Game Review

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Platform: Xbox
  • ESRB: Teen
  • Genre: Action
  • Players: 1
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Fox Interactive
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Suggested Retail: $49.99
  • Graphics: A
  • Sound: A-
  • Gameplay: B
  • Replay: B-
  • Fun Factor: B
  • Reviewer's Wild Card: B+


The slayer is back in town

By Troy Roberts     September 27, 2002

One of the most popular television shows during the last few years has been BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Based on the movie with the same name, BUFFY basically expands on the movie, while making the show darker and edgier for today's society. With any popular series or movie, there are numerous products based on the show. Among these products are video games, which brings us to Fox Interactive's BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER for the Microsoft Xbox.

The game picks up somewhere in the series, with Buffy having to battle her way through hordes of demons, vampires, and the like. Throw in appearances from characters in the show, namely Willow, Xander, Spike, and Angel, and you've got a video game that resembles the show.

Fox Interactive really did an excellent job on BUFFY's graphic engine. BUFFY is one of the best looking games that has been released for the Xbox so far. The facial features of every character look almost like they do on the show, and their expressions also look extremely realistic. While most of the backgrounds and other imagery are somewhat dark, you can still see the amount of detail that Fox Interactive incorporated into this game.

If the gameplay of BUFFY was as well done as the graphics, this would easily be a game that would earn an "A" rating from us. Unfortunately, while the gameplay is simply fair. It can be a bit shoddy at times, leaving me with a different perspective. There aren't many puzzles in the game (which is kind of surprising), which means that Fox Interactive decided to leave everything up to the fighting engine. Buffy has over 50 different moves she can perform, and the game is detailed down to the classic "stabbing a stake through the heart of a vampire". You can also pick up chairs and other items you find, and use them against the enemies you encounter. Trust me, you will encounter tons of them.

Speaking of the enemies, the A.I. for the computer baddies can be a little rough around the edges at time. Take this for example: you've got a crossbow, and you decide to have some target practice on a zombie. You hit him in the head, which causes him to look around for a second. Then he just goes back to doing his normal routine of walking around. What is with this? Did he somehow forget he was shot in the head? Now, on the other side, zombies team up well, and double team Buffy during a lot of fights, making for some interesting sequences (and deaths).

At times it seems too easy to die. There are a lot of what we call "cheap" deaths in this game. Why can't Buffy swim in a pool? I mean, you would think being a vampire slayer and all, you would know how to swim. But take one step in the deep end of that pool, and it's game over. Now you have to go back and re-fight all of those enemies you just defeated.

While the fighting engine is well done and detailed, there are also a few problems with the camera. For the most part, it works well. But like in most action games, there comes a time when you can't see anything due to bad camera positioning. I've died numerous times trying to make a jump that I couldn't see, and then having to restart the level, and once again fight all the baddies I'd already dispatched.

For fans of the series, the original cast does the voice-over work for the game (except for Sarah Michelle Gellar, who must have been too busy working on SCOOBY DOO or something). While the absence of Gellar is a little bit distracting, the actress they got to do Buffy's voice is dead-on. At times, I would actually think Sarah Michelle Gellar was doing the voice.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is a fan's dream come true. The game is true to the series, and will quench any fan's thirst for a video game based on the series. I recommend that most action fans look into BUFFY. Even with some of the annoying faults, the game isn't to be missed.


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