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J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth

DOS - 1989

Also available on: Amiga - Atari ST - Apple IIgs

Year 1989
Platform DOS
Released in United States
Genre Strategy
Theme Fantasy, Licensed Title, RTS, Real-Time
Publisher Melbourne House
Developer Synergistic Software, Inc.
Perspective Top-Down
Dosbox support Supported on 0.60
4.5 / 5 - 23 votes

Description of J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth

Melbourne House jumped into the fray with its own ambitious strategy/RPG that puts you in control of a wide range of characters from Lord of the Rings, starting out as Frodo and his neighbors Sam and Pippin. Strategic elements include allocating armies (similar to Dune) and RPG-like combat, while the adventure portion follows the book quite closely.

Overall, an entertaining and solid adventure, if you can put up with its interface quirks.

Review By HOTUD

Comments and reviews

Joshua 2018-09-05 0 point DOS version

This was my first computer game in the 80s, and it was certainly odd. They could have made a few minor gameplay changes, and it probably would have been much more successful and/or fondly remembered.

For its time, it had amazing graphical representation of Middle Earth, as you could click on just about any tiny little part of the map and get a fairly decent picture of the background (see screenshots above). The character images were about average.

The biggest drawback to the game is the lack of actual *game*, by which I mean meaningful gameplay. There's some kind of calculations going on underneath the hood, but damned if you'll know what they are.

You'll have dozens of different unit types, including Cavalry, Infantry, Elves, Men-At-Arms, Rangers, Ents, etc., but there's no numerical stats to let you know how they compare to each other. You'll get the feel that Elves seem to be stronger than most humans, and Ents strongest of all, but it's all guesswork. Same goes for enemy units.

Tactical options are bizarre. You get Engage, Charge, Withdraw and Retreat. Engage is simply standard fight option. Charge seems to be a risky maneuver that gives you a chance of first kill, but increases casualties on both sides. Withdraw is a temporary retreat from the battle, and it's unclear why this would be valuable. Retreat just makes that unit permanently flee from the battle, which is mostly useful for Commanders of units to avoid getting killed, which results in the oddity of having your generals flee from every combat to ensure their units stay organized. Once again, it's not very clear what the designers intended for the player to do with these options.

So, the gameplay mostly revolves around moving units from place to place, rather than giving them specific instructions in the battle. That's why I nicknamed this game "Tour in Middle Earth".

In summary, it appears that the designers spent most of their energy/time on designing images of places in Middle Earth, and you move units from place to place. They spent very little effort on making the actual combats interactable or interesting, which is a shame.

lwcasss 2018-03-27 0 point

This game is good, but I fucking hate its combat, I mean, the battles between armies are cool, but the individual characters are fucking wimpy pushovers.

Let's take Lords of Midnight (Both Lords of Midnight and War in Middle Earth were made by Mike Singleton) as an example, where each lord is a beast, some even killing 100 enemies troops in one day and they only die when their troops are completely dead, last man standing. There's even a dragon that can kill 400 enemy troops.

Now War in Middle Earth, in a defensive position as Minas Tirith, with a shit ton of soldiers defending it, and only 2000 mere orcs besieging it, the legendary wizard Gandalf... Is struck down in the first round, then Frodo... And Aragorn... Ugh, I hate this, it's like the game calculates the battle as if Gandalf is fighting the 2000 orcs ALONE, which fucking sucks and is probably how the calculations works. This game is awesome, but this bullshit put it off for me.

RRW 2017-09-10 -1 point Atari ST version

I had bought this game for my Atari ST for like $90 (which in the year 1989 is worth $177 in 2017, a 97.2% increase in prices.) Sadly for me it was the most I paid for a game that I really never played. I just couldn't get into it. For me, worst game purchase ever.

InsafJaleel 2016-09-23 3 points

Codes for the copy protection:


A: Aglarond E-5 Anfalas F-4 Angle, The C4 Annuminas B3 Anorien E6 Arnor B3 Ash Mountains E9
B: Barad-Dur E7 Barrow Downs C4 Bay of Belfalas G4 Belegast B2 Belfalas F5 Beorn B5 Brandywine C3 Brandywine River D3 Bree B4 Breeland B4 Buckland C3
C: Cair Andros E6 Calembel E5 Carach Asgren E7 Caradhas C5 Carnen River C9 Carrack, The B5 Celebdil C5 Celebrant D5 Cirith Ungol F7 Coldfells B5
D: Dagorland D7 Deadman's Dike B4 Dead Marshes E7 Derningdale D5 Dimril Dale C5 Dol Amorth F5 Dol Guldur C6 Dor-en-Ernill F5 Dorwinon C9 Dunharrow E5 Durthang E7 Dwimorberg E5
E: Eagles' Eyrie B5 East Emmet E6 Ednellrond F5 Emyn Arnen F7 Emyn Muil E6 Entwood D5 Ephel Duath G7 Ephel Lithui E8 Erebor B7 Ered Nimrais E4 Erui River F6 Esgaroth B7 Ethring E5
F: Fangorn D5 Far Harad H5 Firien Woods E6 Ford of Bruinen B5 Ford of Isen E5 Forest River B6 Forlindon B1 Forlond C2 Forndum A4 Forochel B3 Forodwaith A4
G: Gap of Rohan E5 Giril River E5 Goblin Town B5 Gondor E4 Gorgoth Plateau F7 Grey Havens C2 Greywood E7 Gulf of Lane C2
H: Haligirien E6 Harad Road G7 Haradwaithe H6 Harlindon C2 Harlond C2 Harnen River H6 Harondor G6 Hobbiton C3 Hollin gate C5 Hornburg E5
I: Ice Bay A3 Iron Hills B9 Isengard E5 Isenmouthe E7
J: Nothing starts with J!
K: Nothing Starts with K!
L: Last Bridge B4 Labennin F6 Lefnu River E4 Limhir F5 Lldun E7 Lone Lands C4 Lorien C5 Lossarnach F6
M: Methedras D5 Michel Delving C3 Midgewater Marsh B4 Minas Morgol F7 Minas Tirith F6 Minhiriath D3 Mirkwood C6 Moramon E7 Moria C5 Mordon F8 Mountains of Shadow G8 Mt. Doom E7 Mt. Gram B4 Mt. Gundabad B5
N: Near Harad H8 Nindalf E6 Nomar Lands E7 North Downs B4 Northern Waste A5 North Ithilien E7 North Marches E6 North Rhun C9 Nurn F7
O: Old Forest C3 Orodruin E7 Osgiliath F7 Ost-in=Efhil D4
P: Pelargir F6 Pinnath Gelin E4
Q: Nothing Starts with Q!
R: Rauros Falls E6 Rhosgobel B6 Rhovanion B6 Rh?n C10 Rhudar B5 Ringlo River E5 Rivendell B5
S: Sarn Ford C3 Sea of Nurnen F8 Sea of Rhun D10 Serni River F6 Shire, The C3 South Rhun D8 Starkhorn E5 Stonebw's Bridge C3 Swanfleet D4
T: Tarlag's Neck E5 Thrandull's Palace B6 Tom Bombadil's House C4 Treebeard's Hill D5 Trollshaws B5 Tuckburrow C3
U: Umbar H5
V: Nothing starts with V!
W: Waymeet C3 Weather Hills B4 Weathertop B4 Welling Hall D5 West Emmet E5 Westfold E5 White Towers C3 Witheres Heath A7 Woodhall C3 Wold, The D6 End.

wrecksaugh 2016-02-23 0 point

unless you have a copy of the map for the codes it asks for during the game ,don't bother downloading or playing it,it just closes unless you have them

fubar 2015-05-25 0 point DOS version

This game needs to run from C: otherwise it crashes/hangs after asking if you have a joystick.

BritBrat 2013-10-24 -1 point DOS version

I always wanted to try this game as a kid but never got around to it. It is quite dated for me now though. I might try it some other day.

Mindless Automaton 2012-10-14 1 point DOS version

I think this is the one where I just had all my troops and stuff abandon all the cities and let the AI play through the script. Then I marched everyone on Mordor and won the game while the AI armies sat on Minas Tirith. Haha

guest 2012-10-03 -1 point DOS version

Review of War In Middle Earth for DOS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt8HyMZFalQ

TheDoctor1212 2012-09-25 -1 point DOS version

I was really looking forward to this game so i download and extract. Then it asks if I have a joystick, I don't so I select no. It closes. I relaunch and this time select yes. It closes.

Thanks but I'll find it somewhere else,

TheDoctor1212

FantasyFreak_UK 2011-11-28 1 point DOS version

This game stays true to the books and there are different ways to win the game. Play this so you can see what was going on while the fellowship were on there journey.

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