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J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Vol. II: The Two Tower’s is, as the title clearly states, the second part of Tolkien’s trilogy Lord of the Rings. As is often the case the second part of the trilogy is the most troublesome. The story has already begun and you are thrown in the middle of it and you will not see it unravel, for there is the concluding third part of the trilogy to follow. This alone is frustrating enough, not to mention that the middle part has to be the most action packed and yet has to make sense and mustn’t overcomplicate things.
It is slightly easier with computer games. After all, in this case they simply follow the already made story and simply need to stick to it to some extend. Well, variations are always welcome, for otherwise the people who’d directly follow the story in the book would finish instantly and wouldn’t really have any joy, while on the other hand the people who’d want to explore on their own, wouldn’t find anything interesting.
And that’s precisely the main charm of an RPG game. Exploring the world you’re in – freely. OK, in this aspect the game is slightly limited as there are clear tasks you need to follow, for after all, the story about the Hobbits going to Mordor to destroy the One Ring has to happen. What we have here in this game is a way of level progression. For instance, you start of leading the party of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimley and need to find Gandalf, who has been lost since the crossing of the underground bridge. Once you succeed in this, the game will switch over and you’ll need to follow the story of Frodo and Sam, traveling into Mordor. There is also the story of Pippin and Marry who were captured by Orcs and escaped, only to discover the race of Ents. So unless you fulfill the part your characters should do at a given point in the story, the story can not prevail. Think of it as playing out different chapters at the time.
All true Lord of the Rings fans will certainly enjoy meeting the characters and interacting with them and the rest of you may still enjoy a good RPG game. Don’t worry. If you don’t know the story and haven’t even played the previous part of the game (also available on our site), you’ll get a nice intro explaining the key points of what has happened so far and you will be able to find out for yourself what you need to do.
The game itself features very good graphics for the time, but the controls seem to be somewhat strange. You can control it either with the mouse or the keyboard. By pressing the right button on the mouse you’ll open or close the interaction menu. Through this menu you can talk to people, fight, save, load, use skills, use equipment and so forth. The strangest part (at least for me) was talking, as you seem to need to repeat the words the other person is saying, for only by inputting key words will you be able to get a relevant response that can help you further along. Sometimes you even need an opposite word of the one you’ve heard. Talking in full sentences doesn’t help at all, so concentrate on key words. The fighting scenes seem to be rather uninspired, but they’re not so bad. But the thing that bothered me most, was the fact you can’t move diagonal – only in four directions.
Apart from the nice visualization the game also features quite a good sound with a medieval music theme in the background, which seems fitting for your travels in the middle Earth, but some more effects would be a nice addition.
The number of save positions is limited, so you’ll have to overwrite older save games as you progress, which might be a problem if you end up stuck at one point. It could happen that you’ve already overwritten the savegame to which you’d have to return to in order to get yourself out of the mess. So don’t save too often, only when you’re more or less certain you’re on the right path.
All in all the game before you is a solid RPG made in the early nineties and I bet every LOTR fan will want to have a go at it. Also if you’ve enjoyed the previous part you’ll certainly want to continue the game.