Gollum screamed: "Baggins - we hates it forever!". But he's in the minority because Tolkien's trilogy of Middle-
Although the programmers have changed the encounter slightly, so that Tolkien fans will still find it a challenge, the plot is still basically the same. Frodo has been given the One Ring by Bilbo who has disappeared. Gandalf, the Grey Wizard learns of the ring's power and, realising that the forces of the dark lord Sauron will soon find it, he charges Frodo to take the ring to the elves at Rivendell and then on to - well, read the book if you want to find out. The intro sequence - one of the best this year - which tells the story of Bilbo's disappearance and the beginning of Frodo's quest.. The atmospheric music which accompanies the intro is second to none and really does a lot to set the scene.
The game itself is instantly accessible. As Frodo is standing outside his home with two of his best hobbit friends, you can recruit them and wander of. It's best to be wary of wading into a situation without thinking carefully about the consequences. Until you get a few, more powerful friends, three, unarmed hobbits are not much of a match for anyone.
The main way the adventure has been made available for Tolkien fans who know the plot, is by adding a number of subplots, the successful completion of which gives you objects, people or information you need to complete the main quest. As you wander through the centre of the town, talking to the local hobbits, a number of sub-plots unfold around you. Rescue the lost child and perhaps his father may be grateful - who knows you might even find something that would be of use to you on your travels. If you stray too far from the beaten path, the game gently prompts you with suggestions, legend and rumour.
Unfortunately, although it's a game that you desperately want to like, there's a lot about it that's frustrating and infuriating. In particular, the game appears to be made for the American market where everyone has a hard disk, because disk accessing is endless. Every time a new character appears, the disk accesses. Every time a sound effect is played, the disk accesses. Every time you attack something, yes, you've guessed it, the disk accesses. The effect of this is to slow the game down. But not as much as the terminally-
The way you move Frodo and his party is by moving the cursor arrow towards the side of the screen you want them to walk to and pressing the left mouse button. This is fine when you want them to walk in these directions, but if you want them to weave through small gaps or walk along diagonal paths - which is often necessary - the control system is a pain in the butt. The icons control bar, brought up with the right mouse button is clearly laid out, but also suffers similar problems.
The combat system is amazing. If you get jumped by a wolf (which happens quite a bit), the wolf attacks. To counter attack you have to click on the attack icon and the wolf's name, wait until the disk loads the appropriate sound and then it will tell you whether you've missed.
Some early encounters can take over 10 minutes of button clicking just to kill a single wolf. Even more annoying is the fact it's very easy to wander into deadly situations while you're still weak. Spending two hours trekking around the town isn't too bad, but then you get killed without warning (a horseman gallops down the path and slays your whole party) you have to do it all again; bit by bit the slowness of play begins to grate on your nerves.
Tolkien fans will get a lot out of Lord of the Rings, if they can bear the tedious combat and movement systems, and that a good part of the game is spent moving across the terrain between encounters. The less, patient, such as those used to Eye of the Beholder and similar systems, will get more excitement, adventure and VFM by buying Tolkien's original trilogy.