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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds is a 2003 video game and the fourth video game based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise. It is the first multiplatform game in the franchise as well as the first game in the franchise to allow players to control characters other than Buffy and also the first game in the franchise to feature a fully-developed multiplayer mode (additional players had a limited ability to interact in a hidden debugging mode in the previous title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
The game was written by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski.
From the instruction manual: "When Buffy Summers discovers that an enemy from the past, Ethan Rayne, is at the center of a great struggle with The First, literally the first incarnation of evil the world has ever known, she and the gang must face an undead army of vampires, zombies, and demons to keep these nefarious villains from casting the world into permanent darkness."
The plot also involves different alternate realities bleeding into Buffy's own reality, leading to the reappearance of deceased enemies and the appearance of evil versions of allies.
The story is set during the television series' fifth season, between "Forever" and "Intervention", occurring after the death of Joyce Summers, Buffy's mother. The game also includes many references to previous episodes of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, including Faith being in jail and Giles' days as Ripper. The game extends an idea from a previous game: that of bringing back dead characters (the Master returned in a previous game), by bringing back Sid the Dummy, Kakistos and Anya's former demon self, Anyanka.
- Buffy Summers (Playable)
- Xander Harris (Playable)
- Willow Rosenberg (Playable)
- Spike (Playable)
- Faith Lehane (Playable)
- Sid the Dummy (Playable)
- Tara Maclay (Playable during Multiplayer only)
- Rupert Giles
- Anya Jenkins
- Amber Benson: Tara Maclay
- Nicholas Brendon: Xander Harris
- Eliza Dushku: Faith
- Anthony Stewart Head: Rupert Giles
- Giselle Loren: Buffy Summers, Anya
- James Marsters: Spike
- Robin Sachs: Ethan Rayne, The First
- Kari Wahlgren: Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan was unavailable due to her shooting schedule for American Wedding)
- Joss Whedon: Himself (Multiplayer only)
There are 12 levels in the game. Names in parenthesis indicate the character(s) that the player controls during that level.
- The Magic Box (Tutorial; Buffy, Willow, Xander, Spike)
- Cemetery (Buffy)
- Blood Factory (Xander, Willow)
- The Magic Box Revisited (Buffy)
- Downtown Sunnydale (Buffy)
- Sunnydale Hospital (Buffy, Sid)
- Sunnydale High School (Xander)
- The Quarry House (Faith)
- The Initiative Base (Spike)
- Sunnydale Mall (Willow)
- Sunnydale Zoo (Buffy)
- The First's Lair (Buffy)
There are also 4 levels in the multi-player mode: Sunnydale Zoo, Cemetery, Initiative Hangar and the Quarry.
- As well as the single-player story mode, the game features several different multi-player games. These are:
- "Survival" - player-on-player combat
- "Bunny Catcher" - players compete to collect rabbits
- "Slayer Challenge" - a single player must defeat as many enemies as possible (additional players can take control of the enemies)
- "Domination" - players must compete to control magical pentagrams for as long as possible.
- At first, only one map (Sunnydale Zoo) and four characters (Buffy, Spike, Willow, Xander) are available. More become unlocked as one plays through the main, single-player game and finds secret areas.
- "DVD-style" extras can be unlocked by finding certain secret areas during the single-player game. These include interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and also the Chaos Bleeds tie-in comic book.
A comic book prequel was published by Dark Horse Comics. Its story was set just before the game (the comic's blurb confirms that it is set in season five) and established the idea that the walls between realities were dissolving and the realities were 'bleeding' into each other. The comic was also available in the game itself as an unlockable special feature. Additionally, the comic was reprinted as part of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2005 Annual in Britain.
Like the game, the comic was written by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski and featured art by veteran Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book artist Cliff Richards as well as cover art by J. Scott Campbell.
There was also a novelization published by Pocket Books. The author, James A. Moore, used the storyline originally developed by Christopher Golden for the game.