A percentage of those who have purchased The Lord of the Rings games for the Xbox and Game Boy Advance, which were recently released by Universal's Black Label Games, have encountered game-stopping bugs. The problems came to GameSpot's attention while we were reviewing the games. Black Label Games' investigations have subsequently brought to light that the problems affect 0.5 percent of those playing the GBA game and 0.03 percent of those playing the Xbox game.
The problem in the Xbox game--which causes it to freeze after the introductory cinematic--has been isolated by Microsoft as a hardware problem that affects just 1 percent of those who play the game. A representative for Black Label Games said that technical support staff for the publisher and Microsoft are providing the game's owners with a way to work around the problem on a case-by-base basis.
Microsoft's solution to the Xbox cinematic bug is to have users remove The Lord of the Rings from the hard drive, install three other games, and then reinstall The Lord of the Rings. Another reported solution is to delete the save-game file created during the game installation process. The game will then create a new save-game file once the game loads correctly and the user saves the game's progress.
Black Label Games has confirmed that the bug in the Game Boy Advance game may occur approximately two-thirds of the way through the Mines of Moria, after 16 hours of gameplay. Black Label Games has provided a detailed description of how players can get around the problem:
"In the Mines of Moria, there is a large open room with an orc in it. When the player approaches the door to the northeast, Gandalf informs the player that the passage is blocked and that the player must go deeper into Moria. At this point, the player should save the game. If the game freezes, the player should reload from the saved game, walk toward the doorway that causes the glitch and push the Start button right before the screen fades. If the player does this correctly, the save menu appears as the screen is fading. Save the game, and then continue the game. The game will continue with the player on the other side of the doorway, and the player will be free to move. It is very important that the player pushes Start as he or she walks toward the doorway and the screen is fading."
Black Label Games' internal testing indicates that the European version of the game is not affected by this bug. The publisher has plans to use these trouble-free European cartridges to replace defective cartridges, although the European version is still in manufacturing.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information from Black Label Games regarding the percentage of users affected by the Xbox and GBA bugs and with additional details on the GBA problem.