The Collective
Fox Interactive
Action
1
08.20.02

Buffy The Vampire Slayer


Before you begin to read this review, you should know that I am not a fan of the Buffy TV series at all; in fact I have watched maybe two or three episodes, so this review comes from someone with no knowledge of the characters or storyline of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Graphics

The game looks wonderful. Everything from the backdrops to the gang to the ugliest demons are represented in glorious graphical splendor, it is certainly one of the finest games on the Xbox in terms of visuals, and none of these visuals can be said to be more superb than Buffy herself. Facially she looks spot on, and her frequent costume changes between levels are welcomed. My only discrepancies with the visuals of the game would be the way Willow has been recreated in 3D; I must say that Alison Hannigan has not converted too well into the game. My only other niggle is with the slowdown, and while it is very infrequent and barely noticeable, it simply should not be happening on a system of this caliber.

Sound

In reading reviews of this game in magazines, I noticed that the voice of Buffy in-game would not be done by Sarah Michelle Gellar herself, but that an impersonator would take her place, however all of the other regulars, Willow, Cordelia, Xander, Giles and Angel would all be providing their vocal talent for the game. I was a little disappointed, but once I heard the impersonator at work it was difficult to believe that Sarah herself wasn't acting as Buffy. The other voices are all wonderful too, and superbly done. The game doesn't put too much emphasis on it's musical score, however the Buffy theme tune by Nerf Herder is there in all it's glory, and a feature I like is when a particularly tough demon or vampire has been slayed, the theme tune plays softly in the background. The game sounds nice too, the cries and moans of the fallen enemies, and their vocal quips (ranging from "The Slayer is tough indeed", to "Oh Crap"), are hilarious.

Gameplay

Developers The Collective have done a wondrous job in creating the Slayer engine, which this game uses. Incidentally, I was thrilled to read that the future Indiana Jones And The Emperor's Tomb game, developed by the same company, will too use this game engine. The fighting is very fluid indeed, and the controls are all easily accessible. The directional-pad is used for weapon and item selection, A for kicking, X for punching, Y for interacting, and B for jumping. Buffy has plenty of fighting moves at her disposal, and Giles teaches her new ones throughout the course of the game, making sure you don't get tired of the battling, because there certainly is a lot of it. Buffy can slay her enemies in a variety of ways, from a bog-standard wooden stake to a crossbow, to my personal favorite, the Reaper Wing, a circular blade held in the hand and used to decapitate opponents. The 'Slayer Power' system is executed well, with Buffy only having a certain amount of power available to perform the deadlier moves, yet fallen foes always give away either health, or Slayer Power, so you needn't worry too much.

Replay Value

While Buffy is not the longest game in the world, there is a good amount to do, and if you're looking for a good sturdy action/adventure, this game could be right up your alley. There is also a hidden multiplayer game called Arena Mode, where any of the game's characters can battle each other in arena-type combat. The game has varying difficulty modes, so beating the game on them all could be a challenge for even the most seasoned gamer.

Bottom Line:

I would definitely recommend anyone buying this game, fan of the TV shows or not. It is a stunning game in it's own right, and one of the few television or movie conversions which works well. No, works better than well, works terrifically. A worthy addition to any Xbox owner's collection.

-Blade




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