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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer : Chaos Bleeds" Video Game - G4techtv.com Review

Monday 10 March 2003, by Webmaster

Overall Rating : 2/5

Buffy returns in a cross-platform adventure that adds her friends to the standard framework of the first game. As you’ll see on "X-Play," developer Eurocom hasn’t taken any chances with this precious license, and it shows.

The monster revue

It’s sometime during the fifth season of the TV series, and evil is once again afoot. But unlike in the original game, you can control Buffy’s buds. You can play Xander, Willow, Faith, Spike, and even the amusingly absurd Sid the dummy, each in his or her own mission. You’ll also see evil favorites such as Kekistos, Ethan Rayne, and, of course, a posse of vampires gunning for Buffy.

Other than the new characters and all the slaying, this game has little to offer. It’s the usual array of lame puzzles and key hunts, humdrum locations, and really bad camera angles. Thankfully, gameplay is unique for each character you play as. That variety makes the slaying all the more fun.

Combating variety

Spike, Buffy, Xander, and Faith are all brawlers, of course, but Xander is more comfortable hefting a big ax than kicking someone, while Spike is an out-and-out basher. However, Spike isn’t as powerful as he should be, and med kits still heal him (though he claims they won’t). And then there’s Willow.

Buffy’s Wiccan sidekick has virtually no combat moves beyond a basic punch and kick (and stake stab). Instead, Willow relies on spells. Hit the right button combination and Willow will throw a fireball, create a personal shield, or cast some other powerful attack that will slay the undead. The problem is that these attacks take a second to cast. When you’re being mobbed by unruly vamps, a second’s delay can be deadly.

Old-school problems

The often-horrid camera angles hark back to the days of pre-rendered graphics. You’ll often walk into a room or turn a corner and start fighting creatures you can’t see. You can rotate the camera, but that’s hard to do when you’re fighting. The graphics aren’t much to look at, either.

We would’ve been more impressed by "Chaos Bleeds" if it didn’t seem to use the same engine as the first game. Probably because "Buffy" is a cross-platform game, the characters look blocky and the colors are washed-out. On the other hand, most of the animation is decent, and each character has an acceptable array of realistic (or superhuman) combat moves. Also, some of the vampire movements — especially their super-jumps — look very cool.

So this one time, in Sunnydale...

The audio, including the voice acting, is nicely done. "Chaos Bleeds" uses stand-ins for the show’s actors, but they do a commendable job. However, the voice actor for Willow sounds as if she’s reprising Alyson Hannigan’s "American Pie" role. We kept waiting for her to spout dialog such as, "And this one time, in band camp...."

This sequel’s biggest improvement is its multiplayer options. Up to four players can compete across four different games. You and your friends can fight monsters, capture colored bunnies for points, or even take turns playing as the slayer while the others play as monsters. It’s an entertaining twist to the third-person action. Playing through the single-player mode unlocks up to 24 characters for use in multiplay.

Sucking mediocrity

Die-hard fans of "Buffy" will want to play "Chaos Bleeds." It’s exactly what you’d expect in a licensed third-person action/adventure. But that’s the problem. We liked the additional characters and multiplayer options, but the gameplay and graphics are uninspired. It seems the developers put in just enough work to make a game that imitates the countless similar games that came before it.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds"