On the surface it looks like a fund twist on the original risk - now with 2 possible victory conditions. However, I feared what you mentioned, that the evil forces are too strong. The only time I played this, the ring was discovered very early on in the game; we had spent as much time reading the rules as playing the game. So we gave up on it, even though that had just been an unlikely roll and outcome.
I find that the alternative War of the Ring is more balanced and retains more flavour from the books, while still being a strategy game. More complex than Risk though, a lot of rule-finding involved.