When Harry met Hogwarts. Review

Joe Dodson
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup Info

genre

  • Sports

players

  • 1 - 2

Publisher

  • EA

Developer

  • EA

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • GameCube
  • PS2

rating

When Harry met Hogwarts.

Much of the world’s suffering is based on one thing: books. Take The Bible – people

have been fighting over that thing forever. Or how about that Salman Rushdie situation?

Then there was that book in Baldur’s Gate II that turned Edwin

the prissy sorcerer into a female. Yep, a good book is one of the most powerful

things ever.

But making a game based on a book is a perilous thing. For a megabucks enterprise

like Harry Potter it equals guaranteed truckloads of Golden Galleons,

but that doesn’t mean there’s not a special place in Azkhaban for stingy publishers

who force children large and small to face a version of their beloved fantasy

realm that’s more craptastic than fantastic.

So,

I approached EA’s Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup for with

great trepidation. Unfortunately, the game is not very good, but it does display

a high level of attention to the subject-matter. Clearly, the developers have

read their Harry Potter and packed lots of great details from the world

(books and movies) into their game. As a result, Quidditch

Cup
is a worthy tribute to the official sport of wizards…even if

it is a bit of a button-masher.

You’ll start off picking one of the four Hogwart teams or one of several international

teams like USA, Japan, or Viktor Krum’s native Bulgaria and attempt to guide

it through the Quidditch Cup tournament. Before jumping in, you should definitely

bone up on your broom-handling at Hogwarts (QC‘s version of

a Training Mode), as the lessons are taught quite effectively and are nice and

thorough.

After that, all that’s left is to enter the tournament or play against a friend

in split-screen mode. Although the modes aren’t nearly as varied as a box of

Bertie

Bott’s Every Flavor Beans
, QC isn’t exactly a game for

the serious gamer. There are some combos to learn and Quidditch cards to find

(which open up more combos and arenas), but there really isn’t enough here to

keep the seasoned gamer entertained for more than a few hours.

There are three parts to the gameplay: Offense, Defense, and Seeker-mode.

On offense you can pass to another teammate or shoot, both of which are chargeable.

You can also dodge and combo-pass, which is a faster version of normal passing

meant to lure the keeper away from his post or quickly maneuver the ball to

one of the three goals the keeper isn’t watching. If you get in the goal-box

and have a special move at your disposal, you can tap a button combo and launch

into a combination attack wherein a brief cinematic will show your team putting

some fancy maneuver on your hapless opponents.

Defense is all about stealing, which is extremely easy in Quidditch

Cup
as the steal button provides a boost, knocks your opponent off

their path and strips the ball all in one tap of the button. Unfortunately,

this is the most powerful and easiest move to pull off in the game. Not only

is it basically unavoidable (dodge sucks), but it also works every single time.

Stealing has never been easier.

On top of your standard steal you can also occasionally summon a magical moving

vortex that, when moved into position over your opponent, will freeze them and

allow you to make a nifty cinematic steal. You can also use the bludger to whack

the opponent’s ball-carrier who, upon taking a bludger to the skull, promptly

coughs up the quaffle to one of your team members. The bludger basically functions

like a guided missile; you press the button when one of your beaters calls out

and then guide the bludger to your target. However, this can be tricky since

the bludger changes altitude whereas all the players stay on a 2D playing field.

That’s right – Quidditch Cup takes place on a 2D plane and

acts very much like a hockey game. Players will visibly zoom up and down in

relation to this plane, but there is no controlling your own player’s elevation

or anyone else’s on your team. This simplifies things, but also makes the game

to go stale so quickly.

The

final mode of play involves being the seeker and chasing the snitch. This mode

occurs when two bars at the top of the screen meet. They advance upon every

score and combo pass, and when they finally touch your seeker plunges after

the elusive golden snitch. Based on how many goals you scored in the previous

portion of the game, you’ll have a longer or shorter boost bar. “Boost’ naturally

corresponds to a button and makes you go faster. Also, the golden snitch exudes

a golden trail, and if you stay in this trail then your boost meter refills,

allowing you to maintain a high velocity.

Unfortunately, there are no brooms to buy (what’s the point of a Nimbus

2000
if everyone has one?) nor spells to learn, leaving the gameplay pretty

light. Due to the overpowered steals, you’ll need to keep the ball in your hands

as little as possible, so you combo-pass like mad and the fastest way to do

this is to simply mash the combo pass buttons until your team juggles the ball

down the field. It’s just not very good.

Still, there are some nifty details here for well-read wizards. Most surprising,

and most pleasing for the sentimental Potter fans, is the ability to play as

Cedrick Diggory, the late seeker for Hufflepuff. Although Diggory got blasted

by the business end of the deadly Avada Kadavra spell (I’m purposely spoiling

it for all you suckers who only watch the movies), in QC he

lives on, happily seeking snitches. Equally cool is the ability to play as Cho

Chang or score goals with Angelina Johnson (a Griffindor Chaser), not to mention

the fact that Madamme Hooch tosses up the Quaffle at the beginning of every

match.

Graphically, QC is very well done on all three systems. The

players resemble their movie counterparts, the colors are bright and the animation

is sweet. Almost every moving object in the game has a brightly colored trail

accompanying it, leading to some of the trippiest visuals this side of lysergic

acid-diethylamide. On the down side, the seating towers are poorly textured

and the backgrounds generally aren’t that impressive.

The sounds are decent but not exceptional. While it’s exciting that the announcer announces himself as Lee Jordan, he doesn’t have nearly as much personality as I’ve imagined Lee having in the books. Both the music and his comments get very repetitive.

The multiplayer, sadly, is pretty weak. Since the game is a mash-fest, there

isn’t much to compete over. The snitch race provides some competition, but it’s

so simple that it’s hard to feel good about winning or bad about losing.

In fact, Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup as a whole doesn’t

elicit many emotions. It surprises with its cool references and attention to

detail, but loses a lot of luster in attempting to appeal to a wee audience.

Still, if you love the books and just want to toss some quaffles as Draco Malfoy

or Viktor Krum, then Quidditch World Cup will deliver a decent

but brief good time.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating4
Good graphics
Faithful to books
Simple
Brainless, even
Two modes too few
Overpowered stealing
Bad multiplayer