Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Box

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Ages: RP Rating Pending

Nina & Finn say 2 thumbs down. If you're not a big fan of the series, the content and gameplay mechanics don't have much to offer.

Nina says: Maybe you have to be a bigger fan than me. I found the Buffy game mostly uninteresting and slightly icky. It's not goofy enough to be camp and it's not serious enough to be horror. The opening was genuinely creepy but it went downhill from there. Buffy makes the same few smart-alecky comments over and over again. The same few vampires (albeit in differently colored outfits) jump out at you over and over again. To fight the vampires you beat them up first and then stake them. After a while I found all that staking to be gruesome. That and the dead high-school kids in the hallways. The cut scenes are pretty nice and there are a lot of them to break up the punching and staking. All the same, it wasn't enough to keep me interested in the story. As in all fighter games there are convenient health potions, crystals and ammunition just lying around for you. In goofier games it doesn't matter, but Buffy seems to be trying for some kind of realism (vampires aside) that would normally preclude crossbow bolts lying in alleys. I've read a bunch of other reviews by people who really liked the game so I think you have to be a huge fan of the show. This game gets a thumbs down from me.

Finn says: Like many boys, I enjoy first- and third-person shooters. The console game market is choked with them, so I can afford to be picky. In terms of plot, I think Buffy is about average. In terms of gameplay and mechanics, I was disappointed.

The plot's not unusual for a TPS: bad vampires are trying to do something icky to Buffy, her friends, and the rest of the world. Buffy has to stop them by solving simple puzzles and beating up hordes of monsters. We see familiar characters (and hear familiar voices) from the show. The voice acting in the cut-scenes is pretty decent, but the scenes are marred by poor lip-synching and truly awful character animation. There are enough scenes to keep the plot moving briskly and break up the monotonous gameplay.

Ah, yes...did I mention the monotonous gameplay? Walk down a passage, mash some buttons, spike the vampire. Kick some crates open. Rinse. Repeat. I realize that combat-type games are all about killing the bad guys. However, the *good* ones offer tactical and strategic challenges, along with a large variety of enemies with different capabilities: How can I get across this spaceship hangar without the sniper shooting me? Is there a good defensive spot in this warehouse so I don't have to fight ninjas from 3 directions at once? Holy mackerel, what's that huge spiky thing and why is it shrugging off my plasma bolts? As Nina says, there are few vampire variants and they all fight fundamentally the same way.

The game's controls are also disappointing. Movement and camera control are fairly standard. The sniper mode and hand-to-hand combat controls, however, are inferior to those in other games. In order to use sniper mode with a ranged weapon, you are required to squeeze the left trigger and hold it down. Since you're often sniping at moving targets that stop for mere seconds at the end of their movement patterns, this can require entire "minutes" of holding down the left trigger. Ouch! My hand's cramping up just thinking about it. The punch and kick buttons are less responsive than those in fighting games, making combo moves difficult to pull off. As the game progresses and the combos become more important, I found the sluggishness of the controls increasingly frustrating.

After two or three game sessions, I couldn't bring myself to load up Buffy again. I give it a big thumbs down.

Review by Nina and Finn K.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • © Electronic Arts $29.99
  • Xbox
  • To Order: http://www.amazon.com