Harry Potter is back for further adventures at Hogwarts in a game that combines levels that loosely recreate parts of the second book and others that are focused on conventional action-adventure mechanics.
EA did quite well by the Harry Potter games it released for multiple platforms last November in conjunction with the theatrical movie release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It's no surprise that EA will follow the same strategy this year, releasing games for no less than seven platforms: The Sony PlayStation 2 and PlayStation; The Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and Game Boy Color; the Microsoft Xbox, and the PC. The PC game very much follows the style and look of last year's PC version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
The game is laced with story elements from the second of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, and the overall look is heavily inspired by the movie. In a cartoony way, the game's bespectacled Harry even looks rather like Daniel Radcliffe, the young star of the movie series. One of the first scenes in the game challenges players to get away from the whomping willow. Cutscenes recreate other parts of the story, such as flying in the Weaseley's flying car to Hogwart's, and are done in-engine.
Chamber of Secrets has action-adventure gameplay reminiscent of Tomb Raider. There's plenty of jumping and catching ledges, and once you have the spongify spell, you can create magical trampolines in some parts of the levels. The game is roughly divided in half between levels that recreate some part of the Chamber of Secrets story and challenge levels, which pose challenges not in the book's story but that relate to things learned in Hogwarts lesions. For example, one level is based on the spongify spell, while another is based on the scourge spell Harry learns in his Defense Against the Dark Arts class, which cleans impassible ectoplasm.
The PC version of Chamber of Secrets uses the same Unreal-powered engine as last year's Harry Potter PC game, and the rather low level of texture detail means that the game should run on older systems, down to 266MHz Pentium II PCs. The PC version also has the added advantage of being rather less expensive than the versions for next-generation consoles, with a suggested price of $29.99. All seven of the Chamber of Secrets games is expected to be ready right in time for the movie's release this November.