The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth

From Tolkien Gateway
"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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This article is about the game. For the the book by Fleming Rutledge, see The Battle for Middle-earth (book).
The name The Lord of the Rings refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see The Lord of the Rings (disambiguation).
The Lord of the Rings- The Battle for Middle-earth box.jpg
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth
Video game
DeveloperElectronic Arts
PublisherElectronic Arts
PlatformMicrosoft Windows
Release date6 December 2004
GenreReal-time strategy

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth is a 2004 real-time strategy video game developed by Electronic Arts, based on the events of The Lord of the Rings film series and the first entry of The Battle for Middle Earth series.



The system works with units of several puppets and in as such more related to the popular 'Total War'-series than to more traditional RTS games like Age of Empires or its predecessor in several ways, The War of the Ring. Still it has many characteristics of a more traditional game, like the 'top down' camera stance, resource gathering system and relatively low number of units on the field. Against this are put some progressive issues in the game, like the single resource type, money, as upposed to the five different resources from Age of Empires or two from The War of the Ring. Also there are two different strategy modes, which shows some Total War-influence, of which one is a strategical overview of the south of the western part of Middle-earth. In this part of the game a player can decide, within certain borders, which areas of Middle-earth one wants to attack with its armies. Each area gives certain different bonusses to your armies, or create corridors along which your armies may pass. The other part of the game is the battlefield mode, when you can build and use your army to defeat the enemy army in one area. This dual system clearly shows some Total War-influence. Another progressive feat of the game is the strategic use of special powers, and bonusses provided by for example your heroes or villains like Gandalf, Aragorn or Saruman. This enhanced version of the system already used in The War of the Ring creates even more strategic possibilities for the player but makes balancing harder: the fast-running and far-shooting Legolas can easily kill and entire very expensive Orc army controlled by a computer player. The last of the progressive features is the limits to which one can build a base: only a limited number of building spaces is available on a map, thus limiting the number of buildings or defenses one may build. This does make balancing better as even the best possibly defended fortress may fall within a few enemy sieges, thus forcing the defender to break out regularly, and, even better, prevent from getting in such a situation, while still not having to fear being destroyed by a single sneaky unit of enemy soldiers who secretly passed your defense units when you were waging a big battle somewhere else on the map, as can happen in The War of the Ring.


Next to two different single player campaigns, one Good and one Evil, one can also play online against human players. This system uses the custom battlemap system, which uses the campaign maps without their specific objectives. One can, in custom battles as well as online, choose between four different factions, being Rohan, Gondor, Isengard and Mordor, each with different types of units and balanced against each other: Isengard is fairly cheap with focus on technological advancements, Rohan focuses on Riders and Archers, and thus a more strategic command style, Gondor on defense and very strong, but expensive units with possible technological advancements and Mordor on lots and lots of simple, weak masses of units with a few weak units with very strong attacks, and therefor also can benefit from a more strategic command, though sacrificing minions may here be a very acceptable and effective tactic.



Role Actor
Orcs, cattle Dee Bradley Baker
Aragorn Chris Edgerly
Éomer Chris Edgerly
Legolas Crispin Freeman
Boromir James Horan
Gimli John Rhys-Davies
Treebeard John Rhys-Davies
Saruman Christopher Lee
Gandalf Ian McKellen
Theoden Phil Proctor
Éowyn Kim Mai Guest
Lurtz Isaac C. Singleton Jr.

External links

Licensed video games set in Middle-earth
 Melbourne House: The Hobbit (1982) · Lord of the Rings: Game One (1985) · Shadows of Mordor (1988) · War in Middle Earth (1988) · Crack of Doom Software Adventure (1989) · Riders of Rohan (1990)
 Interplay Productions: The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I (PC) (1990) · The Lord of the Rings, Vol. II: The Two Towers (1993) · The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I (SNES) (1994)
 Vivendi Universal: The Fellowship of the Ring (2002) · The Hobbit (2003) · War of the Ring (2003)
 Electronic Arts: The Two Towers (2002) · The Return of the King (2003) · The Third Age (2004) · The Battle for Middle-earth (2004) · Tactics (2005) · The Battle for Middle-earth II (2006) (The Rise of the Witch-king (2006)) · Conquest (2009) · Heroes of Middle-earth (TBA)
 Turbine/Standing Stone Games: The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (2007-) (Mines of Moria (2008) · Siege of Mirkwood (2009) · Rise of Isengard (2011) · Riders of Rohan (2012) · Helm's Deep (2013) · Mordor (2017) · Minas Morgul (2019)) · War of Three Peaks (2020) · Fate of Gundabad (2021) · Before the Shadow (2022)
 Warner Bros: Aragorn's Quest (2010) · War in the North (2011) · Guardians of Middle-earth (2012) · Kingdoms of Middle-earth (2012Armies of The Third Age (2013) · Shadow of Mordor (2014) · Shadow of War (2017) · Rise to War (2021)
 Glu Games: Middle-Earth Defense (2010)
 Traveller's Tales: Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game (2012) · Lego The Hobbit (2014)
 Daedalic Entertainment: The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (2023)
 North Beach Games: The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria (2023)