Personally, I had this vision of a fantastic world in which everything was made up of pipes, tubes and rods. Sort of like the Lloyds building in London, but a whole lot more attractive. How cruel then, to discover that the rods in the title of this game refer to magic wands which the two main characters wield as weapons. Tush and double tush, another squiffy dream exploded.
Rodland is as about two unfortunates called Tam and Rit. These cheery forest folk are both fairies and as such have long hair, pointy ears and incredibly silly names. I mean, why can't they ever give these elves and sprites decent names like Andy? (Not biased towards that name at all are you, Hutch? Linda). Tam and Rit have got these weapons which sound exactly like they've been made up especially for this game, they're called Rods of Sheesanamo. Hmmm, sounds like a joke, that. If you Sheesanamo could you shout? or possibly What does your mum do? Sheesanamo specialist. Ho ho hum.
Where was I? Oh yes, poor old Tam and Rit are feeling a tad lonely because their dear mum has been kidnapped and taken to Maboots tower. Locked within this grim piece of stonework are wodges of creepy crawlies and other such splodgy entities. Thus the general idea of the game is to stroll around the tower, bonging nasties with your rod in the hope of liberating mum.
DYNO-ROD? HOT ROD? SPARE THE ROD?
Platforms are the name of the game. Actually that's a lie, Rodlands the name of the game. but platforms are an important part of the game. Ladders, platforms, power-ups, bonuses and spiffy weapons are the order of the day. Each of the 44 levels is made up of a series of rocky ledges. Littered around these are some flowers which give you a hefty bonus if collected. All of which seems a bit of a shame, when you consider how difficult it must have been to grow the things in a tower in the first place.
To get between ledges you can use either the lovely ladders, balloons, your own portable ladder or simply drop from one onto another. To make your own ladder, you simply hold down fire and move the joystick either up or down. Balloons only appear on certain levels and you can make use of them by standing on them. Of course nothing's ever easy in a Speccy game, so what's in store for the Rod-ing Spec-chum then?
There are vast numbers of nastier. Sharks, squirrels and rabbits are just three of the wandering computer folk who need bashing.
Power-ups such as bouncing bombs, missiles, static bombs, smart bombs and laser blasts all prove equally fatal to the Rodland nasties. The best of these is the laser blast which zips across the ledge which you're standing on at the time and decimates any local sharks or squirrels. The trick to using such a devious and downright nasty weapon is to wait 'til all the nasties are near you and then lit it rip.
Later on such weapons become more and more important, because the woodland folk get harder to kill and loads speedier. Fortunately, there's a respite, as every two or thee levels there's a bonus screen. This involves picking off large nasties, but is all fairly elementary and doesn't involve much utterly death-defying leaping around.
There's little doubt about it, Rodland is an absolutely screaming blast of a game. It's cute, playable and very large. But beyond all that, it has that ever elusive one-more-go feel to it. It's especially fun when you try the two player option, because then you're competing with your buddy to make it to the bonuses first. The chaps at Storm have made it an easy game to leap around in, everything moves fast and there's no colour clashing. The sounds rather groovy too, not quite Jesus Jones, but cool none-the-less. Do yourself a favour, nip down the shops, buy this game and spend a long, long time trying to bash those naughty sharks. Ecological it ain't, but groovesome it certainly is!
Brilliant, playable, cuddly and thoroughly addictive platform game.
FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RODS
Without rods, the whole infrastructure of the civilised world would collapse over tea-time.But it'd be the plumbers who'd be most annoyed.Rod Lawton who's the editor on our sister mag, Amstrad Action, once bumped into J R Hartley outside the theatre in Bath. He did, however, resist the temptation to ask him if he'd read any good books on fly fishing lately.In olden days, a rod was a unit of measurement which (in common with pieces of string) was a big or little as you needed it to be and was thus very popular with market traders.In America, they calls revolvers rods. This leads endless confusion when a plumber accidentally walks into a gun shop instead of the local hardware emporium.The expression spare the rod and ruin the child actually refers to the medieval art of rod-making which was the basis of many early settlements. Fathers who didn't teach their sprogs how to make rods, would therefore condemn them to a life of selling potatoes or clods of earth.
Ha ha! Dear old Tam unleashes a nuclear missile at a crisp packet which is doing a swift runner.
Hi Ho Mr Croc, can't you see how I'm down here with half my head missing? Stop gabbing to each other and lob some power-ups my way!
Not exactly high quality though, are they? I mean, if you'd bought a pair of those to go back to school with you'd be a laughing stock!