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Lord of The Rings: The Third Age Review - Xbox

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Frodo and Sam are off to destroy the ring; Legolas, Aragorn and Gimli are off to create diversions, Gandalf is fighting Saruman and a huge Balrog but where does your tale begin? The Third Age sets you up in your own little fellowship consisting of the mighty swordsman team leader, the young and gorgeous elvish woman that uses a sword, but utilizes her elvish magic, a Gimli look-a-like, who has a bad temper and carries his axe or his hammer wherever he goes, and last but not least your nobel human archer. You'll find that the team leader looks mighty similar to Triple H from the WWE, for no apparent reason. Together you fight all the evils that darken the world around you.

The Third Age isn't only an RPG with a good storyline. You can actually join the main characters and help them defeat greater foes. You can watch Gandalf battle it out with the Balrog before you run along to join in, and you can participate in some of the massive battles that you've come to love in the movies. LOTR: The Third Age is really an RPG and LOTR lover's dream idea, but has it been pulled off properly?

Gameplay

LOTR: The Third Age follows closely to the tale of Berethor, Elegost, Hadhod and Idrial's journey. Berethor is saved by Idrial, an elvish female and has no idea why she wants him to join him on their journey to help Frodo and Sam, but he's keen to lead the team through dark and dim. What's that? You've never heard of these characters? That's because they have been made up to create a realistic RPG that the player can relate to within the game. Yes, the story is bended and diehard LOTR fans will suffer from this, but it makes for an interesting change to the story of the Lord of The Rings.

The Third Age basically works on HP and AP. AP allows you to perform magic moves with A standing for Action, and HP is your Health Power. When in battle there is a lot on screen. You have your menu in the bottom left corner, your characters with their HP and AP in the bottom right corner with your Perfect Mode bar in the far corner (more about this later), hints up the top left corner explaining what each move/item does, and in the top right corner is a list much like the block list in Tetris, explaining who's turn it is next. In the main menu part, you have your different selections to do for each characters turn. Different options come up for different characters including your standard Attack mode and Items menu, Weapon Craft, Leadership, Taunt Foe, Spirit Powers, Skip move, Run away, and Perfect Mode. Now that we've spoken about Perfect Mode twice, let's explain it. Perfect Mode is ... (continued next page)