Publisher: Storm
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #77


"If it's cute, it's a Japanese coin-op," so the saying goes and you don't come any cuter than wand-toting fairies beating up bunnies, that's Rod-Land for you.

The reasoning behind this slaughter is that Mom has been mumnapped by the not-so-cute Demon. Mom's children, the fairies Tam and Rit, are miffed. Miffed enough to call on Dad to give them the Rods of Sheesanorno (magic wands to you and me) and Rainbow shoes from the Village Elder (to create ladders of course - what did you expect, rainbows?). Mom was spirited away to the Maboots' Tower and it's at the tower base that T and R get down to work.

So far so typically Japlish. Rodland, to all intents, looks a pretty spartan affair with platforms and connecting ladders but it's the gameplay that provides the hook. All you have to do is get rid of the monsters that appear at the start of the screen. And you'll never have a more entertaining time killing baddies than in Rodland. Just walk up to one of the cutesy meanies, stun it with a zzap from your rod and then bash it on the ground a few times (and once more just for the hell of it)! Don't be shocked, there's nothing in the plot that says these fairies are pacifists!


Tam and Rit can't bash each other about, but get too close to a creature in mid-bash then off to fairy heaven a life goes (Hint: Don't bash a baddy when you're near a wall as it'll bounce off and bop you on the bonce!)

Along with a wand to make Paul Daniels go green with envy, Tam and Rit have very large pockets out of which comes a very large ladder, used to create a handy short cut to another platform - though the meanies can also use them, However, later level platform layouts can't be reached with a quick climb up a ladder - instead you must hitch a ride on a balloon or nip through a teleporter.

Killing baddies is great fun and very rewarding to boot as the meanies carry weapons around which they quite happily give away when they expire. Often, they'll also leave behind fruit for bonus points, or occasionally a Bonus Life letter which will rapidly cycle through the 'EXTRA' letters and then disappear. You've got to be quick to get the right letter before it vanishes - collect all the letters and an extra-life fairy pops up and predictably gives you an... (well I never) extra life! The extra-life fairy is a great graphic but you'll have to work hard to get to see her!


In fact, the mad scramble for all the flowers often leads to an even madder scramble to catch the meanies and bash the EXTRA letters out of them. The fight to get the last meanie is nothing compared with the fight between Tam and Rit to get the last letter standing between player and extra life!

Eight screens of cute creature-crunching later and Tam and Rit get to bop a big end-level baddie, if you could ever bring yourself to call a blubbery, smiling whale throwing out baby whales or an elephant on a trampoline a 'baddie'. Deadly they most certainly are, though, and to the grave they just have to go. Come Level 32 the horde of cute creatures (including chimps monkeying around, boomerang-lobbing starfish and snappy little lobsters) run off in terror. The Demon himself turns up but look, he's only a baby - not for long dear reader, not for long! To that, Tam and Rit replied "Fairy-nough!"

Rodland is a little gem to play and shows that great gameplay doesn't always lose out to graphics in modern coin-ops. Simple platforms-and-ladders graphics take you on a nostalgia trip back to the days of Lode Runner but have you ever had more fun killing baddies than this?


Rodland hasn't lost anything essential in the conversion process; the backdrop has gone but that was just a case of pretty graphics and added nothing. It's the immensely addictive gameplay you want and Rodland delivers in its fine and very cute style. The creatures look as cute as cute can be with a great dose of variety and that endearing look on their faces when you bash them around. The starfish are my faves even if they look as if they enjoy getting bashed around!

Game sophistication doesn't come into it all that much but for pure slickness and, more importantly, enjoyment of play, Rodland just can't be beaten, not even with an egg whisk!

I promise not to mention the 'c' word! Rodland has a graphical simplicity reminiscent of the classic Bubble Bobble. The sprites are sickly sweet but nonetheless endearing - the baddies almost too cuddly to kill! There's not really much to the action but it's all great fun and highly compulsive, especially in manic two-player games featuring that strange, but magical combination of cooperation and competition.



Presentation 89%
Inevitable but well-structured multi-load (eight levels plus end-baddie conflicts). Typically excellent Storm presentation with scene-setting screens before the game, continue-plays, option to play either Tam or Rit. Two different high score tables.

Graphics 89%
Simple but effective platform layout designs with some great weapons-effect graphics. Good overlaid Tam/Rit sprites.

Sound 76%
Martin Walker provides an effective remix of familiar FX with some cutesy tunes.


Hookability 92%
The load at the start before you get going detracts slightly but the gameplay's simplicity makes it as instantly playable as the best of the rest.

Lastability 88%
32 screens are deviously designed, the creatures sneaky and the superbaddies formidable, and then there's the end-of-game Demon to worry about!

Overall 90%
An obscure coin-op but with its first class playability, endearing cute nature and great sense of fun the conversion just can't be missed!