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Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

Have you seen the movie the Two Towers yet? Well, Have you? If you have then you know that it is one of the best fantasy films to be released in cinema history. If you haven’t seen it…well…then GO SEE IT RIGHT NOW!! Ahem…now that I got that out of the way I’d like to talk about EA’s Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (LotR: TT) game for the GameCube. Quite simply, it is one of the best movie licensed games to be released in quite some time. Yes, it’s really that good. The beautifully rendered environments and characters, first class musical score and authentic sound effects and voices all give this game a highly polished feel that will knock your socks off.

The first thing you notice when you begin playing LotR: TT is the jaw-dropping presentation. Actual movie clips are used generously in the game and help make the player believe that they are playing scenes from the films. One of the coolest ways the game draws you in is by transitioning from a movie clip to one powered by the in-game graphic engine. You are watching a scene from the movie and then, boom, suddenly you are seeing the remainder of the scene powered by the game’s graphics. It allows the player to suspend their disbelief and feel like they are IN the movie. The menus all look great and the load times are very short. Great stuff overall.

The graphics in LotR: TT are very good. Not Metroid Prime good, but good nonetheless. This is one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 2 and it transfers over to the Cube without losing any of its graphical flair. It has even been cleaned up a bit around the edges by the Cube’s superior anti-aliasing capabilities. The Lord of the Rings films heavily influence the art direction in the game and that is certainly a good thing. All the characters and environments look just like they did in the movies so gamers get a heightened sense of ”being there.” The framerate remains rock solid even when multiple enemies are attacking onscreen at once. Other nice graphical touches include: arrows staying lodged in enemies, explosions catching clothes on fire and realistic water ripples and reflections. The animations are also worth praising as they are very well done. Apparently, EA actually had the actors of the films demonstrate the fighting moves they used in the movies to help recreate them perfectly in the game. Whatever they did it certainly paid off because Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas all move and fight exactly like they do onscreen. Bravo EA, bravo.

It should be noted that this game is a brawler, plain and simple. You move through the levels dispatching hordes upon hordes of orcs, goblins and trolls. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the game is not going to be worth playing over and over again after beating. There are plenty of things to uncover such as production shots, cast interviews, cheat codes and a secret character. On top of all this you can replay any of the 12 regular levels and try to achieve a perfect rating with all 4 characters (Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and the secret character). There is even a secret level that can be played by every character where you fight your way through 20 levels of enemies at Saruman’s Tower of Orthanc. There are some minor RPG elements also. As you beat levels you accumulate points that can be used to unlock combos, a longer life gauge and special moves and parries. Even with all these reasons to keep playing, you’ll find yourself coming back for more just because the game is so damn fun to play. Not since Streets of Rage on the Sega Genesis has battling tons of baddies been so addicting and fun.

The music and sound effects in the game are taken straight from the movies. The actors from the films were used for the voices of the main characters. EA spared no expense to insure the game was true to the movies. Whether it’s the Irish sounding Shire music or the blood pumping battle score, the music to the game is stunning. I can’t say enough good things about the score used in the Lord of the Rings movies and in this game. So I’ll just say, WOW.

The Two Towers is the best movie-to-game translation to grace any console in a very long time. Most movie-licensed games end up being coaster material, but luckily the developers for LotR: TT spent the time needed to capture the essence of the Lord of the Rings movies and transfer it into a fun interactive gaming experience. Whether you are a Lord of the Rings nut or just a fan of high-quality, action videogames you will most assuredly find The Two Towers to be an fun gaming experience. If you are a Lord of the Rings fan then run, don’t walk, to your local gaming store today to grab your copy of this great game!

8 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in May 2003. Get in touch on Twitter @Joshua_Luke.

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