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XBox Reviews: Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Screenshots


The Final Say!


Buffy the Vampire Slayer - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 02 October 2002
Review Score: 8.5/10 
Distributed By: Electronic Arts

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the latest of a recent glut of TV licensed video games. Released by Electronic Arts, it was pleasing to see the popular television series has been done proper justice by the developers who have taken the time to accurately portray the characters and surroundings of Sunnydale.

For those of you that are not in the know, Buffy Summers is the star of the show and she is what is known as a 'Slayer', meaning a slayer of vampires. She has moved to the town of Sunnydale, which it turns is a Hellmouth (a portal to the underworld that actually attracts of sorts of nasties). She attends classes at Sunnydale High, where with the help of her close friends, Willow, Xander, Cordelia and the Watcher Giles (who poses as the school librarian), she battles the forces of darkness week in and out.

One of the nice touches to the title is that The Collective (the developers) have called upon the voice talent of the actual actors to contribute to the many cutscenes that intersperse the main gameplay. The show's writers were also utilised to ensure that the game felt like an episode of the popular television show. 
There are thirteen levels to explore during the game and for the most part, they are very large and detailed, keeping true to the aesthetics the series.

Let's get one thing out of the way, this game looks fantastic. All the characters are true to their real life appearances and are immediately recognisable. Environments have been meticulously mapped out and seem to have a life of their own. Environments are interactive and indeed certain items can be broken down to create more weapons. For example, a broomstick may be used of it's own accord, however when broken upon an object you can make a few stakes which are a far more desirable weapon.


The game is primarily combat and exploration although the style of play is very linear. The window of exploration is fairly narrow however you are kept so busy that you should not notice this until you have cleared an area and are wandering around an empty level.

There are so many nice touches to the title such as the banter between Buffy and the non player characters in the game, most of which takes part in the school's library which seems to act as a base of operations for everyone. 

The fighting in the game is varied with an impressive number of combos available to help Buffy kick undead butt. One of the slight problems I found was that Buffy didn't seem to respond to combo sequences in a fast enough manner for them to be truly of use. The main combo that I found to activate upon command and actually work every time was a cyclone attack which Buffy picks up earlier on in the game.

The camera used by the game engine is good and doesn't get in the way of combat or gameplay. It is fairly lazy though and you will find yourself using the analogue sticks in order to see around the level. In a way this is pretty cool as you can also use it to a limited extent to peek around doorways and buildings. The general animation of the characters is fluid and appealing. There is not a great deal of clipping apparent and no animation frames appear to be missing. The movements of creatures is solid and actually menacing

A complaint that I had with the game was that the saves in the game are few and far between. Some of the battles are huge and the amount of enemies are quite overwhelming. One in particular is earlier in the game when you fight against Spike and the animosity between the two is apparent.

Health is displayed by bars same as most games but the interesting part of the health bar is that it can totally run out and you can still function until the next attack. The same goes for your enemies. By holding down the last button of any given combo, it will add to the power of the attack. This gives a fantastic visual effect and the consequences for it's victims are extreme.

There are also environmental weapons such as fire that will also vanquish the undead if you either strike them with a burning object and thrust them directly into a burning fire or fireplace. Your stake weapons are not invulnerable and will wear down with protracted use. There is a small health meter for each perishable weapon so be sure to keep an eye out for them. Stakes must pass through the vampires heart, which can on occasion result in a lot of furtive jabbing.

One of the nicest attacks available is the fact that you can throw stakes at enemies and when they die you can gather the stakes back up again. It's effective for ranged attacks and looks cool as well. When in combat you will notice that the vampire's health will slowly regenerate if they are not dealt with quickly so make sure that you keep those cans of whup ass coming. Buffy regains health by finding vials of holy water and the like.

Sound is excellent for the title and will draw players into the world of Buffy, at least for this 'episode'. Everything makes the appropriate noise and is clear and sharp. Music is well integrated into the game and adds to the sense of adventure.

In summary, Buffy will delight fans of the series with it's dedication to detail, whilst newcomers will still get a lot of enjoyment out of the game as well. Buffy is well worth the purchase, despite it's very small flaws as previously mentioned. It should take up roughly 12-14 hours of full game time, plus failed attempts. It's action packed and a great title from Electronic Arts and the Collective!

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com