The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth (2004), which closely follows the movies
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II (2006), which shows battles and fights in other places (namely, the so-called War in the North and what happened to the Dwarves and Elves while the movies' events take place)
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king (2006) - an expansion pack for BFMEII -, the campaign of which is a prequel to the event of Lord of the Rings
The first game features the following factions:
Fellowship of the Ring
Goblins of the Moria
BFMEII features the following factions:
Angmar (expansion pack only)
The game provides examples of:
Action Girl: Éowyn in both games, Arwen in BFMEII. The Hero Editor of BFMEII allows to create one (Elvish Archer and Rohan Maid).
Adaptational Badass: In the original, Éowyn was in combat only once (but achieving more than most soldiers in middle earth, by killing the Witch-King). Here, once unlocked she can go to all the combats her heart cries for.
Arguably the premise of BFMEII can also be this, as it revolves around what happened in the north after Frodo and the Fellowship left Rivendell. Which was rarely if ever brought up in the movies themselves.
Annoying Arrows: Mostly averted. Elven archers with upgraded arrows can kill an enemy with one shot but may take two or three with normal arrows. Even enemies with upgraded armour can withstand, at most, two upgraded Elven arrows. Factions with weaker archer units deal less damage but still kill with no more than maybe five arrows. "Monster" units such as trolls, Mûmakil, Ents, etc. need many shots to kill due to their size and durability.
Played straight with Hero units, due to the Heroes' high hitpoints and fast out-of-combat regeneration. Even in the Lord of the Rings Boromir was mortally wounded by one arrow, though he took three to the chest before he stopped fighting.
In BFME, skirmish and multiplayer modes have an imposed limit for the Good and Evil sides, the Evil one being twice the Good one.
During the campaigns of BFME, this limit is gradually increased when controling specific territories. The maximum is the same as the multiplayer / skirmish one.
In BFMEII, the limit is increased with specific buildings. Both sides have the same maximum limit. In the campaigns the maximum limit automatically increases from mission to mission.
Army of the Dead: Summoning them is the ultimate power of the Good general powers, and a level 10 skill of Aragorn. They also intervene during scripted events, led by Aragorn in both cases: the siege of Minas Tirith in BFME (both campaigns), and the siege of Rivendell in BFMEII (end of the Evil campaign).
The dead are immune to most weapons or powers. The only one who can really do damage to them is a fully-upgraded Aragorn.
Arrows on Fire: Upgrade for most of the archers in BFME. In BFMEII, it is still the case for Human and Orc archers, but Elven ones upgrade their arrows with a kind of silver alloy.
Also applies to siege units, with most factions lighting their projectiles on fire, goblins and elves (who use creatures to throw them) not having an upgrade at all and Angmar freezing theirs instead.
Awesome, but Impractical: Grond, the huge battering ram used by Mordor during the Minas Tirith siege (BFME). It is huge, slow, very resistant, and very powerful. When the gate of the city is destroyed, Grond will stay there and block most of the path in and out of the city, providing a kind of unintentional useful device to the defenders.
Heroes in skirmish mode can be this, it takes time to level them up and the cap they consume could have been used to build more units.
In both games, hero units keep their experience from mission to mission, as the player retains his general powers. Upgrades have to be researched in each mission.
In the BFME campaigns, the player keeps his units with their level, and their upgrades, but must research those upgrade first to apply them to units he just created.
In the BFMEII campaigns, the player keeps his heroes but not his army.
In the BFMEII "War of the Ring" mode, the player keeps the army he created during the turned-based mode, but not the troops created during the real-time battles.
Averted in the expansion, your armies that you build in real-time mode are now persistent.
Black Knight: Both games features Nazgûl on Fell Beasts (including the Witch-King of Angmar as a more powerful Nazgûl). BFME has Nazgûl on horses, the Mouth of Sauron, and Sauron himself (on foot).
Bow and Sword in Accord: Some heroes (Legolas, Lurtz, Faramir, etc) can switch between sword (or knives for Legolas) and bow. There are also the Gondor rangers, who use daggers when having to defend in melee fighting.
Cannon Fodder: The standard strategy for the Bad factions, especially Mordor.
A valid strategy for Goblins in BFMEII is to mass produce cheap, basic Goblin warriors and attack by the hundreds.
The Cavalry: Several missions of the Good campaign of BFME consist of surviving until the reinforcements come. Most of them are literal examples, as The Cavalry is the Rohan army.
Cool Vs Awesome: The map editor allows players to come up with all sorts of crazy battle scenarios (Gandalf vs a fifty foot tall Sauron, for example), but there are a few to be found within the games themselves. The second game's final good mission, if you play it carefully, can feature Treebeard vs the Balrog (it is possible to have Treebeard win, but it requires very careful use of healing powers).
During the BFME Amon Hen mission of the Good campaign, there is a cutscene where Legolas is shown using a high level skill that will only be unlocked several missions later.
The Good campaign of BFMEII ends with Galadriel destroying Dol Guldur after summoning a storm
Damage Is Fire: Played straight in BFME (except for the Ents, which really suffer from constant damages when burning), partly averted in BFMEII (where fire attacks cause special damages to buildings).
Death from Above: Eagles and Nazgûl mounting Fell Beasts in both games. BFMEII adds the dragon Drogoth for Goblins, the ability for the Mordor fortress to hurl a giant volcanic rock, and several general powers (burning sunrays, rain of arrows or burning rocks).
Defeat Means Playable: In the Evil campaign of BFME, the first imposed Mordor mission requires to conquest several Haradrim settlements, to hire them for the conquest of Middle-Earth, either by buying (with an expensive present) or destroying each of them.
In The Rise of the Witch King, after you've defeated the black Númenoreans with your Troll army, they'll become your elite infantry units.
Doomed by Canon: Strangely averted in the Good campaign of BFME. First, the Moria mission ends with Gandalf slaying the Balrog without being separated from the Fellowship. A bonus objective of the Amon Hen mission requires to save Boromir's life. Later, Faramir is not gravely wounded in Osgiliath, Théoden does not die in front of Minas Tirith, and Éowyn is not gravely wounded near of him.
In the Appendicies of the Book King Dáin is noted as being killed during the siege of Erebor though in the game he can be revived easily.
In a strange case of both sides being Doomed by Canon both Angmar and Arnor are plainly not going to survive the events of the expansion, seeing as neither were around to help or hinder the forces of good in the books.
Dungeon Crawling: The Moria and Shelob's lair mission of the BFME Good campaign, which both have a secondary objective consisting in finding all the treasures. Especially the Moria's one, which features only hero units.
There is only one resource (money), which generates automatically when the player owns specific buildings. Units don't require food, buildings don't need wood, stone or steel to be built/repaired).
Ranged units, defensive towers, and siege units have unlimited ammunition.
Buildings are automatically repaired after a while when damaged
Everybody Lives: In the good campaign of the first game, one of the last missions is the Battle of Minas Tirith. While the battle is a bloodbath in the films and the games, it's actually possible (though difficult) to play through the mission without loosing a single man. How? Have all your units retreat to the upper levels of the city and position them at the very top of both staircases, and build fountains and armories to fully arm and upgrade your soldiers. Build a hidden gate on the upper right part of the lower level, and then build nothing but towers on the remaining lower slots. Thus, whenever Mordor units break in, they'll be peppered with arrows non-stop, including the Nazgûl, and any who break through will be killed by your soldiers as they try to go up the stairs. When Rohan arrives, have them go through the hidden gate to the upper levels. When the army of the dead shows up, use them to kill all the Mordor units to win the mission.
Evil Overlord: Sauron, and Saruman to a lesser extend. They appear in some specific missions of the campaign. Saruman is a normal hero unit for the Isengard faction, and Sauron can be built in BFMEII multiplayer / skirmish mode if certain condition is meet.
The Witch King in the expansion to BFMEII, he can be used in all missions of the Rise of Angmar campaign and the ultimate goal of the Epilogue is to not quite kill him.
In some missions, objectives include a <Hero> Must Survive one, even if the player base has the building which can resurrect heroes
BFMEII multiplayer / skirmish / "War of the Ring" modes have a special gameplay features involving a wandering Gollum carrying the One Ring. He drops it when dying; any unit which steps on the Ring gains it, and if it reach the player's fortress it allows him to train the ultimate hero of the Good / Evil side (Galadriel for the Good, Sauron for the Evil)
Gameplay and Story Segregation is averted in the Good campaign of BFME, in the Amon Hen mission rescuing Boromir before he is killed when protecting Merry and Pippin allows him to be used is the following missions of the campaign
Giant Flyer: Both games have the Eagles for the Good side, Nazgûl riding Fell Beasts (the Witch-King is a special Nazgûl) for the Evil side. BFMEII features a dragon lord as a hero of the Goblin faction.
Giant Spider: Shelob in the Cirith Ungol mission of BFME. Goblins in BFMEII have spider-riders. They also can hire Shelob as a hero unit.
<Hero> Must Survive: Used in a few of levels, though others you could just summon your heroes back at your base if you had enough money.
Human Resources: One of the Evil factions resource producing buildings is the slaughterhouse, which produce much when feed by your own troops. More, Mordor basic infantry is literally free: one practical way to gain easy money is to build Orc infantry, just to send them to the slaughterhouse.
Last Stand: The Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith missions in the BFME Good campaign are a nearly hopeless siege where the player, as the defender, must resist until The Cavalry (litterally: both missions involves enforcements from Rohan) comes. There is also the last mission of the campaign, where the player must survive against endless waves of Mordor units, until Frodo reachs Mont Doom and tosses the One Ring in it.
Magic Knight: Gandalf looks like a Squishy Wizard (he only wears a grey/white robe, wields a sword and a staff) but he is an incredibly tough melee fighter with destructive magic spells, being one of the Good heroes with the most hitpoints.
Saruman is the evil counterpart.
Meaningless Meaningful Words: the heroes have standard slogans they will say when they are selected. Particularly Arwen's: "Their treachery betrays them" makes no sense, but to a lesser extent also Glorfindel's "Something is a-foul" and others.
Plunder: Éomer has a skill which make the player controlling him gain money when he or allied units near him destroy enemy units and buildings, Isengard Hero Lurtz unlocks the same power at level 6. Evil factions have a general skill which has the same effect, but for every unit of the player.
In BFMEII the Wild Men of Dunland have this abillity in effect whenever attacking buildings.
Plot Armor: You might think Faramir would be weaker than Boromir, being the younger brother. And Gimli weaker than his father Gloin. But Faramir and Gimli are more important to the plot of Lord of the Rings, therefore they are higher-level heroes. Averted with Legolas and his father Thranduil; Thranduil is worth more, though Legolas is arguably more useful.
The Remnant: Near the end of the Good campaign of BFME, some optional missions set is the territory of Rohan have Isengard survivors as enemies. There is also Rohirrim enforcements to the enemy during some missions of the end of the Evil campaign.
Campaign map of BFME is like this. Appart from some imposed missions relating key events of the films (Helm's Deep, Isengard siege, Cirith Ungol, etc), the player can choose to conquest the region he wants. This choice influences the reward gained at the ending of the mission (general power point, increasing the Arbitrary Headcount Limit, or increasing the rate of generation of money)
The "War of the Ring" mode of BFMEII have two parts: a turn-based mode on a Risk Style Map, and a real time battle when the player have to fight
Saved by Canon: The Evil campaign of BFME. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are met during the Amon Hen, Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith missions, where they have to be killed each time. Same thing with Faramir in the Southern Ithilien, Osgiliath, and Minas Tirith missions.
Victory Pose: The troops troops cheer after every successful minor skirmish. That is to say, if you send one squad of cavalry to run down one squad of orcs, they will stop and cheer once the orcs are dead. Every. Time. Well, at least morale is good. They will also cheer if a hero runs near them. Which makes sense for, say, Aragorn or Théoden, but the hobbits?
Video Game Caring Potential: In the campaign of BFME, and in the "War of the Ring" mode of BFMEII, heroes and units are kept during the whole campaign. They gain experience and some of them can be upgraded.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Evil campaign of BFMEII has a mission when the player (commanding a Goblin army) has to conquest the Shire. When it is done, an Isengard army led by Gríma Wormtongue build a base there, thank the player for doing the dirty job, and turn against the player. The end of the mission consists in destroying it.