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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Bookworm or not, it seems almost everybody is a fan of half-blood wizard Harry Potter.

With the bespectacled one's fourth term at Hogwarts just around the corner, will this movie tie-in pass with flying colours, or will scarface and chums flunk out?

The exciting prologue, set in the Quidditch World Cup campsite, confirms that Goblet of Fire has shifted away from the childish, cartoony look of Prisoner of Azkaban and plumped for a darker, more cinematic style.

There's also a marked change of pace in the actual gameplay, with puzzling replaced by spell-flinging action and drop in, drop out three-player co-op.

EA has outdone itself with spell effects. So expect to find the screen lighting up with all kinds of colourful pyrotechnics that perfectly convey the magical atmosphere of Hogwarts - you call almost smell the boiled cabbage wafting from the Great Hall at dinner-time.

Disposing of enemies like Dugbogs and Salamanders with even the most basic of jinxes earns beans (Bertie Bott's perchance?). Rack up combos or maim more creatively - by toasting baddies or chucking them off cliffs - and you'll be rewarded with more beans than a tin of Heinz's finest.

At the end of each level you'll purchase collector/creature cards from a selection of 170, pumping up your characters' spell casting powers or helping them defeat certain foes more easily. Although Goblet of Fire is chiefly aimed at the kiddies, this should ensure a decent amount of replayabilty for older gamers.

Harry has to leave his mates behind for the three Triwizard sections of the game.

These sections include a breathless broomstick race against a fire-spewing dragon and battling merpeople and grindylows under the Black Lake. And all this is on the way to rescuing Ron and Gabrielle in a climactic, and visually stunning, labyrinth level.

Claim the TriWizard crown and, instead of a snog behind the bike sheds with Cho Chang, Harry's reward is a titanic showdown with Lord Voldemort himself.

Phew, as if exams, acne and awkward crushes weren't enough, eh?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is out for PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, DS and GBA now and will be available for PSP on 18 November

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