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Playstation 2



First Person Shooter



Global Star






Mature (M)



Q2 2004



- Good variation of enemies

- Cheaper than most new games

- Lots of characters to choose from (both single player and multiplayer)

- Rare moments of fun

- Aiming system is forgiving



- Repetitive and boring single player

- Online community is extremely small

- Graphics are bland

- Lame and repetitive character voices

- Some frame rate problems in the coop play



Review: Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox)

Review: Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC)

Review: Vietcong (PC)



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Serious Sam: Next Encounter

Score: 5.8/10


Serious Sam is a first person shooter series that has never set the bar for game play or graphics or offered anything innovative. However, Serious Sam sticks to the basics, providing an action filled game similar to the likes of Doom and Quake. Unfortunately the lack of innovation and repetitive game play hurt Serious Sam Next Encounter (SSNE).


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SSNE is split into two parts consisting of a single player and multiplayer mode. The single player mode spans across forty or so missions, with the missions seeing you battle villains in Europe and Asia. For those who havenít played any of the previous games, SSNE is an arcade style first person shooter that basically focuses on destroying anything that moves in the environment.


In all the levels certain sections will be closed off until you defeat all the enemies within a certain area. Once youíve cleared an area, a door (usually marked with an X) will lead you to another part of the level where youíll have to do the same thing. SSNE is extremely repetitive as the objectives really donít change a whole lot from level to level. Youíre usually required to infiltrate a level and find a medallion or some lost artifact and hold your own against an onslaught of enemies who are bent on taking you down. Youíll probably get bored of the single player game after the third mission, but if youíre really ambitious about playing through the entire game, then it should take you about a dozen or so hours.





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There is a fairly big arsenal of weapons to choose from. Everything from shotguns to rocket launchers is usable in all the game modes. The aiming system is pretty forgiving as most of the time your cursor doesnít need to be aimed directly on the enemies to get a direct kill. Itís actually a good thing that the aiming system is forgiving because youíll face simultaneous enemy attacks from all directions during the single player game.


The game play itself is fairly linear as blasting your way through each 


level is the only way to succeed. However, the game does provide a nice variation of enemies youíll face off against. Some of the enemies will be land based while others will be air based. There are some minor changes during the single player mode as there is a change of pace from indoor to outdoor environments. Youíll occasionally take the driverís seat in a few vehicles as well. The vehicles include a military humvee, submarine and a combine. The vehicles do provide a nice sigh of relief from the repetitive on-foot action, but the vehicles arenít used as much as they should be.


There are five game types in the multiplayer mode: cooperative play (2 players), deathmatch, pass the bomb, online play and hold the flag. Pass the bomb is the only interesting offline and online multiplayer mode. In pass the bomb, one player begins with the bomb and must pass it on to the other players by killing them. There is a timer on the bomb and the winner is decided by the person who was blown up the least number of times. SSNE also includes a fairly simple eight player online mode. The speed of the game play in the online mode is much quicker than the single player mode. The online play does take some time to get adjusted to, but it does prove to be fun to say the least. The only problem with the online play is the lack of community support. There are very few active servers and at times you wonít find anybody online.


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The visuals are extremely simple as the entire game looks bland and could be mistaken for a PSone game. One big surprise is how poorly the performance of the frame rate is at times during the coop play. There were times when the game would almost stop all together because of all the on-screen action.


Sound plays an important part of the single player experience. The games HUD (heads up display) doesnít feature a compass or map, so youíll have to listen carefully to enemy sounds to determine what direction they are coming from. The developers also tried to incorporate some humor into the game by making your character make sarcastic or humorous remarks at different times during the game. Unfortunately the remarks are lame and the voice acting is pretty corny.


SSNE certainly doesnít do anything special to distinguish itself from other shooters on the market. Serious Sam fans might be intrigued by this game, but other first person shooter fans should check out games likes Time Splitters 2 or Red Faction. SSNE is just another first person shooter that canít be taken all that seriously


- Siddharth Masand

(May 14, 2004)

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