There were a few games released on the C64 based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. One of the better ones was War in Middle Earth by Melbourne House. I played it on the Amiga, but never really got that far as I didn’t have the instructions for it and it seemed quite a complicated game. The C64 version compares favourably, with decent enough graphics, sound and deep strategic game play.
The action takes place on a map of Middle Earth where the many races of the world are positioned and ready for a huge war between good and evil. You control the forces that share allegiance with the fellowship of the ring. The aim is to guide Frodo to Mount Doom to destroy the ring of power and to end the reign of the evil Sauron – just as it is in the book. This means that you have to move and join forces to meet the attacks of the orcs on the various strongholds scattered around the map while protecting the fellowship. It’s quite tough and takes hours to play.
It can get quite boring too as once you have watched one battle, they all look the same apart from the background. The game is well made though and is very true to the book and will keep fans of strategy games busy for a long time.
HOW WAS IT COMPLETED?: I tried to beat the game without cheating but was soon annihilated by the enemy forces. I then poked the code to strengthen my armies and move Frodo’s position closer to Mount Doom, bypassing the vast enemy armies.
SO WHAT HAPPENS?: Not a great deal. Once Frodo moves into place the game is complete and a final end screen appears. It shows the ring burning in the fires of Mount Doom with a scroll to the left of it which has a short message upon it. The message reads ‘THE ONE RING IS DESTROYED. THE FORCES OF GOOD HAVE TRIUMPHED!‘.
Neil: A neat little picture but it’s not that exciting. 2/10.
Vinny: I think you know the drill by now: this isn’t my kind of game. 2/10 from me.
FINAL SAY: Frodo’s long journey ends just as it does in the book, but it’s not as exciting on the C64.