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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

GOD Games

 

Developer

CroTeam

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q2 2001

 

 

- Giant, well-designed levels

- Interesting character design

- Nice visuals and sound

- Lots of secrets

 

 

- Too dark to find some things

- So-so music

 

 

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Serious Sam

Score: 8.0 / 10

During its development process Serious Sam got so much exposure their theme song should have been The Streak by Ray Stevens. It seemed like almost every day more screenshots were released, or there was a new interview up with someone from the design team. It was enough to drive anyone batty. Thankfully now that the game is out and has had a chance to work its magic, itís actually a very good game. Forgoing a strong narrative in favor of heavy-duty gun blasting, this title harks back to the early days of first person shooters when it was more a single player experience and players shot first, and asked questions after.

 

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After only playing Serious Sam for an hour the thought quickly came to me that the levels in this game are bloody huge. The are all loaded up from the get-go which is a big plus, so the levels arenít compartmentalized, loading new sections intermittently. They just keep going and going these stages. On the one hand its nice, but when you get ambushed you may find yourself really hurting for health. Usually in an FPS players can develop a 6th sense as to when the levels are nearly done, but here they are so big (the levels, not the players!) that it gets thrown out of whack, leaving you with a sense of dread like that of watching a half hour TV show, where it started at nine, itís 25 past the hour, and you no thereís NO WAY things can be wrapped up in time. Itís very unnerving, the whole sense of "Oh no!" that the giant levels can bring. Whatís also nice about the levels is that there are lots and lots of hidden areas that take a very keen eye to find. Much of the time you 

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will end up stumbling across these secrets, there isnít any subtly shaded moving walls or whatnot here. Casually firing at a wall, or walking into a dark, seemingly generic area may in fact result in scoring a nice little ammo stash or shortcut. On the downside is that this can make finding secrets impossible because lighting can get very poor, and thereís no way you can find some of the secrets without a walkthrough or a decade of free time.

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The ebb and flow of the levels feels very intuitive, as a good FPS should. They each have a certain ability to pull the player through them. They really are setup so that if you play smart itís really easy to cover your ass when in a pinch, ducking for cover, then popping out to take a few shots, or even shuffling around, dodging multiple charging enemies.

With levels as big as the ones here itís nice to know that they look good. Thereís a reasonable amount of detail with the all-important spiffy lighting effects, mist, and other such ambience setting pleasures. The character design is also a nice change of pace. Thereís an interesting mix of headless beasts in your way (damn, no head shots) as well as some more beastly creations to be fighting as you work your way through the game. They look good and quite different for the most part. On the audio side of things the game is handled equally as well with some wonderfully thumpy/ratt-a-tat-tatty gunfire effects, beastly roars, and Duke Nukem-esque expressions by Sam. Music is a little on the plain side, but it is good enough to fill any aural voids that could have otherwise popped up.

This whole swing back to a single player blast fest in Serious Sam is a nice change of pace from the online deathmatching/capture the flag/team based/squad based stuff weíve seen for the last year or two. Just firing this beast up, and blasting some bad guys without a care in the world feels very refreshing.

- Mr. Nash

 

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