Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings
Game Review

Developed: Surreal Software / Published: Black Label Games / Released: Sept. 24th, 2002
Producer: Nick Radovich / Type: Action-Platformer / Engine: Riot Engine 

(1.0) - Introduction:
The Lord of the Rings is probably one of the most well-known fantasy novels of all time, not to mention the absolutely massive cinema movies series of the same title - with such a popular IP it's no wonder that so many shoddy 'grab-on' style products eventually end up trickling their way down to everyone including of course: Gamers.

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is a shoddy attempt at making a novel tie-in game which follows the events of J.R.R Tolkiens works within the Lord of the Rings Novel. The game itself takes place hand-in-hand with the events from the book, it does a decent job of transposing what happens in the novel into visual works and playable content. There's no unique experiences here to be had but fans of Tolkiens may still find some value in this title... although you may have to look far and wide to find it.

Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas prepare to enter a village under attack by Orcs.
"Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas prepare to enter a village under attack by Orcs."

The fact that this game is a Lord of the Rings game does not lend any sort of additional value to this product, It's not just a bad game, it's a bad Lord of the Rings game and considering the source material is one of the most loved of it's time - it's not hard to see why I'm disappointed.

(2.0) - Visuals & Graphics:

Upon starting the game the first thing you encounter is a decent cutscene explaining the premis of the quest of the LOTR series, our hero Frodo must take the evil Ring of Power to Mount Doom in Mordor in order to destroy the ring in the very place were it was created.

The game cutscenes do a decent enough job of pushing the story narrative and keeping the adventure moving but they are very sub-par for the most part. There are actually decent cutscenes for the time - but if you consider this as a J.R.R Tolkien product and treat it with the same level of scrutiny his books underwent, you quickly realize this product was either not finish on time, or rushed in order to take advantage of the hype that swelled up around Peter Jackson's movie version of the novel... which isn't right.

The graphics themselves are just below or on-par with other games of it's time, the world itself looks great - for not having any visual works to go off of other than the drawings of concept artists like John Howe , it's pretty impressive. Bag end looks great and really has that Lord of the Rings feel. The controls are solid and I found no problems with controlling my character or doing combat with enemies.

The game features a pretty rich lighting system, which unfortunately wasn't really put to good use. You can see the effect of this lighting system when you swing a sword and it makes contact with the ground, blue sparks come out and light up the area around you making for a great visual effect. Too bad this system wasn't used to create more dept in the levels. Instead of the lighting system giving the game more atmosphere, it actually hinders the quality because most of the game is dark and murky and the other half has glitchy, strobe effect sunlight...

"Galdalf travels through the halls of Moria in search of an exit."

All in all LOTR:FOTR does a good job of bringing the world of J.R.R Tolkien's novel into the form of a Video Game, the characters all look as they should, the textures are pleasant and have a real 'fantasy' feel to it. Most of the locations and levels do a pretty good job presenting things described in the book in a way that makes sense to the player. The graphics aren't great for a late 2002 PS2 games but they are more than acceptable for the time, the graphics get a passing grade but just barely.

(3.0) - Controls & Gameplay:





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