reviews\ May 8, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer

I started reading the Harry Potter books last year. I had heard about them for years (who hasn't?), but did not read them until October. They are full of wonder, magic and fantasy-- the recipe for a great game!! For kids young and old, this RPG will keep you busy for hours. If you are not familiar with the characters and story, perhaps a FAQ would help. There are many on the Web. If nothing else, knowledge of the Harry Potter world enhances the game's experience. Unfortunately, I do not have the space to get too deep into it. 

You begin in Daigon Alley, where you must first collect your money from Gringott's Bank (run by Goblins, of course). Once you have some loot, you have to browse the various shops in the "Alley" to collect the items you will need for your first year at Hogwarts. This follows the first book nicely, and real fans will enjoy the experience. Unlike the book, however, your time at the bank and in the Alley are not as easy. You must fight a variety of creatures (rats, snakes, trolls, etc) in your quest for items. You battle them with spells, of course. You can use your "Magic points" to cast a spell, or use your "Famous Witches and Wizards" cards to complete the tasks. Each has it's benefit and drawbacks. You must learn your spells and how well they do (or do not) work against a particular foe. The cards are fun to use, but not easy to come by. 

Once you survive the Alley and arrive at Hogwart's (there is a lot to see and do in between!), the game almost seems to start over at a new level. You should now have supplies, familiarity with spells, and other experience. The first part is merely a training ground for the rest of the story-- which has you exploring the halls of the school while also racking up points for your "house"--  Gryffindor . 

What I found most interesting about this game was it's ability to provide great color graphics AND have good game play. I am not a big RPG player, so for this to capture my attention for hours and hours is saying a lot. Along the way in this game, there are "mini-games" to play, which seem more suited to a younger audience. Still, this game is a lot of fun to play. I am amazed so much fun could be packed into a game for the GBC. It will provide hours of game play and entertainment. It really helps to know the story from the books. In fact, I am not sure someone who has NOT read the book(s) would get as far or enjoy it as much as a familiar participant. I know it helped me a great deal, but I am sure a dedicated gamer without the book under their belt will do well-- since it is an engaging experience for anyone.  

Gameplay: 8.5
The more you play, the more you learn and can do. It snowballs as you gain experience and knowledge of spells and surroundings.

Graphics: 9
Great graphics for this small platform. The colors are vibrant and characters/scenes have good features that help bring the book to life in your hands. 

Sound: 7
The sounds are good. The music gets mundane after a while, but not too bad. Typical for the audio-limited GBC. 

Difficulty: Medium
Learning the spells and navigating the environments are all part of a good RPG. Once you learn what spells are good for, the game becomes easier-- buy not easy

Concept: 8 
A great transfer from book to game. It is typical for a RPG to have this kind of "mission", but the layout is fun and nice to experience. Great translation from written word to hand-held game. 

Overall: 8.5
Harry Potter was a blast to read, and the game is no exception. Knowing the story is a great asset here, but I feel that anyone can enjoy this one. The colors, characters and environment add to the challenge of the quests. Having the "mini-games" peppered within the game is nice, though they are kind of simple for a seasoned gamer. A lot of fun and somewhat pleasantly addicting. 


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