Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2003 video game)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is an action adventure video game developed by Warthog Games and published by Electronic Arts on 2003-12-03 for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. Like with the four video game adaptions before it, it's based on the film, not the book from the Harry Potter series. This is the most technically impressive adaption.
I was looking to play a Harry Potter game, and I wanted to start with Sorcerer's Stone, so I compared each of the different versions and found this one to be the most impressive. I chose the GameCube port simply because the Dolphin emulator made it so easy. I beat it on 2021-11-09 with a full collection of chocolate frog cards and all the missing items found.
I don't own this game, but I beat the GameCube port.
Best Version: PlayStation 2
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The voice actors do a really good job of replicating the characters from the film.
- Being able to walk around, and especially fly around, Hogwarts is fun, even if it's pretty sterile and smaller than it should be.
- The many hidden passages around Hogwarts fits the books nicely.
- The character design resembles the film, but, by giving them a cartoonish look, it helps distract from the low polygon count.
- The Remember All is a nice in-universe way to maintain quests, as is collecting chocolate frog cards to increase your max health.
- The chess match, though not using the rules of chess, is a nice intellectual change up from the action sequences.
- The game has a lot of short animations you're forced to watch over and over again throughout the game. Seeing Harry oddly open a door is fine the first time, but, the 1000th time is aggravating. Same with opening a chest, searching a desk, picking up an item, crawling through a tunnel, etc. I assume they used these animation to load assets in the background, but that's only necessary for doors and tunnels, the opening chest and desk animations should be skippable.
- Like most third-person 3D games, the camera often doesn't cooperate with the player and sometimes gets stuck while the player runs off into the distance. It also faces you when you enter a door, making it impossible to see what's in the room until you painstakingly maneuver it behind you.
- There isn't enough variety among the enemies. There are only a dozen monsters, and several of them are nearly identical to others (like the imp/gnome, ghost/gytrash, and horklump/puffapod). Even the bosses have to be reused to pad out the game which results in very repetitive game play.
- The sneaking mechanic is poorly implemented. While I like the idea of sneaking along walls and peering around corners, it's hard to control. Besides, the whole process is made useless by stink pellets. Also, while stink pellets are cheaper than dung bombs, they're much easier to use effectively.
- The Grand Staircase is underwhelming. It's just a straight vertical shaft with a single simple stairway winding up the interior with awfully repetitive portraits. The "moving" aspect of the stairways is basic, and it forces you to have to wait for them to catch up, and, since you have to ascend and descend the stairway dozens of times through the course of the game, it slows the game down even further.
- You don't recover health after sleeping each night, so you have to waste a lot of time searching for health boosts until you unlock the healing potion halfway through the game.
- Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans are found everywhere, so you will very quickly fill up your bag. The twins sell a larger bag and a few items that can easily be found for free in the desks, but, once you buy those, there isn't anything left to buy, and you're stuck with a full bag for the rest of the game.
- Completing the lost items side-quest only yields a single card per item, and you don't get anything for finding them all. This was quite underwhelming.
- Searching a random desk often yields a reward greater than a gold chest which makes the chests very underwhelming. You can easily collect tons of cards doing this, and this means all later chests you open are rendered meaningless.
- As far as I can tell, nothing you do will cause you to substantially lose or gain house points; they're pretty much determined by the story line. This just reminds you you're following the script of an adventure, and not taking part in your own adventure.
- The vast majority of the NPCs don't tell you anything useful. It would be nice if there were the occasional useful hint for finding something special.
- Although the game maintains a lot of the film's dialog, it changes the time and place for a lot if it, usually for the worse.
- Most of the night time guards are random prefects instead of Mr. Filtch or Mrs. Norris. Filtch only showed up once, and wasn't any more difficult than a prefect.
- NPCs sometimes walk through walls, get stuck, or teleport to a destination to reach the next scripted event.
- It would be nice if the Every Flavor Beans actually had consistent colors. A purple bean shouldn't be coconut and an orange bean shouldn't be grass.
- There isn't really anything too bad about the game, but the long list of smaller problems results in an underwhelming experience to the point where I had little interest in playing the sequel.
All ports and regions use the same artwork, they just adjust the graphic layout for the different platforms and change the titles to match the region. Although the painting is technically impressive, Harry looks less like an 11-year-old boy and more like a lesbian librarian.