The Harry Potter video games stand out surprisingly well when compared to other licenced properties, not only by quality but that almost every console had a unique version of the game, I have already reviewed the PC version on this website and I feel its time we take a look at all of other versions of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, these wont be full on reviews but I will discuss what I like and dislike about each version, I own all of them apart from the PS2 game mainly due to the fact that it costs and arm and leg to purchase but I have managed to at least lend a copy from a close friend so without further ado lets get into this.
The PC game was developed by Knowwonder and was released in 2001, it followed the plot line of the book and had a linear level based system.
The game stands out for heavy use of the computer mouse, in order to learn spells you needed to trace shapes representing them and you would even use your mouse to aim and fire your magic, I feel this gave the game a unique although very slight realism which only the PC port could offer.
You moved and flew using the WASD keys which also work very well and I feel that this version controls a lot more smoothly to the PS1 game which I will cover next.
My biggest complaint with this version is that the collectibles are pretty lame, you can collect different coloured beans that can be traded with Fred and George to buy Wizard cards, some of the cards are also hidden throughout the game, the fact that all the twins do here is sell you cards it is a bit disappointing compared to other versions.
The PS1 version
This is the version I have most recently finished so I am going into this with a fresh mind.
Again this game follows a linear path however it does differ in its collectibles, you still grab beans but this time not only can you get wizard cards but you can also unlock a more powerful knockback jinx as well as the nimbus 2000 and better quidditch armour. I will say that the areas are very guided as there is very little room for exploration, the enemies can be interesting but the game auto selects spells for you so defeating them requires very little skill.
Flying really takes some time to learn here, I found it very difficult to control, the broom stick feels very slippery and trying to get all of the hoops takes some proper skills, there is a part in the final challenge rooms that really had me struggling at times. The actual quidditch matches in the game are quite boring as you simply follow the rings and grab the snitch, I wish there was a little more to it but the I suppose that’s what the quidditch world cup video game is for.
There are a few different types of gameplay here including sections similar to games likes Crash Bandicoot, other areas needed stealth gameplay as well even racing, there is really something here for every gamer although at times I did feel like there was a few too many different game types.
I will be honest with this one and say that I cant really give a proper opinion here because I have never got far enough in this version to even get into Hogwarts.
But what I can tell you is that it is a traditional turn based RPG which is very challenging and follows the events of the book rather than the movie, I would like to finish the game one day and I think its is deserving of its own full review but that is for another day.
So apologies if this one was brief but I just haven’t experienced this game enough to go into more detail or fairly critique it.
This is my personal favourite version of the Philosophers Stone.
This game is very challenging for new players because unlike other Harry Potter games, in this version you can actually lose the house cup! yes that’s right at the end of the game you may not actually beat Slytherin, you gain and lose house points based on your performance in the games tasks.
The main game requires Harry to learn new spells and successfully complete tasks from the book, a lot of the time puzzle solving is required to complete the areas, some inspiration from 2D Zelda games was definitely used here as this has a very knock off feel of those games. Of course this is no where near as good as a AAA title but it has a lot of charm and is very difficult the part where you have to sneak around Hogwarts castle avoiding the prefects always has me puling out my hair but trying to beat your house points score every time you beat the game will keep you coming back. I highly recommend picking this one up if you get the chance.
And here we are at the very expensive one, the reason this game costs so much is because it was released after the Chamber of Secrets video game so not many people bought this assuming it was an older game and now its worth quite a bit and is a game I am desperate to add to my personal PS2 collection.
The first thing I want to point out with this game is that it looks great, Hogwarts is huge and is full of colours and things to see, I love that you can explore the castle after bed time to find secret passages and collect hidden wizard cards, there is a lot to do in this game and most of the time its more fun to explore than stick with the main campaign.
You can now set spells to specific buttons for quick uses and thankfully the game controls very well, this made flying a lot of fun, due to the advanced technology of the PS2 when you were flying you could see far beneath your broom and flying around the castle was really satisfying as it helped to show how large the in game maps actually are.
The Bertie Botts beans are back and this time they are used as currency in Fred and Georges shop, the only complaint I have with the game is Harry shouting the beans flavour every time he picks one up as it gets annoying very fast.
And that’s all of the video game adaptions of the Philosophers Stone, which one is your favourite? I think mine will always be the GBA game but the PS2/ XBOX/ Gamecube version is a close second !
Perhaps one day I should go over all versions of the Chamber of Secrets as well 🙂
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