Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States) is an Electronic Arts multi-platform action-adventure with heavy platformer elements video game developed by KnowWonder, Warthog, Griptonite, Argonaut, Eurocom and Westlake Interactive. 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 PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance and Mac OS X, and was re-made two years later for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.
The first version of the game was released on 15 November 2001 in North America, in Australia and Europe on 16 November and in Japan on 1 December 2001. The second version was released in North America on 9 December 2003, in Japan on 11 December and in Australia and Europe on 12 December.
The story follows protagonist Harry Potter, who discovers he is a wizard, and 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 simple gameplay and its poor graphics (2003 versions) while others said the game's license would be the only thing to draw in fans.
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: Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, 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 non-magical parents.
At school, Harry begins his training as a wizard and learns more about his past. After retrieving a rememberal 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 gameplay is from a third-person perspective. The player controls the character Harry Potter from a third-person view.
In the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh versions, the game is played like a third-person action and puzzle game. It features combat with various creatures and bosses such as Lord Voldemort. The Flipendo Jinx is used on both enemies and objects around the environment. Many other spells are learned during lessons taught by the teachers around the school.
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 Final Fantasy. The player controls Harry, starting from when Hagrid brings him to Diagon Alley. It strictly follows the story of the books, with 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.
The characters featured in Philosopher's Stone have a likeness of their voices provided by the cast of the film adaptation.
- Joe Sowerbutts as Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle,
- Harry Robinson as Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom,
- Victoria Robinson as Hermione Granger
- Allan Corduner as Severus Snape, Argus Filch, Filius Flitwick Gringotts Bank Goblin
- Jim Dale as the Narrator.
The cast differs in the next generation version with several of the younger cast members being replaced by the actors who played them in later adaptations. For instance, Tom Attenborough replaces Joe Sowerbutts as Harry, whilst Harper Marshall takes on the role of Hermione. Actor David de Keyser is also replaced as Professors Dumbledore and Quirrell. So was Dale, too, with Stephen Fry having taken his place.
- In the PS1 and the PC versions of the game, Harry doesn't speak in the cutscenes (except when he is reading information either from a notice or Folio Magi, and at one point in the PC Version where he spots Peeves casing havoc for Filch).