Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
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|Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup|
Magic Pockets (GBA)
|Series||Harry Potter video games|
|Platform(s)||GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Game Boy Advance|
|Release||GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2 & Xbox|
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup is a 2003 sports action video game that features the fictional sport of Quidditch from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter franchise, using the likeness from the films. The user plays in the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup competition.
Hogwarts House team rosters are based on Harry's third year (Prisoner of Azkaban). Other House team and national team members not named in the books are named in this game, and their names are also listed on Chocolate Frog cards in the Half-Blood Prince video game.
As in the first three books, Lee Jordan returns as play-by-play commentator for the House Quidditch Cup matches, but unique to this game, Harry and Ron's dorm-mate Seamus Finnegan joins as color commentator. Meanwhile, Ludo Bagman returns as play-by-play commentator for international matches, with a set of color commentators. Other characters make appearances in the stands and elsewhere, such as Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Rolanda Hooch and Albus Dumbledore.
In this stage, the player competes for the Hogwarts Inter-House Quidditch Cup using one of the Hogwarts house teams – Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin. Each House team is represented by its Seeker, and each Seeker is a specific character from the books (Harry Potter for Gryffindor, Draco Malfoy for Slytherin, Cedric Diggory for Hufflepuff, and Cho Chang for Ravenclaw). When the player chooses a team, the Seeker of the chosen House flies off on his or her broomstick. If this is the player's first time playing a team, the character will give a short statement praising the player's selection, then the house challenges appear. These challenges focus on specific areas of a full Quidditch game and are used to learn the game for new players, or polish skills as a returning player.
There are six House challenges: Passing, Tackle and Shoot, Seeker, Beaters and Bludgers, Special Moves, and Combos. Each is led by a relevant player – for example, Harry leads the Gryffindor Seeker challenge, while Angelina Johnson leads the Gryffindor Passing challenge and Oliver Wood leads the Gryffindor Combo challenge. Only the first three challenges - Passing, Tackle and Shoot, and Seeker - are initially available to the player, with Beaters and Bludgers, and Special Moves unlocked after the first Quidditch match, and Combos unlocked after the second match. Completing the first set of challenges allows the player to play their first full Quidditch match. The team the player faces depends on what team they are playing as. Winning the game unlocks the next set of challenges which must then be completed to unlock the next match. Winning the second game unlocks the final challenge. Completing that challenge unlocks the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup final match.
During a Quidditch match, the player controls the Chasers who try and score goals with the Quaffle to earn 10 points per goal. The Chasers' abilities depend on which challenges have been completed (for a first time player) (Example: in the player's first game, he will be unable to perform special moves or combo moves). Abilities also unlock by collecting certain Quidditch cards. These cards are earned by doing certain tasks, such as winning without conceding a goal or performing a certain number of steals in a game. Along the top of the screen, each team's score display also features a thin bar with one half of the Golden Snitch. Actions performed in game by the Chasers such as any successful pass increase the bar slightly, and performing a successful string of combo passes and shots can increase the bar by an amount proportional to the length of the combo string, up to seven actions. The player can continue to chain actions to the combo but the counter will not go past 7. The bar will increase until both halves join.
The Chasers can also perform moves to drain the opposing team's bar such as successfully hitting the opposing chasers with a Bludger, performing a successful Special Move tackle, or performing a Team Special Move (which is unblockable). Every team in the game has a unique Team Special Move that triggers a short cinematic of spectacular teamwork between the team Chasers (and sometimes Beaters) and has a possibility of scoring multiple goals. For example, The Ravenclaw Team Special Move, the Burdish of Raven, scores three times for 30 points total – something no other Team Special Move, even those of the national teams, does. Although the original Quidditch rule disallows having more than 2 chasers in the scoring area at the same time (known as Stooging, as stated in Quidditch Through the Ages), doing such behaviour in this game will not result in penalty.
Once both halves of the Snitch join, the game moves into the Snitch Chase, regardless of score (it is possible, though unlikely, to engage in the Snitch Chase with the score at 0-0). During the Snitch Chase, the player now controls the Seeker and follows the Snitch, in a race against the opposing seeker to catch it. The player can use a speed boost which drains a boost bar directly proportional to the size of the snitch bar accumulated during the Chaser portion of the game. If a player doesn't have a boost bar of maximum size, staying in the Snitch's slipstream (which normally refills the bar) with his bar filled will increase its size. Using the boost, once the player is close enough, he can try to grab the Snitch. If he is successful, he earns 150 points for his team and the match ends. This typically wins the match but is not always the case (example, if the player's team is trailing by 160 points, catching the snitch would end the match but the player would still lose). The Cup is based on points, not wins, so high scoring teams have a better chance at winning, and the team with the highest point total after all three games have been played wins the Cup. Winning the Cup with any team unlocks the Quidditch World Cup.
Exhibition allows the player to play a one-off match between the Hogwarts house teams at Hogwarts during summer or winter. The player can also choose to play an international match, controlling a country team of their choosing. Only the venues of the England and United States teams are available to players initially, but as players win against international teams in an 'away' game in the international tournament, more venues are unlocked. This mode also offers the game's multiplayer option. The team that the second player can choose depends of the team pool that the first player selects. In either single or multiplayer, a Hogwarts team cannot play against a world cup team or on any international field, and no world cup team can play at Hogwarts.
The World Cup stage is similar to the Hogwarts stage in terms of game play, with the exception that there are no challenges available to the player and the teams are named after real countries instead of Hogwarts houses. Several different team choices are available to the player, including Japan, Australia, the United States, England and Bulgaria, the latter of which features the 'star seeker' from the book series, Viktor Krum. However, Bulgaria is unavailable to the player until they collect enough Quidditch cards.
The key difference between the World Cup and the Hogwarts cup is that after team selection, the player must choose what model of broom he will use, which is essentially a Difficulty selection screen. The four models available are Comet 260 (Easy), Nimbus 2000 (Medium), Nimbus 2001 (Hard) and Firebolt (Very Hard). Only the Comet 260 and Nimbus 2000 are available in the beginning, the others being unlocked with Quidditch cards. The different brooms offer different handling in-game, although this is hardly noticeable. The broom selection more directly affects how hard the AI will play.
The player will play against every team in the World Cup twice, once at their home stadium and once at the opposing team's home ground. The Cup is awarded the same way as the Hogwarts Cup, so the team with the highest score total at the end of the season wins the World Cup. The player can play multiple separate World Cups with different teams simultaneously, but can only run one World Cup with any given team. For example, the player can play a World Cup as the USA and a separate World Cup as France at the same time, but cannot play two separate World Cups as France at the same time.
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The game received mixed reviews. GameRankings gave the game a score of 70% for the GameCube version, 71% for the PC version, 70% for the PlayStation 2 version, 69% for the Xbox version, and 53% for the Game Boy Advance version. Likewise, Metacritic gave it a score of 68 out of 100 each for the GameCube and PS2 versions, 69 out of 100 each for the PC and Xbox versions, and 53 out of 100 for the GBA version.
GameSpot gave all versions of the game except the Game Boy Advance version a rating of 6.5/10, citing sluggish controls and shallow gameplay, but praising the inclusion of easily recognizable characters from the books and films, and good graphics. IGN gave all console versions of the game except the Game Boy Advance version a 7.2/10  and GameSpy gave the PC version a score of three stars out of five. In Japan, Famitsu gave the GBA version a score of two sixes, one five, and one eight, for a total of 25 out of 40.
The game's critics generally criticized the game's feel, as the controls were felt to be sluggish. IGN cited the game as being "fun, but not compelling." EuroGamer cited the game commentary track as being "painful at times", but also described "Quidditch World Cup above [as] being an average, if well-implemented, fantasy sports game."
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