The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
You've probably read the books and/or seen the movie, now play the game. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is the official game based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novel. Join up with Frodo, Sam, Gandalf, and crew on their quest to destroy the One Ring and stop Lord Sauron's evil plan of Middle-Earth domination.
This is a simplistic classic-style RPG that works well on the GBA. The first two things I noticed were the spongy controls and how large the world is. This is one of those games where you'll get a blister on your thumb from button mashing to make your character move due to the momentum you have to build to get going. At times when I pushed in a particular direction, the character wouldn't seem to respond and kept moving the original direction. This was most noticeable when up against any sort of wall. Fortunately the control not being the best isn't as major an issue as it could've been. When walking around Middle-Earth you're primarily in exploration mode where it seems nothing can really hurt you. Go ahead and call yourself Magellan or Columbus because exploring is no small task ' Middle-earth is huge! While broken up into many different sections, each section itself is fairly large and can take a while to fully explore.
Although you can't be hurt in exploration mode, when you come up against an enemy the game will switch to turn-based combat. Enemies always seem to get first attack but hopefully you've equipped yourself properly before the battle begins. Once in combat you cannot equip, so be prepared. The interface is simple enough for anyone that's ever played an RPG before and not terribly daunting for novices. For that matter, all of the interfaces such as inventory or switching characters are reasonably simple once you get used to them. That's right, you also get to switch characters in game whenever you like after they've joined your fellowship. Each character can use certain items, weapons, or spells.
The graphics are superb but because of the small and dark GBA screen, it is sometimes hard to make out what certain items are until you become familiar them. For instance, at the beginning of the game I frequently mistook lamps for people. The music is very nice also but it doesn't play all the time.
With over 20 hours of gameplay, numerous items to obtain, puzzles to solve, and enemies to battle, this is a game that I think would satisfy the portable RPG needs of any gamer out there despite it's squirrelly control.
Download The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: arguably the greatest fantasy epic of modern times. Tolkien's novels have inspired generations of fantasy readers and enthusiasts combined. The recent success of blockbuster movies based on the series, combined with a monstrous advertising and marketing strategy, have made Gandalf, Aragorn, and Frodo Baggins almost household names. But even with all the hype and popular sentiment in its favor, not to mention the fact that this title is the only Tolkien approved title on the market, the PC version of the console game, like its predecessor, fails to be even mildly entertaining.
In the game's favor, FOTR the game adheres much more to the original book than do the recent films, with several neglected characters making an appearance in the game. Graphics are excellent, with well-textured maps, character skins, and overall aesthetics. Audio is a mixed bag, since some voice acting is better than others. I liked the Gandalf character, and a few others, but the hobbits were just plain annoying. I also like my Glamdring trading card (every box has a different card inside).
However, aside from cosmetics, the game brings little to the genre, either in gameplay or even imagination. Game play is, as expected, extremely linear, with almost no meaningful dialogue outside of the original script. There is very little interaction with the world, in that only items that flash or glow can be manipulated. While easy to maneuver and easier still in combat, action sequences seem to be few and far between, at least early on. Only three characters are controlled directly by the player: Aragorn, Frodo, and Gandalf. However, even with the obvious differences in the abilities of these characters, differences in strategy while playing each character is negligible. What it comes down to is a game devoid of the spirit that fueled the novels, with little to no replay value.
I could go on for hours on how disappointed I am in this title. Fans of the books will probably feel the same. If you're a complete Tolkienophile, or your only exposure to Lord of the Rings is through the films and console-style gaming, you might be the narrow niche that will actually enjoy this title. For the rest of you, caveat emptor.