Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Part 3: Gameboy Color Version (Amazon.com)

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After the PC version, I concentrated on this one next.  Unlike the other games, this one focuses more on the story from the book.  It also has an RPG aspect that makes it unique.

Since I’m very picky about research (except when it comes to school work), I read the first Harry Potter book and viewed the first movie again.  I have to admit that, compared to the later ones, this one isn’t quite as great but it’s still enjoyable.  Still, what is it about these books that make them so popular?  Maybe it’s because, as Bobby Bacala (The Sopranos) says, “it gives the other kids, the 98 pound weakling, some hope.”  It might also be because, unlike other books targeted to children, Harry Potter is not so condescending.  In many books that are aimed towards children, when the main character broke a rule no matter how minor, they were automatically caught and punished for it.  This method was a way to manipulate children into being obedient robots.  In these books, sometimes Harry is rewarded for breaking rules or he’s punished.  Sometimes, he doesn’t get caught at all.  However, it might be because books in the UK aren’t as condescending as books in the US.  Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

As I said, this game is the most loyal to the book with a few differences.  For one thing, it’s Hermione who tells Harry about Snape instead of Percy, which makes absolutely no sense considering that Hermione knows as much about the teachers as Harry does while Percy’s been there for five years.  Some scenes follow the book exactly and yet seem out of place, such as McGonagall showing up out of nowhere to take twenty points from Slytherin and Draco not even objecting to that whatsoever.  Sometimes it gets the characters wrong, such as having Draco give Harry a prize for beating him when Draco is a sore loser.  Another thing is that makes this game notable is that it’s the only one to have you attend History of Magic.  Don’t worry, all you do is get sent to Diagon Alley to retrieve a card.

The game play is RPG like which separates it from the other ones in the series.  You run into magic clouds and get into a battle with various monsters.  The more experience points you gain, the more you level up.  If you use a spell enough times you can also have it upgraded.  Oh, and you can collect wizard cards and card combinations you can use to aid you in battle. 

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To me, this seems out of place because RPG elements don’t really suit Harry Potter.  I prefer learning spells in classes and going through the obstacle courses in other games because it feels more like you’re in a magical school.  Did I mention that this is the only game where Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw could win the House Cup rather than automatically losing to Slytherin if you don’t have enough points?

This game is loyal but out of place.  I give it 3 out of 10; it’s unique but not in a good way.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Part 2: PC Version

After finishing the Playstation version I concentrated on this one.  Ironically, this one was actually the first version I ever played.  Like the Playstation version, this also gives you the feel of being a student.  However, there are differences in this version.

In the Playstation version, Harry Potter is the silent protagonist save for when he’s casting spells (think Link from Zelda or the 10-year-old trainers from Pokemon), but in this version he says very little.  The thing is, Harry only reacted in the first book, so it actually makes perfect sense.  You also have to collect beans for Fred and George, but instead of collecting a certain type of bean you just collect 25 beans and trade them for Wizard Cards throughout the game.  You have to collect all the Wizard Cards in order to see the secret ending and like the book, Dumbledore’s the first card you get.

You also get to attend classes and learn spells.  In order to learn the spell, you have to trace a symbol provided by the Professor.  As fun as it is, there’s a ticking clock that can make you very nervous and your hand can be unsteady because of it, so it’s hard to pass the final tracing lesson.  After that’s over, you get to participate in a challenge where you try to collect all the stars hidden throughout it.  You earn points based on how well you traced the spell and how well you completed the challenge associated with it.  There is one spell you learn from Hermione called Alohomora and you even get points from her, which brings up one question.  How is Hermione able to give points?  I have no problem with her teaching a spell, but actually giving points?  Couldn’t she have just given you a Wizard Card or something?  That would have made a lot more sense.  Another problem I have is that you never have a Transfiguration Class.  I understand not having History of Magic in the game, but Transfiguration?  The only time you even see McGonagall is when she tells you that you’ve made the Quidditch team and then she just disappears.

Like the book, Cerberus is still guarding the stone (yes I know his name is Fluffy, but I’m calling him Cerberus) and you have to put him to sleep by playing the flute.  However you never talk to Hagrid about any of this, so you never find out how to put him to sleep.  You never even find out the dog’s name.  All you know is that there’s a three-headed dog guarding the door and you were never told how to get past it.  Unless Harry gained the deduction skills of Sherlock Holmes, there’s no way he would be able to figure out how to get past Cerberus.  It also makes Ron’s line about how “Only Hagrid would call this monster Fluffy,” very out of place.

Again, we have Quidditch in this game and it even gets its own separate section, but they didn’t even try with this one.  In this version, there is a mention of an opposing Seeker, but you never even see your opponent.  The rings produced by the snitch don’t even serve a purpose, except to show you where it is.  Like the Playstation version, the only way of losing the game is to get knocked out and this time you don’t have armor protecting you.

Like the Playstation version, the game is relatively easy except for the Wizard Cards.  The difference is every part of this game plays some role in the overall storyline and you even find out why Fred and George are collecting beans.  I give this game a 6 out of 10.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Part 1: Playstation Version(Amazon.com)

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone or, as it’s known in every other country, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is the book that started the cash cow known as the Harry Potter series.  When the movie first came out, games were made to tie in with it for obvious reasons.  Despite these games all having the same title, each version differs in a very unique way.  It is because of this that I’ve decided to separate each version by section.

Playstation Version

Lately I have been in a Harry Potter mood so I decided to replay all my old games again starting with this one.  While the game does follow the main story line, it also gives you a feel of actually being a student at Hogwarts.  Not only do you learn new spells, you also have to make sure you arrive to class on time or lose points for Gryffindor.  Unfortunately the game is not as awesome as you would think it is, but it is still a fun game.

According to Amazon.com this is “less of a game than a tour through Potter’s magical world.”  I have to say that I agree with that sentiment.  Not only does it let you explore the castle, you also get to attend lessons and learn magic.  One part that I really liked was the obstacle course before each class.  If you failed to pass it in a certain amount of time, you lose points for tardiness.  It made me feel like a student when there’s a chance of being late, though if you have to go through an obstacle course to get to every class at Hogwarts, I can’t imagine many students showing up on time, some of them might have even missed the class completely.  The only class you don’t have to run through an obstacle course to get to is Potions, which kind of makes Fred and George’s warning about not showing up late kind of pointless.  It’s also ironic, because in the PC version, that’s the only class you show up late to.

Speaking of Potions, the game does a decent job with Professor Snape.  While he is still the same snarky bastard we all know and love, or loathe depending on what kind of fan you are, I felt that the game tried too hard to pin the attempted theft of the Sorcerer’s Stone on him.  When he sends you to collect fireflies, a mysterious hooded man activates a trap to send you far down into the dungeon.  When you come back, Snape is surprised to see you and says that he wasn’t expecting you back so soon.  While I can overlook that, there is one scene I cannot get my head around.  After Harry gets his invisibility cloak, he decides to snoop around the third floor corridor only to run into Snape talking to Filch.  Filch tells him that there’s someone snooping around and Snape reveals that “(he’s) had (his) eye on (the Sorcerer’s Stone) for some time.”  So, basically, your way of making us suspect Snape was by making him practically confess that he’s out to steal the stone and then having us fight Quirrel in the end?  That’s like making a Chamber of Secrets game where you have Draco Malfoy announce that he’s the heir of Slytherin only to go down to the Chamber of Secrets to find Ginny possessed by Tom Riddle.  I get that you’re trying to mislead us, but if you’re going to have Snape say something like that without giving a rational explanation as to why he would say it, you might as well have changed the plot to have Snape steal the Sorcerer’s Stone instead of Quirrell.  For those very few of you who have probably not so much as seen the movie, I’m sorry for the spoiler, but if you haven’t at least seen the movie, then it’s your own fault for not catching up with the times.

As I said earlier, the game is essentially a glorified tour and that includes Diagon Alley, the very level I have grown to despise.  Hagrid’s dragon gets sick, so you have to go to Diagon Alley to get some ingredients for the medicine.  Of course, you have to get money from Gringotts first, leading to six mini-games in general and you have to do really well if you want to get three hidden wizard cards.  Did I mention that you have to collect paperwork on a very slippery floor and then go through a roller-coaster ride just to get money that’s floating in thin air?  That’s right; any idiot who manages to collect the paperwork can get their money just by rolling the mine cart around and who knows, they might accidentally collect some of your money too.  If that’s how Gringotts is, no wonder no one tries to rob you, and yes I am very well aware of what happens in book seven, but we’re not talking about the books.  Oh, and after you get all that money, you now have three mini-games you have to play to collect the ingredients, one of them being that you have to chase a pissed-off peacock around Ollivander’s storage room hoping to pluck one lousy feather, and don’t even think about using your wand.  In all honesty this level wouldn’t be so frustrating if it weren’t for the very fact that none of this played a role in the story.  It just seemed like a desperate excuse to put Diagon Alley in the game and the only thing you really get out of it is that peacocks hate having their feathers pulled out, something I already knew.  Well, that and wizard cards, but you could have easily stuffed those cards anywhere around Hogwarts.  What’s really frightening is all the work Harry now has to make up because of this.  Take it from me, it’s better to have to do a little work every day than have to do this huge pile of work in one whole day, and I really need to take my own advice on that one.

Anyone whose familiar with the world of Harry Potter knows about Quidditch, and it’s not only included in this game, there’s also a whole section devoted to playing it.  The problem is, since you’re playing as Harry Potter, the only position available to you is Seeker and it seems like a real pain.  While there is an opponent Seeker, all he does is fly through the rings never catching the snitch; if that’s how opponent Seekers not in Gryffindor play, no wonder Gryffindor usually wins.  Seriously, the only way you can lose is if you get knocked out and even that is close to impossible when you trade beans with Fred and George for Quidditch armor.

Despite how easy the game is, it’s still pretty fun.  The only challenge is collecting all the wizard cards and you can easily consult a walkthrough for that.  Still, there were some very frustrating parts that did not belong and you never find out what Fred and George want with all the beans you gave them.  I give this game a 5 out of 10, fun but not particularly memorable.

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