Review by Ofisil

"Fun brainless shooting"

Serious Sam: The First Encounter is an FPS developed by Croteam. Once upon a time FPS games where like the first Doom. These games where just shooting everything that wasn't you, and boy how many things weren't you! Serious Sam not only resurrected this formula but also increased its simplicity and straightforward in-your-face action. Minimum to none key searching, no maze-like levels but also more enemies than you can handle.

Story: N/A

The story is the typical invasion plot. An alien race is attacking earth and you must destroy them. To do so you are sent to the time of the ancient Egyptians because… well to say the truth I don't really remember and I don't think that the reason really makes any sense because Serious Sam is a game that doesn't take itself too… serious. While you will never exactly have stomach pain from laughing the game IS funny in a silly kind of way or by parodying its own self or other similar games.

Gameplay: 7.5/10
Replay Value: 6.5/10

Lets compare the amount of enemies in Doom to the amount of enemies here. In Doom a group of 15-20 simple enemies is a typical phenomenon while in Serious Sam simple enemies often attack you in groups of 30-50. Doom would challenge you with a group of 4-7 stronger enemies and Sam would do so with the use of a group of 15-20 stronger buddies. Doom would torture you by making you fight 1-3 very strong enemies, but Sam prefers a group of 10-15 to have some fun and don't forget that they all run at you very fast! An example of a typical Serious Sam level: You enter a room, which has a weapon and lots of ammunition. You take the gun and then 10 monsters appear running towards you. You kill them then 15 more appear. You kill them and take some ammo that has appeared. Again more enemies for you and again and again and again!!! After 100 enemies the door opens and you enter a room and repeat the whole process with new sets of enemies or combinations of different groups of bad guys. That sums up the gameplay of Sam. No puzzle solving and only 3-4 key finding parts. Enemies are dumb and run towards you throwing things and while the game is very entertaining you'll soon get bored of meeting the same few dumb monsters over and over again, especially the skeleton “horses”… boy, I believe that I've killed almost 5000 of those boneheads before reaching the end. Weapons are the typical, knife, revolver, shotgun, minigun, rocket and grenade launcher, plasma gun and a… canon! Enemies are quite strange and Sam is a parody of those beefcake heroes on action games like Duke Nukem. He often says some fun stuff, for example after you meet you first headless suicide bomber enemy who shouts, “AAAAAARGH!!!”, while running towards you and kill him, Sam says, “AAAAAARGH to yourself!”. Serious Sam is fantastic as a co-op game and it can even split the screen so that you can play in one PC. One thing that I've wanted this game to have is more goofiness. Sam's quotes, strange enemies and the funny mission objective explanations are not enough for me. This game should be the king of goofiness like Worms Armageddon for example. But that's nitpicking. The game is a great, fast paced & brainless shooting game and nothing more.

Graphics: 8/10
Design: 7/10
Sound: 6.5/10
Music: 6/10

Everything in Sam is brightly colored, has great textures and overall design and most of all doesn't confuse you with too much detail making it easier to find the enormous amount of enemies in the outdoors. Expect simple but extremely large areas with simple walls, stairs, columns and statues that all use Egyptian textures and great sky images that look beautiful, especially the night level which has a sky filled with stars. The only problem is that everything takes place in ancient Egypt so you'll soon get bored of seeing the exact same areas. The enemy design is very good, although you won't really have the time to observe an enemy for too long. Good special effects like lens flares, explosions, glossiness, water etc. One thing that has to be said is that Serious Sam has very fast gameplay that can many times involve an enormous amount of enemies at the same time, but graphic quality luckily remains the same with no lag whatsoever. Generally a very good looking game, whose only problem is its lack of variety in level design. SS also has good sound quality without being something extraordinary. Guns sound good and powerful, enemies have great distinct sounds and so on. The music consists of upbeat rock tunes that start playing when an enemy pops out, (never a dull moment in this game), and more relaxing ambient music for the calm moments. The major problem is that music is extremely repetitive and after 3-4 levels will bore you to death.

-100% mindless FPS action that leaves you breathless
-A gazillion of enemies attack you from everywhere
-Great in Co-op mode

-Repetitive gameplay
-Level design and enemies lack variety

Also Play:
Doom (PC)
Heretic (PC)
Quake 1 & 2 (PC)
Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (PC)
Serious Sam 2 (PC)

Overall: 6.9/10

I could say the following and get over with the review: If you love fast mindless shooting while confronting 500 enemies on each level then this game is for you, if you want something more sophisticated and complex stay away from this game at all costs!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 08/09/07, Updated 04/22/13

Game Release: Serious Sam: The First Encounter (EU, 03/30/01)

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