- Platform: Windows 98 / NT / 2000 / Me / XP
- ELSPA Minimum Age: 3
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
Enter fantastical free-roaming 3D environments from Harry's world, becoming Harry Potter and delving not only into his world but also into his personality, via an internal "voice". Conversing with unique characters like Moaning Myrtle, shopping in Diagon Alley, and exploring the convoluted corridors of Hogwarts, you'll make crucial and independent decisions within Harry's world. Additionally, Harry can, of course, cast spells against foes--but these spells must be perfectly executed, or they could be miscast with humorous or critical consequences! Mini-games within levels can be revisited, so players can help Mrs. Weasley with "de-gnoming" her garden, challenge other students in Professor Lockhart's Duelling Club, or complete other mini-games again and again
Embellishing the plot of the film and book, the game's main focus is 3-D exploration, as the player controls Harry, interacts with characters and generally pokes around a fabulously realised Hogwarts School. Yet to the game's credit, there's a lot more variety than you'd expect, thanks to its willingness to go off-narrative for a while to introduce a sub-game or added task.
There are several factors worthy of merit. The learning curve is superbly thought out, moving you through the game while you get used to things. Spell casting is fun too--Harry Potter might not be the first game to activate on-screen magic via mouse movements, but it certainly works a treat here. And then there's the graphics and particularly the sound, both of which really do add to the fun.
Downers? Cutting edge entertainment perhaps it isn't, and while the game neatly compiles several styles, it doesn't really define one of its own. Yet for its target family audience, these are minor quibbles, and will do little to detract from the overall fun.
Ultimately, it's a game that's captured the flavour of the Harry Potter world, and instilled it with a sizeable amount of entertainment. It's an enjoyable, thoughtful adaptation, and good fun too. --Simon Brew