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J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I

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Not to be confused with 1990's J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Vol. 1, a role-playing game made by the same company.

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I
Lord of the Rings snes cover.png
This game... shall not ...pass!!!
Genre(s): Action
RPG
Platform(s): Super Nintendo
Release: October 1994
Developer(s): Interplay Productions
Publisher(s): Interplay Productions
Series: The Lord of the Rings


J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I is an action role-playing game produced by Interplay Productions for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is an adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Why It Shall Not Pass

  1. Let's get the elephant out of the room : the plotline of the game deviates a lot from that of the book. The most egregious example is that the party fights the Balrog after it kills Gandalf while, in the book (and subsequent movie directed by Peter Jackson), Gandalf faces the Balrog alone as Frodo and the others run away. The game ends after the party exits the Mines of Moria, effectively leaving out an important part of the novel's plot. Also, Boromir isn't part of the Fellowship in the game, as he only makes a brief appearance.
  2. The opening dialogue takes too long.
  3. You can't control your computer players including Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gimli, and Legolas. Consider yourself lucky if they don't wander off and die on you. However, you can attempt to control them all at once, but it's hard to pull off.
  4. The fighting in the game is clunky, making it hard to stab wolves or snakes.
  5. The fetch quests is often confusing and it takes a long time or even forever to find the items, like when Frodo finds Kingsfoil for Aragorn, it's called athelas minor.
  6. There's too much level grinding involved to level up you and your allies.
  7. You can easily get lost in the caves as they are very dark, making enemies hard to see. This also includes the Barrow Wrights caves and the foggy maps don't help either.
  8. There are glitches presented throughout the game.
  9. The rune stones you need to open the door to the Mines of Moria are hard to find.
  10. The Mines of Moria is the biggest maze and is very confusing to navigate.
  11. Certain monsters including the Ringwraiths and The Balrog can kill your ally instantly.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The character portraits are very detailed.
  2. Tom Bombadil makes an appearance in the game.
  3. The soundtrack in the game is very good considering the limitations of the SNES sound drive.
  4. The name Brandywine is one of the most notable names to slip past the Nintendo censorship during the time when it was forbidden to feature, name, or reference alcoholic drinks.
  5. You can use the password feature to skip to the final level of the game.

Reception

GamePro magazine gave the game a negative review, calling the gameplay "long, indistinguishable romps", as well as criticizing the small character sprites, limited upgrade features, poor AI for the ally characters, and the low difficulty. In 2004, the game was given a negative review by 1Up.com, who also criticized the AI as well as the long fetch quests.

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