Sunday, 12 February 2012

J.R.R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings - Volume One (SNES)

Yeah, it's another Lord of the Rings game already. I'm sorry, it was a request.

Wait... why am I apologising to you? I'm the one who has to play it! Okay I have to admit I am curious to see what it's like.

Is this going to be a video game adaptation of the book, or have they just put the entire novel (large text version) onto a SNES cartridge?

And then it continues like this for twelve more pages. Gandalf (the wizard) has returned to Hobbiton to visit his hobbit friend Frodo and to warn him that the ring he inherited from his uncle Bilbo some time ago is actually evil. It's so infamously evil, in fact, that ancient elves have actually written an ancient poem about it, which we then have to read in full before the game starts.

What kind of name is 'Hobbiton' anyway? Does Gandalf live in Wizardville?


Finally, some gameplay!

Oh, sorry, false alarm.

There's twenty more pages of text like this before the game actually starts, telling the story of how Gandalf (the wizard) arrives at Bilbo's birthday party and tells him to give his magic ring to Frodo so he can go on a journey to Elftropolis to get rid of it.

Wait, that totally contradicts the narration at the start! Earlier they said that Frodo had NO IDEA about the ring when he inherited it. Now apparently all three of them already know the ring is evil and are making plans to deal with it before Bilbo's even given it to him.

And now finally, the game begins. I have to go and talk to every damn NPC in Hobbiton to find where my friends are hiding, so I can round them up and we can all go take the ring to the elves or whatever.

Hobbiton has two exits: north, and west. Apparently my good buddy Pippin's gone fishing in the north, so that's where I'll go first.

Awesome, I finally get to do something!

For some reason I was expecting this to be a first person Dungeon Master style rpg, but it's more like a Zelda style action adventure. Though in this Frodo takes a second to swing his dagger when he attacks, so I have to press the button early. Plus he can't walk diagonally, which is more annoying than you might expect.

There's no saves, but it does have a convenient password system. Only 48 letters to write down, at most!

After killing a few wolves I am awarded with a level up! At last I have reached level 1.

Well this area turned out to be a dead end, but at least I've found one of my friends.

And then he decides he'd rather stay here with the wolves than come back to town with me. Uh, okay then. Well I totally wasted my time coming up here then.


Awesome, I've found another one of my friends. Maybe this guy will actually join team Frodo.

Sam, we've got no time to find reading glasses, I need your help to take this evil ring to the elves before the servants of Sauron come to our village and murder us all!

You're really not going to come with me until I've found these glasses are you? Bastard.


That's a pretty strange pattern in the mud there... ugh I've been looking for these glasses for so long I'm honestly starting to find the dirt more interesting than the gameplay.

Fuck Sam and fuck his glasses, I'll take the ring to the elves by myself. No clue how to get there, but the only direction I can go is west.


This area's a lot like the place to the north, except with snakes. But what's this, a new weapon perchance?

Frodo takes the dagger, and just throws his old one away on the ground. I guess there's no shops or money in this, so there's no reason to keep his old gear.

And then Frodo's killed by a wolf. Game over.

Or not...

It turns out that if I'm killed I just respawn back at base, with all my equipment and levels present and intact. At least that's how it worked out this time.


You know, the graphics in this aren't so impressive, and the gameplay is a bit on the crap side, and it takes forever to walk around because there's no run button, and... wait, what was I going to say again?  Oh right, the sound in this is actually surprisingly good, if you like hearing wind blowing across the lonely plains.

Hmm, I've found a cave. I don't much want to go into a cave, but it's not like I've found anywhere else to go.

Wow, it's a bit dark down here. Bats keep flying at me from the shadows, but fortunately they make a noise before attacking, so I'm able to press my sword button early enough for it to connect.


These caves are a bloody maze and there's apparently nothing in here at all except bats, snakes and more bats. And for all I know I've been to this part before, everywhere looks the same.


I got bored trying to find the way back out so I sacrificed Frodo to the snakes instead. I figured it'd be quicker.


I seriously have nowhere else to go, so I came right back and found a different cave to go get lost in. Or maybe it's just a different entrance to the same cave, I have no idea.

But hey, this time I found a mushroom!

Even better, it's a healing mushroom! I'll just put that in my inventory next to the evil ring.


Sadly Frodo has finally gone mad.

I really do try to give games a fair chance these days, but I'm not seeing this one get any better. Maybe I'll feed him to a bat or something, respawn, and try talking to Sam and Pippin again.


Oh I see, I had to kill all the wolves in the area before Pippin would join me. Well that actually kind of makes sense, except the wolves just respawn in the other areas when I kill them, so the game actually discourages me from trying it.

And now I've got a second dude following me around!

Shockingly Pippin turns out to be next to useless. He does actually attack enemies... some of the time, but he's so low level compared to me that there's no point to it. Shame Frodo didn't think to hold on to one of those old daggers to give him.

I can actually control Pippin by holding down the R button, but again there's absolutely no point to it that I can see. Though it's not game over if he gets killed off, so at least it hasn't turned into an escort mission.

I'm going to quit this here because I'm completely stuck and I'm really not enjoying it. The game is based around two things: walking around and killing enemies, and they screwed both of them up. Somehow I doubt it was going to get any better.

Next game.


  1. Bwahaha. Oh how I remember this. Using the multi pad plugin you could play with up to 5 players.

    Man I never ever ever got far in this game. Well actually I made it to a town and got aragorn or whoever at that time. If your peoples die you have to go back to get them if you want them again T_T omg this was so horrible of a game to remember T_T.

  2. I haven't played this game yet, but my impression of this game due to reviews that I've read is that this game is actually much better as a simultaneous multi-player game. Up to 4 players can play together simultaneously, so if you ever decide to to a multi-player series, this might make the list.

  3. This game is one of the worst games I played on the SNES. It doesn't do the source material justice at all. You know how bad Pippin is as a comrade, so you probably won't be too surprised to learn that all of the characters are like that. Only Frodo and Aragorn (the two you directly control) are any good. Legolas is bugged and doesn't even attack. Yikes.

    Here's my own post on the game, which covers the final dungeon if you'd like to see how it ends. The final dungeon is really the only good part, IMO.

    1. Man, this game doesn't do the human race justice by the look of it. We should probably destroy all copies of it in case aliens arrive and judge our entire species to be unworthy of existence.

  4. I could never find the glasses! Where were they?

  5. This is a great video game. I don't know what everyone's complaining about. It's not for the casual gamer that's for sure. I had to draw maps as a kid just to find my way. The graphics and animations are lush and vibrant and incredible. The game progresses and opens up at a near perfect pace. It follows the book/movie very well indeed. Great mix of action/RPG and plenty of story for a SNES game. Sound effects and music are varied and appropriately spooky and upbeat at times. Enemies are varied and animated very well. Plenty of crucial and optional items to find and use. Weapon and armor to find. The game is a very good quest game and doesn't lead you around by the hand. Anyone with a little patience should be able to find a real SNES gem in my opinion. Just draw maps and pretend your Frodo and you will stumble across the items that are hidden. It's really an enjoyable adventure game with just enough action elements.


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