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PS2 Reviews: The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers

 

The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers screenshots

 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
8.9
Graphics
9.7
Sound
9.6
Value
9.2

The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers -  reviewed by Andrew B 
Review Date: 17 November 2002
Review Score 9.3/10
Distributed By: EA

There are currently two games based on the Lord of the Rings at the moment, one good and one bad and  I don't mean the battle between the forces of good and evil either. Fortunately this review is about the good game...

The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers Features

  • Memory Card (8MB) 80k minimum
  • Analog Control Compatible
  • Vibration Control
  • 1 Player
  • Play as Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli
  • Upgrade your characters with new moves and weapons
  • Battle through locations from the first two films
  • Scenes from the upcoming film, The Two Towers
  • Soundtrack from The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Exclusive interviews with the stars of the film

 

The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers is the EA game that is based on the first two movies of J. R. R. Tolkein's epic trilogy, the Lord of the Rings and features some exclusive footage of the two movies. The game is primarily a combat game that pays homage to the games of yesteryear such as Dungeons & Dragons and Double Dragon. 

Before I start the review, I must say that this is one extremely polished and good looking game and on more than one occasion it had me fooled if I was looking at movie footage or ingame graphics. 

The game starts exactly like the movie does with an introduction into the world of the Lord of the Rings and how Sauron created the one ring to rule them all.  At this stage in the game, all the footage is directly from the first movie and when the armies of men and elf are about to engage the armies of Mordor, the developers have cleverly re-enacted the entire scene and real motion video switches to ingame graphics. When this occurred, I didn't notice anything different except that the picture became brighter and then all of a sudden realized that this was actually ingame graphics. There are three different difficulty levels in the game that ensures that the most novice and expert gamer will both be satisfied. 

The first level of the game is a basic tutorial of the gameplay and shows you the many different combat moves that you can perform. You play the role of Isildur, the ruler of men who must defeat the legions of Sauron and eventually Sauron himself. It's the clever mix of actual move footage and ingame graphics that really puts this game into its own unique and extraordinary category. 

Once you have defeated Sauron, the game will start and you can select a variety of characters to play such as Aragon, Gimli or Legolas. Depending on which character you play, that is how the story will play out as every character is unique and has their own fighting ability. There are over 13 different levels in the game that take you to various locations and storylines from the first two movies of the trilogy. 

In its essence, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers is basically a fighting game that sees you going from point A to point B with various set objectives. The first level of the game revolves around Aragon protecting Frodo from the Ringwraiths but you cannot just hack and slash these creatures of the dark to death. Like the movie, you must somehow set these creature alight by making your way to the fire in order to grab a stick, set it alight, then proceed to attack the creatures. The game is a thinking man's fighting game and you can't just fight your way through hoards of Orcs or defeat the Kraken outside the gates of Moria by just hacking and slashing at it. Once you have defeated the level, you may have to face an added challenge such as a boss or challenge fight in order to proceed to the next level of the game. 

At the end of the level, your character is awarded points on how well they performed in battle from fair to perfect. The greater your fighting prowess was, the more experience points you get to upgrade your character that lets you buy special moves or powerups. For example, Aragon can purchase a special move called Ranger Fury that bestows an eerie green power into his sword for a limited time, ensuring that you can cut your way through the dark forces of Sauron. The controls of the game are quite simple, you use the analog stick to control your character while you use X, Circle, Triangle and Square to perform a variety of different moves. These are just the basic manoeuvres of the game because it does get a little bit more fiddly when you are trying to snipe with your bow and arrow. All the levels contain various items you can pick up such as healing potions, powerups and various weapons such as arrows. 

Graphically, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers cannot be faulted and beautifully combines footage from the two movies into the game flawlessly. For example, if you are watching a scene from the movie, the game will then swap into ingame graphics that looks almost identical to the real footage. All the characters are extremely well animated and contain high polygon counts to give them that extra realistic detail. The characters look like the actors from the film, so Legolas really looks like Orlando Bloom. The backgrounds in the game are quite spectacular and it almost makes you feel like you are in Middle Earth. The game is generally quite dark in some places but there are some fantastic lighting effects in the game that really showcases what the PlayStation 2 is capable of. With dozens of characters on screen at once, the game maintains a constant 60 frames per second for some remarkable gameplay. 

The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers probably has one of the best soundtracks around because the soundtrack has been borrowed from the amazing movie. All the voices of the characters in the game are from the actual actors themselves and combine that with the great eerie sound effects in the game, you have a match made in heaven. 

Fans of the Lord of the Rings or gamers who love combat games based on a hack and slash environment should buy this game today. Although the storyline of the game is quite linear, the game does have a great replay value because once you have finished the game, you can complete it with the other characters and try to learn all their special moves. With a great storyline, amazing graphics, brilliant sound, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers is the perfect game to keep you busy until the next movie comes out. Highly Recommended!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2001 www.impulsegamer.com