The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game)
|The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring
|Developer(s)||Pocket Studios (GBA)
The Whole Experience (Xbox)
Surreal Software (PS2 & PC)
|Publisher(s)||Game Boy Advance
Xbox & PlayStation 2
Black Label Games
|Release date(s)||NA September 25, 2002 (GBA)
NA September 26, 2002 (Xbox)
NA October 16, 2002 (PS2)
NA October 22, 2002 (PC)
EU November 8, 2002
EU December 6, 2002 (PS2)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2002 action-adventure game developed based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Pocket Studios developed the game for Game Boy Advance, The Whole Experience developed the game for Xbox, while Surreal Software developed the PlayStation 2 and PC version. Despite being released around the same time as Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy, the game is based on Tolkien's book rather than Jackson's film version of The Fellowship of the Ring.
The three playable characters in the game are Frodo, Aragorn, and Gandalf; each with their own weapons (which vary throughout the game). Frodo uses 3 melee weapons at different stages in the game: a walking stick at the start of the game, a dagger (from the Barrow Downs) after defeating an Old Barrow-wight, and the short sword Sting, which is given to him by Bilbo. Frodo can also pick up stones and throw them in a ranged attack, as well as utilizing the Ring to give him invisibility. Aragorn uses a broadsword, Andúril, and a bow. Gandalf uses his sword Glamdring and his array of magical spells: Fiery Blast, Staff Strike, Chain Lightning, Heal, and Attract.
There are meters in the game found on the top right and left corners of the screen. For Frodo, the meter at the top left represents health and the top right represents purity. When Frodo wears the One Ring his purity is depleted. Wear it for too long, and a Black Rider will find Frodo. Aragorn only has a health meter. Gandalf has a health meter and a spirit meter in place of a purity meter, which is depleted when casting spells. It is replenished by drinking Miruvor.
There are many items in the game. One of them is mushrooms, commonly found in The Shire. Another is Cram, a bread made by the men of Dale. It can be found in Bree, Weathertop, The Troll Shaws, Orc Dam, Moria, Hollin, and Amon Hen. Lembas is a waybread made by the elves of Lothlórien. It can be found in the same places as Cram. Another item is Miruvor, a drink to replenish Gandalf's spirit meter. Lembas, Cram, and Mushrooms all replenish health.
The narrative of the game can be roughly divided into four acts, each played out by one of the three main characters, with some variation. The first act deals with Frodo's journey to Bree. It begins peacefully in the Shire as Frodo has to make the final arrangements for his departure. Although there are many optional quests involving the inhabitants of Bywater and Hobbiton, the main story focuses on the selling of Bag End. Once this is complete and the Ring is retrieved Frodo must escape the Shire undetected by Black Riders to meet with his companions at Maggot's Farm.
The Old Forest
Frodo must find Merry, Sam and Pippin who have lost themselves in a forest labyrinth. However giant spiders lurk behind the trees, and the forest has a mind of its own. Once he finds all of his companions he ventures to the Withywindle and must free Merry and Pippin from the clutches of Old Man Willow, the first boss. Finally, Tom Bombadil intervenes, rescuing the Hobbits and setting them off in search of 12 water lilies whilst defending themselves from the giant spiders. Once recovered, Tom takes them to his house to recuperate.
After a brief time with Tom Bombadil and his wife Goldberry, Frodo and his companions journey to the Barrow-Downs. Frodo's companions are again lost (probably kidnapped while he slept) and Frodo must find them in the fog of the wight-haunted downs. Along the way Frodo encounters Barrow-Wights, ghost-like creatures that claw at him. In the final Barrow Frodo finds his friends and the Westernesse Dagger, which he uses to fight the Old Barrow-Wight. The Old Barrow-Wight is much stronger than the others and spews toxic mist at Frodo. Eventually, Tom Bombadil finds them again. He kills the Old Barrow-Wight with a spell, and guides the hobbits to Bree.
The second act of the game starts in Bree when it is learnt that Merry has gone missing and gameplay switches to Aragorn. As Aragorn begins playing he will have to fight a boss character, Bill Ferny. Bill Ferny carries a large pike. Once Ferny is dead, Aragorn sets out to find Merry again. Having found Merry he then hunts for objects to construct Hobbit decoys to fool the Ringwraiths and wild men. Harry Goatleaf releases wolves that Aragorn has to fight in Bree. After fighting a few wolves, Aragorn will have to confront Harry Goatleaf. After Aragorn kills him, he gets some of the objects he needs to construct decoys. After finding most of the objects, Aragorn meets two wild men attacking Bob, a stable-cleaning hobbit. Aragorn kills them and enters The Prancing Pony.
Aragorn escorts Frodo and Sam to the summit of Weathertop. On the way Wargs and Orcs are first introduced into the game. Aragorn must battle a troll on the summit before returning to the campsite to protect Frodo from the attacks of the Ringwraiths, while armed with a burning brand as the Nazgûl fear fire.
Aragorn must clear the area of enemies including orcs, wargs and several Trolls. Once all enemies are defeated, Glorfindel takes the company to Rivendell. In other versions the enemies are mainly goblins (including the Xbox version).
Gandalf becomes a playable character as he searches for the doors of Moria. As he attempts to open them, play switches to Aragorn as he fends off the Watcher in the Water before returning to Gandalf upon entering Moria. in the other system versions you must defeat the watcher in the water with Gandalf. With Gimli the dwarf as a companion, Gandalf must navigate the dark maze of the Dwarrowdelf fighting off the orcs and trolls that stalk its shadows. In other versions you do not fight all enemies like trolls and so not have Gimli as a companion at all. The game becomes more objective based when the Fellowship reaches Balin's Tomb from which Gandalf must find an escape route as the other characters fend off the trolls. Play then switches to Frodo, retaining Gimli (no Gimli in other versions) as a companion, who must find a way through the various ladders, walkways and bridges to reach and open the gates on the other side. The levels ends at the bridge of Khazad-dûm where Gandalf duels with a Balrog.
After a brief interlude in Lothlórien, Aragorn becomes the playable character. There is a short level in which he spies out an orc-dam on the river Anduin. Play then moves onto the final level of the game at Amon Hen in which Aragorn battles his way through hordes of enemies to the Seeing Seat. The actual summit has to be reached twice, first as Frodo who must get to the top of a stone hill while other members of the fellowship are battling orcs. Aragorn battles the game's final boss, one of the Nazgûl, riding a Fell Beast.
The game ends in a cut-scene where Legolas shoots the Nazgûl's winged mount with an arrow. Meanwhile, Lady Galadriel looks into her fountain (as she did in the opening cut-scene) and the game ends. Beating the game unlocks infinite health and ammo for the next time you play.
The full motion videos of the game were created by Blur Studio.
The music of the game was composed by Brad Spear, who also served as Audio Director and Lead Sound Designer. Rob Pearsall, Sound Designer, contributed the voice editing, audio post-production, integration and final mix.
The voice acting was directed by Jeff Pobst. Huck Liggett and Martha Mayakis were the agents responsible for voice casting. The voice cast consists of:
- Steve Staley as Frodo Baggins and Celeborn
- Tom Kane as Gandalf the Gray
- Daran Norris (as "Darren Norris") as Aragorn and Tom Bombadil
- Scott Menville as Samwise Gamgee
- James Arnold Taylor (as "James Taylor") as Peregrin "Pippin" Took
- Quinton Flynn as Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Gollum
- James Horan as Gimli and Boromir
- Michael Reisz as Legolas
- Jennifer Hale as Galadriel and Lobelia
- Jim Piddock as Elrond and Bilbo Baggins
- Kath Soucie as Goldberry
- Steven Blum as Dwarf, Orcs, Warriors (uncredited)
All of the above voice actors (along with Cliff Broadway) provided additional voices for the game.
Game Boy Advance version
A Game Boy Advance version was released in September 2002 to North American audiences, and to Europe two months later. It greatly differed from its counterparts on other consoles, most notably for its RPG-style turn based battle system. However, the game was poorly received by critics. Most of the complaints came from the extremely slow gameplay, as well as the first few characters being comparatively weak, this is made up for later on when the rest of the Fellowship become available, but doesn't last, as Frodo is the only available character in the final mission of the game. It was also notorious for its poor quality; the game contained many glitches which greatly hindered the player's progress and sometimes even forced them to restart the entire game.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was met with mixed to negative reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 2 version 62.31% and 59/100, the Xbox version 59.84% and 59/100, the PC version 56.62% and 59/100 and the Game Boy Advance version 48.06% and 51/100.
A sequel was planned for this game, and was to be titled The Lord of the Rings: The Treason of Isengard for PS2 and Xbox, which was a discarded title for the book The Two Towers. The game was in development, but was cancelled before its release.
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- "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Release Information for PC". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
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- "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
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- Douglass C. Perry (2003-09-15). "Reason for Treason - PlayStation 2 News at IGN". Ps2.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
- Feldman, Curt (2003-09-13). "LOTR: Treason of Isengard axed - PlayStation 2 News at GameSpot". Asia.gamespot.com. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at Internet Movie Database
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at MobyGames
- The Whole Experience, developers of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Xbox)