Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (released in the United States, India and Pakistan as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) is an action-adventure video game with platform elements published by Electronic Arts. It is based on J.K Rowling’s novel of the same name and the film adaptation. Philosopher’s Stone was initially developed for the Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation in November 2001, and was re-made two years later for the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox in December 2003.
The story follows protagonist Harry Potter, who, after discovering he is a wizard, is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he makes friends and receives magical training, and along with his friends stop Lord Voldemort from returning to power. The game received mixed reviews. Critics commented on the game’s accessible gameplay and its unimpressive graphics (2003 versions) while others said the game’s license would be the only thing to draw in fans.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone gameplay is from a third-person perspective. The player controls the character Harry Potter from a third-person view.
In the PC versions, the game is played like a third-person action and puzzle game. The story follows a linear progression, separated into levels with a specific end goal. Spells are learned progressively via lesson levels, and unlock increasingly complex puzzles. The spells featured are as follows: The Flipendo Jinx, which can be used to stun enemies and push objects around; The Alohomora Charm, which unlocks doors and chests; Wingardium Leviosa, which can levitate objects; Lumos, which causes platforms of light to appear; Incendio, which can disable aggressive plants. The storyline follows Harry through the main elements of the book’s plot, including rescuing Hagrid’s dragon Norbert, advancing through the various protections around the Philosopher’s Stone, and eventually defeating Lord Voldemort. There are also several levels in which Harry can fly on a broomstick and play Quidditch – this gameplay can also be independently accessed through the start menu.
Like the Windows version, the game is a third-person action adventure game. However, the story is arranged in a completely different fashion to the PC version, and features different story events and gameplay. It was developed in the UK by Argonaut.
Game Boy Color
The Game Boy Color game is a role-playing game, similar to games like Pokémon and Final Fantasy. The player controls Harry, starting from when Hagrid brings him to Diagon Alley. It follows the story of the book closely, with almost all the scenes from that point on in the book being playable, except for the addition of bands of monsters such as rats, bats, and spiders roaming most of the locations. The spells are used for combat, rather than interacting with the environment.
Game Boy Advance
The Game Boy Advance game is completely different from the Game Boy Color game. The Game Boy Advance game is a top down puzzle game. The player explores Hogwarts, and must attend classes which often include a challenge of collecting a certain number of items, such as challenge stars or potion ingredients. This game features the familiar monsters from the other games in the series, such as snails and gnomes.
GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox version
A new game of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was made for newer consoles in 2003 by Warthog Games, 2 years after the original versions. Its gameplay differed greatly from the other versions, followed the film far more closely than the other games, and was criticised for taking all the spells and world map from the Chamber of Secrets version of the game.
Rubeus Hagrid, a mysterious giant, leaves an orphaned Harry Potter, whose parents were murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort, on the front door step of his bullying relatives, The Dursleys. For ten years, Harry has lived with the Dursleys, not knowing that he is a wizard, and famous in the wizarding world for being the only one to survive the attacks of Voldemort, whose name no one dares to say. Harry receives a letter inviting him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is told who he really is. After buying his school supplies, at Diagon Alley, he boards the Hogwarts Express on platform 9¾ with the other students. Once they arrive at Hogwarts, the students are sorted into houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. It is explained that if a student does a good thing or a bad thing, “points” will be added or deducted from their “House Points”. This is important, as the House with the most points will win the House Cup at the end of the year. Harry is sorted into Gryffindor, after pleading with the Sorting Hat, a talking witch’s hat, not to place him in Slytherin, notorious for being the house of darker witches and wizards, as well as Lord Voldemort. Once sorted, Harry meets Ron Weasley, a poor boy from a large, pure-blood, wizarding family and Hermione Granger, a witch born to Muggle parents.
At school, Harry begins his training as a wizard and learns more about his past. After retrieving a remembrall while riding on a broomstick, for his classmate Neville Longbottom, Harry is appointed seeker of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Tricked by Slytherin, Draco Malfoy, Harry, Ron and Hermione, accidentally come across a huge three-headed dog on a restricted floor of the castle. After escaping they realise the dog was standing on a trap door which is guarding the Philosopher’s Stone, a magical object which grants the user immortality. When Harry is almost killed during a game of Quidditch, by what appeared to be Professor Snape uttering a curse at him, Harry concludes that he is after the Philosopher’s Stone.
Harry, Ron and Hermione set out to stop Snape from retrieving the Philosopher’s Stone by putting the three-headed dog to sleep with music and going through the trapdoor. The three face a series of obstacles that protect the stone which includes surviving a deadly plant, catching a flying key, playing a life-sized game of Wizards Chess and choosing the correct potion to get through a magical fire. Harry, now alone, expects to face Snape but instead finds Professor Quirrell, the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Quirrell removes his turban and reveals that Voldemort was living on the back of his head. Harry retrieves the stone and Voldemort tries to get it from him but touching him burns Quirrell’s skin. Harry passes out from the struggle of the battle.
He awakens in the school’s hospital wing with Professor Dumbledore, the headmaster, by his side. Dumbledore explains that the stone has been destroyed but it wouldn’t stop Voldemort from returning. He reassures Harry that if their battles did no more than slow Voldemort’s return then he may never come back.
During the end-of-year feast, Gryffindor wins the House Cup. Harry sees it as the best evening of his life and one that he will never forget.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is based on the story of the same name and through working with Warner Bros. the game also features the sets and environment from the film adaptation. The PC version was developed by software company KnowWonder and was built on the Unreal Engine which allowed for it to play on both software and hardware-accelerated modes.EA was granted rights to the Harry Potter games in August 2000. The game’s executive producer Chris Graham stated that the game was aimed at eight- to fourteen-year-olds with its puzzle-based gameplay. The PlayStation version was developed by Argonaut as an action-platform game which integrated a 3D environment into its gameplay. The Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance versions were individually developed by Griptonite Games and Eurocom.
Philosopher’s Stone was first revealed on the PC at the E3 expo in May 2001. A press release followed, months later, on 13 November 2001, days before the films 16 November release. The press release stated it would ship the game to coincide with the film adaptation of the same name.
The Philosopher’s Stone remake was initially rumoured in June 2003 for sixth-generation consoles. It was officially confirmed in July 2003 that EA was developing a new game for the GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox console’s based on a similar format as the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets game released in 2002.
The game was developed by Warthog Games and set out to fix some of the problems encountered in the previous game such as loading time. The game uses similar set designs and graphics as the Chamber of Secrets game and the previous generation consoles by making them 3D. The game was released on 12 December 2003.
The voices featured in Philosopher’s Stone have a likeness provided by the cast of the film adaptation. The voice cast features Joe Sowerbutts as Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle; Gregg Chillin as Ron Weasley and Lee Jordan; Emily Robinson as Hermione Granger; Allan Corduner as Snape, Filch, and Flitwick; David de Keyser as Albus Dumbledore, Quirinus Quirrell, and Lord Voldemort; and Gary Fairhall as the narrator.
The cast differs in the next generation version with several of the younger cast members being replaced by the actors and Quirrell. So was Dale, too, with Stephen Fry having taken his place. who played them in later adaptations. For instance, Tom Attenborough replaces Joe Sowerbutts as Harry, whilst Harper Marshall takes on the role of Hermione.
Jeremy Soule composed the music of Philosopher’s Stone. The soundtrack was written by Soule before hearing the score by John Williams for the motion picture version, and features original themes written for the game. The soundtrack was released digitally in 2006.