Electronic Arts’ first game based on the Lord of the Rings movies is an action game with classic beat’em up-style gameplay. Despite the title, it covers events from both the first and the second film in the trilogy.
Players, choosing to control Aragorn, Legolas or Gimli, must battle the evil forces of the Dark Lord Sauron in order to protect the Ring of Power and restore peace to Middle-earth.
The player character moves through the levels, fighting hordes of Orcs, Goblins and other creatures with various attack and parrying moves. The more varied the attacks are and the less the player is hit, the more points are awarded for each kill. At the end of each level, kill points are accumulated and can be used to gain new abilities. Most of these are new attack moves, unleashed through various button combinations. Others increase health or upgrade the strength or speed of existing attacks. Each of the three characters has unique upgrades and moves.
Several levels feature boss battles with the likes of the Watcher of Moria or Lurtz, leader of the Uruk-hai. Each boss requires a unique strategy to defeat.
Most combat scenes from the movies have been turned into levels for the game: from the confrontation with the Ringwraiths at the Weathertop and the battle in the Mines of Moria from the first film to fights with Warg-riders and other enemies on the plains of Rohan from the second film. The game culminates in the defense of Helm’s Deep, even though the depiction of the battle in the game differs considerably from that in the film.
Between the levels, cutscenes tell the story. These scenes combine actual film footage with footage rendered with the game engine.
The game offers lots of bonus content, some of which must be unlocked by completing missions or reaching certain levels with the characters. Featured are interviews with the filmmakers and actors (who also provide voices for the game) as well as various making-of features.