There are fairies at the bottom of our garden, cute wittle fluffy ones with tiny noses and glittery wands. And they’re coming to get me. (Quick, fetch the men in white coats before Nick gets any more gooey — Ed). The dainty folk have even got their own computer game, where NICK ROBERTS discovered them.
It was a quiet day in the fairy village. All the fairy folk were going about their daily chores, minding their own business, when something very bizarre happened to them all. To their horror, they began to change, not out of their pyjamas for breakfast (as all food fairy folk do), but into strange fluffy fiends. They no longer have control over their actions and have kidnapped the beloved mom of Tam and Rit, the heroes of the hour.
This parent in peril now lies captured at the top of the Maboots Tower (not an AA recommended hotel, by any stretch of the imagination) and Tam and Rit are her only hope. So armed with the magic rods of Sheesanamo and their special shoes, the daring duo set off to save the day.
Bashing cutesy characters on the head with a big rod is what’s called for in Rod Land. You wouldn’t think these fairy folk had it in them but they’re incredibly violent when they get their backs up!
I reckon the Rod Land programmer was on drugs or something when he invented this. On the journey through the Maboots tower you meet animals like sharks, squirrels and rabbits, but also a variety of very strange baddies: killer spuds and corncobs, and rude-looking blobs called Polymorfs try to getcha with their terrible tongues.
Wiping out these weird creatures with just a rod to protect yourself ain’t no picnic but it can be done. Bop them on the head, pick them up and repeatedly bash them on the floor. Luv’ly.
Collecting flowers gives extra points and picking up the last one turns all the nastles into ‘Kabura’, sort of like red turnips! Killing these makes them drop a letter of the word EXTRA. Collecting them all gains Tam or Rit an extra life!
Bashing a baddy makes them drop special weapons to help the quest. These range from the usual boring missiles and bombs to things like ice, flame and ‘revel’ that bounces four balls around the screen killing everything they touch.
At the end of each level a big boss baddy like the terrifying elephant on a trapeze or killer whale and its babies come out of hiding for a battle. These fairies may be dainty and sweet, but they’re hellish strong — I mean, could you swing a shark from side to side until its head caves in?
Rod Land is excellently presented with lots of colourful graphics and groovy tunes before you start playing. In-game graphics are well drawn and animated but are in black and white monochrome! They could have squeezed some sort of colour into the game, even if it was only for the main characters. These minor moans haven’t stopped me playing the game, though — I’m totally hooked!
When I started playing I was stuck on the first few levels; I just couldn’t get the hang of bashing the creatures around the screen. But I soon mastered the controls and after defeating the first big boss there was no stopping me! Rod Land is highly recommended to everyone. It may be sickeningly cute but it’s also fantastically playable — I just can’t get enough!
NICK — 86%