For every game that tries to do the gaming world a favour and depict video games as art, there is another game that's uniformly dumb and meets people's expectations that the medium is a simple conception for simple people. Serious Sam is one of the most unpretentious, gloriously brainless and downright thrilling games I've ever played. It is a whole lot of fun, as long as you aren't expecting anything approximating depth or nuanced gameplay.
For its time this was a very good looking game, and although it still looks alright, I was recently pleased to see that it has been remade in "HD", which I will certainly be checking out soon. Nevertheless, the original creature designs, and the architecture of the buildings are very well engineered, ensuring that while the game's plot may be simple, the game's conception as a whole is anything but. From an aural perspective, it also delivers, with some wacky sound effects.
In terms of plot, the game basically has none; you're a Duke Nukem-esque badass called Sam who is trapped in Egypt and spends the whole game massacring a whole race of monsters. There isn't much to the game; it doesn't present any complicated puzzles or any sort of challenge outside of the hordes of baddies, and although it is simplistic, the enemies varied enough and well designed enough that it really doesn't matter.
That said, Serious Sam isn't a game one might visit a lot; it is fifteen levels long and that's just about enough time for you not to tire from it quite yet. However, there's obviously not too much replay value in it, and I've played through it in total maybe 3 times in about five years.
Doom and Doom 2 are the best first person shooters of all time primarily for one simple reason: the volume of enemies. Whereas modern shooters are generally so graphically sophisticated that they can only cope with a handful of enemies onscreen at once, Doom's relatively basic graphics allowed for literally hundreds of enemies to be running around after you at once, forcing you to run for cover, set up killing zones and generally form your own uniqe strategies that were different each and every time you played, thus giving the game effectively limitless longevity.
No game has come close to emulating this, at least not until the release of Serious Sam.
Serious sam is an unashamedly arcade-style shooter, with no plot, jsut a guy in jeans and a tshirt running around with a stupidly large arsenal of guns blasting the hell out of all and sundry around the temples, pyramids and deserts of Ancient Egypt.
The baddies are cartoonish and varied, ranging from the small (headless suicide bombers, fast and dog-like skeleton beasts), to the large (huge towering, bipedal ed209 style dinosaur/robot hybrids), to the downrigh ridiculous (a huge boss who is several times bigger than the greatest of the massive pyramids present in the game).
The weapons themselves are equally over the top, ranging from dual revolvers, a shotgun, and machinegun to a stupidly fast minigun, a heavy duty fully automatic laser cannon and last but not least a weapon that fires massive great big explosive cannon balls, bowing over any enemies unfortunate to get in its path as it thunders across the ground.
The game consists of constant, all-out blasting, -sometimes you will go for ten minutes at a time without taking your finger off the trigger for even a second- with the nice but not too complicated graphics allowing you to do battle with massive, relentless waves of enemies that just seem to keep on coming endlessly.
The game doesnt quite have the same compelling atmosphere or longevity of Doom, and feels a little sparse and imcomplete overall, but this is forgivable given the sheer arcade joy that it offers. A cracking game.
Despite what the name entails, Serious Sam is everything but serious. Filled with serious situations completely diffused by comical statements and scenarios our hero "Serious Sam" is marooned on an island filled with grotesque monsters.
Yet, even these monsters have their charm. From the headless suicider to the scorpion sniper you've got your work cut out for you. Topped off with a whimsical and sarcastic help device meant to help steer you in the right way... while making fun of you.
Even the history of the planet is humorous. Ruins, buildings, temples, all of it just weird, and then of course there's the weapons. My favorite being the cannon. Quite literally, those big black cannons you'd find on ye olde ships. Yes, Serious Sam picks one up, alongside some bag boulders he calls ammo, and shoots out these giant rolling attacks which do wonders in tight situations where everywhere you look all you see is monsters.
There is no online play, which is unfortunate.
Serious Sam reminds me of Duke Nukem Lite Edition. He's not as perverted and the situation doesn't feel as dark, but he's got the same take down names and kick ass attitude.
Overall, a rather fantastic game. It has aged fairly well and is still a title i'd recommend, though hardcore gamers too infatuated with Half Life Engine based games, or Quake's recent eye candy monstrosity will find themselves a little bored due to the engines somewhat simplistic play.
Hundreds of enemies on screen at once in an old-school style shooter, this game, people, requires nothing but a fast mouse-hand... Serious Sam is a serious shooting game and despite the silly name is one of the best first person shooters to have ever graced the PC format. The story is extremely simple, some aliens have travelled back in time to ancient Egypt in order to change Earth's past and Sam has been sent by Earth's forces to stop them. Thus starts hours of frantic non-stop action in the first game to use the much talked about 'Serious Engine'. This engine allows for Serious Sam to display dozens of enemies on screen at once with no slow-down, it also allows for massive, expansive areas with large amounts of texture work and objects. This game certainly won't give you time to rest as you blast wave after wave of enemy with an increasing array of weaponry. Sam's main objective is to reach the Great Pyramid which has been fortified for some unknown reason, once here you'll find out it's secret and it's quite spectacular when you see it. Leading on to my next point. The 'Serious Engine' allows for some serious graphics power and SS certainly looks the business, of course this means you'll need a half-decent PC but nothing ground-shakingly powerful. You'd expect Serious Sam to have some serious music too and it does, the music is nothing more than drum beats and the like until enemies appear then the tempo picks up and more instruments added. The music all sounds very nice and suits the surroundings nicely while still getting you pumped up for battle. The main theme of SS is odd however as it's played on a flute and is quite a nice little tune and easily my favourite in the game. Serious Sam controls like any other First Person Shooter as it uses the WSAD and Mouse combo so little needs to be said here, the game can also be controlled from a 3rd Person viewpoint if you wish. There a
re secrets to be found in the levels for those who wish to explore and even two secret stages which cleverly connect with the main stages of play and both look spectacular featuring some amazing landscapes.. Another plus-point is that the 'Serious Editor' is included with the game and can be used to create new models and stages for single play and multi-play. Talking of multiplayer, you get the standard deathmatch, capture-the-flag style games plus a bonus in the form of co-op play which is nice to play but makes the game too easy. Not a lot more can be said about this game, it has a lot going for it but some players may get bored by the constant wave after wave of enemies that get rammed onto the screen at an alarming rate but for those people who want a classic 'no-brain' shooter, Serious Sam is for them. (This reviewer apologises for the amount of times the word 'Serious' was used in his review)
Serious Sam The Second Encounter The story Once upon a time in the 22nd century, Earth was under a severe attack from Mental?s minions and humankind was about to vanish. Sam ?Serious Stone? was sent back in time to change the past and save humankind from total annihilation. Using the ancient artefact called ?time lock?, Sam is teleported back in time into the land of Egypt. There he discovered traces of Sirian civilisation and found out about their spaceship. Notorious Mental, the immortal evil, gathered some of the nastiest creatures in the universe to stop Sam. Thousands of beats stood in Sam?s way. After the defeat of Ugh-Zan three (one of Mental?s toughest servants) Sam went on his way. From the Great Pyramid Sam then teleported himself onto the Sirian spaceship. And you start after the big crash??????. The weapons In this second encounter there are a huge arsenal of 14 weapons plus 3 new weapons to unleash on the beasts. Firstly there is the combat knife and the P-LAH chainsaw powered from a self-contained micro fusion fuel synthesiser. Then there is the Schofield .45 which has a single action-firing mode with manual reloading. The two shotguns are the 12-gauge pump action one shell with pump reloading and the double barrel Coach gun with 2 shells and manual reloading. The XM214-A Minigun is the mother. It slices through anything with 1200 firing rounds per minute with powerful 5.56 mm bullets. The M1-A2 Thompson submachine gun uses the same ammo as the Minigun but only uses 600 rounds per minute. The grenade launcher has 40 mm high explosive rounds whereas the XPML21 rocket launcher has 150 mm inferno missiles. 2 new weapons are the Raptor 16 mm sniper rifle and the XOP flamethrower powered by hot handling Hv napalm. Lastly the XL2 laser gun, it uses X7 power cells that can prove fatal. Netricsa (Neuro Tronically Implanted Combat Situation Analyser) is a small computer inside Sam?s skull. The heads up display
is active normally while you explore the area or fight. In the lower corner, it shows your current armour and health state. Next to it is your current weapons and its ammunition. On the far right is an icon for each type of ammo and a bar displaying the amount of ammo. In the upper left corner is the score, showing the sum of reward money you have collected by eliminating your enemies and completing tasks. The crosshair shows exactly where your weapon will hit and changes colours according to the state of your target. Multiplayer Modes Co-operative: in standard co-op mode players team together against enemies for a specific area or level. You can play custom levels of your choice or play an entire game together from beginning to end. Deathmatch: when scoring, for each item you pick up your own value is raised by the value of that item. Also the value slowly increases with time. When you kill someone his value is added to your score and half of his value is added to your value. Deathmatch: when fragging. For every kill you get one frag. If you kill yourself you lose one frag. A fragmatch game can be set on a time limit. The enemies in the game are fantastic and come in all shapes and sizes. They are fun to interactive with and are fun to destroy with the variety of weapons available. The internet is a great experience for this second encounter especially with the included mod ?warped death?. THE NEW 1.7 PACTH IS OUT.
This game looks great, plays great, is very hard and very challenging in places, but the problem - its too short. Its a classic First Person Shooter in the style of Quake etc, and although there are about 10 levels, you get through these fairly quick. They is a bit of variation in the levels, but basically you have two areas - running around in the desert and between pyramids, or running around inside pyramids. The story behind the game is that you are the only person who can save mankind by going back in time to kill a load of aliens that have attacked acient Egypt, or something like that. The story is quite confusing, and after completing the game, i'm still not entirely sure what was the reasons! But its good fun. In each section of the level you are ambushed by loads of aliens. In some of the later levels there are literally hundreds of enemys on screen at any one time, its absolutely crazy! But it wears a bit thin, as this is what you get all through the game. After a few hours you will finish the game, and quite frankly there is not too much of a feeling of satisfaction, as you have done it all in previous levels. The graphics are excellent though, and there are some really impressive lens flares! Altoghether, its a bit of fun - not worth 24.99, but if you can get it on budget, worth the money. There is not a massive amount of replay value, although multiplayer gaming is available.
first off, this game isnt for the faint hearted or noobs. this is because the general concept is as follows. after going back in time blah blah blah, sam 'serious' stalone must go stop the evil blah blah blah. basically, this means going on a kill-crazy rampage, with ott weapons and hundreds (literally) of enemies on screen at any time. the developers (croteam) have managed to squeeze every last drop out of the slightly dated quake 3 engine, allowing the screen to be completely full of explosions, enemies, water effects, haze, reflections, detailed textures, 32bit colour depth etc, without slowing down one jot. on the other hand, this is based on it running on an athlon 1.4, a geforce 3 and 768 sdram. the single player game is okay, especially if you just want a mindless yet fun romp, as it gets a little dull after extended play. the map design is excellent, with most areas being either enclosed, claustrophobic corridors, or absolutely huge outdoor extravaganzas. the outdoor extravaganzas are definately better than the corridors, as they are usually teeming with swarms of enemies, and containing loads of ammo. the game has some really cool touches, like the context sensitive music which really adds atmosphere, especially when accompanying hordes of hell spawn. another neat feature is the netrisca, which notifies you ever time you get a new weapon, meet a new enemy, enter a special place etc, and can be activated at will to give you information and tips, and often contains fairly amusing advice. the best touch, though, is that even though you know when something crazy is going to happen (tons of ammo and a giant, open space simultaneously is a dead giveaway), you are always gobsmacked by the sheer amount of things that loom over the horizon and charge towards you, and when the music kicks off you know that youre in trouble. the weapons are generally excellent, all fun to use and each useful in different situations, with the sniper rifle, flamethrower and cann
on. the best part about the game, in my opinion, is the coop game. it is basically the same as the single player game, but with twice the explosivity, twice the carnage and twice the fun. however, there is a downside, the game can get a bit repetitive in single player mode, and some of the more screen filling enemies can be quite annoying when they continually attack you from a distance, but you cant do anything about it as you are being swamped from close range (although cooperation in coop mode can solve this problem). overall - strong singleplayer, great weapons, fantastic coop mode.
I sit and write this a short while after completing the game, only two days after I got a copy. And well, I'm impressed, I'm VERY impressed, which is not an everyday occurence. The gameplay is simple in the extreme: You go in to a room and a large number of enemies (ranging from beheaded sucide bombers through skeletons to chaingun armed scorpians) and kill them all. Sometimes, by way of a change, there will be some switches or things to pick up. When this is so your handy AI will alert you what to do. There are a good range of weapons, dual pistols right up to a uranium firing cannon(!!!). The mini-gun is particularly good fun, the massive rate of fire more than making up for the spin up before you can start killing things. However this is game very much for people who played doom on the highest difficulty setting and with god-mode on, just so they could fire at swarms of the enemy. The engine was designed for just that purpose; so they could fill vast rooms with hundereds and hundereds of enemies. This gives a tremendous fun factor which will never get old, no matter how many times you play it. Also, nestling in between the vast battles are a hand full of hilarious one liners such as (After gunning down a vast flock of harpies): "That's right: It's all in the wrist." These had me laughing out load for the brief moment before I was charged by about 30 bulls. And so, if you haven't played this game I sincerely reccomend that you do. It harks back to Doom happily and reminds you how much fun senseless gun-battles can be.
That's Serious Sam alright. Fed up of the thinking man's shooter? Sure, Half-Life is an amazing game, and all that it spawned were perhaps more mediocre, but sometimes there's those days when you want to play a game where you can pull out a shiny minigun, almost as long as you are tall, and mow through hoardes and hoardes of odd creatures. This is what the mighty Doom taught you to do, and of course the classic Duke Nukem 3D. Serious Sam shares many traits with Duke Nukem 3D: The witty commentary, large guns, aliens, - in fact the only things really lacking are the babes, and city scenes. Because lets make no mistake, Serious Sam is not set in a seedy city. As with all mindless mow-em-downs, they attempt to show a story, like the weak ones in Doom, Quake et al. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because nobody really wants to sit around watching a story with flashing lights and pathetic explanations when we all know we just want to get onto the large guns and killing. Serious Sam's story briefly goes something like this: "Somewhere in the future, some people attempt to create something or other, and just by some cruel twist of fate, release a gate through which a whole bunch of aliens will come and destory the earth... etc etc." Told you it was weak. But screw that, after all, this isn't a thinking shooter. You (Sam "Serious" Stone) get sent back in time to ancient Egypt, and for some reason or other, there are masses of strange alien things, a few which extremely remind me of Doom chracters - Demons = Gnarrs or whatever they are called. Anyway, here's a basic synopsis, you start on some portal thing, and mow your way through progressively harder levels, the details of which you will find out if you decide to buy. The downside to this game is that it is does get repetitive, with many of the monsters being the same, and after a while you will have met all the monsters, and
it's a shame no new ones get introduced to you. And you will die a LOT if you choose anything but Tourist, for the later levels are riduculous in their "bringing it on". Tourist mode is too easy, and is almost God mode, making the idea of playing it in again in another mode a little less of an enticing prospect. One thing I do love about this game is the great engine. It runs well on my computer, and I have a K6-2 450@495 with a Voodoo3 3000@179mhz. It also makes the textures VERY detailed when you move in on surfaces, which looks sweet. The sound is relatively generic, screams and explosions feature highly throughout the game. The gameplay is rather generic as well, like all 3D shooters of today. However there is a 3rd person option, however I have not used this, and expect it to add little in the way of extra enjoyment/playability. Multiplayer - I cannot vouch for Internet/LAN play, but a great feature worthy of mention is the split screen. Rather impractical without multiple keyboard/mice, admittedly, but a good idea, and one I'd like to see a lot more in PC Games today. Conclusion: A game that heralds back to the mindless days of Doom and incorporates the style of Duke Nukem 3D, to make a fun game, even if for a while - don't play in Tourist like I did, it makes it too easy.
You want to shoot things? You want to shoot lots of things? Good, because thats what Serious Sam is all about. OK there are loads of games like this out there, but Serious Sam is one of the best. One of the greatest features is that you don't just get attacked by three or four enemies at a time, its nearer thirty or forty at a time! You will need a powerfull PC for this game though. The graphics are fantastic throughout the game as is the audio. Complete with Duke Nukem style witty comments from Sam. The usual online multiplayer options are there along with a 2-4 player split screen option for when your mates come round. The game also includes a level editor for those who want tinker with thier own levels. If you want fast paced action and don't mind your thumb going numb and your mouse and keyboard wearing out prematurely then this is the game for you. If you want to think about things and have your mind intellectually challenged then look elsewhere.
Serious Sam is seriously easy, with seriously fun gameplay and seriously good graphics and sound. But seriously though, this game has only one flaw - a major one, but just one: it is FAR TOO EASY (have I said this enough yet?)!!! Even when the going got hectic (and that happened on many occasions) it still seemed to be a doddle! The weapons were fun and the enemy were impressive, the landscapes and buildings were outstanding in quality. I did like the way the day seemed to fade to night and vice versa. I'm not complaining TOO much about the game as it was the best fun I've had in ages. It is nice to sail through a game in a relatively short time and not have to think too hard about what to do. I think this game will be perfect when it becomes either a budget title or a more difficult sequel. The name does suggest it is the first of many.
This game caused quite a stir when it was released. Coming from an unknown developer, it promised a return to the mindless shooting of games such as Doom and Duke Nukem, at a time when "thinker-shooters" are all the rage. Many old hands were particularly excited - me included - about this possibility. As a result, it received a flurry of media attention, which is largely unwarranted. Lets look at the gameplay. A typical scene: you walk into a room. There's armour in the middle. You walk over to pick it up. The hordes arrive. And I really do mean hordes. Literally hundreds of enemies on-screen at once. Beating them is tough, even on the easier difficulty settings. There is some skill involved, too, in the way that you move to avoid them. Learning these skills is enjoyable at first, but as the gameplay continues in the same rut, the hordes just getting bigger, it gets dull fast. You find yourself quick saving every 5 seconds, and it just seems like a chore to play. This is a shame, because with a bit more imagination (such as more fiendish puzzles) this game could have been much more varied. The graphics engine was created from scratch, and it is excellent. Whilst not quite up to the standards of the Q3A engine in terms of detail, it handles the huge environments and hordes of enemies admirably. You get the feeling that this game was only created to show off the engine, and encourage other developers to use it. The multiplayer side offers something that we have not had for a long time: co-op. This mode is potentially fantastic. Working through the single-player levels with friends, gunning down the fiends side-by-side is very enjoyable. However, it is, unfortunately, unplayable over the internet with anything less than cable or DSL, and even then it can be laggy. To be honest, I don't think that any kind of patch can fix this. The number of enemies on screen is just too much. This is the kind of game that you play
solidly for a few days and then never come back to. Those first few days are fun, yes, but I don't think it warrants purchasing it.
There’s nothing like a good First Person shoot em up (FPS) to while away the hours. I’ve probably played most of them on a variety of platforms beginning with the legendary Wolfstein through Doom to the trilogy of Quake games stopping off the way to play Duke Nukem, Unreal, the classic Half Life and a slew of others (Blood, Shogo and Requiem to name a few). There’s something engrossing about these games that always draws me back to the genre. Maybe it’s the immersion fact, maybe it’s the style of game play or maybe it’s because according to Right wing American pressure groups I want to be turned into a mindless killing machine. What ever it is I also seem to come back to FPS over any other game genre. Anyway I digress, recently there has be a movement in the software industry (intentional or not) to bring the FP back into the single player arena. As everything seemed to be heading for the online extravaganza experience as shown by the success of a thousand on-line mods for Half Life, Unreal Tournament and Quake 3. Games like Kiss: Psycho circus and Clive Barker’s Undying and now Serious Sam have but the emphasis back on the single person experience. Which for people like myself who haven’t the time or willing for on-line gaming gives us a much needed break for bot matches (bots being computer controlled opponents) and hideous ping rates (real time delays in on-line gaming). Serious Sam was reviewed as being a great one player experience and a good game to boot as well. So with when I received by wages for the month I popped down to my local games emporium and purchased it. First thing that struck me was the price, 29.99. I was led to believe that Serious Sam was to have a retail price of 19.99. Well initially it was, but the publishing company saw all the good reviews the game and decided to jack up the price. Which is nice! Just imagine the same thing happening with a CD, just because an a
lbum got heaps of praise thrown on it. “Well we decided to charge an extra fiver for the new album by artist X because the critics love it”. You don’t offen see games publishers knocking their prices down if the game is bad do you? Anyway I decided to purchase Serious Sam anyway and after a smooth and easy install. I was ready to rumble. As with all games there are for me three key factors that maketh the game, the graphics and game engine, the playability and the overall enjoyment factor. Well I can tell you that Serious Sam passes on 2 of the 3 but falls considerably short on the other. Want to know where, then read on. First up the graphics and games engine. The first thing of merit with Serious Sam is that the Croatian based Croteam have build their own 3D games engine for Serious Sam. Which makes a break from the normal modified Quake or Unreal engine used in the majority of FPS. The thing is it Croteam have created a very good engine The 3D modelling is excellent, with the game featuring a variety of different enemy models of different form and size from the small humanoid ground troops to the massive creatures and end of level bosses which dwarf anything seen in FPS before. The game also handles wider spaces very well , there is none of the slow down you get with the Quake 3 engine when you move to a more open environment. Add to this a good physics engine which maps expertly the movement of the enemies and the variety of weapons you have in your possession. The grenade launcher perhaps shows the engine at its best. The grenade launcher allows you to launch grenades as either at short range or as a mortar. The projectory path is sublime, taking it the angle of launch as well as any reflection or bounces off walls etc.. Serious Sam however really shines in one region over other FPS engines and that is that it can deal with hundreds of characters and models moving on screen at once. Where as most g
ames can only copy with around 10 enemies at the most on screen at once, Serious Sam’s engine can deal with hundreds with easy. For the first time since Doom, playing a FPS is about the number of enemies and dispatching them on mass. The engine and the fact it can handle a huge number of on-screen models helps make Serious Sam a highly playable game. The first thing when playing Serious Sam you will notice is the frantic nature of the game. Where as more recent FPS have gone for AI based enemies, Serious Sam reverts to the old school bundle style of game play, where the enemies just run straight towards you all guns blazing. Well nearly all the Suicide bombers scream at you then explode rather than shoot. This initially caused me great confusion as I have developed more stealth orientated tactics for FPS. So after being forced to get back to old style tactics (strafe and fire) I was quickly engrossed in Serious Sam. Playing on Normal skill level I found the game a serious challenge (pun intended) but also and most importantly an enjoyable and occasionally inspiring one. So far so good for Serious Sam, it may lack any plot (No Half Life or Undying scripting with Sam) just a simple battle to the end of the level and if it moves kill it scenario, but it does it good job of carrying it off. Well for the early levels it does. However as the game progresses the level design and game play is stripped to the minimum. Early levels involve moving through ruins rife with tunnels, stairs and elaborate architecture, Which not only makes the game gorgeous eye candy but also gives it variety. Later levels on the other hand just seem to be one large area followed by another open area. These open areas just become a tedious stream of move 10m fight off a attack of a ever increasing numbers of creatures before moving 10m to pick up my ammo and health to fight off the next swarm of monsters and ad infintum until you reach the end of the level.
The thing is this is not an easy at it seems the sheer bulk of attacking creatures means that any slip up in aiming or using the wrong weapon at the wrong time means your dead. This leads to a policy of resorting to quick saving the game every time you beat off a wave of creatures. After a while it all leads to a massive lack in variation in game play. As the game progresses the only thing that changes is that you face more and more creatures at the same time and you save your progress more and more. Occasionally you get a new type of enemy or a new weapon but apart from that there’s nothing that really pushes you on to play the game further. The game as seems fairly short and on a easier skill level I could imagine the game only taking a few days to complete (which might explain the originally cheaper price tag). There is one thing that Serious Sam does impress with though and that is as a multiplayer experience. The game can be played on LAN or remotely as a co-operative game or as Death match (with several variations of play available). I also suspect the mod community will create a good set of Counter Strike type games sooner or later. The biggest blessing is that the game can be played multiplayer on one computer using a split screen view for up to 4 players like Goldeneye on the N64. I’ve yet to try this out (having no friends in the real world) but the though of 4 people crowded around a single keyboard and a mouse does seem a bit strange. To sum up Serious Sam is a game with a great engine and is highly playable, but is let down by being one dimensional and tedious in it’s game play. A shame really as there is potential for something very special to be created with the game engine. My advice is try and pick up the game cheaply if you can and then disengage your brain and glue your finger permanently to the fire button. Let’s hope that someone somewhere does something more interesting with the game engine next t
Initially I found this game really refreshing and a nice change to the over complicated nature of many current PC games. A very basic story - aliens invading the Earth and you are the last line of defense. You travel back in time to Egypt and take on hoardes of bad guys as you fight your way through some very colourful levels. The game engine is very cool, allowing hundreds of enemies on screen at once with little slowdown. The enemies are a bizzarre bunch ranging from headless marines (holding their head with one hand), to suicide bombers (that run screaming at you and blow up), to horrible skeletal horses, huge scorpions with chain guns, green demons that fire green ectoplasm, massive demons and weird robots that shoot lasers and missiles. None of it makes much sense really, it's all thrown together and thrown at you..all at once. Level design is very linear, very basic and you can't get lost. Presentation is clean and straightforward with an in-game computer that gives you clues and lets you analyse your enemies, weapons and environments. The design premise for this game was an update of Doom or so I read in the press. When I started playing I thought this was pretty accurate - it has that same manic feel of constantly running, shooting and running some more. I've never played a game before where you are running backwards round the whole level, timing your coachgun (large shotgun)blasts to take out hoards of skeletal horses! The graphics engines chucks hoardes of bad guys at you, and the AI isn't terrible but it isn't complex either. The pack AI is quite good, especially when 50 skeletal horses chase you around a level which can really s**t you up! As I progressed through the game I started enjoying the game less and less. I got about 3/4 of the way through before uninstalling the game and trading it for a DVD at my local emporium. The intial fun, Doom-style gameplay faded away
to be replaced with a not-so-fun frustrating, repetitive, basic, boring, anger-inducing slog. I like tough games (MDK2?) but don't enough skill-less repetitive drudgery. This is what the game soon became. Playing the same level over a hundred times because you're so overwhelmed with enemies just isn't much fun. You might survive that battle just to get killed by a frog(!) because you have 2 health points left and can't get to the health pack. And then you have to play THAT battle all over, maybe a hundred times again before you get through. And then get killed by a frog again..aaaargghh!! Technically the game is clean, great shadows and lighting (wicked water reflections). The levels are colourful and varied, and feature huge open environments with no fog or slowdown. Watching as a dozen enemies make a start for you from a mile away is pretty cool but these touches are soon swamped by the red mist of anger / frustration. Croteam has done a great job on the technical side of things but the gameplay is too old-school to be cool post Half-Life. Something else I didn't understand. the USA retail price was $19.99 and this was stated in the UK magazine reviews but when the game hit the shelves it's £29.99, go figure?
If you like your first person shooters with lots of action combined with awesome scenery, Serious Sam will fill the bill very nicely indeed. The landscape in this game is drop dead gorgeous, and the levels are HUGE. Forget Half Life, where it seems like you have to pause every three steps for a new level to load, Sam gives you room to roam. And you are going to need that room too, as this game throws more mosters at you than you can shake a stick at. Indeed, no game since the revolution of the 3D environment has been able to throw the number of baddies at you all at once as Sam can do. There are levels in the game when there are literally 50 to 100 opponents, all out for your blood. You haven't seen this kind of action since Doom, I kid you not. One of my very few complaints about Sam is that the difference in the level of difficulty between 'easy' and 'normal' is ridiculously large. Easy is tough to play; but Normal is beyond my ability without resorting to cheat codes from time to time. it seemed more like a jump from 'easy' to 'very hard' to me. Also, if you are looking for a game with 'depth' this game is not going to fit the bill. Sam is a throwback to the good old days of Doom and Duke Nukem 3D, where the object was to plow though the badguys so you can get to more of the badguys. If you miss those great games as much as I do, run, don't walk, to your nearest retailer and get your hands on this extremely fun game.