The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers is available for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or Gamecube, and is produced by EA. You play through the events of the first two films in the series, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. You can play as Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli as you battle your way through sixteen levels, most of them taken from the events from the films. The last levels are endurance levels set in the Tower of Orthanc, which aren’t based on the storyline but are a lot of fun to play.
The controls are well designed and flow together brilliantly. It doesn’t take long for you to master them, and you can buy new combat moves throughout the game with experience points, with new moves unlocked when you reach level two, four, six and eight. Some of them you probably will never use, but there are some vital ones to purchase as you level up. They don’t feel like blocky, crowbarred-in moves when you use them, and they mix together seamlessly on screen.
There are three playable characters available from a couple of levels in – Legolas and Gimli don’t join the fellowship until after the meeting at Rivendell – and a fourth is available once you complete the game. The characters feel different, and they have unique ways of interacting with the enemy, helping to give them a distinctive feel. Each one has their own strong point – Gimli is better for melee combat, Legolas is stronger with ranged combat, and Aragon is an equal balance between the two – which allows you to pick the character best suited for the level. Aragorn is a tad overpowered in this game, as he is strong enough for both close and ranged combat and levels up earlier than the other two, but it’s really up to the player which character you choose.
From a technical view this game is messy. Glitches are common, and some of them can be exploited to gain an unfair advantage over the enemies. You can spin the right analogue stick to perform a string of special moves instead of memorising the button sequences, certain levels have spots where the enemy can’t get to you, and Aragorn disappears through the floor during a cutscene in the Gates of Moria level. However the technical problems this game has don’t impact the gameplay, and the glitches are more funny than frustrating.
This game is chocked full of extra content. Exclusive interviews, photos and videos are scattered through the game, and let you learn more about the making of the films and the game. The game uses audio from the first two films, with some new material recorded especially for the game by the actors from the films.
There is a good variety of enemies to encounter, from cave goblins to forest trolls. The enemies each fight in their own way, and you have to adapt your style to combat them and find their weaknesses. The levels are beautifully designed; you really feel like you are fighting in Middle Earth when you play this game. The excellent combat, enemies and feel to this game make replays endlessly entertaining – and with four characters to play as, replaying levels doesn’t feel repetitive. Unfortunately, the fourth character – Isildur – is the exact same as Aragorn, which makes playing as him a little repetitive and disappointing.
Each level is fresh and special. They don’t feel repetitive, there are plenty of boss fights to challenge you, and they are full of hidden areas and items. You are going to want to play these levels again and again, each time getting a little bit faster and deadlier.
This game was worth the full price at release, and since you can now pick it up for a couple of pounds second hand, it should be purchased as soon as you see it. Whether you are a Lord of the Rings fan or not, this game is one of the most entertaining and engrossing hack ‘n’ slash games ever made.
Pros: Excellent gameplay, lots of extra content, lots of replayability
Cons: Glitches are common, unlockable character the same as a character available from the start