When the first Buffy game was released I was pretty naïve to the whole world of vampire slaying. I had never watched the show and had only seen bits and pieces of the 1992 feature film. But I was still interested in the game all my friends had fallen in love with, a game that certainly looked like fun even though I didn’t have a clue who the characters were.
After playing through the game I was impressed by its witty dialog, odd characters, and interesting story, and I wondered if the show was anything like that. Thanks to the power of syndication, I have been able to catch up on all seven seasons, leading me to proclaim that I am indeed a Buffy fan. And with this new found respect and admiration for the television show, I was excited to dig into Buffy’s second game, Chaos Bleeds.
Where the first game was set fairly early in the TV shows run, Chaos Bleeds fits right in the middle of season five. This change allows the game to drop some of the more boring cast members, like Cordelia Chase, and utilize a few of the more interesting characters, such as Faith, the unpredictable second slayer. It also introduces convincing ways of using some of the characters who were more secondary players in the original game. Willow, for example, has been mastering magic, a skill that proves useful when battling vampires and the undead. And then there’s Spike, an enemy in the first game, but now, several seasons later, a “friend” of the Scooby gang.
Thankfully, all these new characters are able to take some of the burden off of Buffy Summers. This time the slayer isn’t the only one getting in on the action, as you are required to play as a total of six different characters throughout the adventure. Both of the slayers, Buffy and Faith, fight the same, with speed, precision, and strength. Spike, the vampire, uses a variation of the slayers moves, and Xander, who really doesn’t have any special abilities, is slow, sluggish, and nearly worthless.
It’s Willow who ends up being the most refreshing. Since she isn’t much of a fighter, you are forced to either punch your foes to death or use magic. She only starts with a few spells at the beginning of the game, but by the end she has a grand repertoire of interesting and destructive moves. She, like most of the other characters in the game, take a backseat to Buffy, who you end up playing as the most in Chaos Bleeds.
And then there’s Sid the demon hunting ventriloquist dummy, the sixth playable character. Sid was used in an earlier episode of the Buffy TV show, one that was a little more tongue and cheek than usual. The fact that he returns in this game is both a surprise and a disappointment, since he’s not a very interesting character and doesn’t add anything to the story. There are a lot of forgotten characters from the Buffyverse that would make a lot more sense to this story than Sid the puppet, characters like Riley Finn or Angel, just to name a couple.
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