The Lord of the Rings; The Two Towers (GameCube) Review

By Nick Cheesman 24.04.2003

Unless you are illiterate (In which case you won't be reading this) or just plain ignorant, you would be forgiven for not knowing that The Lord of The Rings was originally a book by J.R.R.Tolkien about a quest to destroy the Ring of Power, however not so long ago in 2001 it became a hit motion picture and is one of the best films of its time. Due to the Law of Physics, a popular franchise can only lead to one thing. Mass milking. That means a video game will inevitably appear at some point, likely to coincide with the release of the movie itself. And, unfortunately, The Two Towers is a true offender to this set piece.

The Lord of the Rings is set in Middle earth a medieval world filled with fantasy creatures, from elves, to dwarves, to wizards. The story focuses on a hobbit, known as Frodo Baggins, finding a magical ring, forged by the dark lord, and generally not to friendly, Sauron. Sauron is eager to get his grubby mitts on the Ring, which he lost when the king of men cut it from his finger, and use it to enslave Middle Earth, however Frodo with a fellowship of nine, set out to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. Sadly that means going to the dark lands of Mordor, where, as the rhyme goes, the shadows lie.

Straight off the mark, the Two Towers is a PS2 port through and through. Therefore the graphics are bad. Very bad. In fact at some points they are truly terrible and only occasionally do they look acceptable. During the FMVs however the graphics are extremely well modeled and actual movie screens are used to morph into actually in game footage which is a very nice touch. It is a shame though, how the character models look so rough and very much unlike the actors they are based on. The environments have quite a large amount of detail, but this usually just includes different styles of debris.

In the Two Towers you have the opportunity to play as either Aragorn, Legolas or Gimli; Aragorn is probably the best for beginners, being the all rounder; Gimli is for those who like their characters big and strong and Legolas for all hardcore gamers. The game sees you hack and slash your way through the armies of Mordor and Isengard, by performing relatively simple attacks. You can either do a strong or light attack by pressing A or L and can parry enemy attacks by pressing the B button. Relatively simple, but the addition of long range (a bow or throwing axe) and melee attacks (sword, axe, or small blade), means that there is some variation on offer. However when orcs begin to pour on screen, the game falls into a mad A-button bashing frenzy, which becomes repetitive and only slightly tedious.

The ability to pull of various combos by pressing moderately hard button combinations, does try and break up the gameplay. Impressively these combos are replicated exactly from the movie itself and really make you feel this is the Lord of the Rings. Watching Aragorn parry an attack, spin around and then stab an Uruk-hai in the stomach is probably the highlight of the game itself. Further more you have the ability to build up your attack meter and once filled your attacks delivers much more damage, one hit kills all around!! To ensure some strategy is on offer, various moves will be needed to be performed to gain your character experience points which can be used to increase various characteristics, like your strength or speed, or to buy combos or weapon upgrades. But orcs and goblins are not the only creatures of darkness ready to get the wrong end of a sword, Cave Trolls, Ring wraiths and even the watcher on the water (The squid like creature outside the Mines of Moria) are all included for your combating pleasures.

Top marks have to go to EA for their devotion to making the game stay as loyal to the movie as possible. Not only do all the members of the Fellowship have their actors providing their voices, including Viggo Mortenssen, Orlando Bloom and John Rhys Davies, but even Ian Mackellan and Ellijah Wood have sound bites for the times their characters appear. Although Frodo's constant cries in Balin's Tomb, from "Help me!" to "I can not fight them," make you wish they had not of bothered. But all the growls and cries from the enemies are from the film itself along with the original soundtrack conducted by Howard Shore, so for fans of the films, it doesn't get more official than this.

The Two Towers has around 15 levels stretching across from the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers. These levels are not very difficult, and will not take you long to topple. And even though a single character and level are available to unlock, as well as extra FMVs, staff interviews and other extras, it is very easy to collect all of them. Apart from that and trying to level up your character (only up to level 10) or getting all the upgrades there's little for you to do once the games over, bar playing endless rounds of taking down Saruman's hordes, but why anyone thought that would be the least bit entertaining is beyond me. The single game itself offers enough button bashing capades. Taking away the story and familiar levels, in no way makes a decent extra mode.

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings; the movies or book, the chance of playing your beloved characters and in the environments described by Tolkien himself, should be enough to make you enjoy this game. But take away Tolkien's story, and there is a very average game on hand. Sadly it is another one of those games using the license to sell itself, and unfortunately, not the last.

Developer

EA Games

Publisher

EA

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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