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Video Game / Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 Harry Potter video game released by Electronic Arts to coincide with the release of the film by the same name.
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The game has a similar approach to the previous entry, with Hogwarts being a Wide-Open Sandbox that you can explore at your leisure in between completing the levels necessary to advance the story. The big change this time is that Ron and Hermione have been Promoted to Playable, allowing you to play as all three members of the trio. They each have different abilities, and, depending on the platform, you either can or can't decide when to switch characters. Another difference is that Quidditch is no longer playable, with flights on Buckbeak replacing it for the requisite flying mechanic. Perhaps due to the source material being more emotional and less action-oriented, ​The Stations of the Canon are mostly just skimmed over.


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  • Actionized Adaptation: Arguably, by necessity. In both book and movie form, Azkaban is rather light on action, which is a bit of a problem when you want to adapt that story as an Action-Adventure video game. The game thus tries to contrive action set-pieces wherever it can. For instance, the Monster Book of Monsters is a boss now, and the home console version straight-up invents a new subplot about Draco Malfoy causing trouble.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The game starts off with Harry, Ron, and Hermione on the Hogwarts Express, thus skipping over the Aunt Marge incident and Harry's ride on the Knight Bus.
    • Despite being a significant supporting character in both the book and film, Professor Trelawney is not in the game. And in the PC version, Snape is not included either.
    • Lupin's class with the Boggart in the wardrobe does not occur. Instead, Lupin's first class teaches the Carpe Retractum spell (in the PC version) or the Glacius spell (in the home console version). As a result, Lupin doesn't explain what Boggarts are until Harry's anti-Dementor lesson.
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    • In this game, Quidditch is no longer playable, being relegated to Cutscenes. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup came out the year before, so perhaps EA felt they couldn't improve on that. Plus, flights on Buckbeak essentially replace flights on your broomstick. Quidditch is not playable again until Half-Blood Prince.
  • All Myths Are True: The Chocolate Frog cards include an Israelite boy who killed a Giant, another Giant who lived atop a beanstalk by the time of his death, and a vampire who bathed in blood.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In Prisoner of Azkaban for home consoles (PS2, Xbox, GameCube), pots, vases, shrubs, etc. would typically spawn Every Flavor Beans when hit by Flipendo (primary attack) spell. However, there was a chance of them spawning healing snacks to provide minor healing if your character was wounded.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The home console game had over-zealously friendly AI, which would always shoot at the enemy as often as possible, regardless of whether or not you're standing in between them. At least they apologize if they hit you.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Prisoner of Azkaban features a Greek phrase on many tapestries — it's completely meaningless. (τηε τηα χρ ωψν τηε τηπα χμαρ — transliterated tēe tēa chr ōpsn tēe tēpa chmar)
  • Captain Obvious: "Oh, no! The door closed!"
  • Degraded Boss: A cross-game example. In the PC version of Philosopher's Stone, you fight Draco Malfoy by catching Wizard Crackers he throws at you and throwing them back at him. In this game, Imps are introduced as common enemies that are handled with the same tactics.
  • Dem Bones: The PC game (and on GBA, which carries over the RPG element from the GBC releases) had you fight skeletons in the tunnels underneath the Shrieking Shack. Besides simply clawing at you, they could also throw their own bones, which did a surprising amount of damage.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • In the console version, Hermione can enter the boys' dormitory, but Harry and Ron can't enter the girls', just like in the books. It's a pity the stairs don't fold into a slide if you try it, though.
    • On the first day, the fourth floor is supposed to be locked. If you take a secret passage located on the seventh floor down to the fourth floor and then exit, one of the prefects will question how you got there.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Sort of. All three of the playable characters are wizards, but their gameplay niches cause this effect. Harry is the fighter, receiving bonuses to athletics. Hermione is the mage, as she has the most and strongest spells. Ron is the thief, with special abilities that relate to secrets and using prank items that help with sneaking.
  • Final Boss: Of course, the source material doesn't really provide one, unless you count the swarm of Dementors that Harry fights off to save himself and Sirius. The different platforms come up with different solutions to this:
    • In the home console version, there simply is no final boss. The final challenge is flying Buckbeak up to the tower where Sirius is imprisoned.
    • In the GBA version, Draco Malfoy randomly jumps you at the very end.
    • The PC version has the final version of Peeves, who will attack Harry and his friends in the Entrance Hall the first time they enter it after saving Sirius.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: When the time comes for the prisoner of Azkaban to be freed, he does so thanks to Buckbeak who also escapes execution. That doesn't prevent the players from revisiting Hagrid afterwards and have the hippogriff flight as many times as they like.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: In the GBA version, the Final Boss is Draco Malfoy, who has absolutely no context for his presence in the final dungeon and is basically placed there solely for the purpose of giving Harry and Hermione someone to fight.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: In the PC game, imps will throw explosive crackers that need to be tossed back likewise.
  • Ground Pound: A flaming-pot-and-lantern mecha boss in the home console game can do these.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: After you fight off a bunch of Dementors, it turns to a cutscene where Harry is failing and has to be saved by his future self, just like in the book/film.
  • Heart Container: In the home console releases, collecting five wizard cards increases your stamina bar. This is reduced from the ten you needed in the previous game, though they are better hidden this time to compensate.
  • Ice Crystals: The Glacius spells are represented with these and even are visually shown to be crystals in the GBA game.
  • Master of Unlocking: Ron has this gift in the home console game, where he can easily find false walls along with the treasures they contain.
  • Monster Compendium: Lupin gives you a textbook which serves as this in home console Prisoner of Azkaban. However, it only has one page at the beginning and you need to collect the rest, typically from Inexplicable Treasure Chests.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: It's in the PC game during the intro and on the menu screen.
  • Recurring Boss: The home console game has enchanted books as mini-boss encounters. The first one is ostensibly the same Care for Magical Creatures textbook that featured in the novel, but later ones will also spit out spells at you.
  • Retcon: In the PC version, the spell used to push objects has suddenly always been Depulso, when the previous games had used Flipendo. This is especially glaring when Hermione asks Harry and Ron if they remember how to cast Depulso, which is something the player doesn't.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Downplayed in the home console version, where pots, vases, etc. don't shatter when hit by spells. Instead, there's a minute-long delay before the beans regenerate to discourage milking them.
  • Rocket Fist: Early boss monster in the home console game can detach one of its torch arms and fire them at you. This hurts a lot if it hits, but the only way to defeat it is to freeze and then shatter these.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The Red Caps from the home console game, equipped with daggers and rough metal shields. However, the shields are useless in this case, since you're blasting them with spells.
  • Slide Level: Some parts of the Glacius challenge feature this kind of gameplay, by using the Glacius spell to freeze the water Harry is going to slide down. You can collect goodies like Beans and Cauldron Cake, but if you fall, you have to restart this part of the challenge.
  • Super Drowning Skills: In the home console game, even slightly touching the lake or any other water body will kick you back to the spawning area. Characters will actually sneeze right after that happens!
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: In the home console game, there's a boss monster in one level that assembles itself from the metal pots and torch casings lying around. It can stomp for shockwaves and fire self-guiding fireballs, but it's only vulnerable after launching one of its torch arms at you, which can then be frozen and shattered.
  • Take That!: One of the wizard cards you earn is of Amarillo Lestoat, a "flamboyant American vampire" who wrote a book called A Vampire's Monologue, which is "intended to bore the reader into a stupor, making him/her easier prey for vampires." If that isn't a parody of The Vampire Chronicles
  • Truer to the Text:
    • The game portrays Dementors as simply floating above the ground, which is how they're described in the books. The films portray them as outright flying.
    • The PC game includes a level based on Hermione doing research for Buckbeak's defense, a book storyline that was cut from the movie.
    • The security trolls guarding Gryffindor Tower were cut from the film, but appear in the home console versions of the game.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can use Glacius, the ice making spell, on obnoxious Slytherin prefects, who will yell at you to stop. Most of the wandering children are too fast to catch with this spell.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: In the home console game:
    • A ghoul attacking Neville suffers from this. The only way to defeat him is to shine light into his eyes with Lumos Duo after Ron gets it.
    • The Hinkypunks are made out of gas and only become solid when you shine the light from Lumos Duo onto them. However, you have to do it for at least fifteen seconds. While they're rapidly moving around and throw explosive fire at you.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: In the PS2 game, Harry, Ron and Hermione get different special abilities in addition to the spells. Some are plausible (Harry is the only one who can climb up ropes), others not so much. Harry is the only one who can jump and Ron is the only one who can search bookshelves.
 
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Glacius Slide

Harry uses the Glacius spell to create an ice slide.

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