say the third time is the charm, but can Harry make
it the fourth time too? by
25, 2005 - I
hope I don't have to explain who Harry Potter is.
If I do, I won't. Query it on Google and come back
we are with the fourth Harry Potter videogame, just
in time for the Holidays. Talk about milking a cash
cow. Just how much money does this lady need? I'm
talking about creator J.K. Rowling, who I confuse
with Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien, and Judas
Priest guitarist, K.K. Downing.
the latest movie, and book, the Harry Potter gang
is approaching young adulthood. As a result the subject
matter has become somewhat darker. (I'm sure you've
heard everyone say this). It's probably in retaliation
to all those over-zealous religious morons that condemned
the series for promoting witchcraft and Satanism.
Don't get me started...don't even get me started....
do like the series and although I haven't read any
of the books I've seen the movies. I guess I'm just
"a fan" and not a 'freaking freak fan."
In any case I'm also a gamer and that gives me license
to work a little magic of my own on the Harry Potter
license. Let me begin by informing you that the gameplay
is very straightforward and simplified. It falls under
the category of an interactive movie. It's linear
and it moves along at a quick pace buffered by cutscenes
that keep the storyline central to the gameplay. The
game follows the plot of the movie, which is tailor-made
for a videogame in my opinion, but manages to elaborate
on situations to extend the gameplay without resorting
Voldemort captures Harry with the aid of the ghostly
Death Eaters. He explains that Harry's mother died
trying to save him but cast a spell that backfired
on Voldemort. With the aid of a magic elixir he has
been able to remain alive and with the aid of the
Death Eaters he will attempt to exact revenge. Things
look pretty grim for Harry and his gang. I'm sure
this movie will scare the bejesus out of a lot of
is also selected to take part as a contestant in the
TriWizard Tournament which sees him perform a variety
of tasks which require his developing warlock skills.
He will have to fight a dragon, ride his broomstick
through trying conditions, save his friends from danger
and make his way through a giant labyrinth. It all
makes for a great movie but if you've already seen
it, you might be disappointed by how basic these missions
are adapted for gameplay.
fun to relive the movie and that's about all you're
going to get out of this when all is said and done.
The linear nature of the gameplay ensures that you
will be forced into the various scenes as the director
and developer intended. The puzzles and mini-games
are fun but they are like eating candy floss; there's
not much nourishment.
can play as any of the three characters, Harry, Hermione
or Ron. When you switch among them the AI will take
over. The other characters do tend to get in the way
and they're not particularly brilliant when it comes
to doing the right thing. The levels that just feature
Harry are the most fun in the single-player mode.
of the combat is button mashing. While it feels good
to be empowered thusly it takes the challenge out
of the game. To make things even more condescending,
the spells that you acquire are automatically loaded
for you depending on the situation. When you need
to levitate something, the levitation spell is automatically
chosen for you. You don't have the ability to make
these decisions nor can you combine spells to create
more complex hybrids. Unless all you want to do is
get through this game as quickly as possible, these
features aren't doing anyone any favors.
may be interesting to play the three-player co-op
mode, as it's certainly more rewarding than having
the AI take over the other characters. It plays out
like a dumbed-down version of Gauntlet but if you've
got two pals over at your house and you're looking
for something to do for a few hours you could certainly
find a worse time waster.
locations look great. You'll get to visit many of
them although you don't have the total freedom of
3D exploration. The colors are vibrant and the characters
are well rendered with fluid animation. You can't
control the camera angles and you'll be subjected
to occasional leaps of faith and offscreen hits from
enemies. Particle effects are put to good use during
spell castings with great lighting and animated effects.
The music is perfect for the game and the voiceacting
would recommend renting this game for a weekend. Although
there are a lot collectibles to gather you may not
care to replay the game just to compulsively collect
everything. The rewards are just not worth the effort
in my opinion. Otherwise it's a good revisiting of
the movie or novel.
the Magic of the Movie - The magical world of
Harry Potter comes to life with in-game characters
that look like their big-screen counterparts, cinematic
environments, captivating gameplay, and a compelling
Better Magic - Explore the game's all-new spell-casting
system, unleashing powerful spells to become a master
Play - In another first for the franchise, join
forces with friends to navigate the world of Harry
Potter, combining powers and casting spells co-operatively
to create more powerful magic.
Rewards System - Increase the power of Harry,
Ron, and Hermione with collector's and Creature