The primary gameplay in The Goblet of Fire involves collecting Triwizard shields that are scattered about the various levels. Some are hidden away for you to pick up, while others are earned by defeating boss creatures. Most of them require you to use your spells to solve environmental puzzles and reach them in out-of-the-way places. As you collect Triwizard shields, later levels are unlocked for play, letting you explore areas such as the Forbidden Forest and the roofs and greenhouses of Hogwarts. There are other items scattered about the levels, such as minishields, statuettes, and mushrooms, that you're asked to collect. Some of these also yield Triwizard shields, while others unlock cards. The problem is that after you've collected all of a certain item, it's never made clear what you've won. Sometimes a Triwizard shield popped up elsewhere in the level. Other times, we never quite figured out what we won by finding all the statuettes or magic mushrooms in a given map. Because the game relies a lot on having you replay certain levels to find all the collectibles, it's somewhat frustrating to not receive immediate feedback on what you've gotten out of searching every nook and cranny. Despite that flaw, it's still pretty fun to explore each of the game's levels the first time, fighting the monsters and finding the Triwizard shields.
The Triwizard challenges you unlock also help mix up the gameplay, as they're different in nature from the standard levels. The Triwizard challenges follow the template used in the book and the film; one challenge has Harry fly off on his broom with a dragon in pursuit, while another has Harry explore the depths of the Black Lake. These levels don't involve any exploration or collection--they're pretty much linear races, with some light combat involved.
You'll explore various levels looking for Triwizard shields.
Graphically, The Goblet of Fire is competent, excelling the most in its environment. For example, as you scale the towers and roofs of Hogwarts, you can see the surrounding buildings of the school grounds in the distance. The dragon that chases you through your first play of the Forbidden Forest is also quite imposing and impressive visually. Spell effects also look impressive, making use of particles and other lighting effects. However, the character models look pretty small on screen and don't animate particularly well. What's most disappointing is that the game never leverages any media from the film, aside from still shots used to decorate the cards. The cutscenes in the game are comic-like in their style, not unlike the cover art of the books. Though they still offer an air of authenticity, the frugal nature of the cutscenes seems oddly deflating given the visual splendor Potter fans have come to expect from the films. The four platforms look quite similar in general, with the Xbox and PC versions offering the sharpest graphics, and the PS2 and GameCube versions looking somewhat muddier in comparison. As far as sound goes, the spells and creature effects seem pretty good, as does the music used in the menus and during cutscenes. The voice acting used in the game can get somewhat repetitive over time.
As a platformer aimed at the younger crowd of Potter fans, The Goblet of Fire does a good job at delivering an experience that is in line with the plot of the books. Even if you're an older fan of the Harry Potter books, the game is still worth checking out, especially if you've got two other friends to play the game in three-player cooperative mode. It's definitely not quite as awe-inspiring an experience as seeing the films, but if you want a more interactive take on what it might be like to be in the world of magic, The Goblet of Fire video game will suit you just fine.