Malcolm Owen On December 23, 2001 at 8:19 am

Many moronic parents rave about how videogames are ruining and corrupting their children. They cite examples such as the Quake trilogy, Doom, Half Life, Unreal Tournament, and Leisure Suit Larry. All of these are perfectly playable games, and thunderously enjoyable. Indeed, there is no reason to get angry or worked up over blowing the head off your opponent. I have found something much worse…

If you haven’t read the books, or heard the hype, or seen the movie, then here is the story in a nutshell – Harry is a wizard, who, after living with evil parental guardians, goes off to a wizarding school, turns out to be famous without knowing it, hears of enemy that everyone in the wizarding world fears (Who, glory be, also killed his parents) and defeats him. Finished. Done. Completed.
Another thing that you may want to know is that in the US it was called "…and the Sorcerer’s Stone", but due to the publishers thinking that the Americans are thick, they changed it to something that completely detracts from the original title. I’m suprised they didn’t change the actual contents of the book from a British ("English" for the ignorant) boarding school of wizardry to a goddamned Britney Spears Baby One More Time Highschool with Cheerleaders, but then, I digress…

The game is a strange combination of heavy film-based sequences, and parts that are suitable from the book. If you have read the book, you will understand most, if not all, the parts from the game. Being Harry, you must live through a year at Hogwarts (Afore mentioned school) and go through most of what you see in the film.
I must point out that much of what appears in the game is an extremely simplified version of Tomb Raider, but worse. You have 5 movement controls, mainly walking, turning and a single Jump, and then there’s your mouse, that helps a bit. It’s horrendously unwieldy! Stupidly, the developers were worried that the age range of the players would be too low to understand what the hell jumping is, so there’s an "Auto-Jump" option, just in case you happen to be a spastic chicken or other such farm animal who cannot comprehend 3D environments.
There is also (in a feeble attempt to make the children stay at the computer for longer) a spell casting element to the game. You must first learn spells in lessons, and then put them into practice. Learning is simply drawing using your mouse, around a shape, keeping between the lines and inside the time limit too. In the level that follows, you must press your casting button, and aim at what you think might be handy to do something to. If you are aiming at a blockage in the path, then there will be the shape of a spell appearing in front of you, and you just simply let go of the cast button, and it will roll out of the way/activate/wilt etc. Unfortunately, that’s as far as the spells go, as you can’t choose individual spells, and you can’t cast it on everything, only things important to the level.

As far as it looks, I can only describe it as "kiddie". Everything is made slightly like a cartoon (and I do mean slightly), while any character that ISN’T Harry but is important in the film, has their film star face superimposed on their character, in a "I can’t be bothered to model the face of Robbie Coltrane!" kinda moment. Any bottomless chasms that Harry might fall down and "Faint" inside is suitably kiddiefied, so that the fear of being above something so dangerous doesn’t affect the player’s sudden bout of vertigo, by blacking out, instead of showing the sides of the pit going downwards, for a heightened height effect. Indeed, the mere fact that Harry is cosmetically perfect for the game, and does not die, reinforces the brand that the glory hogs Warner Bros, want to keep completely untarnished.

Maybe if the evil Warner lawyers didn’t jump down the neck every time the developers wanted to make an actual game, they could have got some work done, and made something special, instead of this tosh that tries to ruin any happiness from HP fans, from their reading and watching, by playing this complete and utter abomination of a game!


Simplistic controls forbid any real gameplay.


“Disney”, but with crap looking characters


“Alo-Hamora!”… “ALO-HOMORA!”… “ALO-homora”…. repetative..


Spoils a perfectly good book/film/product range…

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