Croteam
Gotham Games
FPS
1-16
11.12.02

Serious Sam


After being released on the PC quite some time ago, I finally get the chance to see what Serious Sam is all about. Serious Sam on Xbox packs in the original PC hit, along with its sequel for one massive gaming experience. Serious Sam is an arcade first person shooter with not much of a story, but you kill anything that moves. That is what this game is all about, and that is what makes it a blast to play.

The story is simple, in the year 2014, deadly monsters/aliens from another dimension attack the human race. Sam "Serious" Stone is mankind's last hope, and he's one tough juice head.

Graphics

The graphics in Serious Sam are superb. When in motion, the frame rate gets pretty choppy at times. Definitely not what you would expect from Xbox games today. The choppiness only occurs when you make an erratic turn, it doesn't happen if you are just walking straight. Thus, the game is playable and after a few levels you don't notice the choppiness because the graphics are very highly detailed. When you go up to a wall in this game, you'll see how highly detailed the textures are in this game. The reflections are some of the best we've seen on any Xbox game. Shiny gold floors have statues reflecting back to the ground, and when you look down, you can see Sam's feet and his gun. The developers also took the time to use reflections in conjunction with the lighting. The outside desert levels are huge with no draw in or pop ups, very very Xbox like.

Gameplay

Throughout the game as you meet new aliens, little messages will come up that look a "new e-mail" icon. And you can check that by pressing the white button. There is a lot of detail that is provided for each individual enemy. Besides the name, type, and size, they will give you tips on how to kill the enemy. They also tell you how much of the threat each one is. This is useful information if a few different types of aliens surround you and you want to kill the easy ones first. Each alien has its own weakness. This message system isn't just used for the enemies, but it's also used everytime you pick up something new, if a door is locked, or if you enter a certain area. The white button will also show you various stats on the amount of kills you have, etc. This is all absent from the co-op multiplayer mode.

There are many save points in each level, so once you slaughter a large amount of enemies, you can be sure that there will be a check point spot where you can save. Just look for a red telephone looking booth. The single player game is a very fun one overall. From the humorous things Sam says, to all the crazy enemies, it will keep you wanting more.

The controls are the same as Halo basically. Each level has its own unique feel, making it hard to get bored of this game. There is about 14 different weapons to use, and one of the best weapons is the Serious Bomb. Light of of these puppies up and the all monsters on the screen will be wiped out.

Multiplayer

When you first load up multiplayer with a friend, you may ask yourself, "What system are we playing"? The reason is because you are playing not only on a split screen, but also on a reduced window that is smaller then it should be. Once that sinks in, the gameplay is just like the single player mode, and it might actually run a bit better too.

A great feature that should not be overlooked is the Xbox System Link capability. Not only for fans of Deathmatch play, but those who can't get enough cooperative play will be happy to know you can play up to 8 players (if you have 4 Xbox's connected). Deathmatch fans can max out 16 players, 4 players per Xbox Unit.

Sound

The music in this game will freak you out! It always has your adrenaline pumping. The in-game music couldn't have been done better. Serious Sam's voice, along with his one-liners are hilarious. The sounds of the aliens all have their individual sounds. For instance, from a distance you may hear a scream getting louder and louder until it's in your face. That's because it's an enemy running at you with no head screaming from the top of his lungs somehow. Another freaky sound is the sound of a skeleton enemy that when it runs it sounds like chattering bones.

Bottom Line:

While Serious Sam may not be the smoothest game, it sure as hell is fun. If you want a fun first person shooting game that will have you laughing, then be sure to at least rent this one. A great buy if you need a game to play with a bunch of friends. Fun times.

-Steve Melanson




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