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Palantir of Sauron FAQ by ktwo

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 10/09/08

Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King (Xbox)
Walkthrough for "Palantir of Sauron"
Version 1.0
Copyright 2008 by ktwo
E-mail: ktwo[at]graffiti.net

Last updated : October 7:th 2008

* Content *

1. Introduction
2. Version History
3. Preparations
4. General tips
5. Walkthrough
6. Ending
7. Acknowledgements
8. Copyright Info
9. Feedback

* 1. Introduction *

Welcome to my walkthrough for the infamous level "Palantir of Sauron" (PoS) 
from "Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King" to the Xbox. There seem to 
be differences compared with versions to other platforms, but I could really 
not tell as I have not played them. 

As for many other games, I wanted to complete the game and get 100% before I 
put it aside. While some of the normal levels are quite challenging, the PoS 
take it one step further. You can no longer rely on just sweeping away with 
monotonous attacks or good will/luck. You will need a good plan to stand a 
chance. When searching the net for assistance, I was disappointed at the 
result. The strategies I found worked very poorly for me or consisted of tips 
like "use cheats to make it easier". Anyways, I came up with a few good 
strategies during my attemps that will most certainly work for a casual 
player. The strategies do not involve cheat codes.

Since this is a walkthrough for the final level, it does not go into detail 
about the story, basic gameplay, controls and such stuff. You will find 
plenty of that in other guides on gamefaqs. This guide assumes you use 
Gandalf (good luck if you plan to use someone else...).

* 2. Version History *

1.0 (2008-10-07) :
      The original version

* 3. Preparations *

Before you accept the challenge, there are three things you need to look into.

First of all, you need to complete the normal levels (Crack of Doom is the 
last normal level) and have Gandalf, Sam and Aragorn/Gimli/Legolas at least 
at level 10. I must say that I'm not completely sure that no other 
combinations work, but you need at least to reach level 10 with one character 
from each path and complete all normal levels in order to open up PoS. If you 
want to complete the game to 100%, you must also get through Palantir of 
Saruman, but that one is not that hard.

Second of all, you need to decide with which character you will challenge PoS. 
This walkthrough assumes you choose Gandalf. There are several reasons for 
this choice. All characters have crappy special abilites except Gandalf. 
Getting you into perfect mode (Aragorn, ...) is of little use in PoS. 
Gandalf's energy shield is extremely powerful though and can destroy shields 
and armours. Also, Gandalf's projectiles are very powerful and do not stop 
upon impact making multiple hits possible. They are quick to fire and are 
extremely effective against trolls. Gandalf's charged fierce attack is also 
better than the others, but is unlikely to be used here because it consumes 
10 projectiles every time and takes too long to charge.

Third of all, it's adviceable to take Gandalf to level 20. I haven't really 
noticed a big difference from level 10, but it can hardly do any bad either 
and it's quite fast anyway. If you by chance happen to miss some of the 
upgrades, you'll get more than enough now to buy everything. Anyways, the 
easiest way I found to level up is to redo the level "The Southern Gate" a 
couple of times. There are hordes of normal enemies (no shielded or shooting 
foes) so it's easy to get into perfect by just whacking away whenever there 
is a group of enemies and score good points. You'll advance at least two 
levels every time you redo the level.

* 4. General tips *

Here are the most important strategies for dispatching the different types 
of enemies :

- Against unshielded enemies, just whack away.

- Against shooting enemies, move, shoot once or twice, parry, move back, shoot 
once or twice, parry and so on. Try to keep your distance as much as possible.
Don't try to kill them with your sword. They will back off while filling you
with arrows, making it hard to get into striking range.

- Against shielded enemies, let yourself get trapped against the border and 
parry like crazy. Everytime you parry, you can use a bane (parry+R) on the 
attacker. It's easy to do, elegant and gives you an instant kill ! Don't 
complicate things by trying to smash the shields unnecessarily. It will only 
result in you getting hurt.

- Against champions, just whack away (Uruk-hai) or parry and do a fierce 
attack (Easterlings) kind of like doing a bane (which does not work here).

- Against trolls, use projectiles ! Gandalf's staff must have some special 
anti-troll recipe, because they go down very quickly.

- Against combinations of strong enemies, use Gandalf's magic shield (L+R). 
At the waves where it's useful, you most certainly don't have the time to 
wait for Gandalf to summon the shield before you get torn to pieces. The 
trick is to launch the shield at the end of the previous wave ! When the last 
enemy goes down, there is about five seconds until the animation for the next 
wave begins, slowly count to four and then trigger the shield. Gandalf will 
use the time of the animation to get the shield up. When you take control 
again, just run around like crazy and create havoc as long as it lasts.

- If you have difficulties reaching the later waves, but want to practice 
them anyway, use the cheat codes. Don't settle for only completing with cheat 
codes though. You made it this far, so I'm sure you can take the last step as 

* 5. Walkthrough *

Ok, so you unlocked PoS, levelled up Gandalf and hopefully chosen him for this 
last task. The level is based on the same idea as Palantir of Saruman. You're 
locked into an arena and have to make it through 20 waves of increasingly 
difficult hordes of enemies. The waves are sort of grouped in themes of 2 or 
3 waves :

Wave 1-3 : Unshielded enemies
Wave 4-6 : Archers
Wave 7-9 : Shielded enemies
Wave 10-11 : Unshielded enemies and archers
Wave 12-13 : Shielded enemies and archers
Wave 14-15 : Unshielded and shielded enemies and archers
Wave 16-17 : Champions
Wave 18-19 : Champions and troll
Wave 20 : Champions, trolls and archers

After each wave you get a red potion (health). On wave 5 you get two weapon 
pick-ups (worth 20 projectiles each) and one more on wave 20. These upgrades 
stay there as long as you don't pick them up. In the waves with archers, you 
can gain more projectiles, but they will disappear if you don't pick them up 
before the end of the wave. The same goes for the red potions dropped by 
champions in the later waves (one potion for each champion).

Wave 1

Enemies : Orcs (unshielded)

Strategy : Just whack away with speed attacks.

Wave 2

Enemies : Easterlings (unshielded)

Strategy : Same as wave 1.

Wave 3

Enemies : Orcs (unshielded) and Easterlings (unshielded)

Strategy : Same as wave 1 and 2. (enjoy it while it lasts, you wont have the 
chance to carelessly whack away until wave 16 again)

Wave 4

Enemies : Orcs (archers)

Strategy : When it begins, immediately fire of one or two projectiles from 
Gandalf's staff. Then start to parry (X-button) like crazy. You'll deflect the 
incoming wave of arrows. Then move to the side, fire another projectile, 
parry, move back to the other side, fire a projectile, parry and so on. By 
taking out one or two enemies at a time and keeping the distance, you should 
be able to get through without energy loss. When there are only a few archers 
left, you can take them down with your sword if you want to save shots. 
However, I strongly advice not to take them heads on from start with your 
sword only. The archers back off as you approach while continuing sending 
arrows your way. Since you can't run and parry at the same time, it's hard 
to get into range without taking several hits.

Wave 5

Enemies : Uruk-hai (archers)

Strategy : Same as wave 4.

Wave 6

Enemies : Orcs (archers) and Uruk-hai (archers)

Strategy : By now, you'll likely start to run out of projectiles. Luckily, 
there are two weapon refills here. It's good if you can get through only 
picking up one of them. As for the strategy, do as in wave 4 and 5, only there 
are more enemies now, so you don't have much time to fire of a shot before you 
need to start parrying.

Wave 7

Enemies : Uruk-hai (shielded)

Strategy : Move to the side as much as possible (this will help you avoid 
running into red potions unintentionally). When the first Uruk-hai is close, 
stop and start parrying like a madman. Now, just use banes (parry+R) at one 
enemy at a time until they're all gone ! Again, you'll get through without 
taking any damage. When one or two enemies remain, you can go over to break 
their shields and then speed attack them. The ones who suggest to break the 
shields from start must be crazy though.

Wave 8

Enemies : Easterlings (shielded)

Strategy : Same as wave 7. Just be careful when the enemies attack you. If 
you try to initiate a bane and the enemy's attack wasn't parryied, you risk 
getting hit. This risk is much higher with Easterlings than with Uruk-hais, 
because many attacks don't connect. I usually look for a charging Easterling. 
That attack always comes on your left side and it's an attack that always 
connect. Thus it's easy to turn it into a bane.

Wave 9

Enemies : Uruk-hai (shielded) and Easterlings (shielded)

Strategy : Same as wave 7 and 8.

Wave 10

Enemies : Orcs (unshielded) and Uruk-hai (archers)

Strategy : Now it starts to get a little bit complicated. The orcs will get 
massively hit by their Uruk-hai colleagues, but it will only stop them 
momentarily, not cause any damage. This can partly be exploited to your 
advantage though. Hide behind a horde of orcs and they will take the wave of 
arrows. Then try to hit some of the orcs, hide/parry the next wave of 
arrows, hit some more orcs and so on. When all orcs are down, use the 
strategy from wave 4 to 6. I don't think it's worth to try to take out the 
archers first as that will for sure result in massive damage for our hero.

Wave 11

Enemies : Easterlings (unshielded) and Orcs (archers)

Strategy : There are only a few archers and they are all standing right in 
front of you in the middle. I suggest trying to shoot one archer when it 
begins, then run to the opposite side of the arena along the border. You 
should be able to reach there without being intercepted. The archers will 
then have difficulties finding clear shots at you and you can easily dispose 
of the Easterlings with normal speed attacks. Take out the archers when there 
are no more Easterlings left.

Wave 12

Enemies : Uruk-hai (shielded and archers)

Strategy : The best plan I found is probably to quickly fire two shots and 
then get trapped in a corner, far from the archers (the starting position is 
actually pretty good). Take out the shielded Uruk-hais one by one with banes. 
When they are all gone, take care of the archers. You can also start the wave 
with a magic shield (see the tips section above) and try to take out the 
archers in front of you. Be careful not to run too far, as you don't want to 
loose the shield in the middle of the arena.

Wave 13

Enemies : Easterlings (shielded) and Orcs (archers)

Strategy : I suggest arriving with the magic shield here (see tips section 
above), run to the other end and take out as many archers as possible. There 
will no doubt be some left, so fight your way through if you're close to some 
remaining archer. Leave the rest. The reason for this is that the Easterlings 
connect so seldom so it will be hard to find the right moment to do a bane. 
It's hard to hear when you parry as the sound is just as likely to come from a 
parryied arrow if there are many archers left. If you miss a bane (press R 
without having parryied), you'll likely to get hit. Have patience and wait for 
a charge attack (see wave 8) before doing the banes.

Wave 14

Enemies : Easterlings (unshielded), Uruk-hai (shielded) and 
Orcs (archers)

Strategy : Same as wave 12.

Wave 15

Enemies : Orcs (unshielded and archers) and Easterlings (shielded)

Strategy : I definately recommend arriving with a magic shield here (see tips 
section above). Your magic meter (or whatever it's called) should have been 
refilled since wave 13, so it should be no problem launching it. Then it's 
much like wave 13, just harder. Use the same strategy. Hopefully, you have 
received some weapon drop on the last waves, so you arrive with 30 projectiles 
for the toughest part that is to come...

Wave 16

Enemies : Uruk-hai (champions)

Strategy : Easy, just whack away. The Uruk-hai champioins are not protected so 
just use speed attacks. Don't stop mashing the button though as you'll soon 
get hit. Since you get a red potion for each slain enemy, you should leave 
this wave with full energy.

Wave 17

Enemies : Easterlings (champions)

Strategy : Much harder than the Uruk-hai, because the Easterling champions 
are armoured (you need to break the armour with a fierce attack or projectile 
before speed attacks affect them). Arrive with the magic shield on and try 
to break as many armours you can while it lasts. When you loose the shield, 
start speed attacking those who lost their armour. When you are about to hit 
a combination (preferably swift justice), try to hit one of the armoured guys. 
This will break his armour without exposing you to the same kind of risk as 
the fierce attack exposes you to. If you get surrounded by only armoured 
enemies, try parry+fierce attack (risky, because the others can hit you at 
the same time) or simply use the speed attack while trying to move (you need 
to keep jamming the button though). You will block their attacks (provided you 
don't get someone in the back) and will eventually break free. Then try to 
find an enemy without armour and go loose with speed attacks while trying to 
break other armours in the vicinity. When you have only one enemy left, wait 
for the magic meter to refill, so you can launch a magic shield in time for 
the next wave.

Wave 18

Enemies : Uruk-hai (champions), Easterlings (champions) and Troll

Strategy : Immediately run towards the troll and fire of a few shots so it's 
dead before the shield wears off. It's very annoying to have the troll 
roaming around, so I seriously suggest you stick to this plan. The remaining 
enemies are actually easier than the previous wave as you'll have more 
unarmoured enemies to increase your chances of getting some powerful 
combination (again, swift justice is your friend). Like in the last wave, be 
sure to wait for the magic meter to refill and launch a magic shield in time 
for the next wave.

Wave 19

Enemies : Uruk-hai (champions), Easterlings (champions) and Troll

Strategy : Exactly like wave 18, just harder. Use more of your shots when 
protected by the shield as it causes good damage and can break the armour. 
Needless to say that you should wait to kill the last enemy until you can 
launch a magic shield for the last wave.

Wave 20

Enemies : Uruk-hai (champions), Easterlings (champions), Trolls (2)
and Orcs (archers)

Strategy : I really, really hope you timed the shield right at the end of the 
last wave, so you can get off to a good start on the last wave. First take 
down the trolls. Then concentrate on the archers. Shoot like a maniac as 
long as you're protected by the shield. You get a weapon drop here, so there 
should be plenty of projectiles to distribute. When the effect of the magic 
shield has worn off, you're on your own... Hopefully, you made sure some of 
the archers followed in the footsteps of the trolls. If not, well, parry and 
then try to move to get some clean shots. This can be easier said than done 
though, so make sure the time you're protected by the shield is well spent. 
When the archers are down or can't shoot at you because of the center pillar, 
dispatch of the champions like in previous waves. 

* 6. Ending *

Nothing happens when you reach 100%. No more features unlock and no 
encouraging cutscene triggers. It would have been nice to have something more 
for the effort than just 100% written on the save file.

* 7. Acknowledgements *

Thanks to CJayC and gamefaqs for hosting this walkthrough.

* 8. Copyright Info *

Please do not post this walkthrough on your web site without my permission. 
If you ask kindly, you'll probably get my permission, but don't ask me to 
sign up for something and don't bother to ask if your site requires other 
users to sign in to get access to my guide. 
This is supposed to be a free guide, so don't sell it. I don't mind if you 
copy and paste this information for personal use, but if you want to use it 
for any other purpose, you need to contact me first. You are under no 
circumstances aloud to change any if its content. Thanks !

Encryption seal : 
      [228 -313 416 -518 617 -717 824 -941 1053 -1150 1226 -1289 1342]

This seal contains a secret message that proves I'm the rightful owner of 
this document.

* 9. Feedback *

Do you have any feedback on this walkthrough ? Is there something I missed ? 
You can contact me at ktwo[at]graffiti.net with feedback and questions.

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