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Lord of the Rings | Two Towers | review | game | Lollipop

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

(EA for PS2, Gamecube, and XBox)
by Eric Johnson

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers does a good job distilling all the major action sequences from the first two films into an insane hack and slash action game. Sure, there are more cerebral ways to kill Orcs, but this addictive little gem gives you the opportunity to put cold steel to endless hordes of the corrupted little bastards. All it really asks of you is to walk from one end of each area to the other, killing what gets in your way, but that's a lot easier said than done when Hobbits need to be defended, Helm's Deep must be held, and villagers are easy prey for Saruman's marauding servants.

Each of the three characters you control has distinct fighting styles; Aragon (the human) has the classic double-handed sword, Gimli (the dwarf) his axe, and Legolas (the elf) switches between his bow and twin light swords. Killing with style is important because the better you do, the more skills and vital combination attacks become available to you. Those combos are well-designed, the controls being easy to pick up, yet varied enough to make you feel like you have options.

Levels contain varied objectives and take place in amazingly-detailed environments ranging from over grown forests, ancient ruins, and Scandinavian villages, to the stone fortress of Helm's Deep. The graphics are filled with variety and detail, and appear nearly identical to sets from the film. The color palette, consisting primarily of Earth tones, is never gaudy and always realistic. The action is generously peppered with film clips and dialog taken directly from the actors, no fake voices here. Some nice bonus materials, including interviews with the actors, conceptualization sketches, and ultimately a special character becomes available to you. My only beef is that the game is too damned short, only twelve levels or so, and there's no variety to the characters' adventures. What's there is so well-executed that it's brevity shouldn't deter the curious. Alas, you won't learn anything about the world Tolkien created – you won't see much of it either – and you won't get to wear medieval clothes or role play either, but the game is good enough to give the little geek in you plenty to yap about.

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