Similar to Vivendi Universal's last Tolkien game; The Fellowship of the Ring, this game leans on the source material rather than the movies and their darker aesthetic as EA had the rights to the movie adaptations of the Lord of the Rings and thus it uses a cartoony artstyle and more faithful designs for the races and the setting.
The game provides examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptational Badass: Bilbo not only fights the giant spiders, but becomes a warrior who can take on bosses such as a giant armadillo-like creature. As well, he kills countless orcs, some of which are much larger than him. Bilbo can also use his walking stick to pole vault and send enemies flying.
- Adaptation Expansion: All levels add subplots involving puzzles or combat. There is even an entire plot revolving around Bilbo freeing a dwarven prisoner in Goblin-town after he is separated from the dwarves and before meeting Gollum.
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: The three spider queens are named Wild, Wicked and Wrath.
- All Webbed Up: Giant walls of webs are a common obstacles in caverns or in Mirkwood. Usually Sting can cut though them with ease, but there are two of them (one in Mirkwood, one in the Elven Palace) that are too thick and need to be burned or dissolved.
- A Villain Named "Z__rg": Two goblins are named Ugslap and Krugbit. There is also Bolg.
- Badass Boast:Balfor: I am grateful for your service, but freeing me would take the service of a hundred Dwarves. Or a thousand Elves.
Bilbo: Or one burglar.
- Badass in Distress: Balfor and Beorn are both held captive by goblins at two different points in the game and need Bilbo to rescue them.
- Battlecry: "Fight, Goblins! Fight!"
- Block Puzzle: The elven halls, Lake-town and Erebor all feature these, which are necessary to proceed in the level.
- Boss Rush: In Mirkwood you have to fight the three spider queens, one after the other. Each of them is bigger than the former and needs a different tactic to be defeated.
- Canon Foreigner:
- This game adds several characters, such as Lianna, an Silvan Elf of Mirkwood; Balfor, a Dwarf of the Iron Hills; and Corwin, a Man of Lake-town.
- Most of the enemies encountered by Bilbo, like the clawed frogs and the armadillo/fox beasts are original creations as well.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The wounded elf you save in the third chapter helps you free the dwarves in the seventh and fights off goblins in the final battle.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Between Hamfast Gamgee and Bell Goodchild, who in Tolkien's writings married later on. Though they won't admit it to each other.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Balfor the Dwarf does this to the Goblin Guards with his axe as soon as he's fred. Also, Beorn vs Bolg, unsurprisingly.
- Cutscene Incompetence: Bilbo is caught very easily by the stronger enemies, even when he has the ring.
- In one cutscene, Bilbo encounters a goblin who has stolen the Black Arrow and is threatening to kill him with it. Bilbo makes no attempt to attack even though he has easily killed much more powerful goblins.
- After freeing the dwarves from the spiders, Bilbo runs toward the exit to their cave when he hears three giant spiders who seek revenge. He stops in his tracks, even though there is nothing blocking his path. Immediately afterwards an inescapable web appears in front of the exit.
- Deadpan Snarker:
Lake-town Woman: You certainly are a curious-looking creature.
- Bilbo has his moments.
Bilbo: Well, I could say the same of you.
Bofur: This wood is too wet to catch fire!
Bilbo: Perhaps you need dry firewood.
Bilbo: Could you open this gate for me, sir? Please?Ugslap: Who are you? A little rabbit got away from the cooks?
- Ugslap, the goblin guard:
- Disaster Dominoes: In the final battle, Bilbo has to push certain barrels to cause a series of these that leads to culminatingly bigger items (barrels, boulders, a whole watchtower) falling on the Shamans keeping Beorn imprisoned.
- Elite Mook:
- The goblins guarding Balfor's cell, although they can be fought later on in the game.
- Ugslap looks like a typical larger goblin, but he is more agile and has more HP.
- Enemy Civil War: In Laketown, Bilbo has to sneak past the rogues and Goblins to steal back Bard's Black Arrow. If he's successful, the rogues will blame the Goblins and a ferocious fight will start.
- Enemy Rising Behind: The Wight Lord does this to Bilbo.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The rogues of Laketown are, well, rogues, but they'll never work with Goblins against their own city.
- Fake Action Prologue: The game starts out with Bilbo dreaming about the Battle of the Five Armies, which has yet to occur. During this dream you are invincible, and the controls are explained. Bilbo wakes up upon being surrounded by orcs in a moment of Cutscene Incompetence and the storyline proceeds for real.
- Final Boss: Bolg, during the battle of the Five Armies. He's also a Puzzle Boss, as rather than face him personally you have to free Beorn from the Goblin Shamans before he dies.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the last level, Bilbo offers to send a message to Bard warning him of Bolg's army advancing towards him. Gandalf expresses concern that Bilbo may die in battle, and upon reaching Bard he tells Bilbo that "This is no place for a Hobbit". However, he can kill the goblins effortlessly. Justified, since nobody (save possibly Gandalf) knows the exact extent of your exploits, but the higher-ups have no choice but to grudgingly respect them, so naturally, they'll pick him to get from Point A to Point B because that message needs to be delivered as quickly as possible. Gandalf later becomes confident that Bilbo can do it. There is also a quest in which he must rescue some of the dwarves from the Goblins.
- Giant Spider: There are many different kinds of spiders as enemies, ranging from small to large sizes. Some are venomous as well.
- Green Hill Zone: The Shire, naturally. One of the two levels with no combat, and the only one with no enemies.
- Hacking Minigame: The lockpicking.
- Harmless Villain: Krugbit. He spends more time yelling threats then trying to kill you.
- Helpful Mook:
- The final level has a rather intimidating looking orc hidden behind a wall. If you walk up to him, he will tell you that he is tired of the fighting, and won't hurt you (you can't hurt him either). He also has a handy supply of healing mushrooms scattered all around him.
- Also in the Misty Mountains, Stone Giants will hurl boulders at Bilbo, but they can be tricked into forming bridges or opening caves in order to proceed.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: This game has treasure chests everywhere, including part way up trees in Mirkwood. They are colour-coded as wooden, blue or gold. Unlocking them is a minigame involving timing with moving parts, where failure can lead to injury or poisoning.
- King Mook: The first boss, the Guardian, is a larger version of the armadillo-fox creatures in the "Troll-hole" level. There are also Ugslap, who looks like a Goblin Guard but has more health and stamina, and the first Black Giant Spider, who's much tougher than the ones met later.
- Multi-Platform: For Game Boy Advance, GameCube, and some other systems.
- Mythology Gag:
- Glóin tells Bilbo, "You have courage, little hobbit. You remind me of my boy, Gimli."
- Several lesser-known hobbits are shown or mentioned. Bilbo has pictures of his relatives on his wall and calls them by name. Others include Holman Greenhand, Sandyman, Hamfast Gamgee and Bell Goodchild.
- Many of the puzzles and traps are explained by being placed there by the Witch-King's people.
- The Necromancer is mentioned a few times. In Thranduil's halls, an elf mentions that the White Council has taken up the fight with him.
- Balfor insults a goblin, calling him a "filthy spawn of an elf". This alludes to the origin of orcs.
- Named by the Adaptation: Several citizens of Lake-town refer to the Master as "Calamar".
- Night of the Living Mooks: Wights wearing ancient armor and weapons are met in Mirkwood as enemies, with the demonic Wight Lord as a boss.
- Oh, Crap!: Bilbo, when he's confronted by the Wight Lord and later spotted by Smaug. Also Bolg, as Beorn literally bears down on him.
- Palette Swap: Bifur and Bofur; Dwalin and Balin; Óin and Glóin. They look the same except for hood and beard colours.
- Pastiche: The graphics and gameplay are very similar to The Legend of Zelda.
- Savage Wolves: There are several different kinds as enemies - regular wolves, blue wolves that shoot lighting, and the Wargs at the Battle of Five Armies. Bolg rides a giant one.
- Scenery Porn: Lampshaded as Bilbo gets a view of Erebor.Bilbo: My, what a sight.
- Simple Staff: Bilbo's first weapon of choice, which he can also use to jump farther over chasms.
- Sinister Scimitar: Played straight, most Goblins have scimitars, while both elves and men fight with straight blades instead. Goblin Archers and Wights do sport straight swords in combat though.
- Stealth-Based Mission: There are many of these, where you need to sneak past enemies such as trolls, goblin guards, Smaug, and when you steal eggs from a henhouse. In one mission, Bilbo steals berries from Hobart's berry patch. If Hobart catches him, he will drone on and on about annoying things and you have to start over. If failed, you're sent back to the last save. When Bilbo finds the Ring they obviously become easier.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Goblin Miners can throw explosive satchels of gunpowder at you. One of the power ups for Bilbo's stones makes them explosive.
- Super Drowning Skills: If Bilbo is in water and his feet aren't touching the ground he will die instantly. Justified as Tolkien wrote that most Hobbits never swim. As obstacles, there are waterfalls, rivers, cataracts, whirlpools, and the like.
- Technicolor Blade: Sting and Lianna's sword are blue, while Glamdring seems to have a dark-purple hue.