Lord of the Rings Vol. 1 (SNES)

Lord of the Rings Vol 1 for the SNES is one of the worst games ever created and somehow I ended up buying it. It's not as if I was a Lord of the Rings fan back in 1995. I'm not even sure if I knew it was a series of books or not. But something possessed me to buy this game. Whatever it was it was a being of pure malevolence and spite.

stab

This hobbit has cerebral palsy and a
knife! Run for your lives!

There are no redeeming qualities about LOTR. For starters I think everyone in Middle Earth is suffering from a degenerative nerve disorder. When you hit the attack button and it takes a tangible amount of time for the attack to execute. The whole process is so ridiculous that any enemies you manage to slay must have been suicidal or decided to impale themselves on your blade out of pity for crippled hobbits.

There is also a block move in the game. Your character throws his arms up and screams, "Don't hurt me!" Then he is promptly hurt anyway. Blocking does nothing. I'd had been happier if the block button instead caused your character to dance some sort of hobbit jig.

As you make your way through the game you collect the various fellowship characters, the four hobbits, Gimli, Legolas, Aragorn and Gandalf. But check this shit out, Legolas can't actually fight. Sure, he has a bow and by all rights should be able to shoot things, but apparently he left his arrows at home and he had the only supply in all of Middle Earth. The only thing I can imagine to justify this nonsense is that the programmers were going to put arrows in the game but they were running over schedule and decided to forgo doing anything to make Legolas useful. You don't get Legolas in your party until you progress quite a bit through the game, and because the game is so terrible there is no reason to assume anyone would play it long enough to discover how worthless Legolas is.

The problems don't stop there. You can only control one character at a time. The rest of the characters are controlled by the the A.I., which is recycled from a remedial Pac-Man cabinet. In fact the only thing the A.I. is good at is making your characters wander off to get themselves killed. As a result you're forced to herd cats because something deep down in your soul wants you to keep all your party members alive, even Legolas the Worthless.

As if all the previous problems weren't enough you need to be omniscient concerning items and your inventory. You find things along your way, gems, amulets, the normal fantasy crap. But there is no clue as to what these items are for, how many there are or when you will need them. So for example you get to Elrond and he says, "I need six amulets." It's only then you find out what the amulets are used for and how many there are. If you don't happen to have all six you'd better head back out and look for them. Not that you are given any clue of where each or any of the amulets are. You would be better off to just give up.

three caves

These are just three of nearly infinite,
unconnected and dead end caves you
must blindly explore.

But what if you don't give up? That's yet another problem. Most of Middle Earth is featureless repetitious terrain, each area is a gigantic maze with numerous dead ends and caves to nowhere. It is a superhuman chore just to find the path from A to B and I cannot over emphasize this. But then to also have to find necessary hidden items on top of this is some sort of atrocity.

Maybe you're the map making type. Here's a map of just the final dungeon, Moria, it's ridiculous. Don't even bother.
Map of Moria part 1
Map of Moria part 2
Map of Moria part 3

Don't buy this game. Don't play this game. If someone gives it to you, never speak to them again. If you meet anyone who helped make this game call the police and don't try to apprehend them yourselves. Only Peter Jackson can help us now.

By: Brock | On: Wed, October 8th, 2008 - 06:56 PM