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    Palantir of Saruman FAQ by deathslinger

    Version: 1.24 | Updated: 01/25/05 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    "Palantir of Saruman FAQ" (version 1.24)
    -an in-depth FAQ for the Electronic Arts game "Lord of the Rings: Return of the
    King" for Nintendo Gamecube
    by deathslinger (deathslinger@yahoo.com)
    0. Version Notes
    1. Preamble
    2. Overview
    3. Action-specific Strategies
    4. Enemy-specific Strategies
    5. Fellowship Upgrades
    6. General Tips
    7. Walkthrough
    8. Statistics for different characters and settings
    9. Postscript
    0. Version Notes
    Version 1.24 (25/01/05):
    -updated copyright information
    Version 1.23 (24/01/05)
    -added effect of difficulty settings (see section 8)
    -replaced "level" with "stage" where appropriate
    Version 1.22 (19/01/05 - 20/01/05)
    -tweaked strategy for attacking Trolls
    -changed "Backstep" to "Jump Back"
    Version 1.2 (17/01/05 - 18/01/05):
    -completed General Tips section
    -added level 6 Fellowship Upgrades
    -changed some minor formatting details in Walkthrough section
    -will add Troll starting layouts for Waves 18-20 in a future update
    -need to research effects of different difficulty settings
    Version 1.1 (15/01/05):
    -finished the Palantir of Saruman at 5pm today with Pippin at level one; stats
    as follows:
       481365xp, level 6; 48 perfect, 44 excellent, 83 good, 64 fair
       mission experience: 59975xp
       mission rating: excellent + 3000xp
    -revised all sections
    -finished walkthrough
    -updated strategies for killing Trolls
    Version 1.0 (28/11/04):
    -this was a preliminary version; will add game details at a future date
    -will add other specifics if there is enough demand
    1. Preamble
    Currently, this FAQ demands working knowledge of the game Lord of the Rings:
    Return of the King (herein referred to as "ROTK").  If there is a demand for
    it, I will include some basic information for the game; but for now, you'll
    have to find that elsewhere.  There are several decent general FAQs available
    at www.GameFAQs.com.
    Note that I have only tested the controls and strategies used in this FAQ on
    the Nintendo Gamecube system.  Although they are generally transferable to
    other platforms, I have not actually tested them on other consoles.
    2. Overview
    The Palantir of Saruman is an unlockable stage, available upon completion of
    the regular game (i.e. the stage "The Crack of Doom").  The stage consists of
    twenty Waves of enemies, from Dead Archers to Huge Trolls, attacking you in a
    closed circular battleground with a rock in the middle.  This FAQ will tell you
    how to finish this stage using a level one Hobbit.
    To be specific, this FAQ is based on finishing the Palantir of Saruman with
    Pippin on the "normal" difficulty setting, starting at level one (i.e. Pippin
    has not yet successfully completed any other stage(s)), with all Fellowship
    Upgrades, on the Nintendo Gamecube.  Though the strategies are transferable to
    other characters, difficulty settings and consoles, I have not actually tested
    all of them as such.  I will continue to update this FAQ to reflect the
    knowledge gained from using other characters and settings.
    Note that many of the strategies mentioned in this FAQ are applicable in most
    of the game's other stages.  Thus, although written exclusively for the
    purposes of finishing the Palantir of Saruman with a weak character, this FAQ
    will provide the reader with strategies for use in other, unspecified sections
    of ROTK.
    3. Action-specific Strategies
    Speed Attack:  Use to kill Dead, Uruks, Dead Archers, Uruk Archers, Spiders,
    Big Spiders, Dead Champions, Small Trolls, Trolls, Huge Trolls.  Use to finish
    off Shielded Dead, Shielded Uruks, Uruk Champions.
    Physical Attack:  Use as part of the Final Judgment combo.
    Fierce Attack:  Use to break shields/armour for Shielded Dead, Shielded Uruks,
    Uruk Champions.
    Killing Move:  Use as part of the Final Judgment combo.  Time/space permitting,
    use to kill Dead, Uruks on the ground.
    Parry:  Use whenever not moving or attacking.  Use especially when surrounded.
    Ranged Attack:  Use to kill Small Trolls, Trolls, Huge Trolls.  Hold the
    required Ranged Attack buttons for several seconds in order to fire a fully
    powered missile; a fully powered missile will remove half a Troll's health.
    Jump Back:  Use to escape from a mob of shielded enemies to a clearer area,
    where you can see more clearly and plan your next strike more easily.
    Special Ability:  Use when health is low; use invisibility to pick up health
    potions without getting hit.  Unfortunately, you move really slowly, so you
    generally only lose it if you're really stuck and desperately need an out.
    Action Move:  Not Applicable.
    4. Enemy-specific Strategies
    (Remember that these are all Pippin-specific details.  The other Hobbits are
    not as strong, and take an extra attack or two to kill the enemies.)
    Dead:  Use 2 Speed Attacks to kill
    Uruk:  Use 3 Speed Attacks to kill
    Dead Archers:  Use 2 Speed Attacks to kill
    Uruk Archers:  Use 2 Speed Attacks to kill
    Shielded Dead:  Use 1 Fierce Attack to break shield, 2 Speed Attacks to kill
    Shielded Uruk:  Use 1 Fierce Attack to break shield, 4 Speed Attacks to kill
    Spider:  Use 4 Speed Attacks to kill
    Big Spider:  Use 4 Speed Attacks to kill
    Dead Champion:  Use Speed Attacks to kill
    Uruk Champion:  Use 3 Fierce Attacks to break armour, Speed Attacks to kill
    Small Troll:  Use Speed Attacks in Perfect Mode to kill
    Troll:  Use (2 full powered) Ranged Attacks to kill
    Huge Troll:  Use (2 full powered) Ranged Attacks to kill
    5. Fellowship Upgrades:
    There are two reasons for purchasing Fellowship Upgrades while completing the
    game, prior to attempting a low-level completion of the Palantir of Saruman:
      1)  it's the natural thing to do, being more cost effective and helpful in
    completing the game.
      2)  having stronger health will help immensely during a low-level completion
    of the Palantir of Saruman.
    (Remember that the following are all Hobbit-specific details; other characters
    receive different Fellowship Upgrades at different levels.)
    Level 2
    Orc Bane:  Useless, as there are no Orcs in the Palantir of Saruman.
    Orc Hewer:  Not recommended, as it takes too long to execute the final attack.
    Final Judgment:  Time/space permitting, use to kill Dead, Uruks, Dead Archers,
    Uruk Archers, Shielded Dead, Shielded Uruks.
    Level 3
    Rising Revenge:  If you are knocked down, a Speed Attack (or a Fierce Attack)
    will bring you to your feet by attacking the enemies around you.  Not
    particularly useful, as you shouldn't be knocked down in the first place.
    Strength of Stone:  Health is always welcome.
    Level 4
    Balrog's Gambit:  Useless, as the Champions fall back too far for the final
    blow to connect.
    Warrior Bane:  Useless, as there are no Orcs or Men in the Palantir of Saruman
    (it does not affect Dead, Uruks, Spiders or Trolls).
    Level 5
    Strength of Iron:  Health is always welcome.
    Dark Deliverance:  Too difficult to execute to be useful.
    Level 6
    Shield Cleaver:  Too difficult to execute, and gained too late to be useful.
    Bane of Sauron:  You can use this on the Shielded Uruks in Wave 20 and use the
    resulting Perfect Mode on the Dead Champions and Archers.  That's about it.
    6. General Tips
    First, note:  after every Wave, you get one red health potion
                  after every five Waves, you get one refill of 20 missiles
    1)  Save potions.  In particular, the five potions dropped by the Dead
    Champions in Wave 16 will refill your health fully, assuming you don't get hit
    (which I find fairly easy to do now); therefore, don't use the potions sitting
    on the ground in front of you unless you absolutely need to, since you can
    refill your health in Waves 16, 17, 19 and 20 from the potions the Champions
    drop.  Note also that the potions dropped by Champions do not linger
    indefinitely.  Generally, I only use potions when my health meter is red, or
    when I'm on Wave 20.
    2)  Save missiles.  You don't need to use any missiles on any non-Troll enemies
    (and indeed, it's hard to use them against the Archers and the Champions
    without getting hit), so save the missiles for the Trolls in Waves 18-20, where
    you need them.  If you don't spend any missiles, you won't pick up any missiles
    if you accidentally walk into the refills.  Note that the refills increase your
    missiles either by 20 or to a maximum of 30, whichever is lower.  So if you
    fire one missile and then pick up a refill, you've essentially lost 19 missiles
    for no good reason.
    Now actually, I only use 10 missiles (2 each for five of the Trolls) in the
    entire Palantir.  But I still save them, "just in case."
    3)  Parry as if your life depends on it; because it does.  Parrying will
    deflect every enemy attack (except a Troll's) at you from Archers' arrows to
    Shielded Uruks' long pikes to Uruk Champions' huge spikey clubs, even if you're
    surrounded.  If you're hit, it's because you either let up slightly while
    Parrying, or were still finishing another action when you pressed the Parry
    button, and thus didn't Parry as soon as you thought/hoped you would.  As a
    bonus, sometimes a successful Parry will register as a successful Attack on the
    enemy you Parried.
    Parry also helps fill up your Perfect Meter.  You can use this strategically to 
    get into Perfect Mode by deflecting several volleys of arrows or Parrying some
    attacks amidst your own Speed Attacks.  Note that if you are hit, your Perfect
    Meter resets, so Parrying is pretty much a good thing in all respects.
    4)  Have patience.  Particularly when you're surrounded by shielded enemies and
    Archers, you want to be very careful when you attempt to break a shield/armour.
    Whenever I try to rush through a Wave, I inevitably get hit more than I
    normally do.  Be patient, and eventually there will be a time when the Archers
    have finished with their volley and the melee foes have spent their attacks
    harmlessly, and you have lots of time to execute that Fierce Attack.  Remember:
    you can Parry everything (except Trolls).
    5)  Vs. Archers: keep moving.  If you don't move, you will get hit by arrows.
    If you Parry, you won't move much.  The solution is to keep moving, dodging as
    appropriate whenever a volley of arrows is released.  I try to head straight
    for the nearest Archer, then veer to the side briefly when the Archer fires
    (they fire consistently in rhythm).
    Also, try not to get frustrated with how far the Dead Archers float away as you
    approach.  Just be patient.
    6)  Vs. shielded/armoured enemies: beware, for they cooperate.  It's more
    obvious with the Uruk Champions, but still noticeable with the Shielded Uruks
    Dead.  Basically, avoid the instinct to use a Fierce Attack on the enemy that
    just finished attacking you (unsuccessfully, due to your Parries), because his
    "friend" nearby will notice and attack you in the middle of your Fierce Attack.
    When a few Uruks/Champions have finished attacking you, use a Fierce Attack on
    the one that didn't attack you moments ago.
    If there's only one enemy near you, then you can safely break his shield/armour
    immediately after he attacks you.  Beware, however; those Uruk Champions can
    cover a lot of distance in a short while.  Understanding how the Uruk Champions
    cooperate is essential to finishing Wave 17.
    7)  Vs. Trolls: charge your missiles.  Charging a missile to full power will
    take several seconds, but will cause a Troll to lose half its health (if you're
    Pippin at level five).  Therefore, two missiles will kill a Troll.
    Alternately, several Speed Attacks while in Perfect Mode will dispatch a Troll,
    but you must be careful: all your attacks must hit the Troll, or he will have
    enough time to give your character a good smashing.
    8)  Jump Back.  This is something I don't use enough, as I'm usually thinking
    about the enemies on the screen and simply forget that I can Jump Back.  If
    you're surrounded by shielded enemies and just can't seem to find an opening to
    execute a Fierce Attack, turn to face the enemies, and hit the Jump Back
    button.  You'll move back several paces, and then you can either turn and run,
    or Jump Back again.  Use this ability to give yourself time and space to set up
    your next attack.
    7. Walkthrough
    Symbols:  O - the rock in the middle of the battleground
              x - an enemy
              d - Dead or Dead Archer
              u - Uruk or Uruk Archer
              D - Shielded Dead or Dead
    Wave 1:  14 Dead
         x x
       xx   xx
      x       x
     x    O    x
      x       x
       x     x
    Run up the middle, wait for the first attack (parrying if necessary), then use
    Speed Attacks to the right.  When you get near the end of the line of Dead, go
    left.  Parry sparingly.  You can also do this in the opposite direction, if you
    prefer.  If done correctly, you should be in Perfect Mode rather quickly, and
    should gain enough experience to get to level two by the end of the Wave.
    Wave 2:  14 Uruks
    (same formation as in Wave 1)
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 1.  In general, when Dead or Uruks are
    approaching you in a line, try to attack them "almost head-on"; move to a
    position beside where the line will pass, and attack them as they pass you,
    moving in the opposite direction to where they are moving.
    Use Final Judgment at will (just because you can...and you'll be stuck with one
    less "fair" kill), when you're not in danger of being attacked soon.
    Wave 3:  7 Dead, 7 Uruks
         d u
       dd   uu
      d       u
     d    O    u
      d       u
       d     u
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 1.  I prefer to take out the Uruks first, as
    they don't float/glide/fall away as readily as the Dead do, making it easier to
    get into Perfect Mode faster.  You should gain enough experience to get to
    level three by the end of the Wave.
    Wave 4:  8 Dead Archers
       x   x
     x       x
     x   O   x
       x   x
    Run towards the closest Archer; you should be able to kill him before the first
    volley of arrows is released.  Parry the volley.  Kill the other Archers one by
    one with Speed Attacks.  Try to keep moving rather than stopping at periodic
    intervals to parry.  Run directly towards the closest Archer, then move
    perpendicular to that direction (sidestep, essentially) to avoid the volley of
    arrows when you sense them coming (note that they fire at regular intervals,
    unless they're hit, or you get close to them).
    Wave 5:  7 Uruk Archers
       x   x
      x     x
     x   O   x
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 4.  Uruk Archers are actually easier to take
    out, as they don't float away as drastically when you approach them.
    Wave 6:  5 Dead Archers, 5 Uruk Archers
      u       u
     d         d
      ddd   uuu
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 4.  If you wish, stand where you are at the
    beginning and parry until you reach Perfect Mode, then start killing Archers. 
    I prefer to kill the three Dead Archers near the front first.
    Wave 7:  6 Shielded Dead
     xxx   xxx
    Run to one side as far as you can, then parry the blows.  Use Fierce Attacks on
    the two Dead that just attacked you to break their shields.  Use Speed Attacks
    on the latter and Parry all blows.  Use Fierce Attacks on the Shielded Dead
    when an opening appears (e.g. all enemies surrounding you have just attacked
    you, so you know they won't attack you quite yet).
    Wave 8:  6 Shielded Uruks
    (same formation as in Wave 7)
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 7.
    Wave 9:  4 Shielded Dead, 4 Shielded Uruks
     uuuu   dddd
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 7.
    Wave 10:  6 Dead, 6 Uruk Archers
     uuu     uuu
      ddd   ddd
    Kill the Dead, then go after the Archers, being careful to Parry the arrows and
    use Speed Attacks when not being attacked.  If you wish, run quickly to one
    side, until you are between the two groups of Archers (though closer to one).
    Parry the arrows until you get close/into Perfect Mode, then kill the Dead.
    Wave 11:  3 Big Spiders, 30 Spiders
    (There's a lot of Spiders.)
    Run to one side, until you pass the bulk of the Spiders.  Then turn around and
    start killing.  Seldom Parry, but don't be afraid to, as most Spiders don't get
    knocked down completely, springing back to attack a little too quickly.
    You should be able to get into Perfect Mode at least three times.  Also, you
    should gain enough experience to get to level four by the end of the Wave.
    Wave 12:  6 Shielded Dead, 5 Uruk Archers
        u u u
     u    O    u
      ddd   ddd
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 7.  Don't use a potion unless absolutely
    Wave 13:  6 Shielded Uruks, 5 Dead Archers
     dd       dd
      uuu   uuu
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 7.  Don't use a potion unless absolutely
    Wave 14:  4 Shielded Dead, 4 Uruks, 4 Dead Archers
         d   d
     d           d
      uDDu   uDDu
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 7.  Don't use a potion unless absolutely
    Wave 15:  6 Shielded Uruks, 4 Dead, 3 Dead Archers
       d   d   d
     DDuuu   uuuDD
    Use the same strategy as in Wave 7.  Don't use a potion unless absolutely
    Wave 16:  5 Dead Champions
     xx  O  xx
    Use (exclusively) Speed Attacks.  Try to kill one Champion and pick up the
    health potion he drops before hacking at the others.  When you see a Champion
    swinging his swords quickly about his head, get ready to parry; your Speed
    Attacks will not be enough to parry his attacks.  Parry judiciously.
    If you're skilled, you may be able to get into Perfect Mode.  Regardless, you
    should gain enough experience to get to level five by the end of the Wave.
    Wave 17:  4 Uruk Champions
     x  O  x
      x   x
    You will need to use 3 Fierce Attacks in order to break the armour on any given
    Champion.  Again, try to take out one before taking on the others.  This is
    more difficult than in Wave 17, so at least try to break the armour of one
    Champion before moving on to the next.  Even better, break his armour and
    reduce his health until his health meter is yellow (so you can distinguish him
    from the others) before moving on to the others.
    When a Champion finishes attacking you, try to break the armour of the other
    Champion near you.  They tend to cooperate, so if you attack the Champion that
    just attacked you, another Champion will tend to run at you and attack while
    you're delivering that Fierce Attack.
    Wave 18:  3 Trolls, 1 Small Troll, ~20 Spiders
    Carefully kill the Spiders, bit by bit, while running around, avoiding the
    Trolls.  Kill the Trolls at the end with two missiles each.
    If you wish, you can use the Spiders to get into Perfect Mode, then kill a
    Troll (or two) with your uber-Speed Attacks.
    Wave 19:  1 Huge Troll, ~2 Spiders, 2 Champion Dead, 4 Shielded Uruks
    Carefully kill everything but the Troll, while running around avoiding the
    Troll.  Break shields when you get a chance, and if the Troll moves in your
    direction, run, taking care to parry any attacks from the Uruks and the Dead.
    As soon as you see the Troll turn around, you can stop running and start
    attacking, but don't move too far in the Troll's direction, or he'll make
    another about-face and head towards you again.
    Wave 20:  2 Huge Trolls, ~? Spiders, ~4 Dead Champions, ~6 Shielded Uruks, ~6
    Dead Archers
    Kamikaze the Trolls.  Basically, it's too difficult to run around avoiding the
    Trolls, because there's so much stuff (i.e. lesser enemies) around to slow you
    down, and the two Trolls tend to move in opposite directions, giving you less
    time to kill the other enemies while running away from the Trolls.  So, let
    them come towards you at the beginning, and attack them (with Speed Attacks)
    outright.  They won't move or swing too much, as they are also limited by all
    the lesser enemies running amok in addition to each other (both Trolls head
    toward you, but bump into each other as a result).  Meanwhile, whenever you get
    hit, you'll pick up one of those health potions you've been saving.
    Try not to get confused or aggravated by the apparent glitches in Wave 20.  The
    Trolls will sometimes disappear and reappear several steps away from where they
    were, without warning and for no apparent reason.  Don't let it bother you.
    Take out the two Trolls, and the rest is easy.  Congratulations!  You've just
    beaten the Palantir of Saruman with a level one Hobbit!
    8. Statistics for different characters and settings
    Difficulty:  It appears that the level of difficulty only affects the amount of
    health lost by the character.  The Normal setting causes 50% more damage than
    the Easy setting, and the Hard setting causes twice the damage caused under the
    Easy setting.  (E.g. Pippin's health meter (starting at 100%) will turn yellow
    after 8 hits by a Dead under the Easy setting, 6 hits under the Normal setting,
    and 4 hits under the Hard setting.)
    Sam, Frodo, Merry:  It appears that in general, the non-Pippin Hobbits require
    50% more attacks against an enemy to kill it than Pippin does.  It may be that
    they require less than 50% more attacks, but it is true that anything killed by
    2 of Pippin's Speed Attacks will need 3 of another Hobbit's Speed Attacks.
    9. Postscript
    If you have found this FAQ helpful, informative or interesting at all, please
    feel free to e-mail me at deathslinger@yahoo.com.
    If you have any comments, questions, concerns, requests, criticisms,
    suggestions, etc., please feel free to e-mail me.
    If you would like to contribute information for this FAQ, please feel free to
    e-mail me.  You will be credited accordingly.
    Thanks to EAGames for creating The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,
    Nintendo for creating the Gamecube and GameFAQs for hosting this FAQ.
    Thanks to M. Molnar for saying, "It can't be done!" in response to my proposal
    to finish the Palantir of Saruman with a level one Hobbit, thus motivating me
    to take up the challenge, which in turn motivated me to write this FAQ.
    All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
    respective trademark and copyright holders.
    This document may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for
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    always be credited when distributing or displaying this FAQ.
    It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without
    advance written permission.  Use of this guide on any other web site or as a
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    Copyright (c) 2004, 2005 by deathslinger.  All rights reserved.

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