I confess that I am somewhat of a keen gamer. Not that I’m your typical expert, but I do my best to keep up with the latest releases (just reading about them rather than playing them, unfortunately).
However, I wanted to dedicate a quick post to two games based on The Lord of the Rings trilogy that have remained a personal classic.
No LOTRO here or the brand new Shadow of Mordor … I’m talking about The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game) and The Battle for Middle-earth II.
I’m taking you back a couple of years at the start of the century …
The first game I ever bought was 2003’s EA Games-produced The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; a PC-based role-playing game where you took control of one of the story’s major characters and battled your way through countless orcs via a number of missions as portrayed in the films: from Helm’s Deep, to Orthanc, the Paths of the Dead, to Pelennor Fields; until finally to the Black Gate itself.
As the game progressed, each of your chosen characters would gain points and experience – allowing you to upgrade Gandalf to wield new powers, or Gimli to swing his axe in a more deadly and effective sweep.
It’s been years since I last played it, but I can vividly remember the quality of the graphics and the sophisticated gameplay. The environments were breathtaking – so reminiscent of the films. The sound was immersive and the entire gaming experience felt like an extension to the story in the films.
Being an officially licensed game, it featured Howard Shore’s score, cut scenes from the films and the actors’ voices for their digital characters.
I used to spend hours desperately defending the walls of Minas Tirith, or venturing with agility through the creepy Paths of the Dead. I could be Sam and re-enact his heroic stand against the deadly Shelob, or fight off the hordes of orcs pouring out of Mordor.
Goodness how I miss this game!
The second computer game I ever owned related to The Lord of the Rings, was The Battle for Middle-earth II. Skipping the first installment, I decided to check out what the second release had in store.
Different from EA Games’ RPG, and released in 2006, this was more of an RTS (or Real-Time Strategy) game, where you get to control one of the major races in Middle-earth, build up your settlement and control vast army units at once.
You could choose a particular location (or map), pick your allies and conquer your enemies!
Unlike the The Return of the King video game, The Battle for Middle-earth II was not only concerned with fighting off your opponent, but using sound strategy and quick thinking to gather resources, raise an army and defend your realm.
The choices were immense. You could choose to play Men, Elves, Dwarves, Mordor, Isengard … A vast selection of units were at your disposal (including special characters such as Tom Bombadil – who proved he was as good a warrior as a singer!).
It is a game that, I’ll admit, I still play to this day. It’s somewhat addictive and the perfect nice way to relax (unless you find yourself overrun by those pesky Uruk-Hai or cheeky Goblins!).
And that’s how far my gaming experience has extended in the digital realm of Middle-earth.
Naturally, I’ve played various other games, but these two will always remain special and long-time favourites.
Which other The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit games have you played, or enjoy playing?
Let us know below! 🙂
Copyright of images belongs to Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA)