STAFF REVIEW of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (Xbox)


Sunday, September 7, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds Box art Our favorite slayer is back and better than ever, and this time she brought her freinds along. Battle the undead as Buffy, Willow, Xander, Spike, Faith, and Sid the re-incarnated Dummy. Chaos Bleeds offers up 12 levels direct form the BTVS universe, over 150 fighting combinations and unique weapons and spells. Add to this sophmore effort a fantastic Multi-Player mode with 20 charecters to choose from for up to 4 players, and you have a solid, longlasting and humorous addition to the......uh, Horror genre. ;)


Chaos Bleeds is a great continuation of the 1st Buffy game, familiar yet new and different. The fighting system has been bulked up quite a bit, with approx. 150 combinations ranging from hand to hand to weapons. The variety of weapons is also a nice addition to the game and a need one since you play through certain parts of the game as other charecters. Just a note here, this isn't a "Squad" type scenario, at certain point in the game you will meet up with another charecter and after a small cut scene you will proceed with that charecter. The challenge to this is that each charecter has a very different way of combating the baddies, so it would behove you to learn what they are skilled at. An example would be Willow, shes a whitch, so it stands to reason that her forte' is magic, Xander isn't the most physical guy in the world, but put a crossbow or battle axe in his hands and he can hold his own. This will all be explained, and played out in the first mission, The Magic Box" which i liked because it's a tutorial, but counts as part of the game, it gives just enough info to get you on the right track. All the main charecters are available, and Sid the ventrilaquist dummy is hilarious, Buffy followers will be tickled to see him making an apperance. All the usuall secret items, potions, and a new list of unlockables are present, ranging from interviews with the cast to new charecters for Multi-Player mayhem. On the topic of Multi-Player, I have to admit this is one welcome addition to this game, devided into 4 modes, Survival, Bunny Catcher, Slayer Challenge, and Domination, it gives the gamer a great variety of multi-player fun. From simplicity, so to speak, as Bunny Catcher where the one who has the most points after catching bunnies wins, to Slayer challenge which is an all out battle royal to see who's the best. Be warned, Bunny Catcher is not as easy as it seems, some bunnies are good, and some bunnies are bad. All in all ther is enough here to keep you satisfied for a good long time, unique power ups, bonuses and the usuall Buffy humor make this one of my favorites. I really liked the the 1st game and this is a fantastic follow up even though it has a few problems.........read on.


HDTV compatible, visually Buffy is above average. Everything is crisp and clean, I think the female charecters look a little too "wide-eyed" in my opinion. That being said, the "Effects" look great, dissintigrating undead, spell effects, etc..The environments are nicely done with some nice shadow effects throughout. Keep in mind Chaos Bleeds was developed by Eurocom Entertainment and Vivendi Universal, not the team from the original BTVS, so it's a different engine. The unforgivable part of the visual aspects of this game is the less-than-adequate camera movement, in tight areas it's impossible to spin the camera around or re-center yourself, and in some battles it becomes a real hinderance. With better camera physics the visual score would have been higher.


In the sound department the lack of Dolby Digital is kind of odd. But the sounds-of-the-game are very nicely done. The background soundtrack is creepy and yet not distracting. Environmetal effects are spot on (Could have been great in DD). It all lends itself well to the flow of the game. Unfortunatley, and this may seem like nit-picking some of the voice acting is awfull, ok to be perfectly honest, the actor doing Willows voice is "Not-so-hot" Alyson Hannigan (For those not familiar with BTVS, Michelle "...this one time, at band camp..." from American Pie) has a very unique way of speaking and the actor here is trying too hard and it's almost "Odd" when you listen to her speak. Once again, as in the origianl our Slayer is voiced over by someone else, but lending their true voices to the game are Spike, Xander, and Faith. Not too bad, but Buffy fans will be all over the Willow thing, LOL. Alright it isn't so bad that it ruins the game, but i had to mention it.


Suggestions:
My biggest gripe is the camera system. The voice acting i couldlive with. Kudos on the Multi-Player modes.


Overall: 9.4 / 10
Gameplay: 9.4 / 10
Visuals: 8.4 / 10
Sound: 8.8 / 10

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