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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Review By:  Andrew Joy

Developer:  Eurocom
Publisher:  EA
# of Players:  1
Genre:  Adventure
ESRB:  Everyone
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  1-26-03

The first GameCube Harry Potter title is one that will surely leave the fans divided.  One the one hand, those who prefer a good game but still like
Harry Potter will probably love this game.  However, those who prefer the book might be disappointed (or even very disappointed) that the title strays so far from the book it was meant to be based on, Harry Potter and the
Chamber.  And, for that matter, those strange and select few who actually enjoyed the movie might also be disappointed; this game's differences from both the book and movie (not to say those two were alike) are numerous.  Just to name a few instances, there is absolutely no mention of Dobby the house elf and the deceitful and cocky Lockhart from the books is little more
than a typical teacher in this one.

As Harry Potter starts his second year, fans of both Harry Potter and the GameCube are given the journey that Nintendo players could only have on the GameBoy Advance, controlling Harry through yet another Hogwart's adventure. 
Whether you are a fan of any particular book, don't wait around complaining until that version of the game is released because the chance to man a 3D Potter experience is a piece of Heaven.  While the adventure does lack in some aspects, you have to take what you can get, right?

The of the most extraordinary advances that Nintendo-playing, HP-loving fans might notice first (aside from the game being 3D) is that there is a little more work involved on the easy GBA tasks and less worked involved one some of the harder GBA tasks.  Speaking mainly from my experience with The Sorcerer's Stone GBA title (as I am yet to own the GBA CoS game), the
differences to me stood out at once.  What was once a series of button-mashing test of memory has no been transformed into an all out boss
battle just to get a new spell.  And, on the other hand, sneaking through the corridors just to go from room used to be a hassle as you sneaked past prefects and teachers, now the hallways and most rooms are clear of any obstacle aside from an occasional flying book.

Another great aspect is the ability to collect and trade almost one hundred Famous Witches and Wizards cards.  The cards, which can be found scattered through various quests, only at certain times, simply scattered through the hallways, and by completing certain quests, add to the replay value of this title.  At the time of writing, I had completed the game, however I was
missing several cards from my collection, so even I may have to take a second look at some of the game.

Unfortunately, aside from trying to collect all of the Famous Witches and Wizards cards, the game may be over fairly quickly for most.  The challenges for spells can be a tad challenging at times, however, once you learn the weakness or discover a secret you whip through the challenge in mere minutes.  Quidditch matches, though I am sad to say, were also easily beaten
and there was little challenge to them (aside from the opposing team slamming into you).  I beat my copy of Chamber of Secrets well before my rental had to be returned.

The game has some quite awe-inspiring graphics to look forward to though and simply watching them may take away some of the hours to.  Some rooms, like the school library, are enough to perhaps bring a tear to the eye of a true
Harry Potter fan.  However, in other instances the player and fan may feel ripped off, especially when they take notice of the paintings; not one of them moves, even in movies, and they are repeated showing about twenty of each picture!  The exterior of Hogwart's is also nothing to marvel at, in most instances.  In fact, you may simply be appalled by the lack of detail
on the school building as you fly by on your Nimbus 2000 (a neat free-fly feature that you quickly earn after Quidditch practice).

Bad graphics are just the tip of the iceberg, however, as you also notice the cinemas are less than impressive, the characters' limited response
quickly get annoying and make confusing contradictions (such as the Slytherin's talking harshly about Drake Malfoy), bad voice acting, and the fact that the game's ending is so sudden and lacks a save feature after you beat the game - either that or I missed it.

Zelda fans may be rather happy with Chamber of Secrets though, in fact, anybody who played Zelda should be happy with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  Many of the play elements seem directly borrowed from the game, including the ability to assign items from your inventory to your buttons.  I guess they just figure that if "it's not broke, don't fix it," and I for one am glad they didn't.  However, one element Harry is armed with, his sort of automatic aiming, is almost a double-edged sword.  The auto-aim does work to your advantage at times, targeting objects you can hit with your wand.  Often times this will reveal boxes or vases you might not have noticed before, however, in times of battle the bean-hoarding Harry often chooses to
target these objects instead of the enemy right in front of him.

Overall Score: 7.0


  • Beautiful Hogwart's interiors.
  • Ability to fly your broom (almost) everywhere on school grounds.
  • Collecting and trading the Famous Witches and Wizards Cards.
  • The tried-and-true control scheme, a hail to the Zelda 64 controls.
  • Awesome animations and somewhat redesigned effect of spells.


  • Some what long load times break up the action.
  • Flat, almost-boring Hogwart's exterior.
  • Very short adventure.
  • Repetitive personalities get old quick and leave awkward contradictions.
  • Most Quidditch matches and spell quests are real push-overs.

Final Verdict:

I guess there are just two determining factors in whether or not you will like this game.  First, are you a Harry Potter fan (I am, though it has not
stayed my hand from the truth)?  And second, are you a diehard book nut, I mean do you care how much it strays from the story (I am a book nut, but the game still dazzled me)?

In short, the game for me was better than the movie, but not as good as the book.  It was a short adventure, but the replay value is still quite high.  The graphics were dazzling one minute, but stale and stagnant the next, so I
say take what you can get.  The game, in both controls and its journey, were reminiscent of the greatest 64 games, the Zelda 64 series.  That must to count for something.  This is a just-above-average game, even for the Harry Potter fan.

Overall Score: 7.0

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