Ive got a hankering for The Lord of the Rings, but I haven''t seem to indulge it. Ever since the Rings of Power made numenors, Harfoots, and Morgoth a part of my everyday vernacular, I''ve been looking for a video game to produce the same cinematic action as the Battle for Middle-earth in 2004.
The game was initially on disc, but it has been collecting dust around my parents house for several years. Even if I could find the box, my PCs had lost the optical drive needed to run it. I''ll turn to Steam for my strategic Tolkien fix, but I''ll be shown a disappointingly blank search page. The storefront has plenty of Lord of the Rings games, but Battle for Middle-earth isnt among them.
I asked myself if a game that is as ripe as GOG. My confidence was misplaced. Even a platform with a name as promising as Good Old Games didnt stock the one venerable good game I was following. Nor does anyone else on the internet, as it so happens, find nary a pixelated oliphaunt to purchase from the retail battlefield.
Meats off the menu
Not that this is anything new. Battle for Middle-earth and its 2006 sequel have never been available to purchase digitally. The series was first released after Steam, but several years before the downloading techniques began, even though Gandalf suggested a wizard to proceed.
Other RTS games of that period have improved digital preservation. Warcraft 3 was later available on Steam in various levels of remastery (until it would eventually be replaced with the 2020 Reforged edition). Empire Earth, Stronghold, The Settlers, and other big names from the mid-2000s are now available for purchase.
As abandonware, Warner Bros. is preparing to leave the RTS floating around.
Battle for Middle-earth is strange. While EA had acquired the licensing rights to develop games based on the Peter Jacksons film trilogy in 2001, the license was reverted back to Warner Bros. eight years later. However, it has been up to the major WB about whether or not the previously beloved strategy games of its back catalog will be released in 2020. However, Warner Bros. is likely to leave its Lord of the Rings RTS floating around as abandonware.
A developer of the EA said that in 2018 there will be no chance to bring back the battle for Middle-earth titles, despite the fact that the publisher forum will not allow them to be put out.
What a shame. Battle for Middle-earth''s epic-tier strategy had never been seen before and has certainly never been replicated since. With four factions to choose from from Rohan, Gondor, Isengard, and Mordor each with distinct battalions of infantry, ranged, and hero units, this is a RTS that completes the film''s cinematic bombast.
All of the current RTS myths are there. Youll build a small settlement to attract assistance, build military structures to recruit offensive officers, and grab outposts along the way. Eventually, youll need to develop a powerful offensive to kill your opponent, causing them to fall into a war.
In its character-focused scenes, Hints of Age of Mythology blends between the Free Peoples and the Forces of Darkness. They follow the plot of the novels before weaving an alternate Middle-earth history, as you conquer the lands of Men with orcs and Uruk-Hai after besting Theoden during the Battle of Helms Deep.
In its character-focused campaigns, Hints of Age of Mythology shines through.
The rest of the Fellowship appear to be powerful hero groups, along with their dark counterparts Saruman, the Balrog, Lurtz, and others. Each feels powerful, but each allows the game to drift outside traditional RTS territory. Each character has different abilities to defeat goblins, trolls, and eventually the mines resident Balrog.
The sequel only took things further, introducing dwarves, elves, and goblins as playable factions, as well as chaotically massive eight-player multiplayer skirmishes. It has a range of challenges that might seem clunky and narrow as compared to Total War: Warhammer 3s of the world today, but which was not intended to be from its source material at the time.
A light in dark places
You can avoid having to look too hard online to find less-than-legitimate ways of downloading Battle for Middle-earth. It never lasts until. Reddit is all but set when it leaves the shiny search results of official stores. How are new players who did not pick up the game at the time of release to discover its existence? Not sure whether or not the game will inevitably outweigh its definition of strategy enthusiasts.
This is not the only strategy game based on the Lord of the Rings that was left behind. War of the Ring, a 2003 Warcraft-style RTS that never quite achieved the same level of success, is similarly unavailable to legally purchase. However, Battle for Middle-earths desertion is among the most challenging strategy game ever. Few video games have been able to match its sense of fantastical scale. Hopefully fewer still end up being excluded from gaming''s biggest platforms.