"Yngwie Malmsteen is the James Last of guitar music."
The Mind quote (before drinking half a litre of Wodka)
(With which the writer below utterly disagrees, of course)
SOFTWARE REVIEW: RODLAND BY THE SALES CURVE
by Richard Karsmakers
It may be interesting to know that this entirely article is
written on the evening before my first couple of true and rather
heavy English tests. Don't bother feeling guilty, as I think I
know just about all I have to know (I think). I have the test in
the afternoon, so that also leaves the morning to do some last
Anyway, this was actually the written excuse for the intro to
this review that is probably the least fitting ever.
Curtail means reduce. To debase means to humiliate. To
exasperate means to annoy or irritate. Deferential means
respectful. To disparage means to denigrate, ridicule. To exhort
means to try hard to persuade. Limp means lacking in firmness.
Impromptu means spontaneous. Maladriot means tactless (I thought
it meant something like 'malicious', but no). Someone who is
pedant is someone who pays too much attention to minor details.
Petulant means unreasonably impatient or irritable. Pliancy means
easily being controlled or influenced by other people (although
it sounds like a noun to me). Staid means serious, dull and
rather old fashioned in appearance. To contend means to assert,
claim. To contend with means to deal with. Frugal means
economical, parsimonious. An inebriate is something like Stefan
and me (during the finishing of ST NEWS, that is). Morose means
miserable, bad tempered. Peevish means petulant, irritable.
Prudent means sensible and careful. Reticent means taciturn,
reserved. Shifty means giving the impression of being
untrustworthy. Taut means very worried and tense. Testy means
easily becoming angry/impatient. Veracity means truthfulness.
The BBC was founded in November 1922 (BB Company), and called BB
Corporation as of January 1st 1927. The crystal palace fire was
in 1936, the first scoop for the radio. The great newspaper
strike was in 1926. BBC 1 on television started in 1945, BBC 2 in
1964, ITV in 1955, Channel 4 in 1982, Elisabeth II got her crown
in 1953, William the Conqueror landed at Hastings in 1066. Henry
VIII made the act of Supremacy in 1534 after having anulled his
first marriage in 1533 so that he could marry Anna Boleyn. In
1559 the 39 articles marked the doctrinal breach of England with
Rome. The Battle of the Boyne was in 1690. The protestants beat
the Catholic army at Londonderry on July 7th 1669. Threehundred
years later the trouble in Northern Ireland (= Ulster) started.
The IRA is Catholic. Saint Edward was the patron saint of England
until about 1350 when England was at war with France - henceforth
it is St. George. The Irish patron saint is St. Patrick, who was
English of birth. Bloody Sunday was January 12th 1972. The Sun,
The Times, the Sunday Times and News of the World are owned by
Rupert Murdoch. The Guardian is a left wing quality paper. The
Sun is a right wing Tabloid. The boss of the Anglican church is
the king/queen, and next to them is the wotsisname of Canterbury
(who is primate of Britain), next to him is the wotsisname of
York (primate of England). The conservatives got into power in
1979. The real name of Lewis Carroll is Charles Ludwidge Dodgson
and he was actually in love with Alice Lydell for which he
originall concocted these stories (who was, nonetheless, a small
child!). Mr. Carroll was also a stutterer, except when in the
company of children. Mr. Grahame's son committed suicide. Grahame
wrote "The Wind in the Willows", which was later adapted for
stage play by A.A. Milne ("Toad of Toad Hall"). Milne himself
wrote all those Winnie the Pooh books. Women are allowed to vote
in America since 1919. The request for this was uttered in the
1848 Declaration of Sentiments. The Welsh national party is
called Plaid Cymrud (or something close to that). Guy Fawkes was
caught for trying to have the Gunpowder plot done on November 5
1605 (which was aimed at blowing up the king and parliament). The
British voting system is of the First Past The Post type. The
British are obsessed with queueing, and one should never drop out
of a conversation. Some say proportional respresentation will
happen when Labour and the Liberals work together after the
Conservatives will (if they) win again in 1992. Conservatives,
actually, are also called Tories. Rugby was invented in England,
and football too. Cricket was invented there as well. A jury in
England needs to have 10 out of 12 unanimous votes to work; in
Scotland this is 9. The Scottish football league has two
divisions; England and Wales work together and have four. Rugby
League is professional and his thirteen players in a team. Rugby
Union is strictly amateur and they have fifteen players. Public
schools are not quite as public as their name implements - except
in Scotland. Some pre-1850 painters in England were Reynolds,
Hogarth and someone whose name ends on -Borough (Gainsborough,
actually. Thanks, book). The most famous, however, are Turner,
Blake and Constable (who are all contemporaries). Turner is a
chap who, later in his career, made lots of paintings with a hazy
quality. If you go to London the places to find cheap lodgings
would be Victoria or Paddington. The museums are in Kensington,
mostly, though the British Museum is in Bloomsbury. Most theatres
are in the West End. The National Portrait Gallery and the
National Gallery are at Trafalger Square. Oscar Wilde was gay
(and I don't mean 'happy'). The Tate Gallery is in Westminster.
"White Hall" is a synonym for 'the government' and 'the civil
servants'. English eat Turkey at December 25th and go out to
loose the fat the day after. They invite people over for orange
juice and tea the days before Christmas. At newyear, everybody
sings "Auld Lang Syne". In Scotland they have Hogmanay or
something (First Footing) which means that people walk into each
other's house carrying something black (this is suppose to bring
luck). There are no fireworks then. Fireworks are used on
November 5th (Guy Fawkes day). In the West Country the
stereotypes involve people who are a tad stupid and who eat
strawberry pudding all the time. Miranda is the loveliest girl on
earth (sorry). In Yorkshire people call a spade a spade and drink
a lot. In Wales, there are famous male choires. People around
London are supposed to be sophisticated. The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
dialect is called Geordie and is spoken by Novacastians.
Similarly, the Liverpool dialect is called Scouse and is spoken
by Liverpudlians. Cockneys are people born within earshot of the
Bow Bells (or something pretty damn close to that). George
Bernard Shaw did Pygmalion in 1912. It was first performed in
1916, and a film was made of it called "My Fair Lady". In 1923,
the Equal Rights Amendment (in USA) was written, but this is
still not accepted. In that year, "Lolita" Babokov translated
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" that was written in 1864 by
Lewis Caroll (based on stories he told on a boat trip in 1862 and
a train trip in 1863). The Anglican church is episcopal, the
Scottish church is presbyterian. In 1000 BC the Celts invaded
England, introducing the Celtic language. In 400 (after Christ)
the Angles and Saxons came (taking German with them). In 700 the
country was evangelisized (taking Latin into the Language). In
900 the Vikings came (taking Scandinavian into the language).
William the Conquerer was actually a French viking. When he
invaded in 1066 he brought French into the language. In 1688
William of Orange became stadholder of England because there was
no decent king or something (the "Bloodless Revolution") and he
was invited to take over. When the dark ages (300-600) had ended,
England was rather uncivilised and consisted of 7 kingdoms. The
first two kings to be converted to Christianity were Ethelbert of
Kent and Edwin of Northumbria (in the 7th century). In 1745,
something happened in Ireland or Scotland that has the word
"Bonnie" in it. David Hockney is a pop artist who also makes
paintings and sells them at ridiculous prizes. John Osborne is an
angry young man. William Byrd is a very famous modern day
composer. Only the Daily Express is still at Fleetstreet. The
other papers have moved to the Docklands. Milk is delivered very
early. People in North England eat their evening meals earlier
than those in the South. Henry Moore is one of the world's
greatest sculptors (it is said that he is, but I would probably
disagree). Northern Ireland has its own parliament, called
"Stormont". The IRA split into the Official and Provisional IRA
in 1970. The militant protestant leader is called Paisley. The
British move house at an avarage of once in five years. They
drink a quarter of the world's yearly produce of tea. Pubs close
at 10:30 PM. A pint is equivalent to 0.57 litre. People who
benefit most from welfare are children under 16, men above 65,
women above 60, and the unemployed. A massive 65% of the British
working people work in the service sector (this used to be 45% in
1955). The Habeus Corpus Act ("Thou shalt produce the body")
dates from 1679. Magistrates can only treat small crimes; higher
courts have to do the big jobbies. The most common GCSE subjects
are French, German, history, maths, biology, physics, chemistry
and geography. British children enter secondary schools at the
age of 11; in Scotland this age is 12. Redbrick Universities were
built between 1850 and 1930. The student:lecturer ratio in
England is 8:1. Radio 1 is for pop music, Radio 2 for light
music, Radio 3 for classical stuff and Radio 4 is mostly using
speech. Ascot is near Windsor. In June, a fashionable horse race
is held there, where the Queen and Queen-mother usually attend.
At Easter, Cambridge and Oxford University row against each other
on the Thames. Golf was invented by the Scots. Ben Nevis is the
highest mountain in Britian, with 1343 metres. It is appropriate
to be 15 minutes late at a cocktail party. Great Britain joined
the EEC on January 1st 1973, together with Denmark. Gibraltar,
Hong Kong and the Falkland Islands are the only parts of the
commonwealth that are still dependent. 5.5. million people live
there, of which 5.2 million are in Hong Kong, which will be given
back to China in 1997. In 1926, the ACSE (Advisory Committe on
Spoken English) was founded, which decided how words should be
pronounced (in other words, these are the people that should be
shot judging by the rampant difficulties us foreigners have with
many English words). The first great Anglicist (in Holland) was
called Francis Junius (born 1589). Other great anglicists were
P.C. Cosijn and R.C. Boer. The first internationally renowned
name was Hendrik Poutsma. The greatest exponent of English
grammar was Kruisinga, the main post-war Dutch anglicist was
called F.Th. Visser. In 1911 Kruisinga pioneered current day
structuralism. H.C. Wyld is a great historian of the English
language. The Glasgow accent is called Glaswegian. Birmingham's
is called Brum. The Times used to be called The Thunderer. In
1932 the BBC moved to purpose-built housing and started the
Empire Service (currently still alive as the World Service. The
High Church in England is closest to Roman Catholic, the Low
Church is mainly Calvinist. The Church is about to burst right
now as people are beginning to find out that the Anglican church
is too much different stuff under one roof. The people
(er...Bishops) of Anglican Churches of in-and-outside England
meet each year at the Lambeth convention. The Irish national
symbol is the shamrock. Old English is also called vernacular.
Around 700, a lovely book called the Lindisgarne Gospelbook was
written. The third marriage of Henry VIII was to Jane Seymour,
who bore him his first son (Edward) and died while doing so.
Women are admitted as deacons in the Anglican Church since 1986,
and a principle decision regarding female priesthood was taken in
1987 (though no female priests have been appointed as yet). The
Primate of Australia is the Archbishop of Brisbane. The first
professor of English in Holland was Beckering Vinckers in 1886
(in Groningen). In 1957 everything started in Utrecht. A Harley
Street doctor is a doctor who is expensive and has patients in
high classes. Children's books writer, Beatrix Potter, was the
benefactor of the National Trust. In 1871 the "Test Acts" were
revoked (which Charles II had imposed earlier, and which meant
that you couldn't have a decent profession if you were no member
of the Anglican church). North England is famous for its brass
bands. The Scottish Highlanders used to be called "Women from
hell" by the Germans (because they were good soldiers, but wore
kilts). Everywhere, people tell jokes about stingy Scotch (except
in Belgium, where the Scotch are replaced by the Dutch, odd
enough). In Scotland itself, these jokes are told about "this man
from Aberdeen". I wonder what they do in Aberdeen? Highlanders do
not consider the Lowlanders to be true Scots, as Lowlanders
actually descend from Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Bon Street is
famous for jewellery and clothes. All Europe has a law system
based on Roman law, except for England - which has an adapted
version of Old German law that isn't even used in Germany any
more. People in the English parliament can shout at each other.
The opposition has to oppose to ideas made by the leading party.
Each party has someone called the Chief Whip who makes sure there
are no different opinions within one party. The Sun used to be
left wing, but turned right-wing when Murdoch bought it.
There are quite a couple more years and events, but I just hope
and pray they won't ask any of them. Of course, I left off the
obvious things that everybody (including myself) already knows.
This is just some of the stuff I'll be needing to know at the
tests (I will have 'vocabulary' - about 2000 words - and
'Cultural Historical Background'). Thank God both are multiple
Have I succeeded in impressing you? I did actually write down
about 90% from my head (i.e. I know it by heart, even though I
doubt whether I still will in two or three days' time).
Well, let's get down to "Rodland" then.
Let's start off with saying it right away: "Rodland" is probably
the most disgustingly cute game conceived so far. You play a
disgustingly cute creature with disgustingly long, disgustingly
colourful hair whose disgustingly cute mom has been kidnapped by
disgustingly cute meanies. On fourty disgustingly cute levels
filled wth even more disgustingly cute nasties you have to use
your digustingly cute Rods of Sheesanomo to wop the disgustingly
cute opponent on the head or use your disgustingly cute Rainbow
Shoes to build ladders that enable you to avoid said disgustingly
cute little monsters (and all this in a digustingly cute
manner). Even the disgustingly cute manual speaks of 'cuddle
bashing' and more of those disgustingly cute pseudonyms and
eufemisms. The style in which all the graphics are done is
disgustingly cute (i.e. typically Japanese), and the music is
equally disgusting - and equally cute.
In other words: It's just the perfect game for people who want
to enjoy some harmless, disgustingly cute entertainment.
In the game you play Tam or Rit, depending on whether you're
playing with one or two persons, and which joystick you're
manipulating when in the latter mode.
Principally, these little creatures have two means (i.e.
'weapons') with which they can reach the top of the Maboots
tower, where their disgustingly cute mom is held prisoner.
Weapon number one are the Rods of Sheesanomo. With these,
enemies can be prodded or wopped on the head. Whether it will be
wopping or prodding depends on the distance. Several wops in
sequence will 'kill' the meanie, leaving a bonus thingie to grab.
One wop will move your opponent over your head to your other side
- something which is fairly needed as you might not want to kill
them yet and you can't jump.
The second weapon are the Rainbow Shoes. These enable you to
build one ladder downwards or upwards, depending on your position
in the playfield. When you build a new ladder, the other
disappears. These ladders are necessary to get to certain
platforms, or can be used to get to accessible platforms even
quicker. Ladders are built by pressing fire and pushing the
joystick up or down.
It's like the pattern below the skin
You gotta reach out and pull it all in
And you feel like you're too close
So you swallow another dose
The pinnacle of happiness
Filling up your soul
You don't think you can take any more
You never wanna let go
To touch the roots of experience
The most basic ingredients
To see the unseen glitter of life
And feel the dirst, grief, anger and strife
Cherish the certainty of now
It kills you a bit at a time
Cradle the inspiration
It will leave you writhing on the floor...
Sorry. This happens so often nowadays, doesn't it?
In case you are interested: Faith No More, "The Real Thing". You
know I can actually play along with that song on my guitar?
Well, I guess you won't be interested anyway.
Let's continue with the general contents of this article...
If we scrap the scenerio, the game comes down to fourty levels
that are made up of reasonably simple platforms, some of which
are connected by ladders. On these platforms are located some
flowers that need to be collected whilst avoiding a collision
with any of the meanies or the products of their hate.
A level is completed whenever all nasties are gone. If you get
to the last flower before you've killed all enemies, they will
momentarily chance into a special enemy that you can wop over the
head and that will release "EXTRA" icons that need to be
collected to earn extra lives.
After each ten levels, you get a 'boss level' where you'll have
to get rid of a load of crocodiles, a disgustingly cute giant
whale and a disgustingly cute elephant. The last level is
comprised of a devilish monster that has four lives - each
requiring a diffirent way to deal with.
When I started playing "Rodland", the association with games
like "Bubble Bobble" and "New Zealand Story" is obvious. It
merely takes the cuteness a disgusting amount of levels higher.
Sharkies walk around shooting lobbed balls at you, cute Lobsters
walk around whilst trying to grab you and frightfully cute little
Monkeys and Squirrels try to get at you. And there's plenty more
where that came from - "Rodland" will have you end up with
If you don't act swift enough, the cute meanies will speed up,
making it more difficult to gauge jumps and all. If you saunter
even more (or make notes for a software review, just to mention a
possibility), these will transform into cute Blue Clouds that are
very difficult if not impossible to kill.
This is where the parallel with "Bubble Bobble" ceases to exist.
After playing it for a while, you just sit there wopping
disgustingly cute little Creatures over the head that will
release a handful of different bonuses. Various score bonuses
exist, but most of them comprise various kinds of 'smart bombs'.
One of them will explode and kill lots of cute Baddies, another
one will have something bounce them to death, etc.
The challenge of continuously playing for increased performance,
better bonuses and a higher score is soon lost. After two or
three goes at a level you usually know what needs to be done, and
another go or two suffices to show you the fastest way to get to
all the flowers. Playability, I suspect, lasts for only a couple
of evenings in the best case. Only the 'bosses' have you suffer,
adding frustration to the game. Only four or five levels are
really difficult. It may very well be possible that you haven't
completed the game after a few evenings, but you'd probably lost
interest by then anyway.
Technically, the game is not bad at all.
Loading times are minimal - as a matter of fact, if enough
memory is found it never needs to access the disk again at all.
The graphics are capably done, though its style is somewhat too
prototype-of-all-Japanese-arcade-games-nowadays to me. Some
graphics in between levels and at the beginning of the game add
to the pixel appeal - it's all competently done all right.
From a programmer's point of view, it's quite an OK game as
well. The hiscore table scrolls in one VBL, and so do the shapes
associated with the sequence in which you get an extra life.
Animation is smooth enough, and joystick control is impeccable.
The music is, as I said before, disgustingly cute. It's a bit
like cutesy "Bubble Bobble" music, but with a better play routine
to achieve better quality and a wider variety of sounds.
Concluding, I'd say that "Rodland" is not worth the investment
for seasoned games players. If you're a platform fan, stick to
"Bubble Bobble". For novice players or children (I'm serious
here), "Rodland" will probably be a very good challenge - also
because it's harmless and awfully cute altogether. I'd say that
its retail price (it costs 89 Dutch guilders, which would come
down to about £25) is somewhat hefty. I think you'd be completing
the arcade machine for that price - and that's probably even
better to play as well.
Company: The Sales Curve (a Jaleco license)
Value for money: 6
Overall rating: 7
Hardware: Colour monitor, joystick
Remark: An OK game, but not that much of a
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.