Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

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The Real PAL philosophers stone box art.jpeg

50 house points from EA for a terrible game.
Genre: Action
Adventure
Platforms: Nintendo GameCube
PlayStation 2
Xbox
Release Date: NA: December 9, 2003
JP: December 11, 2003 (GCN)
EU: December 12, 2003
JP: January 22, 2004 (PS2)
Developer: Warthog Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Made in: United Kingdom
Franchise: Harry Potter
Next Game: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (chronologically)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (successor)


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in North America, and Harry Potter to Kenja no Ishi in Japan) is a video game based on the film and book of the same name. This article will go over only the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube versions, which are notably inferior compared to Chamber of Secrets despite coming out one year later and were released on December 9, 2003 to act as a prequel to Chamber of Secrets.

Bad Qualities

  1. Bad voice acting. All students, including Prefects, seem to only have two voices. One for males, one for females, which gets really repetitive as they even share the exact same lines. What's worse is the students only have about seven different sentences that they'll repeat over and over again when spoken to.
  2. The camera can be poor at times and glitch up a lot which adds an unwelcome layer of difficulty to sequences - such as when you're trying to jump from platform to platform or when you navigate the Grand Staircase. Also, there are moments during stealth sections where it zooms out and you have no control over it.
    • Your control of the camera is extremely prohibited, and enemies will regularly throw projectiles at you from offscreen that you'll never see coming.
    • The camera never accommodates to focus on the enemy or object that Harry's targeting, leading to many situations where Harry will be blindingly casting spells at an off-screen enemy.
  3. The game is pretty short and it can be beaten in approximately six hours.
  4. Shoddy audio presentation such as the lack of pauses in-between dialogue during cutscenes or the audio cutting out. A perfect example would be the the first cutscene with Ron and Hermione where there are no pauses in-between the dialogue when Harry, Ron and Hermione have a conversation for the first time. The sound mixing is also quite bad.
  5. The game has a large focus on backtracking, which gets tedious quickly.
  6. Poorly animated cutscenes that are unskippable.
    • Some cutscenes are pointless, such as the one showing the House Point standings since you could just view them at your own will at any time as they're always updated before ending the day, and the ones that play when you remove a tapestry or unlock a door.
    • At the end of every class, you can get the same exact animation of the students walking out. The close-ups of the characters are somewhat creepy and they look hideous.
  7. Some of the spells such as Spongify, Incendio and Diffindo must be charged before use or else they won't work at all.
  8. The game never explains how to get the Dungbombs to work. (You use Flipendo on them.)
  9. The stealth is really annoying, terribly designed, and a downgrade from the previous games for the following reasons:
    • The Prefects are dumb and have unfair advantages as they can hear Harry running regardless of how far he is from them, at times they're blind when they see Harry because they don't do anything allowing the player to easily run past them, and they won't even react to Harry distracting them with a spell sometimes. When you do distract them, they don't all go to where the spell hit sometimes, instead they just walk to where the spell went but only for those who reacted to it. Finally, they will randomly spawn at times, can cast the Leg-Locker curse from behind and can even go through walls (it's made worse since the curse can't be deflected like in Chamber of Secrets nor can you hit the Prefects with spells, which doesn't make any sense).
    • Once Harry has his back to a wall he sometimes randomly decides to just step out into the open (which is supposed to be controlled by a button), and it being loud causes the Prefects to react.
    • When Harry sneaks around with the Invisibility Cloak, it only prevents him from being seen from a distance instead of not being able to be seen at all. Should a Prefect get close enough to him, it's treated as Harry having been spotted.
    • After you enter Fred and George's shop, the portrait doesn't close at all and you can't take the secret passageway (which is located in the stall with no toilet) to avoid getting past Percy again unlike Chamber of Secrets, forcing you to always use the crawlspace Harry went through. Even worse, Percy's patrol path doesn't reset at all, meaning you could be caught by him right away once Harry leaves Fred and George's Shop or you could be right behind him once you leave.
    • If you wall sneak on a wall that's off-camera in the hall to the Restricted Section, the camera turns 180 degrees and you can't move Harry at all with your only options being to step away from the wall or peek around the corner.
  10. This game is an asset flip. Practically all of the spells and the layout of Hogwarts were both taken directly from Chamber of Secrets, specifically the PS2 version even using unused/beta material with only a couple of changes such as the Forbidden Corridor replacing Classroom 3D, every floor having doors to open from the Grand Staircase, the Potions classroom being added to the dungeons, Hagrid's Garden replacing the Forbidden Forest, a couple of the areas such as the library, and the Transfiguration and Charms classrooms having hallways added.
  11. The areas are quite dull and because of that, the game feels boring. Despite reusing the Hogwarts Grounds you aren't given the option to fast-travel instantly depending on which direction you go, so you have to traverse around on the grounds in real time, which itself is a chore. Not to mention how utterly empty the whole thing is. Fortunately, you can use your broom to traverse the grounds.
  12. Bad and boring writing.
  13. Unfaithful to both the novel and movie mainly because the way the story is presented is incredibly fragmented with pieces missing, character development and proper introductions being skipped, allusions made to events that never occur, and dangerous assumptions made about how much the audience is familiar with the world and what occurs. There are also a lot of plot holes along with the storyline order being mixed up and many characters are omitted such as Norbert and Oliver Wood. Here are some prime examples that the game gets wrong:
    • The Devil's Snare looks completely wrong as it's a giant Venomous Tentacula colored blue instead of green. In reality, it's a plant with the magical ability to constrict or strangle anything in its surrounding environment or something that happens to touch it.
    • As with other versions of the game, the narrator incorrectly states that Harry lived with the Dursleys for the next eleven years when in reality it was ten years.
    • Hermione mentions that she knows Alohomora but she doesn't know how to use it.
    • Ron is completely insensitive to Harry's reaction to him having presents.
    • The game acts as if Harry met Ron and Hermione at Hogwarts after they've been sorted into Gryffindor instead of on the Hogwarts Express.
    • The game skips over Harry meeting Hagrid for the first time.
    • When Hagrid and the first year students enter the Great Hall after riding via the boats, they're shown entering from the opposite of the boathouse for some reason.
    • In reality, Professor Quirrell didn't teach Defense Against the Dark Arts in Classroom 3C due to the third floor corridor being out of bounds. He actually taught Defense Against the Dark Arts in a temporary classroom located on the ground floor at the Transfiguration Courtyard.
    • When Harry, Ron and Hermione fall down the trapdoor after they encounter Draco one night for a duel, it's never explained how the trapdoor opened in the first place. In the actual scene in the novel, Draco never showed up for the duel as he just deceived Harry by tipping off Filch. Also, Neville is present with them in the actual scene in the novel.
    • After Harry recovers Neville's stolen Remembrall, Minerva McGonagall never meets up with him to talk him into becoming a Seeker for the Gryffindor Qudditch team to where Oliver Wood is introduced to explain to Harry about Quidditch. Also, in the actual plot after that scene, everyone talks about Harry becoming a Seeker where he's the youngest one at Hogwarts in a century.
    • The game omits the Potion Riddle which was in the novel and other versions of the game but not the film though it appears as part of the special features for the film.
    • The Mirror of Erised Antechamber is not present in the game, though it was in the other versions of the game but not in the novel or film.
    • The Qudditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin where Harry has a jinxed broom takes place towards the end of the game where it's the last match of the year, rather before Christmas, when in reality that was the first match of the season.
    • Harry gets his Nimbus 2000 after Christmas rather than beforehand due to a lot of the events being placed out of order.
  14. Inconsistent and unresponsive controls, especially when riding a broom where if you try to make a sharp turn, you could end up flying all over the place.
  15. Due to poor lighting, some of the areas are way too dark and there is no brightness option to fix it. This can lead to several consequences such as jumping to your death, falling into a bottomless pit, running around constantly while not knowing where to go, or not being able to see an enemy. The Lumos spell doesn't help much either.
  16. Whenever Harry runs out of health, he never respawns with full health where instead it's is filled only halfway. It's really frustrating especially when it happens during a boss battle.
  17. Certain things have been downgraded or removed like the removal of brewing potions and the challenges in the Underground Chambers are downgraded with the puzzles in various areas ranging from too easy to unintentionally difficult due to bad design; the worst offender being the giant chess board puzzle at the end of the game.
  18. The only way you can earn house points is by collecting Challenge Shields in the spell challenges and doing flying practice. Even worse, you never gain any house points after doing Quidditch for the only time in the game.
  19. The game looks unimpressive even for its time, at times the frame rate dips to 30 despite natively running at 60 FPS, and is full of graphical glitches, nasty bugs, low quality textures and problems. Among those are:
    • The pedestrians sometimes disappear and reappear during cutscenes.
    • At times, Harry could be holding an invisible object such as a Wizard Card.
    • The game can crash and freeze at times.
    • To get off your broomstick, you have to be really close to the ground or else Harry won't get off.
    • Sometimes before the screen goes black, you can see the skybox.
    • Sometimes when you load your save file, you have to do certain things again that you already did such as going through a cutscene again which you can somehow skip whlle normally you can't do that instead of starting up where you last saved the game. You could also come across pedestrians in areas that you normally wouldn't see them in after saving and reloading, especially when you do so after completing a spell challenge for the first time.
    • There's a rare chance that Percy could get on top of a bookcase while running after Harry.
    • The texture for the cauldron in the Forbidden Corridor is incorrect as it's actually for the Antidote to Common Poisons potion instead of the Wiggenweld Potion Vial.
    • When you catch up to Draco when flying, he simply disappears and the cutscene is triggered which you can do super quickly. The other versions of the game do a much better job with the scene such as in the PS1 and PC versions where you catch up with Draco and barge him until his health bar is down to retrieve Neville's Remembrall.
    • You can't use the Wiggenweld stump by the Herbology greenhouses for any of your potions.
    • When Harry is going after Peeves to get the book back, there's a chance a ghost health bar will appear before the game suddenly reloads to fix the issue. After you get the book back from Peeves, if you save and reload, you'll have to get the book back from Peeves again in order to end the night again, only that when the cutscene with Albus Dumbledore is triggered, you'll be able to skip it which is normally impossible.
    • After Ron tells Harry that he heard there are books in the Restricted Section containing Dark Magic never taught at Hogwarts, he disappears in thin air within full view of the camera.
    • If you put the imps in the cages on the second floor, a chest appears containing a Wizard Card but if you never collect it and come back later, then put the imps in the cages again, the chest never appears, rendering that card lost forever.
    • The maximum number of house points you can earn is only 265.
    • If you shoo away the Prefects on the third and fourth floors, then they'll be frozen in place on later nights or if you save and reload your file.
    • For some reason, the completion percentage doesn't go over 88%.
    • When you fight the Devil's Snare, Ron's voice sounds different due to his (much better) voice clips during the fight being reused from Gregg Chillin's[1] samples in Chamber of Secrets.
    • There are four imp cages in the dungeons but they always remain open because there no imps around the dungeons.
    • Sometimes, Harry may not move in the direction you want him to while wall sneaking.
    • There could be students standing still in the air in the Hogwarts Grounds.
    • Sometimes, a character model could be in a T-pose.
    • Some sound effects are missing.
    • You could fall out of the map for no reason.
    • There can be a time where an NPC could have two haircuts merging together on their head.
    • There's a random occurrence where the voice clips for the prefects are not used when they should be due to an audio glitch.
    • There's a chance you could see two models of Harry on screen at once.
    • The game says the staff room is on the ground floor but it's actually next to Filch's office in the Entrance Hall which can be misleading to players who don't know what to do to progress with the task.
    • The game could glitch up while you're locating the last two lost and found items causing one of them to not be listed as being found.
    • There are a lot of collision issues which can lead to several bugs such as Harry getting stuck in the terrain at times or getting stuck while running up and down the stairs leading to the boathouse.
    • The Wizard Cards in the game are really glitched up since you could end up a getting a lot duplicates for no reason even if you never searched the desks for ones so you could collect all the Wizard Cards so quickly.
    • After completing the Incendio Spell Challenge the first time, there's a random chance Harry will suddenly spawn at Hagrid's Hut.
  20. The boss battles are awful. A good example is the one before you fight Voldemort. You have to defeat all the mutated Gytrashes in the area and most of the time, Quirrell will heal them and you have to hit him before the monsters heal. Even worse, the mutated Gytrashes will shoot out echo waves at you meaning you'll have to run to Spongify pads to avoid them. It's very tedious.
  21. Every time Harry gets a collectible or a recovery item such as a Wizard Card, a Cauldron Cake, or Challenge Shield, (except for a chocolate frog or a potion ingredient) he exclaims what it is which gets really annoying. Even worse are the beans, since he mentions a flavor for every single bean he picks up (unlike how in the GameCube and Xbox versions of Chamber of Secrets you only get text for their flavors), and they are frequently in groups.

Good Qualities

  1. Despite using the same Hogwarts map as Chamber of Secrets, it has far fewer loading screens, and loading times are shorter.
  2. Great soundtrack.
  3. It was an interesting idea to remake Sorcerer's Stone into what Chamber of Secrets (next-gen) was, just wasn't executed well.
  4. The GameCube and Xbox versions support progressive scan which helps counter the poor optimization.
  5. When you pick up a spell book, it has some really cool animations attached to it.
  6. The cutscene glitch is useful in the final night of the game. Once you enter the room with Fluffy, you must run back and go through the door before the cutscene begins. The first part of the cutscene will play as "normal" (except for Harry not being there). However, for some reason, the second part of the cutscene (where they enter the trapdoor into the Devil Snare) goes fast-forward, skipping nearly all the dialogue and going straight to the boss fight, which saves a nice bit a time! It's really useful for speedrunning the game or even those who'd rather not watch the whole cutscene.
    • There's a simple, little trick that allows you to skip the fight against the mountain troll at the start of the Diffindo Spell Challenge which saves a good amount of time. The only issue with the trick though is with the camera since it doesn't like to cooperate sometimes and will not go behind Harry, which makes it slightly tougher to pull off. It's another useful thing speedrunners.
  7. The game has a book which keeps track of all the hints and tasks you've accomplished.
  8. As said before, you can use your broom when outside making traversing the grounds a lot easier.

Videos

Comments


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NeptunePerson2018

6 months ago
Score 3
This is a really well-done article.
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Kringe

5 months ago
Score 3
This is probably the most nitpicking page on the whole wiki.
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HawkeyeSolo

2 months ago
Score 0
The duality of man.

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