Of the various iterations of Harry Potter
that have been churned out to match the movie, the Game Boy Color version of Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone
has struck me as one of the best. That doesn't mean that the game is great--it suffers from a very poor magic selection method, a high-for-the-target-audience difficulty level, and more repetition than the standard RPG--but it wasn't a chore to play, which is more than I can say about the PC version.
For those of you unaware of the plot, the condensed version is: Harry Potter learns he's a wizard, goes to school, things happen. The game itself doesn't give much in the way of backstory, but it's a fair assumption that anyone playing this game will know enough about the setting to not really need it. You'll parade around as Harry Potter, finding your classes and fighting the bad guys and doing the sorts of things that RPGs have you do.
For all of its setting, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone is a fairly standard RPG. Harry has two major abilities in the turn-based battles; he can cast spells, which use up magic points, and he can do card combos, which use up collectible Wizard Cards. The spells are gained throughout the course of the game, and casting a lot of a particular flavour of magic will teach you higher level versions of that spell, which do more damage but cost more to cast. The card combos, on the other hand, can do all sorts of different things, but getting the cards can be a challenge and you have to learn the combinations.
Instead of having lots of treasure chests lying around, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone has you searching just about every object in the game. You'll find cards and combinations this way, so it's just about required. It's a mixed blessing; on the one hand, it's more realistic than treasure chests lying around in plain sight; on the other hand, it makes searching rooms that much more annoying, especially when you're trying to dodge the little storm clouds that represent enemy battles.
The game also sports a number of mini-games, which are mostly simplistic affairs. There's the struggle for the House Cup, which you can check in the hourglasses in front of the Great Hall. But perhaps the greatest success of this GBC version of the game is the sense of Hogwarts as a location. You're free to roam around a lot in the game, and it's easy to forget where you're going, but the large number of rooms gives a sense of location that the PC game did not.
Unfortunately, the actual experience tends to be a little too repetitive; running back and forth, dodging enemies, leveling. The plot's there, but it's not nearly as well presented as the movie or the book, and it feels more tacked on. That's not to say that the game doesn't feel Harry Potterish, because it does. It just doesn't present the characters and events as well as it should have. Add in the fact that many useful spell combinations are just lying about, hidden unless you click their specific locations, and you can have a frustrating experience on your hands.