The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Collector's Box | Collector's Corner - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Collector's Box | Collector's Corner

The Lord of the Rings movie franchise took the world by storm in the early 2000s. Of course with the popularity of the films came games. And not just in English speaking territories. Like many other movie licensed games, Japan got fully localized versions of games as well, including the first EA published Rings title, The Two Towers. While we covered the Japanese GameCube version of the game in past videos, today we’re going to focus on something that is Japan exclusive, but didn’t hit the GameCube. This item was  exclusive to the Playstation 2 -This is The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Collector’s Box.  

Differences Between the GCN and PS2 Versions
Now, before we dig deep into the Collector’s Box, I thought it would be a good idea to dig in to check out some of the differences between the PS2 and GCN versions of the game. Of course, both games are by and large the same - all of the levels, unlockable videos, art galleries and the special character are in both versions. So rest assured, if you pick up either version of the game, there is no difference in the content. 
One of the biggest differences here has to do with the language options. If you picked up the North American version of the game or only speak English, you probably don’t know (or care) about having the game dialog being in other languages. Well, for the Japanese release, a full Japanese dub track for all of the dialog is included. Not only that, but for gamers wanting a more true to the movie experience, English voice IS available as well…only on the PS2 version of the game. You can toggle between the two language options in that version, but not in the GameCube version. The option simply isn’t there. 

Why is that? Well, it’s simply a matter of capacity. The GameCube Optical Disc was capable of holding up to 1.46 GB of data, while standard Playstation 2 discs held up to 4.7 GB of data. Not only that, but a dual layer option was also available, upping the capacity to 8.5 GB. Believe it or not, the Japanese version of The Two Towers is a dual layer disc, which explains the extra room for the additional language option. Just as a side note (and according to Everpedia), “dual layer games can be visually identified by the presence of two bar codes printed on the bottom side of a DVD disc near the center ring, instead of the usual one. Dual Layer discs are also known to to possess a slightly golden tint on the disc bottom in contrast to the silver tint of regular single layer PS2 DVD games.” 

There’s one other odd thing I noticed between the versions here as well. When watching some of the behind the scenes videos that you unlock, you’ll notice that in the GameCube version of the video (with Elijah Wood), the controller that the actors or developers are holding are completely blacked out of the video. If you check out the same video on the PS2 version, you can clearly see a Dual Shock 2 being used by Wood. While that does seem kind of strange, we have to remember that in this case (and the case of many games at the time), the PS2 was the target platform for The Two Towers. The GameCube and Xbox versions came out months after the PlayStation 2 release. Still, when it comes to the video, I found it interesting to see this was an extra step that was taken for the GCN version of the game (in all regions?). We’ll probably never know the real answer here, but I would imagine Nintendo wasn’t about to promote a competitor’s platform, even in something as trivial as this video clip.   
Unfortunately, I currently don’t own an Xbox copy of the game to see if it’s the same there. At any rate, I thought this was interesting. Other differences here are a bit more on the technical side, which I kind of covered in my Two Towers review for the GCN, but things like the quality of the video clips and overall graphics do differ between the versions, with the PS2 winning out on the video side of things (due to being on a higher capacity disc) and the GCN winning out in the graphics department. 

Collector’s Box
As for the Collector’s Box itself, this was available day and date with the release of the The Two Towers in Japan in February of 2003 originally retailing for ¥9,800 (about $120 USD at the time) compared to the ¥6,800 price point of the base game. On a random side note, the product page for the Collector’s Box is still up on Sony Japan's official website, outlining everything that comes with it and offering a few screenshots of the game itself. 
The first thing to note about the box itself is its size. With a quick look, you may just think this is a simple cardboard sleeve that goes over the game case itself. That’s not the case at all. The package is significantly larger than the actual game case and contains a few collectibles for Lord of the Rings fans. The set comes with a Lord of the Rings branded “strap.” Straps were (and still are by some) usually attached to phones, and should not be be confused with “key holders,” which are for (duh) keys. This set comes with a base strap and several “plates” that can be attached to it. The plates featured here are from the characters’ weapons or other items from the movie. There is one based on Gimli’s axe, Aragorn’s sword, Legolas’ Elven bow, the Elven broach that everyone in the Fellowship received and the One Ring. 
Next up is a LOTR themed “techō,” or small address book. Even in the age of smart devices, these are still used pretty widely by many all across Japan. Obviously they would have been used by even more people back in 2003. Here, there is space for taking notes, writing contact information and a calendar. This address book has a map of Middle Earth as well as the Lord of the Rings logo on the front and back. 
If you want to take a look at the set, I highly suggest checking out the video below!

While my favored platform, the GameCube, didn’t receive this cool set, I am happy to see that something like this exists. While it may be a bit pricey for those of you out there on the hunt (this thing currently seems anywhere from around $50 - $100 USD), it’s a cool collectible for gamers and LOTR fans. But let’s turn things over to you. What do you think? Did gamers in the West miss out on a cool set? Do you think that EA could have done more here? Be sure to sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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