Game Review Data
Game Title
Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Wrath of the Darkhul King
1 Player. Battery Save.
Andrew Blanchard



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Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Wrath of the Darkhul King, is not the first Buffy game to appear on the GameBoy. THQ released one for the GBC a few years ago, which was so awful, that I couldn't bring myself to play, let alone review it. Well, second time's a charm they say, so I'm reasonably optimistic that with the extra power that the GBA provides and the mistakes learnt from the last outing, that this Buffy game would definitely be better than the last.

Screen Shots


Without revealing too much of the 'B-Movie' type plot, it's fair to say that at its core, the game plays like a standard platform. The developers might disagree and assert that it is a side-scrolling action adventure, but I've played it and if jumping from one object to another to avoid plummeting to death isn't at all platform like, then pray tell, what is?

Anyway, aside from jumping around, there are some other tasks you have to complete to progress through the game which includes the flipping of switches and the disposal of pesky vampires. If you know anything about Buffy, then you should also know that vampire disposal should be the focus of the game. Unfortunately, what you get instead is an incredibly weak combat system, which usually only requires that you select a wooden stake from your inventory and simply stab your vampire until they turn to dust. Do this repeatedly and voila!, you'll reach the end of the level.

Usually, at this point, I'd go into detail about the game's other aspects but since there isn't any, I won't. If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I'm generally full of praise for any game that includes a battery backup. Well, this game has one. The only problem is that your progress is only saved at the beginning of each level. What a waste of battery, since a four-digit pass code could have done the same job!


The controls are pitifully basic and generally the kind you’d expect from a substandard platform game. There's the usual jump, attack and select, although it doesn't utilize the standard button layout. One plus point though are the 'pop-ups' in the first level which details how the control system works. Although good, it's also pretty irritating because it gets repeated every time you have to restart which will happen on more than a few occasions.


Visually, the game is split into two very different departments. First, there's the crisp digitized shots lifted directly from the show which push the plot of the game along nicely. Then there's the in-game visuals which quite disappointing. The problem is that everything looks dodgy, from the bland uninspiring backgrounds to the less than fluid animation. It's also been rendered in a rather odd perspective, which is not only unnecessary but also overly confusing when you're attempting to pull off some of the more difficult jumps. Developers Natsume aren't exactly known for their visual flair but this thing looks like they've given it to a bunch of junior artists to cut their teeth on. Great experience for them no doubt but little in the way of visual quality for you and me.

Sound & Music

Even though they've licensed the images of the cast, there's no digitized speech from any of them. I'm not entirely sure why, since it could simply have been lifted from the show with no need to record any special dialogue unlike a console version. To add insult to injury, the music that plays through the game is also weak and does nothing to enhance the on screen action. Overall, the audio appears to indicate that the developers simply couldn't be bothered!

Final Comments

Aside from the nicely digitized shots of the cast, which will no doubt please fans of the series, it's hard to find anything positive to say about this latest Buffy game for the GBA. To tell the truth, it bears nearly all of the annoying hallmarks of a typical TV tie-in game i.e. bland visuals, mediocre level design, unimaginative game play, crappy music and etc. and etc. and etc. All in all, Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Wrath of the Darkhul King, is nothing more than a rushed attempt at capitalizing on the Buffy name. Hopefully, Buffy herself will drive a stake through this cart and put it out of its misery. Recommended only for the die-hard fan.

@ EAGB Advance 2002. All rights reserved.