Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds - The Review

Developers: Eurocom
Publishers: Vivendi
Platforms: Gamecube, Xbox, PS2
Released: August 27th, 2003
Genre: Horror themed beat-em-up/ Action adventure

Now i must admit, the time of Buffy has passed somewhat. I don't get into the reruns as much as i used to, but its always going to have some appeal for me, as Buffy the vampire slayer was one of THE key shows the springs to mind when i reminisce about my childhood viewing habits.
So i wasn't that jazzed to get into this one, but it was £2 so what the hell?, i gave it a spin.

The game opens literally dropping you into the middle of a fight. Giles' shop ," The Magic Box" is under assault from a gang of vampires. The task falls to the player to rid the store of these undead gatecrashers. Only a change has been made since the first one. Your not alone anymore.
Not only can you play as the titular Buffy summers, but now you are joined by the rest of the scooby's. You can fight using magic with Willow Rosenberg. Use vampiric strength with Spike. The Monster hunting skills of Sid the dummy. Faiths slayer strength.

and Xander harris, with the power of comic timing!

So each has different skills for you to use. Unfortunately you have no choice in which to play as, which would have added a nice multiple route ,puzzle solving aspect. Though this is because each characters location and motivations is intrinsic to the games plot.

To sum it up without spoilers, Buffys enemies are returning from the dead, alternate realities are "bleeding" into one another. Then wouldja believe its up to her to save the world?

So, game play. For the most part this is a fun, albeit flawed, beat-em-up engine. You use block, punch and kick (or in willows case energy or fire) to create combos with varying degrees of eviserating capabilities. Its fun, but its far to easy to get stuck in a combo by accident and punch yourself a path right past the enemy. then get knocked down by then and have ten bells of shit beat out of you for the transgression. Honestly, i know this was 5 years ago now, but i would have still kept this back a few more weeks to iron out some of the combat problems.
Story wise its basically a typical joss whedon creation. unique dialogue compared to most 3rd person games in the same vein. Though i must admit whedons "witty one liners" for characters, most noteably buffy and xander, have grown incredibly tired and stale since the first season of buffy.
I should point out that this is set between 2 episodes of season 5, just a while after joyce summers has died. overall the story has good dialogue, but the main plot itself seems like a straight up budget title, point being you could skip every cutscene and still play happily.
Music wise its the exact same stuff from the first game, granted i havent played it in a good few years now, but im quite sure that its the exact soundtrack that played through the first one. it still works, dont get me wrong, each scene is well set by it. it just sems cheap is all.
now i feel i should mention ,before i get to graphics, that this is a "monther" game.

What do i mean by "monther?" you ask?

a Monther is a game were you will breeze through 2 hours of gameplay and get to a point were you will be inexplicably stuck with no way of knowing how to progress, and without gamefaq's you will leave the game for months without knowing what to do.
For example, Xander had to get passed an electric fence. i saw an obviously pointed out fuse box, since its texture was a brighter hue than anything else in the room. I wasnt told this however, i was told nothing. save for the fact 20 minutes earlier a woman, ONLY IF YOU HIT HER BY MISTAKE. tells you that she hid a crossbow in the building.
I look everywere but find nothing. so the month begins, least, it would have had i had no internet connection.
Turns out you must beat open a locker, not use the same action to open doors, but beat a locker that looks eactly the same as 7 other lockers in the same room who are all indestructable boxes of scenery.
Then i shot the fuse box and climbed the fence.

This also occured in ghosthunter with the librarys poulterghiest, it doesnt ruin the gameplay really, but it just doesnt explain in any way what you need to do, and it should to some extent. not a major gripe to put me off the game, but worth ranting about.

Finally graphics, this is an odd one, character model wise theres 3 for each type of bad guy. though each model is skinned 3 different ways to streatch out the amount. thoughyou still run into the same ones in groups for some unkown reason, save the developers got a bit lazy.
xander, willow and giles look startlingly like there on screen counterparts in this videogame outing, buffy and spike however look like a generic npc from an mmo, no charcter to there appearance. just generic blocks.
the enviroments are varied enough, from a midnight churchyard to the streets of sunnyvale and beyond. there pretty cool and quite large for an origional xbox title, i was quite pleased by it. i was expecting small fable sized areas but the developers whent to town on this portion.

Overall its a game with character. Its flawed, but i dont think theres been a 3rd person action game yet that hasnt had a few glaring scratches in an otherwise stellar paintjob. Sure you can get stuck for months and the soundtack is recycled, but as a whole package it works. i had fun playing it and i think i will play it again some day instead of trading it in disspointed like i did with my last review.
If your a buffy fan its a definate purchase, though likely you have allready. For general fans of horror themed games id say give it a try, given its extreme budget pricetag its worth the miniscule dent in your wallet, but if it was brand new?, maybe not.

ill give chaos bleeds [6/10]

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