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Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone Package Art

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone

Iím new to Harry Potter, which means I refused to read the books until last Thanksgiving, when I read the first four. All the resistance was for nothing. I ended up liking the host of plot twists, English wit, and bizarre punsÖ I mean spells. Sure, some of it doesnít make any sense. I mean, if there is an ancient wizard culture with its own laws and mores, why do they celebrate Christmas? Shouldnít they have some of their own holidays? And why do the kids keep eating every flavor beans when so many of the flavors are wretched? I canít imagine a company, even in the wizard world, making a profit selling such a sketchy product. But I digress...

Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone, a videogame adaptation of J.K. Rowling's first novel, by Electronic Arts is, strangely, a follow-up to last yearís Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, an adaptation of the second book in the series. Since the Chamber of Secrets was timed for release with the second movie, EA leap-frogged the first book. The Sorcererís Stone came about because they have decided to go back and release a game, using the same engine as Chamber of Secrets, that fills in the story to those who play the game but donít read the books and to give fans of the series a chance to play through year one at Hogwarts, retold to fit the videogame medium. If it seems like a useless game born in a boardroom, well it is, sort of. But, fortunately, Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone is an okay game that fills a niche, right above craptastic and below goodness.


The graphics in Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone are mediocre. The game features more jaggies than I have ever seen before in a GameCube game. There is a lot of shaking in the environment whenever you run around. The camera is terrible, and often becomes trapped when you turn a corner. This makes it difficult to complete some puzzles in the game as the camera reset button doesnít help the majority of the time. Even if you tell the camera to snap behind you, it can still get stuck or it can zoom in too close to Harry and obscure your view. There is no 16x9 or progressive scan support.


There are tons of voice samples in this game. Every line of text is spoken, give or take a few useless ones. There is more speech in this game than in Chamber of Secrets, one of the few categories where The Sorcererís Stone exceeds the sequel, errÖ prequel. Harry and the other students at the school all jabber on in clever English accents. The accent scores extra points with me wherever itís found. John Williams didnít provide the music for the game like he did for the movies. This means the music doesnít have a full orchestral sound and you wonít feel like watching Star Wars or Jaws when you turn the game off. I liked the music though. It wasnít overwhelming and fit the atmosphere of the Harry Potter world.


Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone is another Zelda clone. The main difference is you have to get new spells instead of new weapons. Otherwise, the progression, puzzles, auto-jumping and secrets all fit the Zelda mold. The biggest problem with The Sorcererís Stone is with the physics engine. You will be trapped in walls, bushes, and certain corners at different points in the game. Sometimes you can get free, but most times, youíll have to save your game, restart, and hope you arenít screwed.

The game takes place over a matter of days where you attend classes, defeat monsters, and learn new spells. While not in class, you are free to explore Hogwarts in order to find secret passages or complete side fetch-quests. You collect every flavor beans, the currency of Hogwarts, and wizard cards, which tell the story of famous witches and wizards throughout history. Nothing in the game is new, nor is it terribly well executed. Overall Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone is a challenging diversion you can easily beat, as long as you donít end up trapped in a wall.




Harry Potter and the Sorcererís Stone isnít groundbreaking, original, or challenging. Assuming you can avoid becoming a part of the wall, the game can be beaten in about ten hours. This game is for the Harry Potter faithful. The game, with its remixed story line, random objectives, and Zelda-esque gameplay isnít enough to keep newcomers to the series interested. Thatís not to say that itís bad. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the plot elements in the game, but it was all a rehash of Chamber of Secrets. If youíre a big Harry Potter fan, you likely will play this game no matter what I say. If youíre not a fan and want to get into the series, read the book. Sure, the game can be found for $20 to $30, but there are better places to spend your money.

final score 6.1/10

Staff Avatar Mark Martinez
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"Unless you're being ironic, turn that off."

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