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Video Game / The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest

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"A day may come when the courage of Men fails...but it is not this day! This day we fight!"

"Didn't I ever tell you the whole story of Strider?"
Sam Gamgee

The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest is a video game released in 2010 that retells the events of Peter Jackson's film trilogy from the perspective of one character, Aragorn. It was released on the Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS.

The game is set after the events of the trilogy, when the hobbits lived in peace and Samwise Gamgee raised a family of his own after marrying Rosie, naming his son Frodo. When word gets out that Aragorn is visiting the Shire for a celebration, Sam decides to gather young hobbits to retell his adventures with Frodo to them so that a new generation would know the story about the Lord of the Rings.

The Wii and PlayStation 3 versions of Aragorn's Quest developed by Headstrong Games, contain examples of the following tropes:

  • 100% Completion: To beat the game 100 percent, you need to collect all Fellowship tokens, artifacts and pages of the Red Book in each level, as well as complete any side quests.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: In the first level, there are several side areas blocked off with thick cowebs that can only be removed with Gandalf's fireballs (if a second player is present), or otherwise with fire-based weapons Aragorn obtains in later levels. The former can be used immediately, while the latter can only be done in a replay after all levels are completed.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Sam has to cut out several details from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy to make it understandable or appropriate for the younger Hobbits he is telling the story to.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The terrifying Balrog is this during the third level in the mines of Moria. You must outrun him, while occasionally stopping to help an ally open a door to continue the escape, whom you must protect by slowing the Balrog down with flame arrows.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • You can change the game's difficulty in between levels.
    • If you press the action button while standing still, a trail of light will show where you need to travel next for the current quest you are working on.
    • Pots, plants and chests will also flash brightly in the distance to catch your attention.
  • Auto-Revive: Aragorn can buy and drink the Miruvor potion, which will automatically revive him and fully heal him once if his health ever reaches zero, guaranteeing that he has two lives before the game backpedals to the last checkpoint. Only one Miruvor can be active at a time, so if it's used, the player can buy another one to regain this revive ability.
  • Autosave: The game is saved every time you pass a Checkpoint or finish a side quest.
  • Battle Cry: Aragorn can unlock the ability to use up a full strength bar to let out a battle shout that boosts the offense of all allies for a brief amount of time. Later on, it can even frighten nearby enemies.
  • Battle in the Rain: Aragorn fights some thugs in the town of Bree and its outskirts in his first level on a rainy night. The battle of Helm's Deep also begins in the rain, like in the movies.
  • But Thou Must!: You can choose not to take on a mandatory quest, but if you do so, the game won't "continue" and will thus wait for you to accept.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Elanor does this when she plays as Gandalf in the present day as the second player.
  • Camera Lock-On: Just like most 3-D The Legend of Zelda video games, you can Z-target enemies to allow Aragorn to focus on attacking and evading one enemy at a time. It's useful for fighting bosses - but not for fighting a horde of enemies in the heat of battle.
  • Checkpoint: Each level has multiple checkpoints that the game rolls back to in case of a Game Over or if you want to restart because you missed something.
  • Circling Birdies: If you successfully execute an offensive cue against an enemy, they will be stunned with a circling ring of stars around their head.
  • Closed Circle: During some mandatory quests, Aragorn will be trapped in a small area, such as a battle against Ringwraiths on Weathertop in Flight to the Ford. The entrance and exit to the mound are blocked by some fallen pillars that inexplicably appear just for the battle to prevent Aragorn from leaving.
  • Combat Resuscitation: From the second level onward, Aragorn can revive defeated allies after they've taken too many hits in battle and are incapacitated.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: For much of the game, a second player can drop in or drop out, playing as Gandalf in the actual levels, or as Elanor in the present day pretending to be him. They both have the same abilities, but different than that of Aragorn, such as being able to cast spells and shoot fireballs. This feature allows Gandalf to appear in levels where he usually shouldn't be story wise, such as in the Flight to the Ford and Fangorn Forest levels, in which he is absent because he was captured by Saruman or fighting the Balrog, respectively.
  • Death from Above / Shock and Awe : A second player controlling Gandalf can unleash a powerful lightning storm that blasts nearby enemies with a full Flame of Anor meter.
    • Also, in some levels, there are dangerous spots where falling rocks and rotten tree branches can tumble upon Aragorn's head and knock him to the ground if he doesn't take several steps back quickly.
  • Degraded Boss: The trolls. And boy, they can be brutal.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If you are playing a level where Gandalf is present and controlled by the AI and a second player joins to play as him, they immediately take control of him after briefly teleporting near Aragorn. When they leave the same level, Gandalf teleports a short distance back and the AI immediately takes control of him.
    • The game prevents you from replaying levels until you finish the whole story mode because doing so would result in the game-breaking strategy of repeating levels over and over to get lots of silver coins and numerous copies of Artifacts to the point where Aragorn could become overpowering.
  • Dual Wield: Aragorn can wield a torch or spear in one hand while holding a sword in the other. Some bosses, like the Witch-King and the Mouth of Sauron, also wield two weapons.
  • Duel Boss: Some bosses must be fought one-on-one by Aragorn himself, like a sparring match with Boromir to test out the new Anduril sword he acquires. Not even Gandalf can step in to help for that particular fight, disabling co-op for just the entirety of that fight.
  • Dungeon Bypass: In Helm's Deep, once you close the gate to the courtyard to bar enemies from getting inside, the invaders respond by erecting siege ladders over its outer wall to continue their advance.
  • Enemy Summoner: In some levels, there may be lone goblin scouts up ahead that can call for reinforcements if Aragorn doesn't shoot them with his bow quickly enough. Fortunately, Legolas can spot the scouts and warn Aragorn of them.
  • Escape Sequence: The third level, Moria, ends like this, where the unbeatable Balrog will chase the Fellowship through the caves until Gandalf holds him off at the Bridge of Khazad-Dum at the end of the level.
  • Escort Mission: There are multiple instances where you must escort nonplayable characters to a certain location, but they can't be harmed.
    • On the other hand, there is one escort mission that you can fail, in the fourth level, "Fangorn Forest". You need to protect Elder, the giant Ent, as he demolishes the goblin forces. However, he's one huge target and if he takes too many hits, you get a Non-Standard Game Over and will have to restart the mission.
  • Everything Fades / No Body Left Behind : Defeated enemies and destroyed objects vanish after some time to maintain the game's technical performance.
  • Fighting Your Friend: One of the bosses in Rivendell is Boromir, a member of the Fellowship of the Ring, whom Aragorn must fight in a sparring match to test out the Anduril shortly after obtaining it.
  • Finishing Move / Kick Them While They Are Down : If Aragorn stuns an enemy, he can then perform a forward lunge to deliver additional damage, perhaps enough to deliver a finishing blow.
  • Foreshadowing: In two instances of the Pelennor fields level, you'll get a glimpse of a few enemy siege vehicles when you get to the titular area the first time and come to the outer walls of Gondor, before they finally begin advancing towards the city proper.
  • Framing Device: This game wraps the story about the Lord of the Rings trilogy inside another story about how Sam told it to younger Hobbits after it was over while awaiting the arrival of Aragorn, who was just crowned king of Gondor. The trilogy itself is told from the Red Book of Westmarch that Sam wrote and read from, which is used to navigate between levels. Missing pages from the book can be found in most levels to add more details to the lore of Middle-Earth.
  • Funny Background Event: If Aragorn picks up a lore item while his allies are busy fighting, the Item Get! cutscene may show him holding up his sword nonchalantly while nearby enemies forget about Aragorn and get preoccupied with his allies.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A second player can join in and take on Gandalf's character, which is immune to damage and has a number of useful spells. However, his presence doesn't affect the storyline at all, even though Gandalf is very important to the narrative. This is particularly egregious in situations like the hobbits' first meeting with Aragorn, where they wonder if they can trust his story about being a friend of Gandalf, even with Gandalf standing right next to them.
  • Giant Spider: Just like in the books and movies, you'll have to deal with giant creepy-crawlers, including a couple of queen spiders that serve as bosses.
  • How We Got Here: Upon loading a new save file, the player controls Aragorn as he battles Sauron's forces at the Black Gate (where the last level takes place), giving them a warm-up impression of the incredible combat experience that is to come.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: There are three Difficulty Levels to choose from: "Hobbit" (easy), "Ranger" (medium) and "King" (hard).
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: Aragorn's first full level, Flight to the Ford, begins on a rainy night at the town of Bree.
  • Item Get!: Subverted. Every time Aragorn gets an item, a cutscene shows Aragorn holding up his sword, but doesn't show what he actually picked up, which is only described in words.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: In some areas, the player must defeat all enemies to advance. One example is the exit of the mines of Moria, guarded by goblins and a troll.
  • Kill It with Fire: Aragorn can deal great damage to certain enemies (like the Nazgul or siege towers) with torches or flame arrows after he obtains such weapons.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Gandalf is also known to be a great swordfighter in addition to being a wizard and this becomes even more evident in co-op mode when the second player takes control of him.
  • Limit Break: After Aragorn gets the Anduril in the second level, Rivendell, he can charge up extra strength and spend some of it dealing a flurry of powered-up hits. Later in to the game, he can gain abilities that allow him to use up a full load of strength to deliver a single, extremely damaging blow with either his sword or secondary weapons, or even buff himself and nearby allies.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: When armed with a bow and arrow, Aragorn can raise his shield to block arrows from enemy archers. If he's not too close to enemies he fights in close quarters while wearing the shield, he can block enemy strikes.
    • Likewise, Uruk-Hai enemies are armed with shields to protect themselves from frontal attacks.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: The first player always controls Aragorn, while the AI controls the Fellowship and other allies who accompany him in the main levels. If a second player is not controlling Gandalf in levels where he is present, he will also be controlled by the AI.
  • Mighty Glacier: The trolls, as well as Aragorn himself, if you consider his ability to charge up a powerful heavy attack.
  • Multi-Platform: This game was released on a handful of Nintendo and Sony platforms.
  • Narrative Backpedaling: In the event of a Game Over, Sam will make clear that what just happened wasn't part of the story and the game rewinds back to the last checkpoint.
    • Also, the game stops the prologue level, a re-enactment of the battle at the Black Gate, with a mistake made by one hobbit trying to re-enact it by appearing as a Balrog, which wasn't in the battle because Gandalf killed it way back in the first book. This makes clear that this wasn't the real version of the battle at the Black Gate, which would be the very last level of the game.
  • No-Damage Run: On the PS3 version, there are Trophies to earn for defeating an Uruk-Hai Champion or the Witch-King without taking any damage.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: There are several ways to instantly fail regardless of how much health you have left. If you allow any of several scenarios below to happen that shouldn't happen in the story, Sam will say so and you'll have to restart from a checkpoint and try again.
    • In "Flight to the Ford", after Frodo is poisoned by a Morgul blade, you only have a limited amount of time to get him to safety, picking Athelas herbs along the way to slow the poison. If you take too long to reach the eventual boss fight against a troll (where Frodo's condition will presumably stabilize), Frodo will succumb to the poison and you'll have to restart.
    • In "Fangorn Forest", the fourth level, if you take too long to examine all the tracks outside the woods in search of Merry and Pippin, they will fade along with all hope of finding them, requiring a restart. A game over will also occur near the end of the same level if you fail the Escort Mission where you must protect Elder during his assault on the goblins.
    • In "Pelennor Fields", the seventh level, if you allow any of the Mumakil to reach the front gates of Minas Tirith, you'll have to restart.
    • In the last level, "The Black Gate", you need to fight hard to make sure Sauron pays attention to your army, so that Frodo and Sam can reach the summit of Mount Doom. If you don't, Sauron will catch them and you'll have to restart.
  • Once More, with Clarity: The last level appears to start like the prologue level, but instead of jumping right into a fight with Sauron's minions, you get a boss fight against the Mouth of Sauron, and the rest of the final level delivers a more earnest account of Aragorn's battle at the Black Gate.
  • "Open!" Says Me:
    • Aragorn can break open certain locked doors by smashing them with his shield.
    • In the Pelennor Fields level, not long after you enter the streets of Gondor, you'll have to fight a Troll that makes his entrance by smashing through a closed door.
  • Optional Boss: An imaginary Shelob can be fought as a boss in the Shire overworld's Mushroom Woods, at the end of a particular Side Quest that unlocks in the afternoon.
  • Permanently Missable Content: As the player progresses through the game, the time of day in the present-day Shire will change from morning to afternoon and night. The first two time settings feature side quests that can only be done by that time and if the player skips them or doesn't finish them before completing the levels that will advance the time of day, they will be gone forever and can't be completed.
  • Rainbow Speak: Used to highlight anything that could be important for the player to take note of.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: You can change weapons instantly at the press of a D-pad direction.
  • Recurring Boss: Trolls, giant queen spiders and even two Uruk-Hai Champions are some examples of bosses that can or must be fought multiple times.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Destroying barrels and vases will drop extra health, arrows or silver coins.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: Back in the present day at the Shire, there are beehives in a fenced area swarming with bees that will chase Frodo out if you don't hold up a smoking torch to hold them off.
  • Shield Bash: Right from the start, Aragorn can slam his shield against enemies, which can stun particular enemies for a follow-up attack. You'll also have to do this move to break open locked doors or knock off enemy siege ladders.
  • Side Quest: Every level except the prologue, the first level and the final battle have at least one of these.
  • Title In: Most levels, as well as the overworld, are divided into different regions, and the name of a region that Aragorn enters will briefly appear on the screen.
  • There Was a Door: Towards the end of the game, Aragorn will occasionally battle enemy invaders that smash a hole in a high, defensive wall.
  • Unblockable Attack: The giant trolls deal powerful blows that even Aragorn's shield can't withstand, so you'll have to dodge well.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: In most levels, you can complete optional side quests to help nonplayable characters (like helping some soldiers of Gondor in the Pelennor Fields level) and receive rewarding artifacts in return that grant special perks in combat.
  • Violation of Common Sense: To fend off the Balrog, a fire demon, you have to shoot fire arrows at its weak points.
  • The War Sequence: In the last three levels, there will be places where Aragorn and his allies will appear to be outnumbered by the minions of Sauron, yet he would fiercely charge into battle nevertheless.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: For most of the game, Aragorn travels with the Fellowship and allies committed to destroy the Ring and defeat Sauron. They have invisible health bars, but once their health depletes, they are incapacitated (or "injured" as the game puts it), and can be put back in action if Aragorn stops to revive them by holding down the action button without taking any damage. It's only Game Over if Aragorn's health reaches zero.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Some nonplayable characters only have one line of dialog that they spout out when interacted.
  • Wolfpack Boss: A never-ending one acts as the Final Boss at the Black Gate, which you must survive a relentless horde of Sauron's worst minions (including a bunch of trolls) for a certain amount of time until Frodo drops the One Ring into Mount Doom.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: The Trope Namer occurs in the outro of the "Moria" level.
    • Also, in the seventh level, "Pelennor Fields", you'll need to stop the Mumakil from reaching the front gates of Minas Tirith, in addition to repelling Sauron's forces as they invade the city. If just one Mumakil gets past, you'll have to restart.