Review by Scary Mika

"Nine reasons why you must have this game"

Serious Sam started life as standard FPS game on the PC. I first came in contact with it while trying out Second Encounter on a friend’s PC. The graphics were very detailed and the effects were cool and all but I felt like I was playing the PC version Turok with Duke Nukem as the main character. Now the Xbox version has arrived and after combining the two Serious Sam games, redrawing the weapons and adding what could possibly be one of the best additions to a game ever you suddenly have on hell of a blaster.
Basically you play as a guy called Sam Stone who has to travel back in time to find the Holy Grail to aid him in defeating his nemesis Mental and his hordes of minions that have their eyes set on invading the earth. That’s all you need to know really.

Gameplay 9/10
Nearly flawless, it plays just like any FPS out there but the control is tighter than most. Every weapon has a specific function and every enemy has a specific tactic. The real innovation here is the new scoreboard and lives system. Rather than abusing the quicksave/quickload system found in pretty much every PC game out there today you are encouraged to keep playing thanks to the fact that you now have lives. With this simple addition the game is taken above and beyond all it’s PC cousins. It’s like playing Metal Slug or Contra in 3D! You can play with or without auto-aim (default is on), it really helps to play the game with the auto-aim on since the marker will appear and help you know if you are aiming close enough or not. I played through the entire game with the auto-aim off on the normal setting and there’s was only a select few spots where I was tempted to turn it on to make the fight more fair and save lives.
Most stages in the first part of the game is made like gauntlets. The game makes sure you are never bored by throwing out hordes of enemies for you to dispose of. It’s action, it’s fun, it’s repetitive and absolutely addictive.
While blasting enemies and picking up weapons you can read about them in the console mode and while you might miss out on this feature at first it is actually quite entertaining. You find out about mutated chickens with lasers attached, an alien race that lost their skin due to sun tanning too much and why you should opt for the twin pistols even though they are the only weapon you actually have to reload.
The only thing keeping this from getting a ten is the fact that enemies tend to get a lot of cheap shots at you since most of them tend to teleport into the stage and often ending up behind you which is annoying at times. There’s also a few instances where there are tons of enemies standing on buildings and constantly firing at you causing you to both lose too many lives and disrupting your field of vision, this is a rare occasion though.

Graphics 8/10
Not as detailed as the PC version and the v-sync is turned off (must be a first for console games) causing the picture to tear every now and then. It is not a big problem though and the framerate is smooth even in multiplayer. The graphics are very sharp and has loads of detail in them and while the animation of the enemies are a bit dull you won’t think twice about it when you’re blasting away. The game movies have been improved and feature some of the funniest clips of animation I’ve seen in a videogame. Many of them are so cool you will play the stage several times just to see the movies between the stages.

Sound 9/10
One of the games strongest points. Much better than the original the music is truly great and many of the tunes are memorable. The music picks up when there are enemies around and all the sound effects are just right. This game is just truly amazing in the sound department and you will have a hard time keeping the volume down. Every now and then you will hear one of Sam’s witty comments that only adds to the experience and unlike other games he won’t bore you with them. Instead there’s rare occasions when you hear Sam talking and you will be looking forward to them instead of the other way around.

Endurance 9/10
This game will take quite a while to complete but even after that you will keep coming back, the ending really leaves you wanting more, in a good way. There’s a secret difficulty to unlock, places you want to visit again and movies that just has to be seen at least twice. There’s also an astronomical amount of secrets in the game, everything from hidden bonuses to secret stages. You haven’t lived until you’ve taken on the mini bull challenge, heard the “jingle bells” rock in the snow stage and visited Pumpkin Field at least once. Add a friend and you can play co-op which works extremely well. Add another and you can have deathmatches. This game could very well last forever in the right hands.

Overall 9/10
One of the best FPS games on the Xbox, period. If you already have Halo and TimeSplitters 2 (the best FPS games currently available on console hands down) then this should be next on your list. There’s simply no reason to play the PC counterpart if you have an Xbox since this version is so much better. If you only have a PS2 or GC then you are really missing out on something and you might have to settle for the inferior, but at least cheaper, PC version. If you’re going to pay full price for one game this year, this one game you won’t be disappointed with.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/29/03, Updated 06/29/03


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