Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the popular television series' first stab at the console video game market. In this Xbox exclusive, players take control of the iconic teenage vampire slayer, Buffy Summers, as she punches, kicks, and stakes bloodsuckers. The game is a third-person action adventure title that focuses on hand to hand combat and simplistic puzzles. Encapsulated as an episode on its own, the video game is placed chronologically in the third season of the television series between the episodes “Revelations” and “Lovers Walk”. A resurrected Master appears in his sunken church as a phantom and he needs a body to assume a corporeal form. In the game, the story begins with a vampire attack on Sunnydale High School that leads Buffy Summers to other series staple locations such as a cemetery, the Bronze, and eventually down into the Master's sunken church.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an action adventure title with brawler-style mechanics. The player can lock-on target an attacking vampire and engage in fisticuffs. Buffy can punch and kick and chain these two button presses together to perform simple combos. She may also block and dodge enemy attacks when locked-on. Buffy learns new moves and adds the combo to her Slayer's Journal throughout the game. Some moves require Street Fighter-styled inputs to execute such as the flying triple kick which is Towards-Towards-Kick. She may also perform “clearing” moves as a spinning backhand or a spinning round house by rotating the analog stick one full circle and applying a kick or punch button.
Typically, enemies are vampires and undead and once their health is whittled away the Slayer needs to perform a finishing move. For vampires, the player can use a stake or any hand-held weapon or perform an environmental kill. Within the game world there are some sharp objects that protrude, for instance, from a stack of lumber which Buffy might grab and throw a vampire into. Some vampires may also be thrown off ledges into flames in order to be destroyed. Simple undead creatures need to be decapitated and Buffy can simple step on their skulls when the enemies are prone.
Weapons in Buffy the Vampire Slayer feature weapon strength bars which deplete over use. Once the bar is depleted the weapon is destroyed and unusable. Nearly all of the weapons are used in the game's brawling elements but the Crossbow is used from a first-person perspective and allows Buffy to snipe vampires from a distance.
Sarah Michelle Gellar's absence is the only notable missing cast member from the television series. Giselle Loren fills the role of Buffy and is a suitable sound-alike. In the game, players hear Buffy speak dozens of lines of dialogue that suitably fit the tone and charm of the television series. The rest of the original cast reprise their regular television roles:
Buffy-isms heard throughout the game
- Giles: “Buffy, it's time we augment your skills. Read these notes.”
- Buffy: “Got it. Let the augmentation begin—as long as it doesn't require surgery.”
"Buffy is not on the menu!”
“Let that be a lesson to you! – er, or those that pass by your mangled corpse!”
"Beauty of a sharp stake? No batteries."
"Shovels are so versatile: gardening, grave-digging, decapitations..."
"Antique crossbow 900 dollars, silver crucifix 500 dollars, simple wooden stake? Priceless."
Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility
Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally appeared only on the original Xbox system, but as of 12/20/2006 it is fully backwards compatible on an Xbox 360 system. Wide screen is not supported. The game plays excellently in a 360, having sometimes an even better frame rate than its native console. The only backwards compatible oddity is a moment of stuttering in the opening video before the start screen. All regions are backwards compatible.
Storyline (Spoilers below)
After a brief dream sequence the game begins with Buffy attending a late night cheer-leading practice. The electricity goes out at the Sunnydale Highschool and Buffy knows that the school is being attacked. Buffy tells Cordelia to hide the other girls until she can sort out the situation. After fighting her way through the school she finds Giles to be under attack in the library by a particularly strong vampire named Malik. This ringleader vampire escapes but manages to steal a book. Giles does not seem worried about this particular tome because he does not think it is very useful.
In a mysterious location the vampire Malik delivers the book to Buffy's nemesis Spike. Opening the book, Spike begins to read an incantation that summons a spirit that tells him he will need a live sacrifice to continue his quest which is still unknown.
To celebrate their victory at the high school, the Buffy gang goes to celebrate at the Bronze. The club comes under attack and Willow is kidnapped by Spike and his vampire gang. Buffy chases the gang through the back alleys of Sunnydale and across the railroad tracks to the Sunnydale cemetery where Spike and his gang are hiding with Willow as their captive. Spike lets his intentions be known to Willow by saying he would love to kill her but he needs her for a live sacrifice. Eventually Buffy tracks the gang down and saves Willow but Spike escapes. Buffy pursues Spike through a labyrinth of mausoleums and tunnels until she finally reaches the sunken church where the Master was imprisoned for many years. The Master appears to her as an apparition and she knows that he is trying to return.
Back at the library, Buffy is astounded at the return of the Master because she says she “ground his bones into dust”. Giles tells her that she only prevented him from returning in the flesh and that he would still be able to return in spirit form but he needs a body to inhabit. They are still unsure of Spike's motives so Buffy goes to Angel's mansion to get some answers. The mansion is under attack by demons and vampires but most the most terrible thing is that Angel seems to have become possessed. Buffy is forced to flee to slay another day.
Through some investigating, Xander has learned that the Aurelius vampires are expecting a shipping container at the docks. Buffy goes to investigate and discovers one of the Dreamers, a spellcasting demon that has no legs and is only a floating torso and head. After she defeats the dreamer there is a scene where the possessed Angel is commanding Spike and Malik. There are two other Dreamers in attendance. The Master, who is possessing Angel, thinks he can augment the remaining to Dreamers' spell abilities to reach his goal, but he needs Spike and Malik to stop Buffy.
Malik attacks the high school attempting to blow the school up from the boiler room but Buffy manages to defeat him. Spike actually saves Buffy by truly finishing off Malik in his werecat form by stabbing him in the heart with a spear. Spike reveals that his beloved Drusilla's spirit is being held captive by the Master and he will no longer stand for it.
The Master has returned but only in spirit form. Buffy, by her own accounts, had “crushed his bones into dust” before the events of the game. But Giles informs her that this only prevented the Master from returning in the form of flesh. Spike, Giles, Xander, and Willow gather to cast a spell that will bring the Master into a corporeal form in order for Buffy to battle him.
Buffy returns to the sunken church in order to finally face the Master. Before she can find him she is pulled into the realms of the two remaining Dreamers. Buffy is forced to survive a maze and a world suspended between time and space as well as battle a phantom form of herself. Eventually she slays the two Dreamers and is able to finally encounter the Master. Her arch-nemesis believes that his scheme is successful when he returns to flesh but it is thanks to the spell casting of Buffy's gang. All there's left for Buffy to do is to slay some vampire ass.