Harry Potter and the Golbet of Fire (Nintendo DS) Review

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 30.09.2005

Review for Harry Potter and the Golbet of Fire on Nintendo DS

It's that time of the year again, no not Christmas although the whole Harry Potter universe does seem to reek of that festive feel... must be the magic in the air. The Goblet of Fire has recently been released in cinemas to mixed acclaim and now its time for the video game iterations to follow suit.

First point worthy of noting is that the DS and GBA versions of this game are fundamentally one and the same; they are in fact so similar that we don't feel the need to deliver two separate reviews. Instead we shall describe the basis of the game as well as mention the few DS specific inclusions as we progress. The second point worth noting is that the PSP, being the powerhouse that it is, was endowed with a port of the 3D console version (reviewed previously on Cubed3 for the GameCube). However given the distinctly less powerful hardware within the DS and GBA there is no such offering available for Nintendo handheld gamers. We have instead been gifted with a 2D isometric version which disappointingly has undergone no graphical improvements for its DS counterpart.

That isn't to say the game is unattractive, certainly not; but DS owners will be excepting a lot more than what is on offer. Taken as a GBA game, Goblet of Fire actually pushes the console in a number of ways but over on the DS there isn't even a hint of improvement, lazy is the word that springs to mind here. Alas it is also the word that springs to mind throughout the duration of the game, can you say 'rushed out to coincide with the launch of the film in order to increase profits'? Well probably not straight off, after all it is a fairly long winded sentence; nevertheless our point remains. Chances are if you've ever played an EA game in the past you'll know where we're coming from anyway. Now we don't want to dismiss the company entirely, they have their moments; it's just unfortunate that this is not one of them.

Looking from the perspective of a GBA gamer what we have here is a game featuring a variety of hugely expansive levels each furnished with a level of detail that is not to be sneezed at. Environments are clearly recognisable and easily discernible, which is good, because you're going to be seeing a lot of them. Now usually large levels in a game are a good thing, something to relish and enjoy, unfortunately that is not entirely the case here. In an attempt to stretch the lifespan of the game to its limits each level has been made longer than you could ever want it to be. What's more there is a distinct lack of imagination and variety within each level, the same enemies and puzzles are repeated over and over and over again, until you just want to hurt somebody or something with a jagged (preferably rusty) object.

Screenshot for Harry Potter and the Golbet of Fire on Nintendo DS

Of course this wouldn't be a huge problem if the gameplay was outstandingly good fun, but it isn't. The same philosophy can be applied here as can be applied to the game as a whole; good in small bursts. As mentioned, the Goblet of Fire features a top down isometric perspective on the 2D realm of Hogwarts (and surrounding areas), so you probably already have a pretty good idea of how things are going to play out. Movement is fairly fluid and easy to get to grips as are the available magic attacks. However neither of these is without its flaws, the most predominant of which is undeniably the shoddy accuracy when firing off a burst of Wingardium Leviosa or equivalent (yes we're Harry Potter geeks at heart). Given that these spells are the only method of interaction with enemies and the world around you it really is irritating when your character doesn't respond exactly how you want them too.

Said interaction works pretty much exactly how you would expect it too. Tapping A or B will activate a magical spell, all of which are split into two categories, either a quick blast of attacking energy or a stream of magical energy that can be directed at enemies or obstacles. All of these are situation-sensitive, for example standing in front of a small boulder and holding down the B button will indeed levitate the rock up into the air and allow you to drop it elsewhere. There is a surplus of spells available but due to the simplicity of initiating them that fact is practically irrelevant anyway. There is no need to choose one spell over another or even think about what your doing in great detail as the game works out what needs to be done for you, all you need to do is tab a few buttons. This is one of the contributing factors to the games overall downfall; its linearity. Combine this with the unnecessarily long-winded level design and you may begin to see our predicament.

Most levels can be played through with Harry, Ron or Hermione, each of whom have their own attributes. Harry is the most powerful for example whilst Ron is the quickest and so on, although in the thick of the game none of this actually seems to have any real effect on the gameplay and the feature serves only to allow you to pick your favourite. The characters are all modelled on their film counterparts too, the sublime Emma Watson as Hermione for example, whilst not pixel perfect they are fairly recognisable which is a nice touch. Another element for the fans is the inclusion of creatures that were not in the film, or even the book but do in fact exist in the Harry Potter universe as determined by JK Rowling.

Screenshot for Harry Potter and the Golbet of Fire on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


We're pretty big Harry Potter fans, but not even that could convince us to love this one, it just doesn't deserve it. Even with the DS's extra features there isn't enough included here to warrant a purchase even if your are a hugely massive fan of the series, stick to the console versions if you know what's good for you.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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