Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets (GameCube) (Retro)

Reviewed by Transdude1996, posted Oct 14, 2013
When I was growing up, the only console I had in my house was the Gamecube, which is still working in the utmost condition even today. I had a collection of games that I would play over and over again, and this is one of those games. Guess it's time for me to pass a grade on one of my childhood favorites to really see if the game is actually worth other people's time, or if it's just a great nostalgia trip.
Oct 14, 2013
  • Release Date (NA): November 14, 2002
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Genres: Action-Adventure
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
Ever since the release of E.T. on the Atari 2600, video games based off of movies have obtained a negative reputation. Sometimes this reputation is actually justified (such as Aliens Colonial Marines), while other times, the statement is proven false (such as Goldeneye). Released just before the movie came out, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of secrets is a multi-platform game based off of the movie of the same name. I'll be reviewing the GameCube version, so I can't guarantee that the content will be the same across all the consoles.
Before you start reading the review, I'm sure that you possibly noticed Electronic Arts (EA) logo on the front of the game box. Note that this game was made before their decline, which some consider to be post-2005. So, if you find another EA game made around that time, or before then, note that the game should be, at the very least, good.

Another note, be sure to watch the movie or read the book since this review may contain spoilers.

Say what you will about the story in a video game, but when the game is based off of a movie, the story is a big reason to even buy the game in the first place. Also, since the game is based off of both a movie and a book, the story should flow together very smoothly. In reality, the story is at least decent, but it also comes off as rushed. The game begins when Harry and Ron arrive at Ron's house, the Burrow, after saving Harry from his Aunt and Uncle the previous night. After going through the basic tutorials, you soon enough move onto Diagon Alley, and then Hogwarts, which is where the story starts to fall apart. The problem the problem the game has with the story is the pacing. When you're going through the Burrow and Diagon Alley levels, the story progresses at a smooth pace and is actually quite enjoyable as they mix elements from both the movie and the book as well as their own. Once Harry gets to Hogwarts, the story feels like it's rushing itself. An example of this is when the ghost Nearly Headless Nick is found petrified one night, and on the next night, you go searching for a book to tell you about the Chamber Of Secrets. The way the events are paced make them seem independent from each other when, instead, their supposed to be the result of each other. Once everything is all said and done, everything seems to feel like a knock-off of Scooby Doo, instead of something that could have last much longer and gone deeper.

The graphics for this game won't win any awards, but they at least fit the style of the game. When you first look at it, the graphics make the characters look like realistic cartoon characters, and there were some moments in the game which made me think that the graphics were a prototype for the Wii and PS2 versions of Ghostbusters. At first, you learn to really love the graphics, but they start to lose their charm since Harry seems to be the most animated character throughout the whole game. As for the environments and the enemies, the graphics are a perfect fit. They really make Hogwarts feel like a place you'd actually want to explore (which you can somewhat), and the enemy designs work out as well.

Out of everything in the game, the music can really receive no complaints. It works, it creates an immersive atmosphere, and it's unique because none of the tracks sounded like they were pulled from the movie. I can almost guarantee that if you look back at this game and try figure what was the most memorable thing about it, the first thing that would come to mind would have to be the music.

If you've played Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time and other such games, then the combat will feel like a "Been there, done that" experience. You target enemies by holding down the Left trigger and attack them with you spells. Besides that, there are basic platforming and puzzle solving sequences. Basically, nothing new but a formula that still works.

Besides the Zelda gameplay, there are also 4 Quiditch matches you play through (which have you going after the Snitch), gnome tossing, racing, and flying around Hogwarts. I won't really get into deal about since skipped over them for the sake of the review.

Also, there is one other task you can do, but this more for the completionists. The task is to collect all 101 Famous Witch and Wizard cards. These little things are scattered all over the game, so always be on the lookout for them. When you collect a card, it shows you the name of the witch/wizard, when they lived, and what their famous for.

Not much to explain here. The A button is your action button, B,X, and Y are your spell and item buttons, Z opens your inventory, Left trigger targets enemies and objects, Right trigger makes you go into first-person, you control Harry with the control stick, the C stick controls the camera, and the START button pauses the game. The controls work, and they responded to my every command.

-What is bad about it? What could have been done?-
Besides the story and okay graphics, there are some other issues with the game. One issue is that even though there is a lot to explore inside Hogwarts, the outside feels empty and it also feels like they could have made it bigger. Another issue I want to point out is that the camera likes to have a mind of it's own sometimes and it gets into some of the worst angles possible. One example of this is when you're jumping from platform to platform, and it gets into an angle where you can't tell whether you're going to make it to the next ledge or not.

Even though the game does have some flaws, which can be annoying at times, it still has it's moments where it feels like a solid enough game.
6 Presentation
7 Gameplay
7 Lasting Appeal
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
My rating scale: 8-10:The game is worth owning 5-7: The game is worth looking into 2-4: You can find better games, but at least give it a try sometime 0-1: Just don't