Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Review of the Gameboy Advance rendition of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"

This game is an abomination and I regret every cent of the five dollars I spent at the bargain bin. I've played and beat this game through trial and (t)error, because I bought this game at a time in my life when I didn't have much money. I beat every game I bought so my purchases wouldn't go to waste.

The Story: 6/10, because it manages to faithfully follow the book even more so than the films despite failing in every other regard. Despite this, there are so many sidequests and little extra objectives they will enforce on you that you will forget the plot in due time.

The Graphics: 3/10, they serve their purpose, but not much else. Just look at the above video. The on-screen avatars are bland and plain and the character portraits are hideous beyond measure. Everything looks jagged. Frodo looks like a blob with a brown dot for hair. The characters never move when in cut scenes at all, so that sucks all the life out of a great story.
On top of that, everything in the backgrounds looks identical, right up to the forests, towns, and interiors, save for Rivendell.
These look like graphics from either a later on NES game or a very early on Super NES game, which given that we were already on the Gamecube, PS2, and X-Box when this was released makes them unacceptable.
Only ever play this on the Gamecube, as it's the only way everything will be big enough for you check what's going on without straining your eyes. There is NO detail put into the graphics at all.

The Sound: 2/10, you get repetitive, unobtrusive sounds and effects. The music is not memorable. Of course, that's only whenever it chooses to function, which is like only a quarter of time.

The Gameplay: 1/10, serviceable at best, unreliable and glitchy at worst. That this game was never playtested was obvious, and here's why:
The gameplay was terrible all on it's own WITHOUT the bugs, but they just make it worse. Your character, no matter who it is, moves like a turtle and there's no way to speed him up. The RPG system is useless. Your character will almost always miss your enemy whereas your enemy will almost always hit you. The battles require no strategy, other than pure determination, to win. Even the simplest battles can take 5-10 minutes to win.
Oh, and the leveling system is non-existent. You only ever level at a few set points in the game, but it barely makes a difference. You will spend this entire game under-leveled no matter what you do. In fact, I would recommend staying away from battles as much as you can, because you can't carry much money, and your supply space is also very limited. Just muscle through and take only the necessary actions if you ever want to see the end.
Want more?
All that said, this is turned based style.
-Legolas is an archer, right? Well, he almost always misses with arrows. He's better with a sword in this game.
-As stated, when you win a battle, you do not get experience. You also don't get money or items.
-You will waste most of your healing items in a single battle and then have to go back to get more, but first you'll have to hunt up more money.
-You have two types of enemies per level. Usualy 3-5 of them in a party.
-Don't even get me started on the clunky item system and item sharing system for the party. It's too bad for words, and in this game when I say it's too bad for words...
-This game also has puzzles. PUZZLES! The puzzles are as glitched, buggy, and frustrating as the rest of this joyless mess.

The bugs...oh God, the BUGS!

-Several times during battles, a character would walk up to an enemy and pass right through them and get stuck. I would have to reset the game. Invisible obstacles also run rampant in this game.
-Sometimes, you need to reset the game just to pick up objects.
-The game will sometimes lock up or crash without rhyme or reason at random times. It once fried my GameBoy when it did that.
-In Rivendell, and this one's a real kicker, they had this little quest for the elves took Gimli's ax and in order to progress, you had to get it back to him. Well, I had to reset the game several times because when I finally got the ax to him, the "Give" command wouldn't function right! So I ended up having to restart the game from the beginning and get back to Rivendell...three times, to get it to work. On the third try, I somehow miracled the ax into Gimli's inventory and was at last able to progress to the Mines of Moria. I wept. Then I began to laugh maniacally, but it started with tears.
-Then in Moria, I walked out of one room and got stuck when the next room appeared. I reset and it happened again. I accidentally discovered how to get past that point. I saved my game accidentally right when the room I was exiting started to fade, and then it let me move on. Doing this might also ruin your saved game, though.
-One time, the game loaded a random encounter, but it forgot to load enemies onto the field.
-I repeat, this stupid game once ruined my GameBoy!

Length and Difficulty: 3/10 Believe or not, it's not long game. The bugs, overpowered enemies, and unfair RPG system, however, will make the experience at least four times the length than if you had been able to just get through it without them getting in your way. I am not exaggerating in the slightest. In fact, I think I'm giving it a faintly conservative estimate. If you're determined enough, you will beat the game, but it ain't worth it.

The Controls: 1/10 As responsive as a person in a coma. The gameplay is as stock and common as it comes, so you wouldn't think they could botch it. The creators evidently took that fact as a challenge and made it unresponsive and unreliable as all hell. Add on the unfair RPG system, and you get a stew of Poison Joke, with the joke being as much on you as it was for the ponies.

Final Verdict: 2.7 Show stopping bugs and a crappy RPG System drag an already terrible game down to the deepest pits of Hell! This game was not fit for release, but they did it, anyway. And yet, I still feel like I have not said enough about this horrid mess.

Replayability? ...You're kidding, right? It was like my own private hell the first time. The only reason I remember how to play this game so well ten years later is because it has been forever branded into my memory because of all the hell I went through beating it once. Yes, I did have to replay many parts several times over, but then again, if Groundhog's Day was no fun for Bill Murray's character...

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