LandLand 1+2 (Decorrupted)

Feb. 6, 1993
124.3 KB
139 / 216
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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The room in turn brings us back here where I still have some hope as this board has yet to betray my trust in looking interesting enough. Time to find out if the warlock lord looking object is indeed him.


No! Fight me here! Let me get this over with!

Alas the warlock teleports away.


The other object is some sort of drill that mercifully tunnels through the wall connecting the two halves of the board.

Wait a second. The warlock also makes the white walls vanish with him which would let the player access the area by turning around and having to go through the minefield and actually fight the released enemies! I'd hate having to go back through everything, but it would work! This is just sabotaging a chance to make a flubbed idea functional!


Next up is getting this fancy gem. The exit is shut with ricochets so I'm sure something here will at least attempt to do something about it. Each of the layers of walls has a single fake to hunt down (rapidly via the file viewer).


Okay so that gem isn't the magic gem. That's just. gem.


Touching the gem gets rid of the ricochets and creates this scary message about needing to get out ASAP. You can take your time as nothing actually happens here just by picking up the gem.

If you listen to the scroll though and touch one of the corner objects after grabbing the gem then you'll be punished with it sending out an endless torrent of stars in your direction. This sucks and can thankfully be avoided by just not touching them. It would be reasonable to think that there's another coding issue or something and that the alarm is supposed to go off when you touch the gem, but the code makes it very clear that these alarm objects will only activate when touched. Even then, only the one that's touched is activated.


Next: A maze!

This is one of those awful mazes that involves walking through identical rooms and hoping you reach the exit by pure chance. You can somewhat track rooms by firing bullets in different areas and recognizing them when you return to a room, but that's miserable too. The maze here is three boards of this with wrong choices returning you to the first board every time.


I wasn't going to show this board because it's once again pointless, existing only to orient the player in a certain direction. You enter it from the east and then leave out the north which is necessary for the next room. Except the previous section was a maze with arbitrary exits and could just as easily have had the path set up to make the player leave the maze by going north into the next board.


The final battle! Or what should be the final battle. It's got more going for it than the rest of the castle to be fair. Columns line the path to the warlock. Some water I think is meant to be larger columns. There are duplicators and solid walls that kind of telegraph that they'll be turned into enemies soon enough.

Moone's trying here at least.


But so am I.

Whatever those duplicators are going to be duplicating, they won't be able to push boulders. I'm able to create a seal here and fight the warlock without interruptions.


*touches the warlock and is killed instantly as the fight opens with him throwing a bunch of stars*

You're uh, better off just shooting him to start the fight since he's not programmed to be invincible prior to talking with him.


The fight gets pretty wild actually. The warlock NEVER MOVES. He just shoots in the three directions he isn't blocked. Every time you hit him another component of the board is changed. First the red pillars are turned into tigers. Then the yellow walls are turned into centipede heads and the water into more tigers. Then the boulders are turned into ruffians making my original strategy a terrible idea.


Finally, one last shot ends the fight making the warlock just get tired and leave. If only I could do the same.

Since the warlock doesn't actually move, escaping the remaining hundred enemies is easy enough. Seeing as how this game clearly wasn't tested I'm quite thankful the warlock doesn't move around because this would be a huge pain to deal with when trying to hit him otherwise.


The newly created castle exit takes Vitrious to a mountain which like in the celestial warp is surrounded by water. Moone does appear to come across the technique of using text elements and typing spaces to get dark solid walls here which give the mountain a dreary brown appearance. This technique isn't anything new by the time of this game's release, but in those early days it's very possible that Moone discovered it independently rather than coming across it in another ZZT world.


These glimpses at detail and story development make me yearn for the game that isn't actually here.


While the mountain has exits in the other three directions one is blocked by water and the other is blocked by a door. The only way forward is taking a path to the east that leads to yet another maze. This time the goal is to get a key held by a vampire!


This is one of the more annoying mazes with lots of tight spaces. It's not too winding so when you find a branch you can often continue down it a decent amount, but that's just me trying to be positive.

In both areas of the maze that involve combat Moone is doing a dithered pattern of walls that works reasonably enough. It gives the enemies a chance to spread out a bit and keeps the player from getting to just hold down the fire button like they were shooting a giant centipede.


I made it to the exit, but didn't notice that I missed picking up the cross. Seeing as how the next boss is a vampire, that would probably be useful. It's on me though as while the cross can blend into the revealed walls of the maze after exploring it a little, when you enter the board it's not the least bit obscured.


It's like a crappier version of the warlock's chambers. It even has big solid walls on the sides that will probably turn into enemies.


Speaking of repeated content. Vitrious gets another encounter like his first with the warlock.








Slightly broken.

If you have less than eighty health at this point you just get this message and nothing happens. It should probably either kill you or make the check before the message and tell you that you can't offer him your blood with your current injuries.

If you do have the health to survive the hit though, this actually is an alternate solution and will get you the key.


Of course, using the cross from the maze is the intended solution.

There's no surprise that most of the options kill the player outright as that's how it went with the warlock. I wish it would've just been pared down to offering a drink or using the cross.


What is actually genuinely cool is that after getting the key, a moment later the vampire yells that you'll pay before flooding the area with stars. It quickly changes the tone of the encounter from Vitrious's triumphant victory to him beating a hasty retreat. All you need to do to run is to just hold down so I think this unbeatable onslaught is actually a fun touch.


With the key from the vampire in hand the chase for the warlock lord resumes.


Another strange looking board. I'm not sure what the linewalls are all about.


The "water buster" is this white thing that cuts a path across the sea and then veers south to once again make an awkward board connection.

Again this object could have been moved to the previous board and made a clean connection to the west instead. The lay of the LandLand is truly bizarre.

Moone also lucks out here in that this board always had the bottom left tile empty and with a wall adjacent to it. This is probably to make the player understand that they should be going south rather than west since the path touches two edges. Had he not done this, the final #put s empty would fail due to an off-by-one error in ZZT that prevents putting things in the bottom row.


So much relief that this is all almost over.

And yet somehow it isn't nearly over at all.


Truthfully this water heavy board design is kind of a neat aesthetic. In the celestial warp area Moone was putting in a bit more effort by establishing a sense of height to the area. Now it's all a bit flat. These watery boards, even if rather bland, do at least look different than most ZZT games.


At no point has turning around been a thing the game asked me to do or a thing I wanted to do.


To prepare the player for the challenges of the shrine they're provided with 100 ammo and 100 torches from two objects at this fork in the road.

And hey, some tiny islands work as background details. It's really not much, but it beats a background of water and nothing else.

Incredibly, this split path isn't a case of one side being blocked off. You genuinely get a choice of two routes to take! Moone still manages to do this in the most awkward way imaginable though as we'll soon see.


(This board already in progress.)

The east path takes the player to this action board consisting of columns to fight various creatures starting with lions and ending with tigers. Moone uses invisible walls to keep each creature penned in until the player touches an invisible object past each door to free the next set of foes. Everything works here as intended resulting in a simple no-frills action sequence with a small (maybe a little too small) twenty health bonus at the end.

This is enough to make it one of the better boards in LandLand 2.


So why does the next board have to be this?

A bunch of tigers are rapidly duplicated in and the entire board is a winding path of water so you're constantly bombarded with bullets. It's yet another Three Lakes sort of board except now the guns are moving tigers. Functionally this doesn't really play out all that differently, but it feels somehow tackier when it's like this. I guess it's because spinning guns are designed for boards exactly like this and can't be killed so tigers are just kind of forcing themselves to play the same role except now there are constant duplicator sounds and you're much more likely to hit the stat limit since the tigers have so much room to run around in comparison to stationary guns.


This is what it looks like when I leave. I opted to shoot the tigers behind the duplicators before crossing that final gap and it's still nearly 100 tigers.


The other path meanwhile takes place in a dark room with some blinkwalls. They're properly timed so that each path is an easy one way trip by just holding down a key when the wall is on. The problem here is that it turns out whether you go north or south first makes a huge difference.

To the south is a door that leads to a centipede which has to be killed to open the next door to the room with the lions.

In the lion room there's a vitally important cyan gem that gives 1000 gems. The yellow upside-down exclamation point is a laser that blasts through the walls enough to reach the empty upper left quadrant. It then explodes into a large number of stars. If you follow it in you're in trouble. If you chose to sit and watch the laser do its thing you'll be fine by just moving a little to the left to make sure the stars can't make it down to where you are.

  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
I am Tristan,the merman. What would you
like at my humble shop?

100 ammo....................50 gems

100 torches................100 gems

100 health.................200 gems

Wall blaster...............500 gems

  The wall blaster can blast only certain
walls. Unlimited charges!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

Then you can talk to Tristan who charges some pretty heavy prices. This is the game's only shop and it's entirely missable depending on what direction you take.

Obviously the "Wall blaster" is required to escape the room and the only way to have that kind of money is to pick up the 1000 gems on this board. If you go to Tristan first you'll be unable to make it past the blinkwalls and be stuck.

Once you have the blaster you then get to play "hunt the object" as only some of the walls can be destroyed. One lets you back into the top left area where a second wall lets you get back into the main area near the red gems. From there you can tunnel through several walls to reach the "Rocket Buster" that leads to the final area of the board.

The fun part at least is all the sound effects for all of this. I'm not talking about #play commands either. These objects all BAZOOOM, ZAPPPPPP, and Rrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmm as they're used. It's really silly and enjoyable.


Finally the last object is a "nuke bomb" that irradiates the board in the strangest way imaginable. It changes all the walls into forest. Nothing like green trees to represent the aftermath of a nuclear detonation.

Not that it matters as the exit is freely available.


And it leads to the action board? But from the exit? This is just an incredibly clumsy way to once more turn the player around. They'll get the health bonus, be unable to open the door, and turn around to leave which will put them into the room with the tigers and water. This is the kind of thing that runs a real risk of a player immediately seeing they're stuck and loading an earlier save since they don't have the key.

I suppose it also runs the risk of the player thinking they missed it on the previous board and turning around expecting to go back there. Either way, it's a real rough way of doing this.


Regardless of chosen path, which is kind of a tough call since one has the only store in the game but it also makes it easy to just choose incorrectly and soft-lock the game, all roads lead to "Garbage's Area". The name of this board is changing how I perceive it after the fact because I did not think of this as being remotely like a garbage dump or anything along those lines.

To me, this was one of the cooler boards despite yet again having flawed code that breaks the gimmick.

But before getting to those double exclamation marks, first there's a pile of arrows represented by a bullet that gives 100 ammo and then a scroll saying "It's a bit of a way down." I'm not sure if going from the cyan bordered area to the water is meant to be a drop or if the entire thing is intended as a descent.


What I do know however is that the spinning blades here are a cool idea. The only other time I can remember seeing such a thing is in Deep December, a dungeon crawler first released six years later. Sure they're not as fancy here, but in this instance there are a whole lot of them making this feel like a more interesting timing puzzle than blinkwalls by virtue of requiring the player to turn on occasion instead of waiting to hold down a direction.

They take a good twenty health to make them extra threatening which is necessary because sadly they only hurt the player when the player outright touches them. This of course ruins the challenge, allowing the player to let these blades gently shove Vitrious around.

But even with that flaw, and even with the fact that this board also has some extra long centipedes, I've got to acknowledge that the mental image here is an interesting one. Dodging a bunch of spinning blades like this seems intense and until you realize that you're not really in much danger the illusion is a powerful one.


Of course, taking your time to get past all the blades isn't a free victory. All the while those duplicators will be pumping out enemies. The terrain being made of water makes it a lot easier to approach than it would otherwise be. You can clear out quite a bit from a distance by just shooting across the water until the numbers go down a bit.


Ah, so this is why the board is "Garbage's Area". You never see this white object's name but it's "Garbage B. Arf". Very clever.

Mx. B. Arf takes a moment before producing the purple key to leave the room. They take a moment to call Vitrious a sucker on their way out though I'm not sure why. There are no more tricks on this board and the next one isn't really anything particularly scary so it's not like you're being led to your death.


Next we have a crater.


Not much of one either. It's just rings of breakables and water with two workers and a lever up top. Talking to either makes them aggressive and start shooting where they'll no doubt shoot the red stick of TNT nearby.

Meanwhile the TNT when shot causes an explosion that gets rid of all the water, leaving the breakables behind. Touching the TNT (of course it survives the explosion) causes a different explosion that gets rid of the breakables. It also produces a message about finding a key though no flag is set nor key given.


The TNT is quite sturdy.

It's quite fortunate that the workers will shoot it for you though as just touching it to detonate it and having the water remain and no key given would immediately make me suspect the object was bugged and that there was no way forward without cheating. Nothing about the TNT presents itself as some strange puzzle or provides any justification for the specific behaviors it displays here.


It's never a good sign when entering a board causes a cutoff line of ZZT-OOP to display as text. Both red objects in this first room have a little countdown before the lock access to the next part of the board, one of which seems to have gotten slightly corrupted and is what is producing the message.

The theme of this board is that the player needs to navigate it quickly. For once Moone enables the re-enter when zapped option meaning that if you run out of time you'll be stuck behind the then closed red gate.


In practice you'll have lots of time since every single wrong turn except for one will result in you getting an instant game over. At least with the one here the player can't make it back past the conveyors that let you ride in.


On the right side there are three rooms. The one on the bottom still kills you for no reason. The one on the right for some weird reason says there's "no penilization" for the mistake, and the last one commends Vitrious's truckin' and opens up the path to the rest of the board.


Oh, this sounds cute. It's one of those little ZZT vehicles that's just an object pushing you along.


The jet ski makes a path through the water and begins pushing the player. It doesn't have any way to handle the turns so the player can't just sit and watch.

You won't want to sit and watch either because despite Moone showing use of the #cycle command before the jet ski runs at cycle three, making the player significantly faster.

At the end of the lake is a 1000 point bonus for finishing the room which I reached with twenty-seven seconds remaining. I kind of wish I stopped to watch the jet ski though since it also has buggy code! Just before the final turn Moone tells it to move east rather than west causing the jet ski to just stop in the water endlessly trying to move in a blocked direction. Instead it's supposed to reach the land and explode gloriously, shooting a bullet in all four directions. Touching it again afterwards will cause it to explode in your face and instantly kill the player. What a shame that we don't get to see this. (And even if it moved west properly the last :touch label mistakenly has a space before it so it still wouldn't explode.)


Colors! It's been so long. After nothing but board after board of water and cyan normals this looks like a brilliant piece of art.

Moone continues to not tell the player anything and so it's left to the editor to learn that this is the path to the Earth's core.


The actual core isn't nearly as pretty. It's also not very fun. Harkening back to the passage maze of the original LandLand, Moone doesn't even provide a hint this time. You're expected to just guess passages until you find the correct one.

Admittedly, this time the correct passage actually leads where it's supposed to so it's actually something you can conquer. It's just less fun to do as now checking passages means navigating a maze.

Pick the right door and you'll go free. Pick the wrong door and there he'll be. "He" in this case being lava. A lot of things that just kill you in this game try and fail to display a message that's immediately overwritten with ZZT's game over text, but this one doesn't even make the effort. If you're in this room you already know you messed up. Arbitrarily.
Things take a turn for the town as the player finds themselves just one room away from the actual final confrontation with the warlock. Upon entering the board each color of solid walls vanishes one by one like inside the palace from Town. Some music plays as well and I was quite surprised at how good it sounded. It's way higher quality than basically anything else in this game, and I don't recognize the tune. If it's original, this is definitely the best thing Moone did for this series. Ah, well there we are. It's taken from The Lost Crown 3 which would explain it. Flipping through that game, it's very very clearly a big influence on this one as well. The song is still nice though, and I already ripped it so give it a listen!

Hey this doesn't look awful really. The tank is a neat design. I quite like the conveyors for treads. It doesn't actually do anything on its own though letting the spinning guns do all the work of attacking Vitrious. A large cannon is in the center of the room but needs to be powered before it can fire.


This is done by heading to each of the four corners and turning on the power. You have to hit them in a specific order although touching the wrong one doesn't cause a reset or anything.


Actually firing the cannon isn't too exciting. It makes a "bawoom" and the object blocking access via the turret is destroyed. I would've liked it to shoot a barrage of bullets for a bit before having the turret break open, even if the bullets themselves weren't actually doing anything.

Once the cannon has been charged you can keep firing it too! Each time another section of the tank is turned into bombs so you don't have to actually run inside yourself.


Except I did just that because why wouldn't I assume I was supposed to go in and fight the warlock myself? I shot at the warlock lord and got some stars sent back at me in return. The solution is simply to touch him.


This seems to catch him off guard and he disappears. He's not dead yet though, this is just the first phase of the fight. Access to the next room opens up so things can really start popping off.

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