The Battle of Helm's Deep

EA’s The Two Towers video game for the PlayStation2 consists of elements taken from both Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Last night I reached Helm’s Deep.

For the video game the Battle of Helm’s Deep is divided into three segments. In the first the Orcish armies assault the outer walls and your role as Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli is to kick away the siege ladders from the parapets and kill any Orcs that managed to reach the top of the fortress’ walls. This level was not particularly difficult, though when flaming arrows and catapult shot begin raining down on top of you things do grow somewhat harrowing.

The second level. Basically, you have to protect a giant wooden door by yourself. The women and children have fled behind that door into the Glittering Caves, and your role, again as either Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli, is to prevent the Orcish armies from destroying the door and overrunning Rohan’s refugees. Sounds simple, right? It’s not. First you get attacked by suicide bombers–orcs with explosives strapped to their backs, but you can pick them off easily with your bow (or axe), and they’re quite visible in the murk because they’re on fire. A dozen of these suicide bombers attack, and you think you’ve got a rhythm going, but then these little orcs start swarming your way, and they run right past you. They pay you no mind, all they want is the door, and they start attacking the door, so you have to get their attention and kill them. But watch out. While you’re in the midst of this, a second wave of suicide bombers starts to arrive, and you’re so distracted with the orcs at the door that you don’t even notice the exploding orcs.

Oh, did I mention the troll?

This level is insane. You think you’ve got things locked down, and then something bigger and badder shows up. Got the suicide bombers defeated, and then wave after wave of the little orcs start to arrive. Deal with them, and then the archers with their flaming arrows show up. Deal with them, and then orcs with scythes wade into battle. Then the troll comes along and starts wailing on everything. And then when you’ve finally felled the troll, the orcs drag in a damn ballista to finish off the door.

If the film’s version of the Battle is even half this intense, the film will rock.

Finishing off this part of the battle took three attempts. The first had the troll finish me off. The second I almost destroyed the ballista, but the defending orcs finished me off as the ballista was teetering on collapse. The third time proved successful, and the Glittering Caves were saved.

The third part of Helm’s Deep involves defending a courtyard and preventing the orc army from breaking through a barrier and overrunning the stronghold. Again, it’s basically defending a large wooden door from orc attackers, only this time you have help in the form of Rohan’s army and your two companions from the Fellowship. I’ve tried this five times, and every time resulted in defeat. Twenty minutes of slaying every damn orc in sight, and the orcs never stop coming, and then they start shelling the door with heated shot.

If I weren’t so close to the end of the game I might give up in frustration, but I can’t. I’ve gone too far to turn back now and allow the forces of evil free reign in Middle-Earth.

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