The Battle for Middle-earth is a real-time strategy game. Warring factions gather resources, then use them to construct military bases and armies on-site. In The Battle for Middle-earth, buildings may only be constructed on the building slots of predefined plots. Plots range from farmhouses to full-fledged castles, with different slot arrangements and available buildings, and plots can be purchased when they're in the sole presence of a side's forces. The only resource are the nebulous "resources," which are produced inexhaustibly in dedicated buildings. Four factions on two sides wage the War of the Ring: Representing the Free Peoples are the horse-lords of Rohan, and Gondor with its forges and battlements. The Forces of Darkness are the fighting Uruk-hai of Isengard, and Mordor's orc hordes, bolstered by Haradrim, Mûmakil, and Trolls.
The good and evil forces of Middle-earth each have a campaign. They take place on an animated map of western Middle-earth, where each battle represents the defense/sacking of a territory. Armies and characters move on the map, and moving the cursor over them shows snippets of the movies (whereas battle cutscenes use the game engine).
The critical response to The Battle for Middle-earth was fairly positive. The video game review aggregator GameRankings displays an average critic score of 82.5%, with about two-thirds of the reviews in the 80%s. IGN praised the game for its visual flair and impressive audio, but pointed out its lack of depth in gameplay, giving out a score of 8.3 to the "decent, if not spectacular, game. GameSpot, with a score of 8.4, also commented on the visuals and sound effects as well as its focus on large-scale battles that "befits the source material". GameSpy gave 4 stars out of 5, calling the game "a perfect example of a license enhancing the final product." 2b1af7f3a8