In Harry Potter Find Scabbers, you play as the titular star, who's on a mission to find Ron Weasley's lost pet rat. Crookshanks, Hermione Granger's ginger cat, is a prime suspect in the disappearance. Harry fearlessly braves the dangers of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in order to recapture the missing pet. The game is pretty much like Pac-Man, but with more power-ups and magic abilities.
Various fearsome creatures, such as giant spiders and snakes, spawn from piles of bone or dirt on and around the Hogwarts campus. Harry must freeze the creatures, rendering them temporarily innocuous. This reinforces the old maxim "piles of bleached, old bones are to be avoided, unless you have a magic wand." As these enemies tend to attack in large groups, you'll sometimes have to freeze a half-dozen baddies at a time by rapidly slamming on the fire key. This is boring and pointless.
Most of the time, though, Find Scabbers plays like a scrolling version of Pac-Man, in which you must pick up keys and bring them to identically colored doors. Usually, one gate will prevent you from reaching another gate, forcing you to unlock the doors in order. Around the fourth time you bypass a trellis lock, this becomes really tiresome.
In addition to his ice blasts, Harry can use collectibles to his advantage. When he picks up a magic cloak, he can don it to become invisible for about 10 seconds. A magic potion will allow him to stay alive after taking damage from the enemy. Using a book of magic will freeze all enemies on the screen.
Find Scabbers just doesn't embody the creative spirit of the work on which it's based. Couldn't Warner Bros. have offered resourceful players alternatives to finding Ron's beleaguered pet? Harry could visit a pet shop, then produce an identical rat. Maybe he could ignore the quest entirely and steal Hermione from the aptly named Master Weasley. Of course, the game's title would have to be changed to "Harry Potter...Find Scabbers?" In short, almost anything would prove more entertaining than this maze-based game.
Even though Harry Potter isn't any fun to play, it doesn't look bad. Harry's huge glasses and chestnut hair make him recognizable, even in diminutive sprite form. The game runs fine, as long as you're not in a menu. For whatever reason, you can expect two seconds of lag on the LG VX7000 when moving from any given menu option to the one above or below it. If you press the up or down key several times, expect to wait around for these commands to eventually execute. The graphical highlight is probably when Daniel Radcliffe's increasingly valuable face pops up and orders you around as if you were a cheap lackey.
There's barely any sound in the game. An ear not trained for its detection might miss it entirely. When Harry shoots his freezing blasts, a faint scuttling noise--like what a cockroach makes while traversing a kitchen counter--can be heard.
The primary function of a game is to provide enjoyment--and, we suppose, to make money for its publishers. Harry Potter will likely succeed in one of these respects, but not both. The answer to this riddle ought to be fairly clear: let Scabbers stay lost.