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Game ReviewsThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by Eonwe-(Valar)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

July 21st, 2006
System: XBox, Playstation 2
Developer: Black Label Games
Publisher: -

This game is the only game based on The Fellowship of the Ring for the generation of gaming consoles including the Xbox. It was released in 2002 by Black Label Games (the parent company of which is Vivendi Universal).

The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (simply Fellowship of the Ring from here on) takes the player from The Shire to the Anduin and up Amon Hen for the final battle. The story is less than canon in places, but in the majority of circumstances it holds to the spirit.

In Fellowship of the Ring, you (the one and only player) alternate between playing Frodo, Aragorn, and Gandalf, as the point of the story deems necessary. Each one has something unique they bring to the table. Frodo carries the One Ring, which warns him of Nazgul and hints at secrets that may be nearby. To go with this he has a 'purity bar' which is drained when he uses the One Ring. There are some early quests that increase Frodo's amount of purity, but nothing outside of the Shire. If Frodo's purity bar reaches zero, you lose. Frodo also has the ability to sneak around carefully, attempting to avoid detection. Aragorn has a sword and bow, and when he needs to guard Frodo will see Frodo's life bar. Gandalf has a mana bar, which unfortunately does not refill over time, and so you must drink miruvor to refill it. His staff also acts as a light.

The gameplay is enjoyable. There is a lot to do in this game, even before you leave the Shire. The lighting is a bit dark, making it hard to see when it actually is dark in the game, but the mood is fairly nicely set in locations like the Old Forest.(this game has Bombadil in it, btw, and you get to hear him sing!). The character design isn’t that great, and the Hobbits look like some sort of freaky Backstreet Boys (or maybe N'Sync, if anyone can tell the difference between all the boy-bands anyway). The voice acting, while not horrible, is not excellent either. but the locations do look good. It's fun to be able to roam around Bree and Bag End at night. The controls don't offer super-cool moves like "Orc Hewer" in EA's movie based action games, but the combat system will usually get the job done. If not, you can hold plenty of healing items. There aren’t a whole lot of items to collect, however, and you do not buy anything, nor do you level up. Oddly, though, the Fellowship information in the pause menu does track how many kills your three playable heroes have.

Overall, the experience is an enjoyable, even a fun, one. This is quite possibly the best Lord of the Rings real-time RPG created so far.

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