Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Electronic Arts
Developer
The Collective
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Looks, sounds and feels like Buffy
• Large, great looking areas
• Combat is easy to pick up and fun

The Bad

• Some unrealistic animations
• Non-fans may grow tired of Buffy's banter

 
Grade
A-

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is based on the popular television series by Joss Whedon staring Sarah Michelle Gellar. Buffy is the Slayer, the chosen one who has the skill and strength to save the world against vampires, demons and other assorted monsters. Set in Sunnydale, where the high school is built on a Hellmouth, Buffy has more than her fair share of badguys to foil. The game is set around the beginning of season three. In it , Spike and Drusilla have returned and are part of a plot to resurrect an "ancient evil". Once they kidnap Buffy's fellow students and even her best friend, Willow, Buffy has no other course than to intervene.

Graphics: Buffy looks great. The large levels are well built, highly detailed and covered with some fine texture maps that add a high level of polish to the game. On top of that, the lighting and visual effects are excellent. A lot of the TV show's locations have been replicated, like the High School, The Bronze and Angel's mansion. And, I would be remiss not to mention the fine replication of the series characters. Everyone from Buffy to Spike look really close to their TV counterparts (even though a few, like Willow, are not as close). All of the character models are excellently detailed and have some good animation during combat. The enemies also look really good.

Gameplay: Buffy's gameplay is a straight action title that focuses a lot on combat, with puzzle solving and some platforming elements. The battle system is nice and easy to use. Along the way, Buffy learns a variety of combo hits that can be used with the Punch and Kick buttons. During fights, you'll need to wear down your enemies and then deliver a finishing blow to kill them. With vampires, you can stake them, use holy water or throw them into the sunlight to dispatch them. Once an enemy has fallen, they give Buffy either life or power energy (which is used in special attacks). Along the way, you get or find weapons to use. The bowgun can be used to snipe enemies from a distance and you'll get a watergun loaded with holy water and hellfire that can also be used to solve puzzles. The combat system is easy to use and fighting multiple enemies at once is well handled. Puzzles often include finding switches or keys to unlock doors. Luckily, the levels are large and designed well enough that it doesn't become a tedious chore to perform. And, each level has hidden areas to find and potential victims to save, both of which will get Buffy additional arrows, potions and Life and Power Crystals to increase both stats.

Audio: Both the voiceacting and music are well done and mimic the TV show nicely. Even if the voices aren't done by the real actors, they sound pretty close. And the script sounds like it was ripped straight out of an episode that never got filmed. Witty banter and snide remarks are abound and everyone talks and acts like they do in the real show. The only real drawback with the audio is that both Buffy's and the vampire minions' lines tend to get repeated a lot. In fact, you'll hear Buffy make the same post-kill jokes so often that it may wear on even Buffy fans.

The Bad: While most everything sounds and looks great, I will say that the animations during some of the cutscenes can be stiff and unrealistic. Watching Spike leap up onto a walkway during one scene can be laughable, like he's using wires to get up from the ground. The save system, which saves at the end of each stage, can lead to frustration, as dying at some point in the level will force you to restart the level. And, during some of the platforming sections, areas can be too dark, which makes correctly landing the jumps overly hard. Also, people who aren't a fan of the series are going to grow tired of Buffy's verbal jabs during combat and the cutscenes.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a fun action title that really takes advantage of the Xbox's capabilities. With a combat system that's easy to pick up and enough variety in the gameplay, you'll be pleased to own this game if you're a fan of the series. And, if you're not, you should at least give it a rent.

- - Kinderfeld

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