all over my laptop? Here goes. Our two heroes, Tam (of the family Pon) and Rit (of the family Alin) live in a fairy village. One day they find that something awful has happened overnight to the other villagers. They've gone all wrong, captured their mum and locked her in the top of the Maboots Tower ("No, not the Maboots Tower!", "Yes, the Maboots Tower!") Luckily for Tam Pon and Rit Alin, they've inherited the Rods of Sheesanomo (bless you) from their dad and some rainbow shoes from an elder I've named Disco King Drogo. Armed with these, they can tackle the tower by 'wopping' cuddly beings on the head with their rods and by climbing ladders built with the help of the rainbow shoes. Yes, I did type that right, just checking.

Level 3 and the sharks are circling

With plots like that, who needs hallucinogenic drugs? It's uber cute and uber violent, this game, like Tarantino producing Dora the Explorer. It was of course originally an arcade game, therefore originating in Japan, therefore f***ing crazy. The game consists of over 40 levels apparently. You have to 'wop' the nasties/nicies, which will give you a useful weapon or a bonus, and collect the flowers, 'cos they smell nice. The levels are quite ladder-heavy, a bit like Chuckie Egg, so it's a bit odd that you can magically create extra ones of your own. What's the point? I don't get it.

I'm midway through whacking one of the penis-like baddies with my rod on a bubble

Another oddity is that the flowers are mostly just for decoration. If you beat up all the enemies on a screen, the stage ends after a slightly awkward couple of seconds, no matter how many flowers you've collected. Why not make it so you have to get all of them? What's the point? I don't get it.

I do rather like the way you bash the enemies. You kind of envelope them with your magic rods, throw them over your shoulder, then do it again, then one more time just for fun. It's hilariously and unnecessarily violent. Well done. Trouble is, animation of the process does take a little time, so make sure no other baddies are too close before you start getting nasty.

Picking up spade-shaped things fires them at the crocs.  Obviously

The graphics are large and nicely detailed. Colour is black and white on the original, but so much nicer on the revised version. Sound is very good, with some nice tunes here and there. There are also quite a few cut-scene stills which enhance the whole experience admirably.

Dad was a Star Trek extra who re-gifted regularly

Gameplay is not at all bad, despite the strangenesses mentioned earlier. Though you could say the levels are a bit small, possibly due to the large graphics. Every now and then you get a different type of level, the first being one with crocodiles attacking you from both sides, then later on an annoying whale. If anything, these levels suffer from being a bit drawn out and tedious. Some people are never happy, are they?

Annoying whale is annoying.  Mainly because I couldn't get past this level - unlucky 13

But were the big mags of the time happy with Rod-Land? YS went totally hatstand and gave it 95%, which is insanity. I mean, that's only 1% lower than undeniable classics Zoids and Technician Ted got in Crash ! Sinclair User also loved the pants off it with 91%. Crash opted for a more chilled 88%, as did good old MicroHobby, who additionally gave it their usual 5 Estrellas. Which is making me very thirsty, off to the fridge I go. Pretty good marks then.

So it's an enjoyable game overall, maybe not quite hitting the heights of the likes of Rainbow Islands, but still well worth a play. And even better in sparkling technicolour thanks to Senor Miazga.


Rod-Land is certainly a bit of an Odd-Land. Even the title seems a bit bizarre. But who doesn't love a bit of weirdness in their lives?



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  1. Hm, you do not get the flowers? I see you don't. Collecting all the flowers before you clean the level from enemies is one of the key principles of playing Rodland. Just try it and look what will happen then.

    1. ZX Spectrum- It Lives!!!13 October 2022 at 15:44

      I'm intrigued. I'll check it out later. No doubt I've missed something crucial :D

  2. Unfortunately the colour version is a little bit slower than the original monochromatic one, but it plays perfectly.


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