Review by Rapskallion
"It doesn't get much better than this"
Serious Sam is a true wake up call to the first-person shooter community. Never before have I had this much fun killing so many enemies at one time! It all started when a group of no name programmers decided that the world needed a shooter that didn't focus on the story, or realism, or movie quality scripts. What we needed was a shooter that was just plain fun; a shooter with tons and tons of monsters to kill with huge guns and lots of blood. And so Serious Sam was born. A game that was originally planned to be free over the internet, but Gathering of Developers (GOD) Games got a hold of it before it appeared on the net and released it for a very reasonable 20 bucks. Is it worth the money? Well, let's see how it does on the famous Rapskallion Rating System:
The plot is... well, about as bad as they get. A few hundred years in the future, mankind stumbles upon a great discovery of huge scientific significance. Well, it was too good to be true and now looks like it is going to lead to the total destruction of Earth by an alien race. Our last hope is for Sam ''Serious'' Stone to go back to the past and save humanity! Isn't that the cheesiest plot you've ever heard? Well, that's pretty much the idea... a cheesy plot, a Duke Nukem imitation character, and some of the best gameplay ever! This is not a game for die-hard shooters who love in-depth plots with a lot of twists and surprises; its plain old shooting. Think Doom with new graphics. So why does it get an 8? Because we haven't seen a shooter like this in a long time! At times, there are literally hundreds of enemies on the same screen. The action is fast and furious, and probably the most intense of any shooter ever. There really are no other shooters like it; its so simple, its pure genius!
The ''Serious Engine'' that runs the game is truly beautiful. The Egyptian setting is very bright and colorful. The sky, the background, and the buildings are all very realistic and fit the game perfectly. The creatures are very unique and hideous in every way. From the mutant frogs to the headless kamikazes to the giant scorpions, the creatures are all very original and quite disturbing. Despite the fact that there were sometimes over a hundred baddies on the screen at one time, there was very little lag. Even in the most crowded rooms, I experienced almost no slowdowns at all. Also, the game featured virtually no clipping, something very rare in games these days. While there were no ''wow'' moments like there were in games like Unreal and Quake 3, the graphics were very solid all around.
This is where Serious Sam gets... well... serious. The gameplay is perfect. The controls are typical shooter controls, the guns are (for the most part) typical shooter guns, but what makes it so addictively fun is the sheer number of baddies in the game. You walk into a huge, empty room with a new gun sitting in the middle. Right when you pick up your new weapon, a good 200 mutant frogs warp into the room and chase after you while you mow them down with your Tommy gun. And no, that is not an exaggeration. It's fast, it's furious, it's very bloody, and most importantly, it's tons of fun. There are no other games out there with gameplay equal to Serious Sam. Period.
Once again, Serious Sam scores big in the sound department. The music does a very good job capturing the atmosphere of the game. During intense action, the music becomes fast paced and louder, and then after the action is over it returns too typical slow background music. The guns and explosions sound spectacular as well, but the best part of the sound is the creatures. The skeletal horses' hooves get louder and louder as they get closer. The kamikazes let out loud warcries as they run towards you to blow themselves up. Sam himself has some great one-liners, such as ''Over here, you freaks!'' or ''Is that all you got?''. My personal favorite has to be when Sam whistles the Indiana Jones theme after being chased by a huge boulder. This really helps add a bit of humor to the game, but I just can't stop myself from thinking Duke Nukem during parts like these....
The multiplayer is good, but limited. The game ships with one deathmatch map, but I'm confident more will start popping up very soon. The multiplayer is fast and furious as expected, but it is nothing compared to games like Unreal Tournament. However, there is lots of potential for Mods and player-released maps. Also, the game allows 2-4 player split screen multiplayer, so you can play with your friends from one computer using one keyboard. However, I think it would be hard to fit four people around one keyboard, and the screen would look pretty small.... I think the 4 player split screen is more suited for Goldeneye.
Replay Value: 7/10
The single player campaign is very short (you can easily beat it in a weekend), but hey, what do you expect for 20 bucks? The game has 5 levels of difficulty, so that should keep you busy for awhile. Also, the game ships with a level editor, so expect countless Mods to be appearing soon. You'll definitely get your moneys worth outta this one.
You saw this one coming. Yes, Serious Sam is a lot of fun. It is the most fun I've had with a PC game in years. The game doesn't try to be revolutionary, or have a deep, involving plot with movie-quality cutscenes. All Sam tries to do is deliver pure, simple fun. And trust me folks, it succeeds at that. Ahhh, if only it were longer...
There are some moments in gaming history that I will never forget, such as first stepping off of the spaceship in Unreal, or seeing a huge tentacle throw a scientist against the wall in Half-Life. Serious Sam adds another one of these unforgettable moments; walking into a room filled with a countless number of headless soldiers, mutant reptiles, and giant rocket-launching Biomechanoids. Wow, what a great game. Do yourself a favor and spend the 15 or 20 bucks on this one. It's worth every penny.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/02/01, Updated 04/02/01
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