LandLand 1+2 (Decorrupted)

Released
Feb. 6, 1993
Company
Size
124.3 KB
Boards
139 / 216
Rating
2.00 / 5.00

Closer Look: LandLand 2

By: Dr. Dos
Published: July 31, 2021

An improvement over the original, but also not.

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This board I feel like is a great showcase in the ways Moone has improved since LandLand and the ways which he still has quite a bit to go.

At first glance this is another Town jail board. There's a time limit, blinkwalls, crossing water with spinning guns, and blocking guns with boulders.

It starts off okay. The first scroll warns to move quickly, guiding the player to notice that there's a time limit on this board. A second scroll explains that you'll have to take some damage on this board, but can gain up to forty health.

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You can go around the bulk of the board towards the top corner where a dragon is constantly shooting down the hall. Another scroll provides the hint that this is an object defeated by touch rather than shooting. There may have been a better way to give this information to the player other than a scroll, but with the hint here I think it's okay.

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It's easy to say the LandLand series is hardly a lost treasure, but its recovery meant we get to see this line.

The dragon's wealth amounts to ten gems, ten torches, and fifty ammo.

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Before leaving the dragon awards the player with not only a pendant but also a name! Sir Vitrious. I guess it's meant to be something like "virtuous". Apologies in advance when I spell it wrong ten different ways throughout the rest of this article.

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Really I just went for the dragon first because it was constantly making noise by shooting bullets. It was a good call though since getting the key at the end here requires the pendant.

Grabbing some of the boulders in the starting area lets you push things along the lake somewhat and make the crossing a little less perilous.

Sadly there's some unintentional danger where its possible for a star to end up going through a wall. Luckily I recently dug into what makes that happen on Twitter. While playing I couldn't remember the specifics and I admit to kind of futzing around on the wall hoping I'd actually to exploit it and step on a star when it was covering a wall and let Vitrious clip across.

In retrospect, walking into a room full of star throwing tigers when Moone was so politely giving me bombs to safely destroy them with was not a good plan.

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I also screwed up the crossing itself by blocking the top tile. If I left it clear I could keep pushing boulders south and eventually block off the guns entirely! Instead I'd have to do the rest of the crossing unaided which isn't anything too difficult. The spinning guns are fairly tuned to make a crossing pretty safe if you're patient. The boulders just past the lakes makes that the return trip would still be easier regardless.

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After the lakes are a big door and a nearby button.

Press the button.

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Ha ha. It's an instant game over for no reason.

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Ha ha, Moone still doesn't know what he's doing and I'm alive.

So this is another code issue where the object tries to change the fakes into pushers. It actually calls them "pushers" instead of "pusher" though so the command errors out. Even if this worked, pushers created via ZZT-OOP have a default stat and try to push in the idle direction so the player wouldn't be trapped.

The object goes on to display a fake game over message and after idling agrees to release the player and tries to change the pushers back to fakes where it again calls them "pushers".

I don't know what to think about this.

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Oh, and as is if this wasn't enough. The fakes do turn into ammo.

They are not supposed to do this. I don't know why this happens. I spent a minute tracking it down and managed to get the fakes to turn into GREEN TEXT instead. This requires yet again further analysis. I went into this board in this article knowing I could find a link to an explanation of the star thing, but Moone wanted more. So now we have a new glitch to investigate.

Perhaps this game will become notable after all.

Update (but not really because this is being written into my first draft): What is happening here is exploitable and can be used a pseudo-flag or counter. It can even be used to share information between worlds (with some heavy caveats including not being able to use saves with it). See Wake Up and Unlock the Door for a proof of concept and proper explanation.

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Anyway, the game returns to normalcy. Checking the equivalent spot where the button is but on the right side results in a hidden object singing so loudly the the door is destroyed. This turns the door into even more boulders for the return trip across the lakes.

This is also a nice recovery point with some gems to take a moment to collect and a heart at the end for another fifteen health.

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The next set of spinning guns is really a joke. I'm not sure what Moone was going for with these specific ones.

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The last tiger is carefully taken out with the bombs here. I wanted to make sure not to hit the red gem since I had a hunch it might also be a trap. It's fine to catch it in the explosion as it's indeed not a normal gem, but a "Good gem" worth twenty gems.

Due to the way the star-clipping glitch works it also meant that this tiger happened to stand on a tile and pick up a shed stat making it move at cycle one and shoot bullets endlessly. Honestly these glitched tigers are more dangerous than star throwing ones so the bombs being available was a relief.

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The last obstacle to overcome are two barbarians that demand gems. The one that's touched will take eighty away and disappear so try not to bump into the other way. Especially since if you don't have the gems you'll lose fifty health instead.

Unless you don't have fifty health in which case the previous bug in the gaming hut will happen again and the object will just die instead of killing the player.

I already had the necessary gems since before the super gem even so I can't imagine getting here and not having enough.

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Really it's these guys that are the last obstacle, but talking to them without the pendant just makes them tell you to go away.

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All that for just a regular old red key.

What a board! It's mostly good honestly. The challenges are fair and there's plenty of variety.

There's a time limit that's not particularly relevant since you'll still probably be getting hurt fast enough for it to not matter. There's a buggy instant game over that isn't actually, and I don't know what to make of its actual effects. The lack of music and the fact that hitting escape during the fake game over would reveal that something is up, but even as a trick on the player it's not something I'd encourage including in a ZZT game.

The dragon has his weakness pretty clearly stated, but in a forced way that could be done better. The barbarians are buggy though in a way that's almost if not outright impossible to run into.

The tigers sometimes let stars go through walls which is very bad, but not Moone's fault.

I ended up cheating for health towards the start since I was so low to begin with, but afterwards I think the balance was fine.

This board just sums up LandLand 2. It's still very much flawed, but in a way that the player can mostly get through it. Standing on the shoulders of the original LandLand lets it punch above its weight. The improvement is obvious, and the need to keep improving equally so. We've got ourselves a game that's definitely getting there, but not quite able to pull off the basic fantasy adventure it's going for.

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The passage also leads directly to the other path in the caverns from way earlier which is very much appreciated. Of course if you go in it early you won't be able to return for the key since the nuclear reactor board destroyed its passages. You win some, you lose some.

Also when you see a board like this you know that the puzzle is going to be finding the correct path with the other keys being fake in some way. There's nothing for the player to figure out. They just have to guess. Best case scenario is that a wrong key will hurt the player before turning into a real key. A more likely scenario is that a wrong key will end the game. Worst case scenario is that the game doesn't even give the player the dignity of ending the game and makes them quit and reload their save on their own.

What's it gonna be?

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An instant game over. Predictable.

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Great puzzle. Learned a lot.

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Perhaps my enthusiasm for that jail-inspired board comes from this being the alternative. It's another key grabbing screen. It's unpleasant to look at. It's got nothing but giant centipedes.

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It seems to be made a little more tolerable by realizing the maze has more than you need to navigate. If you pay attention you'll notice some of the chambers can be ignored entirely letting you reach the exit without bothering with every single key and door.

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This is not the case. Not only are you supposed to kill every centipede which means opening every door, but the design punishes you for trying otherwise extra hard as I'm now without a purple key to even go back and take out the rest of the centipedes. The game needs to be reloaded or else you need to cheat past the door at this point.

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Moone please. We get it. Centipedes can be big. The ammo object provides 150 ammo to shoot while twiddling your thumbs.

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Way way back when the first forest turned into a cave and when "big centipede" was still a novel concept for this game I mentioned how your bullets would inevitably block the centipede and make it turn around giving the player the chance to take it out in a straight corridor. Here it's the opposite. You start in a corridor that allows you to take multiple shots at a time (though still not nearly enough). When the beast turns around though, you're stuck waiting an agonizingly long time to move through the rest of the board where you can only really get a few shots off at a time at most.

It's incredibly slow and tedious and terrible.

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I really feel like Moone is regressing here. The opening act to this game was perfectly average. It may have been a dime a dozen style ZZT adventure, but it ticked the boxes and worked as a game to pass the time. It seems like it's generally been going downhill ever since that first maze.

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You can tell I was just tired and followed along in the file viewer with the invisibles shown. The two blinkwalls offer some relief in that you can tell you'll get to run straight down towards the key.

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Finally a sign of civilization. LandLand 2 made it seem like there'd be more characters to interact with with its starting king and those demons in the first cave. A lot of these boards have been so generic that they could be put in any ZZT game really.

That the board seems to be a dead-end gave me hope that something important would be inside.

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I don't know what to make of this. This home is populated with bears and a large centipede the size of a small centipede. There's something of interest at the end for sure at least. Past the blue doors (that I hope don't make me kill all the enemies first) is a room full of something currently unidentifiable and then some person with a few scroll-like objects.

Sure enough you do need to kill the enemies before opening the doors. This time it's easy to do and won't require reloading a save or lengthy walks to finish anything off.

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Oh! It's a library!

Warlock Lord
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
   " Yes, what do you want? I am dis-
-pleased with intruders. State your
business or you FRY!

Kick him


Reason with him


Blow him full of arrow holes


Beg for mercy


Bargin with him


Scream at him


Battle him


RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

A library owned by a very upset warlock. There's a sudden explosion of options as you get quite a few unique effects depending on how Vitrious reacts to bothering a warlock.

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Most options are as deadly as you'd expect with a particular focus on becoming petrified.

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This option hints at what the actual objective is despite having never been mentioned before. The warlock isn't really one of those deals warlocks you hear about so much these days. His offer is a simple one that results in petrification if you decline.

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Saying yes is pretty amusing. Vitrious apparently goes along with the lifetime of slavery with the plan of being a slave until the warlock dies of old age. Alas what with the magic and all the warlock is still going to be around for quite some time "so you die for no reason".

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A different death.

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This one isn't an instant death! It pretty much ought as well be though as the warlock throws seven stars at the player.

I apparently missed capturing "Yell at him" which makes him yell back for you to shut up and then also throws seven stars.

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Now here's a deal.

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It goes without saying at this point that picking a fight with this guy is a big mistake. Again he throws stars, but this time it's not to drive you off. Instead he enters an infinite loop of throwing stars. It's probably unintentional, but since he doesn't lock himself the loop can be broken by touching or shooting him (though shooting will result in one last star being thrown).

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Rather unusually, the "run away" option isn't the "leave and come back later" choice that it frequently is. This is the correct choice without the need to find some item to defeat the warlock with. You just run five miles away and shoot him.

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It's taken quite some time, but this is the game's actual story. The rest of the game is going to be about the conflict between Vitrious and the warlock. It's an interesting premise since there was no mention of an evil warlock terrorizing the kingdom or anything. You just show up into this jerk's home uninvited and things escalate from there.

The warlock opens up the path to the celestial warp, again, not the player's objective, just a thing that happens to be there. Since this game was originally corrupt, it was possible to see a board titled "Celestial Warp" which sounded cool as heck. Getting to actually go through it was something I was genuinely looking forward to even after the first game's many flaws and the second game's mediocrities.

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All the cool bright colors are kept to that one patch of linewalls in the corner. I was really hoping for something a bit flashier. This is the "Celestial World" which looks no different than anything else really. It's very watery and Moone establishes that you're on a high cliff as many of the gaps in the walls exist just to tell you that it's a long way down. There's no danger of falling which works out given that the objects are invisible. I'd be pretty annoyed if touching these gaps in the walls that appear to connect to more parts of the board meant falling to my death.

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The warlock has gotten a pretty good head start on Vitrious so it'll be a bit before he shows up again. In the meantime there's this big turn with some ruffians to fight through. At least, that's the intent. What Moone wasn't aware of is that duplicators only check if the adjacent tile to duplicate things on to is empty or not. In this case fake walls still mean that the tile is occupied making this board nothing but a brisk walk to the other side.

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That's not... really hopping.

The editor calls these signs "Danger Signs". Since the message they display is just a flashing one-liner the player won't get to see that and it creates this odd moment of not reading the sign before jumping over it by shoving it out of the way.

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The turn is busted sure, but I like Moone looping the boards like this. Getting to see some structure in the distance like this gives the player a landmark to look forward to and I'm always a big fan of getting to play the same board from a different section. The turn actually marks the player's descent to sea level here.

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Traveling through the temple Vitrious first needs to cross a winding path over the water while dodging bullets. We've certainly seen this enough for it to not be all that interesting by this point. This screenshot is after making the crossing and arriving at the exit to give a sense of how many bullets you need to deal with.

Once again though Moone doesn't activate the re-enter when zapped option nor does he limit shooting which makes the journey a lot less perilous than it could be. In this case perhaps the more narrow passage that you're required to cross might make things a little too difficult were those options enabled.

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The editor reveals this series of boards to be the "Death Passage". The second board of which goes from bullets to stars. It gets a little dicey crossing with the number of stars on screen at any given moment. Some luck can let you make it across without taking any damage.

I missed a screenshot of the next board though you're not missing much. The two paths meet up and the player gets some ammo, torches, and gems.

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Continuing along a weird break from the norm. There is a giant centipede, but centipedes aren't stitched together like some kind of centipede-centipede horror until runtime. The head is surrounded and can't move so it tries to reverse course and can't. The segments, not yet properly linked to the head end up getting to tick and act as isolated segments do, each one turning into a head on its own. It's almost a shame since this board is mostly long narrow paths that are ideal for fighting a giant centipede in. (Still tedious either way though.)

The player meanwhile has a split path where one option is pretty clearly blocked at the end. The object is an indestructible barrier that does nothing but wastes your time if you try the path with it at the end. You might think it's some barrier for backtracking that only opens once the player defeats all the enemies or something, but there's no backtracking here either.

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Instead Vitrious spends his time here fighting some lions and then crushing an altar like a moloch.

Now you might think this is relevant. After all, there were some demons way back at the beginning of the game. You'd be wrong! The two devil altars here do nothing when destroyed. No points, no flags set, absolutely nothing. I kind of wish they did matter! Destroying altars to evil gods is by far the most impressive thing Vitrious has done and just goes unmentioned.

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I say two devil altars because this third blue altar is different.

A smoky figure arises.

Hello.

I am Kuzitar,god of mist.

You need a god bow,don't you?

Wait.

Yep. You do.

You want it?

Yea?

O.K.

Here!

Received GOD BOW!

Good.

Now go away.

The mist swirls,then disappears.

It's goofy.

The god bow is a mandatory item needed later on. It doesn't change anything about Vitrious's combat abilities. It is possible to skip it by not touching the alter, however the altar is right next to the key to get out of here making it a very conscious decision to not collect it.

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You won't get far without it either! The very next board has an object that checks for the bow.

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You won't get far with it either! The very next board has an object that checks for the bow and then tries to jump to the wrong label where it errors out!

This is the only spot where the flag is checked which admittedly makes sense as you're not able to pass without it so it's a safe assumption for later boards that you have it. In practice it ends up being a mandatory cheat and another reminder of the lack of testing this game had.

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That gate also serves as the exit to the celestial worlds and brings things back to the LandLand plane. It turns out that the warlock's little home in the woods was more of a summer cottage. His actual home is here in the CASTLE OF TRUE TERROR.

As far as ZZT castles go, this is bottom of the barrel. Even The Castle of Lots 'n Lots of Evil looks more detailed and that thing is basically just an Adventure homage.

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The interior starts off with this dark room. Fortunately most of the castle is well-lit. This opening board doesn't have a whole lot to it.

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In fact, it's outright empty. Ironically the only thing of interest is the sign pointing the to the east that's too far away from anywhere the player can stand in darkness to ever see it normally.

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This leads to another empty board that just splits the path. Either this board or the previous could have easily existed without the other since they're both empty and both lacking in any sort of detail to elicit a response from the player upon seeing it.

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The path up is actually blocked off. You do get something of interest here at least. The board is visually distinct and it's divided in half which makes it unclear how to actually get to everything in it. It also appears that the right side of the board has the warlock hanging out in it.

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Hey! An idea!

Really this is just like the booby trapped gems from earlier except by being upfront about it the player can actually be on their guard. If you're really worried you can use bullets to detect invisible objects. A little thought goes a long way in this game making this something to praise and encourage when in most games it would be just a short-lived gimmick rather than something worth noting.

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And yet, here we are discussing its failures.

Thinking about it for just a moment, the board is very obviously not designed well around the idea. Hitting a mine means that one of the cages in the opening area disappears freeing monsters that would have to make their way into a single tile wide gap to even possibly have a chance of reaching the player.

Add to that the fact that the number of mines is quite surprisingly low. There are thirteen in the entire board. This was the only one I hit. Shuffle the board layout a bit and maybe have each of these 4 rows of the minefield have the cage at the end of the respective section and then there could be some danger to it. Up the mines a bit too or something. I can't believe I'm saying this but if the layout was a bit more maze-like the player would be more likely to bump into a mine.

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Back to darkness. Here the player is immediately ambushed by something throwing stars which is never a good sign.

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Boy is it not much though. This is exactly the kind of board design that says "I am tired of making this game". You may expect this to indicate that the final fight with the warlock is coming up soon and will bring an end to the game. Nope. We've got like twenty-something boards to go.

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