Summary: What's this? Sittin' around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot? It's not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What, can't go without your Buffy, is that it? Let's find her! She is the chosen one, after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them, for justice, and for... the safety of puppies... and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something! Oh, come on!
During August of 2002, Buffy made her step into the ‘next generation’ with a very respectable third-person Xbox action title. Developed by The Collective (probably best known to PC gamers for its Star Trek: DS9 – The Fallen third-person shooter), Buffy on Xbox successfully captured the spirit of the television show and played like a lost episode. It managed to round up almost all the talent from the TV show to provide the voiceovers (except for Sarah Michelle Gellar, who wasn’t terribly missed thanks to an indistinguishable voice double).
The Collective then went on to recycle much of the Buffy engine work into Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, which unlike Buffy, is a cross-platform game and available on PC.
There is another
That left room for another developer to come in and work on a follow-up to the Buffy game on Xbox. Enter Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds, developed by Eurocom Entertainment and published by Vivendi Universal Games.
Eurocom Entertainment Software
Vivendi Universal Games
Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube
It’s a 3D beat-em-up
As with last year’s effort, Buffy’s game world is primarily composed of hand-to-hand combat. Buttons are assigned to the role of punch, kick, jump, action, and stake. Various combinations will yield you neat looking attacks and throw, but the average enemy that you’ll encounter can easily be taken care of with some button mashing magic. Besides having to slay tons and tons of vampires, there are small puzzle elements to Chaos Bleeds, mostly consisting of finding keys and flipping switches. The left analog stick is used for moving your character and the right stick controls the camera. Even with the ability to guide and center the camera, there are still issues. The camera acts as if it were a solid entity, meaning that it’s unable to pass through solid objects in the world. This becomes a problem when you find yourself cornered or in a narrow passage.
We’re not sure if Eurocom had access to the same assets and resources that The Collective used on its game, but we wouldn’t be surprised if much was shared. Chaos Bleeds looks a lot like the Buffy game from last year, making it slightly dated in the visuals department. By PlayStation 2 standards, Chaos Bleeds looks quite decent, but you can just feel the untapped power when playing on the GameCube and Xbox. While the levels are rather simplistic, the character models are well done. Since much of the game’s story relies on its ties to the Buffy universe, having authentic looking characters is a must. You won’t be mistaking the in-game models for the real people, but you’ll definitely see the resemblance.
Fun for four
Completely new to the Buffy 3D world is multiplayer. Up to four players can choose from over 20 characters to compete for victory. There are four multiplayer game modes: Survival, which is just deathmatch; Domination, which plays like the UT mode, Slayer Challenge, where one controls the Slayer and others control the opposing monsters; and best for last, Bunny Catcher, where you catch bunnies for points. To spice things up a little, various power-ups can be picked up, such as increased speed, invulnerability, quad-damage, and even ones with negative affects such as halving your health or, even worse, instant death.
The main draw of Chaos Bleeds is its single player campaign, but the multiplayer component is a lot of fun. After finishing the story mode a couple times, the multiplayer bits will help keep that DVD spinning. It’s no multiplayer Halo, but still a welcome addition.
SIDEBAR: In Bunny Catcher, white rabbits give you one point, golden rabbits five points, red rabbits a random power-up, and black rabbits take five points away.
Since Chaos Bleeds doesn’t push any boundaries in the graphics department, the PlayStation 2 version looked extremely similar to its Xbox counterpart. The Xbox version runs just a tad smoother, though the PlayStation 2 version doesn’t have any glaring issues with frame rate either. As with all PlayStation 2 games, there are noticeable amounts of aliasing when compared to the Xbox version. We imagine that the GameCube version be quite similar to the Xbox version, given the already small variations.
Aurally, the Xbox comes through with a cleaner and crisper sound if you have Dolby Digital 5.1 capability. Neither controller can claim victory here, though some may prefer using the Dual Shock 2 shoulder buttons over the Xbox controller black and white buttons. Speaking of controllers, those wanting four player multiplayer may wish to consider the GameCube and Xbox versions first because of the native four controller ports. The PlayStation 2 version requires a multitap if you’ve got three eager friends.
Load times are slightly shorter on the Xbox, but the PlayStation 2 didn’t keep us waiting significantly longer. Basically, this Buffy game provides the same fun experience no matter which console you play it on.
One of the coolest things about Chaos Bleeds isn’t found in the game itself, in the little extras that Fox and VUG have seen fit to include. (No, we’re not talking about a lock of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s hair, you psychos.) Follow the DVD trend, Chaos Bleeds features photo galleries, cast interviews, and voice recording sections. Only four featurettes are available from the get-go, with the remaining NUMBER waiting to be unlocked as you progress through the game. Pleasantly surprising us, the behind-the-scenes videos and interviews are exceptionally interesting. For example, actor James Marsters shares his experiences on what it’s like to lock lips with Sarah Michelle Gellar and also talks about his favorite PlayStation 2 games. Creator Joss Whedon reflects back on the whole Buffy experience, admitting that he isn’t very familiar with the videogame world.
|<% print_image("26"); %>||<% print_image("27"); %>|
|<% print_image("28"); %>||<% print_image("29"); %>|
|Widescreenshot gallery||Page:: ( 6 / 6 )|
|© Copyright 2003 FS Media, Inc.|