Review by Elbryan42

"Seriosu Sam on the PS2! It's more streamlined and as great as before!"

Ah, Serious Sam. What can be said? I loved the PC/X-Box originals, and I heard of this game a mere 3 days before it's release. On my birthday nonetheless. It was pushed back a few days, but man, is it worth it. I can't get enough of this game! Unlike most reviewers, I find this on par with the original, great, but in a different way.

For vetrans of the original, Sam has changed. Think of Next Encounter as Serious Sam: The Arcade Game. Quick saves are gone, so the difficulty has been toned down. It's easy at first, but the difficulty slowly curves up. A quite nice gradual pace. By time you get to the you get to the first boss, your 10 minute battles with the enemies will be back. Sure, we're not talking the wonderful 300+ Kleer Skeleton stampede from First Encounter, but you'll be challenged.

The game is like this. Each level stands alone. You start a level with the weapons from the previous, with minimal ammo. Also, your points are zero as well. The point of each level is to get the best score possible. You die, you restart at the last checkpoint (most likely before the doors have locked you in and the waves of enemies start), with a 5000 point hit to your score.

Also, there has been a combo system set into place. You kill enemies close enough together, you get a combo. You kill 20 enemies in a row, you get twice the points and Sam moves twice as fast. So the strategy of the game, while not changed, has been refined to hone each level, like games used to be.

It's a different Sam, but it's a great Sam. The graphics are true in style to the original, but without the graphical treats that the 3D video on the PC gave you. The textures are lower res, and there's no bump-mapping. Sure, the Gamecube can handle both with hundreds of enemies, but he PS2 cannot. They made both games in tandem, so both games are just about the same. The Gamecube has a few new explosion effects and new water effects, but both games are the same. The graphics engine is a few years old, and reviewers cut it down. But you know what? In the end, Serious Sam is about the gameplay, and trust me, you won't be able to put this game down.

Sound is great, music and effects are awesome. The only gripe is that the game isn't in full surround sound. Oh well, deal with it. Not everyone has 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound (I do though). You lived without it in the past, so don't complain about it now.

There's a whole slew of enemies. While the polygon counts of the enemies have went down, they've been given great facelifts and more animation! Funny how no one mentions that. The kamikazes now flail their arms at you, the werebulls have 4 horns, and the witch harpies have pigtails. It's so cool seeing the old faves back and cooler than ever. The new enemies rock too, and definitely fit in the game. I won't spoil them. I'll let the my upcoming FAQ do that. Some PC enemies have less health, but that just means you can mow more down. :)

Controls, nothing more to say than I have yet to play a console FPS with this great of controls. You can't reconfigure the controls, but when everything is where it should, you don't need to. Alongside PSX Doom and Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown (the Doomed control style), I find the controls the most intuitive for a console FPS game.

There's 40+ levels. Not many FPS games nowadays even breaks 20. Story? Not much of one. Sam wants to kick Mental's butt. You don't need to know more. And the game will make you holding your gut laughing on more than one occasion.

So, get this game NOW! It's $20, and it's more than worth that. It's one of the best console games I've ever played. Very seldom is a PC game recreated on the consoles with such success. Heck, if this game were $60 I'd pick it up as soon as I could.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/09/04

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