STAFF REVIEW of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Xbox)

Friday, September 26, 2003.
by Yellowlab

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Box art Buffy is very close to being a solid game, but a couple disastrous flaws hold this one back. The biggest flaw is that if you die during a level, you have to start back at the beginning. There are no check points and you can not save at any time. It was extremely frustrating to spend 20 minutes on a level only to fall off a cliff because you timed a jump wrong, or got knocked off...resulting in having to replay the last 20 minutes. I currently have 3 Xbox controllers lodged into my TV screen due to this game. I noticed about halfway through (at about the dock levels) the game became more frustrating then fun. Then by the end the game it turns into a lot of platform jumping and hazards that generally result in having to replay the level about 50 times, hence more controllers lodged in the TV. Ok, so I didn't at all like the no save or check points or the god awful platform jumping near the very end, but there is a lot of good things here. The fighting engine is great (it was almost identical to the Indiana Jones game), the sense of humor was good, and the first half of the game was fun.

At it's core Buffy has a terrific fighting engine that allows for lots of moves and combinations. You can use various weapons like shovels, sledgehammers, spears, spikes, etc... Hand to hand feels solid with thunderous hits. One minor complaint is that switching between weapons was a pain, as it uses the D-Pad and was very clumsy. There's a wide variety of baddies to kill all with varying degrees of difficulty. The level design varied widely from being fun to maddening. I generally liked the school levels and the cemetary. I hated...I mean hated the dock and foundry levels (repetitive, boring, hard, cliched, and never ending). I also didn't like the levels that were heavy on platform jumping (second time in the sunken church and the dream levels near the end).

Standard and cliched levels hold this back a little. Namely the factory level and the docks level. These don't seem to fit in with the Buffy universe. The character models look good for the most part. Buffy looks like Buffy. Not sure about Willow though. I noticed a lot of slow down throughout the game, which was weird as it did not look like a high tech game that should have slowdown.

A lot of the cast lent there voices to game, which added a lot. SMG didn't do the voice of Buffy, but whoever does, sounds just like her. The music was very good and added to the mood. It would occassionally chime in at just the right time to add to the mood. The fighting sounds are perfect. I can not fault the sound in any way.

This game needs to have reasonable check points or save points. Nobody likes playing an entire level over because of a minor mistake near the end of a level!!! Reduce the amount of platform jumping, this isn't a Mario game!

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 10.0 / 10


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