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RTTP: Harry Potter Game Boy RPGs

Damaniel

Banned
Mar 6, 2013
6,171
0
0
Damaniel, DM
Me :) I gotta tell you, we had a LOT of fun making the two GBC games, best time in my career (followed by the worst time in my career with the GBA Azkaban...) The publisher didn't really pay attention to our games, they were only concerned with the console and GBA versions, so we were able to do almost whatever we wanted without interference. Every once in a while we'd show them progress, they'd say "We didn't think the GBC could do this, keep up the good work". Because of that, the GBC games were closer to the books than any of the other ports, where they weren't allowed to put it in if it wasn't in the movies.


We used a bunch of tricks in Chamber of Secrets, and maxed out the largest GBC cart size, with only a few bytes to spare. The most-used trick was to do things while the screen is being drawn - load a whole new set of color palettes partway down the screen to get hundreds of colors per screen, scroll the screen at different rates on different scanlines, change the memory address of the backgrounds so we could flicker a ghostly background in front of the normal one (used a lot in card attacks). We also had a lot of background animations done by manipulating the palette, known as "palette cycling".


Ah yes, the horrible Boomslang Skin game-breaking bug. A couple hours into the game, Professor Snape has you collect some ingredients, and one is the Boomslang Skin. Unfortunately, when you get that task, if you talk to the school nurse before collecting the skin, you cannot collect the skin, and if you save, that'll save the bad state. And of course when you die you appear next to the nurse, so you might talk to her. The Japanese localization testers found that and figured out that talking to the nurse did it, too late for the North American release and the first European release (there was a second run of the game in Europe, that got the bug fixed, I don't remember if the US ever got that second run).
I never played these games, but I still love to hear the developer stories (especially the fun experiences!) I might have to put these on the to-do list if they're that good.

Easily the most underrated movie based game imho
While I never played the Harry Potter games, I thought the latter two LoTR games on GBA were pretty good movie adaptations too - they were competently done ARPGs that I liked a lot back in the day.
 

Foaloal

Member
Sep 10, 2012
1,077
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I had one HP game for GBA when I was pretty young.

I don't remember liking it that much. There was a stealth section or something where you had to avoid Snape I think, and it took me a ton of tries.

I remember the end of the game was fighting Voldemort, I think the battle revolved around mirrors or something.

If anyone knows which one I'm trying to describe I'd like to know so I could look it up on YouTube and relive the game for a moment.
 
Jun 21, 2010
7,563
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770
planet earth
www.neogaf.com
We were micromanaged to death by the publisher on that one. They specifically asked for the GBC Potter team to make that game, and we designed our dream game, taking everything we learned from Chamber of Secrets and amping it way up, taking full advantage of the powerful new hardware. To be honest, we over-designed it, to be sure, but still, without interference we could have made a really kick-ass game. But the publisher didn't trust us to make quality GBA art, seeing as we had come from GBC development. To make a long story short, halfway through production they made us throwaway all the existing background art, replacing it with a new style they came up with, and because the background art changed, we had to change our sprite art to match, and now all the scripting had to be redone, since backgrounds and characters were different sizes/shapes from before. With only half the time to now make a full game, we had to cut many, many features, and to release it as a decent game we had to work crunch mode for the rest of the project, including weekends and holidays, while the publisher had reps in our office micromanaging it all. Not fun.
I am sorry you had to go through that dude. It must have been awful to be bossed like that by EA.
 
Aug 16, 2012
2,932
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UK
I had one HP game for GBA when I was pretty young.

I don't remember liking it that much. There was a stealth section or something where you had to avoid Snape I think, and it took me a ton of tries.

I remember the end of the game was fighting Voldemort, I think the battle revolved around mirrors or something.

If anyone knows which one I'm trying to describe I'd like to know so I could look it up on YouTube and relive the game for a moment.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on GBA

I played through the first three Harry Potter games on GBA. I honestly could never stop laughing at this scene in Prisoner of Azkaban:
 

CassSept

Member
Jun 7, 2007
10,614
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THANK YOU DREAMWRITER

I love the two Harry Potter games on GBC, I put some insane hours into them and I think I grinded out all up to level 99 in these two. Loved loved loved them, they were great and did a great job at adapting the book.

Your story also explains why the GBA PoA felt so gimped. It was still good, better than most other adaptations, but worse than the first two.

Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets for GBC need all the exposure they can get.
 

PaulExcellent

Member
Aug 8, 2012
8,384
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Duuuuuuuuude. YES.
When I was younger, I had every single handheld Harry Potter game. The GB ones were super swell and great. The GBA ones were pretty good, too...

Except for one mission on the first GBA one where you had a platforming mission for Hagrid in the forest or something. That shit was impossible and it took me weeks to beat. So... Whoever was responsible for that can go eat a bag of dicks~
 

kiguel182

Member
Sep 9, 2013
13,941
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There's an actual developer of this game here? that's amazing.

I love Chamber of Secrets for the GBC. As a kid that was a fanatic for Harry Potter (and still is...) this game was pretty much all I could ask for from a game based on this property.

It had tons of details about the world, tons of content and side things to do and the execution was almost flawless (maybe the Aragog battle was a little to hard). The battle system had tons of spells and card combinations, even if I rarely used them because I didn't want to burn the cards lol.

I played this game, start to finish, several times which is a rare thing for me to do but I did it with this game. I have almost all the cards (never could find them all) and I remember my cousin also had the game and we traded cards with each other. Not alot of games used the Game Boy infra-red but this game was so complete that even had that!

The mini-games were awesome, Hogwarts was awesome and just wandering around seeing all the sets was awesome. It's a shame what happened to the other HP games because the foundation of what they should be is here, on the Game Boy Color.

So, thanks Dreamwriter and the rest of the team. This is really one of my favourite games ever and you guys made one Harry Potter fan really happy back then thanks to it.

You should write a post-mortem if you ever have the time, should be an awesome read.
 

Rikkun

Member
Sep 5, 2010
4,018
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Italy
I only had the first one, managed to find a copy of CoS but I'm waiting for a game boy player or a gbasp to play it.


And.. Wow it's kinda weird to be able to read from someone working on those games, I maxed out everything in the first one! Excellent job Dreamwriter! I'll have to try the easter Egg sometime :D


Ps: I still laugh when I think about flipendo/filipendo. How did you manage to put a new spell in the game? Or was it in the early books and I forgot about it? IIRC they put it in the PC titles too
 

Rapstah

Member
Jul 20, 2009
13,184
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The version of the Quidditch game on PS2 and the other consoles was absolute shit and I refuse to accept the people on the first page talking about it as if it was okay. You could mash the pass button and do a 100% combo goal at the end of a pass series the AI had no way of interrupting, get a bludger from it and get the ball from the other team, and then repeat, occasionally doing your team combo which gave you one to three guaranteed goals. Every match was a guaranteed 300-0 whenever the Snitch mini-game started.

Not to mention all the controls were two-dimensional since you couldn't control flying up or down (which would've kicked ass) and China and Ireland, a team shown in the opening cinematic and the world champion team respectively, were not in the game.
 

Wolf Akela

Member
Oct 13, 2008
12,223
1
0
I absolutely loved those games. Best RPGs on the system. I really like the little details they added in Chamber of Secrets. Remember Lockhart being such a showoff, writing autographs and
breaking his wand?
In the game, he can write autographs to enemies to "stun" them and
every spell he casts fails
. Ron gets his wand semi-broken early in the book, so in the game, his spells can backfire.

My biggest complaints are the shops. Everything is expensive. By the time you get enough money, you leveled up enough times that the shop updated with even more expensive items. I don't think I completed the cards either even if I explored a lot, but I didn't have access to guides back then.

Because of that, the GBC games were closer to the books than any of the other ports, where they weren't allowed to put it in if it wasn't in the movies.
It was definitely evident in the game especially Chamber of Secrets. Thanks for all the love you put into the game! It's a shame the RPGs ended with PoA GBA though. Harry Potter is just a perfect fit for RPGs. I definitely felt you guys got rushed since the game ended VERY abruptly. I was really surprised when the game told me it's over.

Could you tell us if the GBC games had the same composer as the console ones? I distinctly remember the Basilisk battle (or just plain boss battle) in the console version having the same tune as the GBC version.

I was disappointed the games continued to be more like 2D Zelda games, those I can never forget this gold nugget:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6kTQo0W9BY
 

kiguel182

Member
Sep 9, 2013
13,941
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0
I absolutely loved those games. Best RPGs on the system. I really like the little details they added in Chamber of Secrets. Remember Lockhart being such a showoff, writing autographs and
breaking his wand?
In the game, he can write autographs to enemies to "stun" them and
every spell he casts fails
. Ron gets his wand semi-broken early in the book, so in the game, his spells can backfire.

My biggest complaints are the shops. Everything is expensive. By the time you get enough money, you leveled up enough times that the shop updated with even more expensive items. I don't think I completed the cards either even if I explored a lot, but I didn't have access to guides back then.


It was definitely evident in the game especially Chamber of Secrets. Thanks for all the love you put into the game! It's a shame the RPGs ended with PoA GBA though. Harry Potter is just a perfect fit for RPGs. I definitely felt you guys got rushed since the game ended VERY abruptly. I was really surprised when the game told me it's over.

I was disappointed the games continued to be more like 2D Zelda games, those I can never forget this gold nugget:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6kTQo0W9BY
The attention of detail really was something else, even the using Ron was a pain because of it lol but it made sense so it is hard to complain about that.

The cards requires several playtroughs since at least in the beggining you had to choose between two decks, so you either traded them or just played the game twice. But some of those cards were really well hidden that's for sure. But the portraits and the descriptions made them worth the effort for me.
 

Sputtid

Banned
Sep 18, 2013
135
0
0
Thanks for the insight Dreamwriter, great read. I really like the crazy optimizations being possible on old hardware. Reading this really tempted me to buy them along with an SP. I can't put up with the absence of backlight anymore and the I only have the basic model.
 

gerudoman

Member
Nov 3, 2010
1,712
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0
Madrid, Spain
Ah yes, the horrible Boomslang Skin game-breaking bug. A couple hours into the game, Professor Snape has you collect some ingredients, and one is the Boomslang Skin. Unfortunately, when you get that task, if you talk to the school nurse before collecting the skin, you cannot collect the skin, and if you save, that'll save the bad state. And of course when you die you appear next to the nurse, so you might talk to her. The Japanese localization testers found that and figured out that talking to the nurse did it, too late for the North American release and the first European release (there was a second run of the game in Europe, that got the bug fixed, I don't remember if the US ever got that second run).
I also came across the Snape bug, I had to start a new file but thankfully that was quite early in the game, and it was completely worthwhile. Such great games, I 100%'d both GBC games, and not only once. I have very fond memories of them, easily the Christmas games I've enjoyed the most.

You guys not only had fantastic ideas, but they were also exellently executed. I'm guessing most of you were very big on the books, elsewhere I wouldn't know how the explain the fidelity to the source, they felt like games made by Harry Potter fans to Harry Potter fans. All the RPG elements were there, and were perfectly integrated into the Harry Potter universe, the use of the cards in particular was brilliant.

I'm not surprised to read the problems during Prisoner of Azkaban's development. Its heart was in the right place but there was definetely something off.
 

Dreamwriter

Member
Aug 23, 2006
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I still laugh when I think about flipendo/filipendo. How did you manage to put a new spell in the game? Or was it in the early books and I forgot about it? IIRC they put it in the PC titles too
Flipendo was a knockback charm, I think it was used a couple times in the books (like during the wizard dueling) though they may not have referred to it by name. EA got JK Rowling to supply a bunch of spells they could use in their games, so some of those spells weren't in the main books (but have been in encyclopedias and stuff since then).

Could you tell us if the GBC games had the same composer as the console ones? I distinctly remember the Basilisk battle (or just plain boss battle) in the console version having the same tune as the GBC version.
We used our own composers for the three games, but starting with Chamber of Secrets that game's composer was basing at least some of the music on the music composed by Jeremy Soule for the console games.
 

pikablu

Member
Mar 9, 2010
1,505
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Never read the books or saw the movies but I was always intrigued by the 2 gbc games. They always looked so good to me. I might have to track these down and give them a go now.
 
Jul 25, 2013
23,954
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Around the corner
Never had a Nintendo handheld until the DS
I know
. But I did have 4 HP games on the PS2. I was young back then, so excuse my taste in games...I always had a blast with Chamber of Secrets; thought Prisoner of Azkaban was interesting enough and also had fun with Order of the Phoenix. We shall not speak of the Goblet of Fire.
 

vladdamad

Member
May 7, 2012
787
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Games were pretty fun, I enjoyed the GBA ones as well. Although the game that I remember playing the most as a kid was the first Sorcerer's Stone game for PC. As far as I'm aware, they remade it later on, but the original was a really fun Zelda clone. Loved collecting all the wizard cards.
 

KHlover

Banned
Jun 26, 2013
13,792
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0
Never had a Nintendo handheld until the DS
I know
. But I did have 4 HP games on the PS2. I was young back then, so excuse my taste in games...I always had a blast with Chamber of Secrets; thought Prisoner of Azkaban was interesting enough and also had fun with Order of the Phoenix. We shall not speak of the Goblet of Fire.
Tbh, Prizoner of Azkaban was the best of all the HP movie games on most of the platforms (PS2, GCN and PC at least) and while that alone doesn't say much it also was a generally good game on them (I'd give all of them a 7.5/10).
 

Andrefpvs

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May 18, 2010
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Dreamwriter, I remember I came really close to completing my card collection in Philosoper's Stone (played like 3 New Game +'s), but never did. Do you remember if there was any bonus for getting all the cards?
 

Dreamwriter

Member
Aug 23, 2006
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I'm pretty sure there was no bonus for that, just something to do for fun. In Chamber of Secrets, we added a bunch of rewards for that kind of thing in the card collector's club, but not in Philosopher's Stone.

Another easter egg, this one a lot harder to get: In Chamber of Secrets, you must get the top 3 scores in every minigame (including the two that must be unlocked as card collecting rewards), entering your initials as "FUN". Then go to the top of the Astronomy Tower and look through the telescope there. If you press Select, that starts up a little side-scrolling space shooter, where you control Harry on a broom.
 

Bog

Junior Ace
Jun 9, 2004
6,500
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I'm pretty sure there was no bonus for that, just something to do for fun. In Chamber of Secrets, we added a bunch of rewards for that kind of thing in the card collector's club, but not in Philosopher's Stone.

Another easter egg, this one a lot harder to get: In Chamber of Secrets, you must get the top 3 scores in every minigame (including the two that must be unlocked as card collecting rewards), entering your initials as "FUN". Then go to the top of the Astronomy Tower and look through the telescope there. If you press Select, that starts up a little side-scrolling space shooter, where you control Harry on a broom.
That's amazing. You know no one on earth did that, but knowing it's there makes me happy still.
 

khaaan

Member
Sep 28, 2012
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Oh man, Sorcerers stone takes me back. There was a point in time where my family was tight on cash so the best I could do was borrow it from Blockbuster (remember that?) as often as I could. The only problem was that because we were strapped on cash, my parents bought a cheap rechargeable battery pack for the Gameboy Color but it was shoddy and turned off sporadically.
 

Cody_D165

Banned
Sep 22, 2009
6,447
2
0
IAnother easter egg, this one a lot harder to get: In Chamber of Secrets, you must get the top 3 scores in every minigame (including the two that must be unlocked as card collecting rewards), entering your initials as "FUN". Then go to the top of the Astronomy Tower and look through the telescope there. If you press Select, that starts up a little side-scrolling space shooter, where you control Harry on a broom.
I need to do this. So awesome.
 

Polioliolio

Member
Aug 30, 2012
7,212
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Oh crap. Are you telling me I was supposed to know these were secretly good games?

Welp. Now I'll be on the lookout for them.