J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I (1990 video game)

From Tolkien Gateway
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I
Video game
DeveloperInterplay Productions (MS-DOS), Chaos Studios (Amiga)
PublisherElectronic Arts (UK), Interplay Productions (rest of the world)
PlatformAmiga, Commodore 64, MS-DOS
Release date11 April 1990[1]
GenreAdventure, RPG

The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I is a video game developed by Interplay Productions, written by Scott Bennie and Mark Whittlesey, whilst the game music was composed by Charles Deenen.[1][2][3][4] The game designers were influenced by Iron Crown Enterprises's MERP[5] and used material from Ralph Bakshi's 1978 movie for cut-scenes.[2] The game features include a large open-world, thirty-seven playable characters in the PC game, and a storyline based on The Fellowship of the Ring. A sequel, The Lord of the Rings, Vol. II: The Two Towers, was released in 1993. Interplay also released a version for the SNES, which greatly differed from the PC game.


The CD-rom version of the game opens with some cut scenes from Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings, while the floppy disk version of the game uses simple animated cut-scenes to tell the story. The player starts as Frodo Baggins at Bag End and must first travel to Buckland before crossing the Old Forest and the Barrow-downs to get to Bree. In the Barrow-downs the player must escape the Barrow-wights with the help of Tom Bombadil. Whilst at Rivendell you must collect the cloaks of the Nazgûl that were defeated at the Ford of Bruinen, as well as the pieces of Andúril, both of which can be found in the surrounding lands.[2]

After the player escapes the darkness of Moria they must search the gifts from Galadriel. When Frodo Baggins is captured in Dol Guldur the remaining members of the Fellowship must then free Frodo with help from Radagast the Brown and the Elves of Lothlórien before the Witch-king arrives and brings the Ring-bearer to Mordor and the fate of Middle-earth is lost.[2]


PC version

The player starts as Frodo Baggins and can immediately recruit Sam Gamgee and Peregrin Took. Through the course of the game, the other six members of the Fellowship of the Ring can be recruited. The player can switch between characters to decide who leads the Fellowship, equip other party members with a range of weapons and armour, distribute skills among the group, cast spells, and perform various skill-based actions.[2] Whilst progressing through the main story, the player is able to complete several side adventures and revisit previous locations, during which new characters, quests and objects can be discovered.[5][2] The game also included a day/night system. At night, some enemies are stronger and there is a greater chance of encountering the Nazgûl than during day-time.[2]

SNES version

The player starts as Frodo Baggins and can obtain the rest of the Fellowship of the Ring (except Boromir) as they progress through the main story.


There are thirty-seven playable characters in total in the PC version of the game, some of them only available temporarily. Some characters, such as Elladan, Elrohir, and Glorfindel, can be recruited and taken through to the end-game, if desired.

Playable characters

Temporary characters


Interplay started developing a fantasy RPG, which was not set in Middle-earth, in the late 1980s. After Interplay obtained the license for creating a video game based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, the game was scrapped and redeveloped as an adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring.[5]

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I", Giantbomb (accessed 1 January 2011)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Fredrik Ekman, "The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I", Tolkien computer games (accessed 1 January 2011)
  3. José M. Fernández, "El Anillo interactivo" dated 17 January 2012, Meristation (accessed 28 December 2014)
  4. "The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I", Moby Games (accessed 1 January 2011)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Alexa Ray Corriea, "THERE AND BACK AGAIN: A HISTORY OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS IN VIDEO GAMES" dated 23 September 2014, [www.polygon.com Polygon] (accessed 28 December 2014)
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 (2023)
 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) · Corsairs of Umbar (2023)
 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)