reviews\ Jan 22, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Lego Creator: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - PC - Review

Find the chocolate frogs, learn a lesson, advance in the game.

Well, Creator Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets may not be the most faithful rendering of JK Rowling’s novel, but in the typical Lego style, it does have some charm to it.

The Qube Software game, developed with Lego Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive and published by Electronic Arts, is definitely geared toward younger children and has an arcade flair to it, although the edit world function could tickle the imaginations and creativity of those slightly older.

The game itself is essentially an arcade-style romp through Hogwarts with games and side quests along the way. You are challenged to solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, but that is not the entire purpose of this game.

It is meant to be fun, unobtrusive and entertaining. The challenge won’t be there for older players seeking adventure, but for younger players, the pacing of the game will lead them gently along.

You begin by selecting which of the principle characters you would like to take the role of ­ Harry, Ron (Weasley) or Hermione (Granger). After picking an avatar, players are whisked away to the grounds of Hogwarts. The first task is collect chocolate frogs. This is done by running over them, much like a player would a power-up in other games.

Once you have collected enough frogs, you are allowed to train. This is necessary because it enables you to pass through portals into other parts of the school. So Harry thumps along across the lawns of Hogwarts, up passages, across water, climbing stairs and running over frogs. At last they are collected and Harry begins to look for that first training … but wait! Hedwig has arrived, meaning Harry has mail.

The game immediately switches over to Hedwig and players get to control the snowy owl as he tries to locate his master and deliver his mail.

But Creator offers more than just a casually associated romp through the second adventure of the young wizard. The game comes with an "edit world" function that is a joyous experience. Gamers can actually alter the playing world. The feature has a palette, which gives players a host of options from creating models to changing the weather. The workshop holds a variety of Lego building blocks. You can built your own structures, paint them and place them in the world.

If you so desire, you can even create and customize minifigures.

The game’s control system has been kept very easy to learn and control. Creator is bright and color, though there are some problems with narrow pathways through the game, cameras that can be temporarily stuck behind objects. And depending on the camera angle, some of the world’s objects can cut-away. The environment, though bright and colorful, lacks texture.

The sound of the game is solid, and powered by the narration of David Cocker, the audio portion of the game keeps the overall tone going strong.

This is a game that has a variety of minigames but is a little too simple for the experienced player to enjoy without taking a complete mental vacation. But with the vast appeal of the title character, doubtless there are those who will enjoy the Lego treatment of the tale. This is a game that is best for younger gamers.

This game is rated for Everyone.


Gameplay: 7
The game plods along at a slow pace, which may be perfect for younger players without a lot of keyboard or gaming skills. The experienced gamer will likely find the general tempo slower than he or she would like. The mapboards are not that big per region of the game.

Graphics: 6.8
The environments are bright and color, and the look is typically Lego-esque. The world does have seams, and sharp angles and rendering can appear too harsh at times. The follow camera can get stuck behind objects, interrupting the look of the game. Overall, the animation is smooth.

Sound: 7
The narration is very well done, and keeps the tone of the game upbeat and lively. The other sound elements are merely average.

Difficulty: Easy
This is not a game that will challenge serious game players, or even those teen-aged or above. The game play is quite simplistic.

Concept: 7.5
The tone of the game is bright and fun, and the "edit world" features are a delight.

Overall: 7
This is a game targeting younger players, thus the mood, tempo and tone is light. The game is an arcade romp built along the themes of the JK Rowling book. Don’t expect serious quests. The game has some solid features, but also has some failings, as in the camera angles, which can get stuck. This game will likely have limited appeal.


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