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When JRR Tolkien wrote his chronicles of Middle Earth, he wasn't simply creating a legend, he was generating a whole new world – a parallel civilisation, where men exist among elves, dwarves and hobbits and where the enemy isn't a fellow race, but the force of evil itself. Where magic works and decides the fate of the populace.
The beginning of this story isn't exactly earth shattering. A hobbit burglar, by the name of Bilbo Baggins, tricks a pale-faced creature called Gollum out of a small golden ring. This ring just happens to be the most powerful artefact on Middle Earth. Sauron, the ultimate evil force, had attempted to use it in a bid to take over Middle Earth but his plan failed and the ring was lost – until now.
War in Middle Earth is one of a rare breed of wargames that looks as good as it plays. The computer forces moves logically so your enemies don't just wander around the map randomly obliterating you. It'll take you hours to play a game from start to finish so a Save Game option comes in pretty handy although a feature to play at hasty or very hasty speeds allows you to skip through any tedious battles. However, when it comes to a vital confrontation, such as the battle of the Hornburg, you can go there and modify your tactics. If you find you can't beat the hell out of your enemies - a common problem - then you'll be able to retreat and come back later life starts to get boring.
Even when you've completed War in Middle Earth there is still plenty to do such as refining your strategies and locating all the hidden objects. There's little difference between the three 16-bit versions reviewed here other than sound and some minor graphical differences, but the game plays just as well on all formats.
Without a doubt, one of the best books ever to appear was Tolkien’s ‘Lord Of The Rings’(Oh, undoubtedly Tone - Ed), a massive four book (including ‘The Hobbit’) epic that spanned the entire story of the acquisition and eventual destruction of One Ring. I won’t go into plot because we have not the space, but in a nutshell, the One Ring was the most powerful of a group of 12 magical rings, forged many years ago, within the fires of hell itself (or home sweet home as I like to call it).
As the fires of hell are pretty hot, the metals were forged in such a way that the only way they can be broken is through the same hell fire. Eleven of the rings have been discovered and destroyed. Only one remains. The One. (Should that not be The ne? – Ed). The same one that Bilbo Baggins found as an adventurous young hobbit. The One Ring is special because whoever wears it has complete control over the other eleven rings, pointless as they would seem.
Auf dem Amiga dudelt die Musik schicksalhaft vor sich hin, die Hintergrundgrafiken sind etwas wirr und nicht sonderlich schön gezeichnet. Doch wer Lust auf ein ordentliches Strategiespiel hat, liegt bei War in Middle Earth nicht falsch.