IFReviewed by Pat Hurst on 2006-05-13 08:22
Reviewer’s Rating: 8
Difficulty Rating: 9
Extra Commands: PULL, DIG, WEAR, REMOVE
Deleted Commands: TAKE, POWER, SPEED, WAVE
Special Features: sequel to #108 – The Mines of Moria; extensive background information about Sam’s Middle-earth adventures is provided in separate programs; two-disk adventure; Intro pgm provided in both upper and lower case versions; SAVE to a separate disk
Playing Time: 6-24 hours (depending on how many times you meet an automatic death)
Description: A desperate council has gathered in Minas Tirith, stronghold of Gondor, to determine a course of action to save Middle-earth from the hordes of Sauron. Sauron’s armies have taken Osgiliath, the bridge into Gondor, and only Minas Tirith stands between Sauron and the conquest of all Gondor. In the last attack the mithril bars that seal the main gate of Minas Tirith were broken, and another attack could easily breach it. Although most of the fighting men of Gondor have been gathered into Minas Tirith, they are still hopelessly outnumbered and will certainly be destroyed if Sauron’s legions penetrate the city. The council quickly decides that new mithril bars must be obtained to secure the main gate, but this brings back bad memories of Moria, the only known source of mithril.
Even if mithril can be retrieved from Moria, Sauron may still overrun Minas Tirith by sheer force of numbers unless additional forces aid Gondor’s cause. The dwarves would help, but they have sustained heavy losses and are contemplating acceding to Sauron’s will. The various groups of dwarves are splintered and there is no leader to unite them against Sauron. The return of Durin the Deathless is necessary to rally the dwarves. He is said to sleep in the depths of Moria where he awaits the time of the dwarves’ greatest need. Again, Moria is the focus of your interest.
The council decides to send an expedition into Moria. Boromir, the steward of Gondor, volunteers to go since Gondor no longer requires a steward when the king is present. Gimli, an emissary from the dwarves, volunteers to go to find Durink and to search for a group of dwarves who tried to retake Moria four years ago. Legolas, an elven prince, volunteers to help his good friend Gimli. Then everyone looks to you. Will you venture again into the underground haunts of Moria?
Comments: This adventure is a solid offering and provides both hack-and-slash and problem solving. The first half of the adventure is mainly hack-and slash while the problem solving occurs mainly in the second half. This creates the major drawback of this adventure – if you don’t successfully solve the problems, you can easily die. This means replaying the adventure from the beginning and repeating all of the hack-and-slash (and there’s a lot – why else would he give you 3 comrades at the start!). There are quite a few ways of meeting instant death in the second half of this adventure. It pays to look things over carefully before doing something potentially fatal.
There are more artifacts than usual since dead bodies are not artifacts but merely markers. This abundance of artifacts allows the player to interact with the environment to a greater extent than in many adventures. The descriptions are extensive although somewhat repetitive in places, particularly in describing orcs and trolls – but then again, there are lots of orcs and trolls. The author strongly suggests that a player first adventure in #108 – The Mines of Moria before trying Return to Moria. This is not absolutely necessary but there are references to events from #108 that would make more sense to someone who has played that adventure.
This disk has some additional ‘specials’ to recommend it. There are 3 extra programs included that provide extensive background information. PRONUNCIATIONS lists the pronunciations of some of the names of Middle-earth. THE HISTORY OF THE DWARVES provides an extensive history of Middle-earth with emphasis on the dwarven race but covering much more besides. MIDDLE EARTH ADVENTURES is a listing of the 8 Middle-earth adventures designed by the author. He notes their chronological order and their thematic connections. In addition, he reviews each one individually with a plot synopsis; ratings for monster content, treasure content, descriptions, problem solving, etc.; and his own overall rating of the adventure.
Used with Matthew Clark's kind permition.
Original review available at Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online website.