Like it or loath it the television series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer should be a good source to make a decent game from, vampires, kung fu, good vs evil and half decent looking women seem like a near infallible combination from which to create an entertaining piece of software. The original Xbox title was decent enough without really being anything truly notable and if you are not a fan of the series there was little to attract you to it, so when the second installment in the all kicking slayer’s gaming adventures fell onto the desk there was a hope that it could actually be ok. Oh dear how wrong we where…
So we have a game which should at least be slightly above average, large levels full of monsters to be hacked and staked, a wide range of weapons and enemies and numerous characters to take control of. Yet despite all of this what emerges is one of the worst games to have ever been made, so let’s begin the postmortem.
First of all, if a developer is making a game closely related to a very popular television show it would seem common sense for you characters to look something like their on screen images, not here though, out of proportion bodies coupled with distorted faces means characters just do not look how they are should. Furthermore, all the voices used are not from the real actors so again instead of Michel Geller you get some strained American half sound alike girl, now this is far from satisfactory when making a title which is predominantly for fans and is lazy and inexcusable.
Let us move onto the next abomination- how the characters play. While each character has a fairly solid, if limited range of punches and kicks there are big gameplay spoiling issues all over the place. First of all every character seems to play almost exactly like every other character which just is not right considering Buffy is a massively strong slayer, Willow is a weak but magically strong witch and when Xanda punching a vampire sends them spinning around in the air it just reinforces the idea that different skins have been placed over the same combat template.
Combat itself has its own set of problems, for a start punches and kicks do not flow very well meaning you are always open to attack after landing your initial strikes and when surrounded by a large amount of opponents you can find yourself being knocked around without ever having a chance to fight back. The title also contains one of the most fascinatingly awful cameras in history. The camera is fully movable by the player but somehow always manages to be right in front of your character so you cannot see a thing and no matter what, enemies will always attack from somewhere you cannot see them, seemingly spinning out of thin air from a place you walked past two seconds before.
So that is bad controls, camera, graphics, sound and combat what’s left? Level design. Where to start? If you’re not walking around levels that seem completely out of place with the series doing frustratingly dull things that were dull ten years ago then it’s the incredible long levels where you get attacked endlessly by vampires and demons that look exactly the same. It would not be so bad but when a level near enough takes one painful hour of your life to get through it would have been nice to be able to save your game before the end of it. There are continue points but you can only stop the pain and turn the machine off after completing one whole section of shocking boredom.
Buffy: Chaos Bleeds is a shocking game, a turgid stinking pool of primordial ooze that would take millions of years to evolve into anything remotely resembling something that is worth playing. Truly, they just do not make games this bad anymore; in fact they never made games this bad (perhaps with the exception of ET). The only good thing you can say is that it does not contain any ‘bugs’ but then again there is not exactly anything that feels finished about this title to have bugs in.
It’s hard to express how terrible this game is and it is made all the worse due to the fact that it should be near impossible to create such a shocking result from such a rich resource. Avoid it at all costs as you will have more fun sitting in a chair rocking back and forth, strangely the effect this game has had on almost all that have played it.