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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screen415

Nice! Moone ends it like he did the previous game with a giant boss battle. This one is more impressive visually than the lizard queen and the layout works better. You're still trying to not get shot on your way to a glaring weak point, but the path has obstructions to force the player to confront the guns with safe points being few and far between.

To ensure you're able to take on this boss you're also given a 10,000 ammo pickup! That should be enough I hope.

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Shooting the heart turns everything into breakables letting Vitrious tunnel his way to the warlock in the center. I'm not sure if this giant creature is meant to be a representation of the warlock or like a giant mech really.

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Still immune to bullets, Vitrious does the warlock in with his bare hands. Finally the evil is over.

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REALLY?

I have to destroy all the breakables that make up his final form? No thanks. Instead I took refuge in the top row, cranked up the game speed and then got a glass of water.

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There we go-oh?

screen423

YOU HAVE TO DESTROY ALL THE WALLS ON THE BOARD TOO

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Yay I did it. 100% legit.

This odd looking exit board starts off as a path before just giving up and turning into a forest. It feels very underwhelming to cross.

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But it make a little sense once you realize that it takes you all the way back to the first board of the game.

Vitrious speaks with the king again to tell him that he was victorious against this warlock that neither of them had every heard of. Also that he found a name for himself. Literally.

screen428

But this is a LandLand game we're talking about! Obviously the king is bugged and never acknowledges your victory. The only way to get it to work is to not actually talk to him until you arrive here at the end of the game so it will actually check for the flag in the right place.

You'd have to be pretty brave to try that as well since the king is required to open the doors to the vault and weaponry. If you don't talk to him you'll be going without ammo until the first cave board.

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We're still not done though. This game has the audacity to offer the player a chance to try a bonus challenge.

Bonus Games
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
@ Bonus Game
  Yes,you get your 10,000 points,but how
about 25,000 points? There are more rooms
ahead! If you make it,you get an extra
15,000 points. If you die,it was worth a
shot.  How about a go?

  Yes!

   No.


One thing,you don't see the fun endings
if you try for more.
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

If you're smart, you're going to take your 10,000 bonus points and head to the ending. If you choose the challenge for more points you also don't even get to see the ending.

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The actual ending is just a little celebration for you. The crowd is full of people telling you to take your place on stage with two notable exceptions.

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screen437

Vitrious's mother and father, who opted to not give their child a name are proud of your accomplishments of beating up some warlock.

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screen440

*chef's kiss*

Not a million years could I have come up with a more appropriate way for this to go down. The object uses #change instead of #put. Zapping past him leads to the rest of the ending.

screen442

It returns to heavy Town influences. Some big victory text and a guy with lots of praise to sing to you.

Well,you won.

You are the best.

Head Honcho.

The king of LANDTWO.

In fact,the king of the land,becuse the...

...King is dead.

Play the next game!

Back to what I was saying....

You are the best.

So,that concludes the game.

Play again to see the second ending,

which is the other path.

So, last words of me are.....

so legendary,that they were used in...

TOWNTOWN.

It's .........

So go away.

Thanks for playing!

Updates on the next game are in the next
room.

And then the object gives you a key and errors out with another invalid #change!

Interaction
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •
@Creator of the series: JOE MOONE!
Hiya! I shall give you the order form.
You don't have to print it, but write it
down.

TITLES
-----------------------------------------
GAME 1= LANDLAND- Beginning of the series

GAME 2= LANDTWO - This game!

GAME 3= LANDIII - Final series game.
-----------------------------------------
Sub-games........
-----------------------------------------
LEARNKID= Kids! Play a learning game in
ZZT! Action and thinking required!
Grades 1-6 please.
------------------------------------------
And at your request,more to come!

Seriously,here's the form:

■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
LANDLAND=__ games. $5.00 cost.

LANDTWO =__ games. $5.00 cost.

LANDIII =__ games. $5.00 cost.

LEARNKID=__ games. $5.00 cost.
■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
And the request sheet.....
■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■

More games?    YES__  NO__
How many?   A FEW__  SOME__  A LOT!__

Suggestions for me?______________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________

■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■

  Include money only. No checks,credit,
or money orders. Cash only. If you want
the whole LANDLAND series, send $10.00
and write on a piece of paper WHAT-A-DEAL!
No catch. Just send the money, with your
address and the money, the order form,and
the request sheet. Shipping and handling
you must send $2.50. So,that's it. If
you'd like to encourage more creation,
send more money. Game developers need
money for design and stuff. I need a
hard drive for quicker creation. So.I
now end this object. Last words: If you
want to talk,or anything,I am on AQUILA.
My address and order form destnation is:

  XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
  XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
  Joe Moone

  And don't forget it!
  •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •    •

I'm not even going to show you the nearly empty board with this object and a passage. I'm just so tired. I would not suggest spending $5 on these games. I would not trust LEARNKID. LANDIII likely doesn't exist.

To top it all off the actual object goes on with a bunch of blank lines and then does that cheeky bonus option that gives you a bunch of points for finding the option.

screen470

Except it doesn't. A semicolon is missing so the hyperlink can't find a label to jump to meaning we have still another bug preventing you from getting the bonus.

For real though, the final (non-bonus challenge) board is a preview of LANDIII.

Once again, it looks like an improvement. Cut-scenes of this nature are especially rare this early on in ZZT worlds with "here's a picture and accompanying text on the board" being more common than this "sit and watch" style that would dominate storytelling in ZZT worlds in the late 90s. The little attempts at basic animation by having art pop in and out as needed is ahead of its time, though still messy. Look closely and you can see the when the wizard disappears the man's hands vanish as well due to both being made of white normals. In this specific case white fakes could have been used instead.

You can tell that it's impractical to really design things around as you're limited to seven colors of invisibles. When STK rolls around there's still no way to filter those special colors in code which is why I suspect this kind of style never really took off leaving cinematics in ZZT to stick with smiley faces running around instead.

It still hints at continued improvement for Moone, but until he learns how to test his games I don't have high hopes for the quality of a third LandLand if it turns out to have been completed.

screen495

So how about that bonus? If you find yourself wanting a high score you can give yourself some more punishment.

I knew the bonus path would be a waste of time, but I genuinely didn't think it would be so literally. Some centipedes are the only real resistance and the bulk of this board entails navigating a massive arrangement of conveyors fighting every step of the way to picking up one white key at a time and fumbling your way to the exit.

I did not even bother and just cheated to the exit. There is nothing salvageable here.

screen497

A boss fight is at least something. This is another Town board repackaged. There are six dragons that can only be harmed with bombs. Unlike the ones in town which go after the player more directly, these move in a fixed pattern that slowly causes them to move upwards overall with a single random movement to the north or south before firing in all directions.

They end up being more dangerous than the dragons in Town due to the much more spread out shooting. Despite this, the fight isn't as interesting. The odds are decent that a player has seen this before, and Moone has been showing off some more original bosses. This one is nice in that it's much better balanced, has no bugs, and doesn't involve shooting hundreds of breakable walls which makes it hard to say which I prefer. Is it better to try something new and not quite succeed? Or is the effort better spent recycling something that works but won't feel as unique or flashy?

screen501

At least in this case the dragons make cute growf noises instead of being vaporized. Though in either case, there are no survivors.

screen503

Then we have the dungeons. A mechanic is introduced here about rescuing captives and requiring enough to get through or else being killed.

There are no captives. There is no door that takes points.

There is nothing but a row of bombs, columns of spinning guns (with more on the left obscured by the scroll), and some slimes with a lone centipede behind duplicators. The slimes immediately turn into breakables rendering them pointless. The duplicators aren't fast at all either.

screen505

You just kind of push a single bomb and walk casually to the exit.

screen506

Finally we have the honest-to-goodness last board of LandLand 2. It looks like it's halfway done for us already.

screen509

Numerous iron bars block the way which have to be destroyed with some bombs. Then Vitrious can do what he does best, pick up keys one at a time.

I already actually have a blue key since the warlock dropped one on his death, presumably the idea of "destroy every single breakable" was added in later with just a blue door locking away the exit originally. So instead only one key needs to be grabbed from these chambers of three blinkwalls. Not only are boulders provided so you don't have to worry about timing, but two boulders are already placed where they need to be.

screen510

The path winds around the board leading to this room with the "boss". This enemy never moves. They just shoot in the player's direction and sometimes throw a star instead.

Despite the ammo included here, shooting them just causes the bullet to be deflected back at Vitrious. Bombs are key and it's two whole bombs to kill them.

Oh, and did I mention that the object is set to an absurdly slow cycle 30??? This means they are shooting roughly once every three seconds. I would've thought this was a bug where Moone somehow added a "0" at the end by mistake, but objects default to cycle three, and each time they're bombed the cycle changes to 20 and then 5.

screen514

And when I say you need to bomb them twice, I mean that's the intent. Surprise. The object has several bugs in its code. The big one here is that it returns to a loop upon being bombed before hitting the critical #zap bombed line. This makes the boss unkillable and means you'll never get the last key.

Additionally, looking at the code reveals :CONTACT and :ALLIGNED labels, confusing what should be #if contact label and #if alligned otherlabel conditional checks with pre-defined labels. At least with this one I can see where they'd make the mistake as ZZT oddly does have #if energized label along with a :ENERGIZE pre-defined label. Still, even if the mistake is one that's reasonable to make, the fact remains that there was no testing and so it was never caught like it should have been.

The expected ending is just yelling "NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!" placing the green key and dying.

screen515

And that's it. You get your 15,000 points and the game ends. A passage to the ceremony would've been great to include here.

Final Thoughts

AAAAAAAAAA

Are these two games the worst I've had to write about? That may very well be the case. Flipping through the list there's been plenty of games which have been bad, but they never go on for this long. A good reason for that is my mistake of doing this as a double-feature and immediately going from Lands of the World of ZZT to LandLand 2 without stopping. Yet, even on their own both these games are pretty rock bottom. A short length is always the saving grace of a bad ZZT world, and LandLand 2 is anything but short.

Is it an improvement on the original? Barely. They say you only get one first impression, but LandLand 2 demonstrates that it can still be worse if the second chance given is another flop. Early on you can convince yourself about Moone's improvement. There's a better hook for the story and the first few boards seem reasonable. You have ammo this time. You don't need to grab eight keys on every board. It's just enough to give you hope. Surely Moone improved from his first release based on how the second begins. As things go on though it becomes really clear that the ways LandLand 2 improves on the original, an actual story with characters, more generous ammo distribution, and more original boards rather than Town knockoffs, aren't the things that most needed improvement. LandLand 2 still hasn't gotten any testing. It's laughable just how many screens in this game have objects that spit out error messages.

At least with Final Fantasy 2 its author was upfront about not knowing how to properly program their objects. That game was a disaster, but they recognized it as such. Moone's games are instead written with total confidence that they work as intended. Untested ZZT worlds are sadly a lot more common than anybody would like them to be, but this one really goes all out with how many errors occur.

It's not even a case of these bugs being what hold the game back. LandLand 2 is full of tedious mazes, (luckily often broken) instant game overs, punishing arbitrary traps, and giant centipedes for days. Fix the bugs in code but not the bugs crawling around every other board and there's not much you're salvaging. The game would get bumped up to a "D" with plenty of work to be done in order to bring it to mere mediocrity.

We don't know the story of this game. We don't know what Moone is up to nearly thirty years later. Maybe he kept on learning programming and game development outside of ZZT. Maybe he was 10 when he made this. Maybe this is a beta copy a friend had and put on a BBS that got corrupted and wound up on shareware CDs and was never intended to to get out in the wild. There's a story here that we'll likely never be fully privy to, and a bad thirty year old game is incredibly unimportant for whatever Moone did go on to doing. Hell he could have released these games last week and they'd still not make him less of a person. Sometimes a game is bad, and that's okay too.

The LandLand series is indeed notable for its unusual journey. It took so long to actually let anybody play these games from start to finish, and I think it's kind of funny that the issues in the game mean that Moone never did either. They're notable for how difficult preservation can be, and the great lengths that some have to go through in order to make them playable. GreaseMonkey rescued these games. They are artifacts of the earliest days of ZZT when there was little to reference in terms of design. It's easy to dismiss these now that they're readily available. There are no more "what-ifs". There's far less excitement in hunting for an original working copy. It's important though to not forget that even a buggy game can still have something special to it. This game gave us a new exploitable glitch in ZZT with #change. The previous may be the first giant ZZT boss ever put in a game. There's still some beauty and worth to even the messiest of releases.

====== A Worlds of ZZT Production ======

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