Pros: Challenging levels, fun side-quests, exploration of Hogwarts, Quidditch games...
Cons: ...load times can take up to two minutes!
The Bottom Line: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a great game from the Harry Potter franchise. Kids will love it, and even the adults will find themselves playing.
The Harry Potter franchise continues with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The second in the series (based on J.K. Rowling's best selling books) includes the movie and the accompanying video game.
I've become quite a fan of the Harry Potter video games, but I must say that Chamber of Secrets is by far my favorite. With easier and smoother game play than the first in the series (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Stone), and more difficult challenges, it's easy to see why this one is such a hit.
Plot/Story Harry Potter can't wait to attend his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But before he can even make it to the school, the strange house elf, Dobby(who strangely makes no appearance in the video game), warns him that things won't be safe. Ignoring Dobby's pleas, Harry returns to the school, but only to find out that something isn't right after all. Someone (or something) is going around attacking the students, and in true "Harry Potter" fashion, Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide that it's up to them to get to the bottom of the problem.
Gameplay The controls are pretty much the same in all the games. The first spell Harry learns is Flipendo, which is used to knock over things (like barrels, jars, etc.) The X-button is used for action, like dropping things or talking to other people. The O- button and the square buttons are used later in the game for spells; as Harry learns more spells they can be assigned to these other two buttons, and he can only carry three spells at a time throughout the game. The top R1 and R2 buttons are used for targeting an object or an enemy; this way, Harry has a clear path for knocking over the object or harming the enemy.
This time around, there are also quite a few spells to learn. As I mentioned, he starts off with Flipendo, but later on he learns such useful spells as Lumos (which projects a beam of light from his wand), Diffindo (a severing charm), Expelliarmus (a disarming charm, which comes in useful during later duels), Avifors (a spell made especially for the game, which turns objects into birds), and several more.
Famous Wizard and Witches Cards are a fun to collect, and you can keep tabs on which cards you already have and which ones you need using your Folio Magi (a scrapbook for the cards found in the menu). Also, be sure to keep an eye out for colorful Bertie Bott's Every Flavored Beans. Like all of the games, the beans are hidden everywhere and are useful for buying items at Fred and George's shop. You can find beans all over the castle, by searching in desktops, bookshelves, or even flying around the castle's grounds.
The game wouldn't be as fun without the side-quests that are also included. The Gryffindor common room holds a notice board, which is the basis of the optional Lost & Found side-quest. If you check the Notice Board, and find whatever lost item a fellow Gryffindor is searching for, you'll receive ten house points. Later in the game, Harry is given his Nimbus 2000 (a fancy name for his broomstick), and you'll be able to fly around the Hogwarts grounds (but be careful at night. If a Prefect catches you, you'll get points taken away. The same goes for sneaking around the castle at night. Just don't let a Prefect catch you doing anything...they take away House Points at the smallest offence). As you fly around you'll be given the option to play several other games for beans and collectors cards, including Gnome Tossing, Gnome Dunking, and even Broom Racing.
Besides all the side-quests and things you can collect, there is still the main plot of the game. Part of the game is learning the spells that will later help you for the main battle. To accrue each spell, you'll have to fight a boss like the Whomping Willow, or the huge (and hungry) spider, Aragog. Some of the bosses proved a bit difficult (the Incendio spell challenge is by far the hardest; the level is like a huge maze which requires you to use a bunch of spells and brainpower to complete), but none are too hard to figure out after some time (or, just head on over to IGN.com and take a look at the walkthrough for this game). There are also Quidditch matches (one of my favorite parts of the game), and Harry still has to attend some of his classes.
If you get tired of Harry's daily tasks, you have the option to explore the castle before "ending the day" (which basically is saving the game and starting the next day). This is the time youll have for collecting beans, wizard cards, and house points (which comes in handy later. As fans of the books and movies know, the house points are totaled at the end of the year, and the winning house wins the House Cup. Believe me, you'll want Gryffindor to win, or be prepared to see Ron, Hermione and Harry's long, sad faces at the end of the game).
The inside of the castle holds several classrooms, and almost all of them are fully explorable. You'll be able to search through desks, tables, or bookshelves for items, and as you walk around the castle, you can even Flipendo trophies or suits of armor for other goodies. You'll feel like a Hogwarts student as you have free range of the castle and even discover secret passageways and unlock classrooms (this happens later in the game, once you learn the Alohomora spell). Also, with Harry's broomstick, it's fairly easy to fly around outside of the castle. You can quickly fly over to Hagrid's (usually locked) Hut, the Greenhouse, or the edge of the Black Lake. Again, items are hidden all over the grounds, and you'll rarely want to end the day before exploring a bit.
Unfortunately, you might have to wait a while before doing much of anything. The load times on this game (this may only be a problem with the PS2 version) are horrible; a few load screens lasted up to two whole minutes! Maybe I'm impatient, but it does seem as though every time Harry leaves a room or enters one, the load screen pops up, and it's very annoying, especially if you end up waiting two minutes to enter a room that ends up being empty.
Graphics When I compare the graphics on this game to the first one, it's amazing how better the game looks this time around.The GCI videos look great (which are interspersed throughout the game to further the plot without any game play). Harry looks realistic, and so do the other characters. Everyone is dressed in their proper house robes, and Harry's robes even flop around his ankles while he's running or jumping.
The castle looks just as remarkable; the outside looks similar to the movie version of Hogwarts, and inside the castle there are the famous moving staircases and the occasional moving painting. Even the ghosts are nicely done; their transparent figures look hauntingly realistic (okay...pun intended, ;)).
Sound Effects Part of the fun of the game is going up to students (and even teachers) and talking to them. Most of the students tend to simply gossip about whatever is going on at the school during that time ("Congratulations on the winning the Quidditch match, Harry!" or "Harry, are you really a Parsletongue?"...etc), but it's still a fun feature.
As I mentioned earlier, if a Prefect catches you in the halls after dark, you'll hear them shout, "Hey Potter! Get back in your Dormitory! Ten points from Gryffindor!" Along with some terrifying music that literally made my heart rattle in my chest the first time I heard it.
Most of the music is light and whimsical, but during combat mode (and when getting caught by Prefects), the music becomes a frantic melody of strings and loud drums that's pretty scary.
I will also admit, that I did get a bit tired of hearing Harry cry "Flipendo!" each time he cast the spell.
Overall Full of adventure, mind-boggling puzzles, and fun side-quests, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the best game in the series so far. The game is quite challenging, but not so that it's impossible to beat, and it has a great replay value (I've owned the game for quite some time and have played it all the way through three times- which is rare for me). Fans of the books and new fans alike will be sure to enjoy this game.
Picked up a copy of this game for PS2, and while I can't comment on the other platforms, I can say that this game is a lot of fun.It does play similar to Legend of Zelda in that you acquire things and spells as you move through the game to help out.. lots of side games and other tasks included to give you a breather from regular gameplay and rack up points for Griffindor.The only downside to this game (and the reason it gets 4 instead of 5 stars) is the frequent and lengthy load times as you move … more
Take the role of Harry Potter in his second adventure with more friends, danger and magic. Learn new spells, go on new adventures and make new friends. Harry's world is rendered in beautiful next-generation graphics. Challenge new adversaries as you confront the powers in the heart of the Chamber of Secrets. Use greater magic control than ever before and use spectacular advanced second-year spells. Journey with all of your favorite Harry Potter characters like Gilderoy Lockhart. Participate in Quidditch leagues, wizard duels and power-up spells. Be a part of the action at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.