| 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
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.