Reviewed on Xbox


Reviewed By: Jorim Tapley

Computer Platform: Xbox, PC, GBA, PlayStation2
Produced by: Black Label and WXP
Price Range: $41-50
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teens
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Genre: Action/adventure
Christian Rating: 5 of 5
   (nothing offensive)
Gameplay: 3 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Lord of The Rings.  Illustration copyrighted.
The Lord Of The Rings is a classic book series written by JRR Tolkien. It's about the struggle between good and bad and revolves around a ring: "One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them." This is what is written on the ring. Sauron the maker of the ring wanted to cover all the lands with his darkness. But the king of men cut off the ring from Sauron's hand and took it for himself. He had a chance to destroy it but did not, because of the evil that was within his and in so many other human hearts. Because the ring was not destroyed Sauron lived and grew secretly stronger through the years. Now a young hobbit, Frodo has to take the ring to Mount Doom, where it was forged, and destroy it. It will not be an easy task, but he will have some help from a wizard named Gandalf and the descendant to the king of men, Aragorn.

The game is developed by WXP and published by Black Label Games. You start in the Shire as Frodo. His levels involve mostly exploring and puzzle solving. Later on, you play as Aragorn. Most of his levels are combat. Then, in the later part of the game you play as Gandalf. His levels are mostly puzzles and some combat.

There are a few problems with the combat system. All of the players have stiff and repetitive combat animations. The A.I. isn't very smart and tends to walk away more than fight. But if you can get past the problems, then it's an okay fighting system.

Some of the puzzles seem impossible and frustrating. But, the exploration with Frodo is fun and a lot of the puzzles are interesting. The other good thing about the gameplay is your ability to use magic with Gandalf. Overall, Aragorn's combat levels are enjoyable. But, the whole gameplay feels a little rushed.

The game boasts some good graphics with some minor glitches. First of all, the character models themselves are very well done and the lighting in the game is very good, such as Gandalf's staff lighting up the Mines of Moria. The water effects are done well and look realistic. The game also boasts a lot of bump-mapping, most of which is in Moria.

Now to the bad parts. The only problem with this part of the game is the load times. For example, in some parts of Moria you will find yourself opening a door, but on the other side is blackness. You end up having to wait for 15 to 20 seconds before that part of the level loads itself. However, overall, WXP captured the classic style and feel of the Tolkien world.

Other than the slightly corny songs Tom Bombadil sings, the rest of the sound is very well done. The voice acting is top notch and the music is a bit on the quiet side so that it is hard to remember any of it. The background sounds are what really makes this area work in the game. You will hear every little detail: Frodo running in the grass, and the drums in the deep in Moria. Overall, the sound is very good.

Tolkien's world came close to coming alive in a video game, but, with a few shortcomings. It didn't succeed fully. I think any die-hard Tolkien fan who has a Xbox should at least take a look.

[Editors Note: This game was reviewed on an Xbox]

Year of Release—2002


I am a big LOTR fan as well as a big gamer. When I first purchased this game, I had very high hopes. I was deeply disappointed after only an hour of playing this game. For the first few hours of play, you find yourself doing nothing except running around doing a bunch of errands for people, such as finding herbs for an old Hobbit, or finding 12 flowers for Lady Goldberry. The fighting, adventure, and good gameplay is what I was hoping for, and is exactly what I didn't get. I played the Xbox version of this game, but my friend, who has this game for PS2, said that his version was different from mine and way better. I never actually played his, so I can't say for sure that they vary with each platform, but even so, rent it first. Even if your a big LOTR fan.

My Ratings: [5/2]
   —Aaron, age 16

Positive— I'm a really big LOTR fan, and this game rock! You get to play as Gandalf, Fordo, and Aragorn. The gameplay is really good too, but you only get one attack combo, and it take a long time to load (I have the PS2 one) and it is better then the one for Xbox (just like every other game :-p). The only thing I found offensive was the Blood and the Violence. I really like this game 'cause it's based on the book. But if you want a LOTR hack-n-slash get the movie based one (The Two Towers). My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Jeremiah, age 13

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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