The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (GBA)
|The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age|
North American cover art
|Genre(s)||Turn-based tactics, Tactical role-playing|
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age is a turn-based tactics game for the Game Boy Advance. It was released in 2004 by EA Games. It should not be confused with the role-playing video game of the same name, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, released at the same time for GameCube, PS2, and Xbox. Although it is much different from the home console games of the same name, as it is a turn-based tactics game similar to Fire Emblem.
When starting a campaign, the player is prompted to choose a commander from either good (Aragorn, Gandalf or Elrond) or evil (Saruman, the Witch-King of Angmar or the Mouth of Sauron). Selecting a commander from either side begins a campaign from the perspective of that army; The Third Age allows for two saved games at any given time, one each for good and evil.
Depending on the campaign, a number of secondary heroes are available for use in battle. The good heroes include members of the Fellowship and supporting allies such as Legolas, Gimli, Theoden, Eomer, Eowyn, Faramir and Boromir. The evil heroes include a variety of orcs and servants of evil from the films and novel trilogy, such as Grima Wormtongue, Gorbag, Sharku, Ugluk, Grishnakh, Lurtz and Gothmog. As the player completes missions and progresses through the campaign, they are able to use experience points to purchase skills and equipment upgrades in order to enhance the performance of their primary and secondary heroes. The game may be played on "Sauron Mode", whereby heroes who fall in battle are unavailable for the remainder of the campaign.
A number of non-selectable, non-upgradable heroes appear and are playable in certain missions. In the case of the good campaign, these "guest" heroes include Merry, Pippin, Treebeard, Theodred, Prince Isildur and generic unit captains. On the evil campaign, these additional companions include Orc chieftains and captains, Uruk-hai lieutenants and captains, and in a few select missions, the Dark Lord Sauron himself. On both sides, standard-bearers are also occasionally available and add to the command points on a given flank.
The campaign comprises 24 levels, in addition to 2 tutorial levels and 6 bonus missions. All of the missions in a given episode must be completed to move to the next portion of the trilogy.
Several bonus levels and heroes are unlockable by meeting specific conditions while playing the game:
- The level "The Gap of Rohan" is unlocked by completing the game as either good or evil.
- The level "Balin's Tomb" is unlocked by completing the game on the side of good.
- The level "The Last Alliance" is unlocked by completing the game on the side of evil.
- The level "Sauron Comes" is unlocked by completing the game on either side with Sauron Mode selected.
- The level "The Board Is Set" is unlocked by beating the mission "The Black Gate Opens" on "grueling" difficulty.
- The level "Outpost of Rohan" is unlocked by linking with another Game Boy Advance.
- Haldir, an elven captain of Lothlorien and secondary good hero, is unlocked by beating the mission "The Black Gate Opens" as good on "hard" difficulty.
- Shagrat, an orcish captain of Minas Morgul and secondary evil hero, is unlocked by beating the mission "The Black Gate Opens" as evil on "hard" difficulty.