SummaryWorst Purchase I ever Made for my SNES
The GoodThe music is pretty grand. Its bright for the town, somber for the plains, dark for the caves and the Mines of Moria. Unfortunately, there seems to about five tracks total in the game.
Character sprites are well animated.
The BadThe plot is extremely Tolkien-light, you pretty much get the edited highlights. The game ends before the first part of the book ends. The characters are faceless and totally interchangeable. Although they have face portraits, you only see these on the subscreen, a screen you wish you could see as little of as possible. The four hobbits all use the same sprites, step in unison and are distinguished only by the color of their hoods.
The character graphics are also rather small in scale compared to the rest of the screen, which can make for difficulty in attacking small enemies. Background tiles get reused constantly, so every cave looks the same. The game also suffers from a lack of enemies early on, as you only seem to fight snakes, wolves and bats. There is one "boss" monster in the entire game as I recall.
The hit detection in this game is truly irksome. Since you have not quite a birds eye view, hitting anything when facing up or down is an exercise in frustration. Metal Gear has the same perspective, but only striking downward had the same issue. Also, enemies seemingly can only be hit in one way. You will curse because what seemed to be a good hit was not registered. Interestingly, it is easier to hit with the hobbits in the first half of the game than it is with Aragorn in the second due to their hit animations. Controlling multiple characters in the second half, when you have 8-9 members in the party, leads to unnecessary hits and deaths. (I have never tried this game with the multi-tap feature, but if I did, my friends would evaporate just like my enthusiasm did for this game).
The final insult is that it takes almost five seconds to bring up the subscreen. What is instantaneous in virtually every other game seems to take an eternity here. And you will need to bring up the subscreen more often than you would like to use items and check your experience points. More than anything else, this shows a lack of attention to detail.
Passwords in an RPG from 1994? That is just simply inexcusable.
The Bottom LineWhile it is not a great game, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I for the PC is far superior to this. Licensed games in the 80s and 90s tended to be crap, and this is a good example of how a licensed property was treated.
Bottom line : Why play this atrocious game when there are so many great RPGs available on the SNES instead?