Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Review

Developer: Eurocom Publisher: EA
Release Date: November 15, 2002 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

The name Harry Potter has become a household name. With all big stars comes a huge array of books, movies, and video games, most of which are terrible to mediocre. Can the Harry Potter franchise change this reference and come out with a good book/movie turned video game? Right when you start off playing Chamber of Secrets you notice the impressive opening sequence. The sequence previews what the game has to offer as you continue to play it. You start off by practicing with the target system. You must hit gnomes in Ron’s barn using the targeting system. Once you have accomplished that goal you move on to my favorite part, the gnome throw. Once your day is over, you move on to Diagon Alley and you must find all of Ginny’s school supplies. You run into a few obstacles like a crazy store owner who you must use your magic to keep him busy while you run past him.

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Thankfully the storyline is very similar to the book/movie. Another reassurance that was given to us was that Harry and Ron look like both of them and even sound like them. As Harry you must complete certain tasks to win the game, playing Quidditch, learning spells, exploring the Dark Forest, finding the Chamber of Secrets, and defeating the Basilisk. You also must collect Bertie Bott’s Beans, which are used as money, and can be used to buy objects which aid you in completing the game. In order to gain stamina you must collect famous Witches and Wizards cards. You may freely explore Hogwarts as you please, which is an added perk. The missions are not extremely challenging by any means, but they can get frustrating if you get caught sneaking around at night and force you to start over again. The AI is relatively dumb and easy to trick. They unfortunately say the same things over again like “I must be hearing things”.

The graphics are impressive, but the characters seem to get “stuck” every once in a while in between two objects. The game runs very smoothly and the characters look great. Like I stated earlier, Harry looks like Harry along with Ron (even though Hermoine looks like a witch). I guess you could say it was somewhat “cartoony”, but this is what you expect from a game based off of a book. Actually I found the “cartoony” look quite fitting and appropriate for this type of game. Unfortunately the in-game movies are about as good as they are on PSX.

The voices weren’t done by the actors from the movie, but they are very good and very well cast nonetheless. I find it relieving that when you run around you hear Harry’s shoes stomp up and down across the stony ground. Whenever you cast a spell your “magic” must charge up and it of course makes a noise, along with Harry saying the spell which gets a bit repetitive after a while.

All in all Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was not a bad game by any means, neither was it a great game. It was a great attempt by EA, but in the end Chamber of Secrets just wasn’t fun enough for me. You slowly start the game before you even get into the castle (Hogwarts) and then you have somewhat boring and tedious missions. Another complaint is the ridiculously long load times, which by the way are after about every other room!

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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