HARRY POTTER INTERACTIVE DVD GAME
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Own it on DVD December 11
Studio: Warner Bros.
BY KEVIN CARR
Over the years, I’ve seen many different games presented on DVD releases. At first, when I first bought a DVD player, I thought these were somewhat fun. However, having plowed through many different ones – often on children’s DVDs – I’ve found them to be more annoying than helpful.
With the exception of an archive release that was made for laserdisc originally (like “Dragon’s Lair”), I’ve found them to be awkward and hard to play. My kids always make me play the ones on the Disney releases, and occasionally I’ve found some that I’ve liked. However, most have been woefully substandard to what you’d get in a regular game format.
In time for the Christmas release of the “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” DVD, Warner Bros. has released a complete set-top game for the Harry Potter universe. I understand the appeal for families without a full gaming system to get a stand-alone game in one DVD. However, this release does bring to light the reason why there are gaming systems separate from a DVD player.
The “Harry Potter Interactive DVD Game” takes the players (in single-player or multi-player format) through the years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Players have a chance to choose their house, or to be sorted into a house by the Sorting Hat. Then they have to attend classes and amass house points before moving on to the next year.
Some of the activities are interesting and fun enough, such as the wand skills or the transfiguration exercises. However, too many of the instructions involve guess-work and very little coaching on how the DVD remote must be used.
To be honest, I never got past the first year because I just couldn’t figure out how to work the Quidditch match, which is required to pass for graduation to a new year. The viewer is to navigate through the Quidditch pitch, dodging bludgers and trying to catch the snitch. However, the on-screen navigation is entirely confusing, requiring the player to press the right button at just the right time, which I never achieved.
Perhaps this just shows that I don’t have what it takes to make it as a wizard. Or perhaps it has more to do with the fact that the speed of your DVD player and the clunky use of the directional arrows are no substitute for a good, old fashioned game controller.
This release may be good for the rabid “Harry Potter” fan, but for me, I’d rather play it on a Playstation or Nintendo.