433rd played so far


Genre: First-Person Shooter
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: Croteam
Publisher: Gathering of Developers/Gotham Games

Time to play a few first-person shooters! We’ve been falling behind a bit and it’s time we play some more. It’s odd that we are – we generally find them enjoy (even if not always our first choice of game), so it’s mostly just because other games distracted us.

I sort-of experienced Serious Sam some time ago, recommended by some friends. It was good fun then, but it didn’t make as much of a lasting impression. Now, however, I get to play it again – see what was so good about the game, exactly.

Our Thoughts

As an FPS, Serious Sam seems to hit a lot of familiar notes – run around a world, fight off enemies and do some mild exploration to find some secrets to make fighting a tad easier. It’s pretty good at doing that and is very entertaining.

One thing it seems to be more than most are hordes. Large groups of enemies storm you from time to time – weak ones you kill with a hit or two – forcing complete chaos for a bit. As some enemies explode when they die, you can get good domino effects going that make them easier, but can kill you if it happens too nearby. It feels a lot more dynamic than other games, where it seems like enemies are just waiting for you – through some clever scripting you really feel like the world is moving around you.

That shows beyond these waves of attack as well. In an early level, you end up in front of a closed door. While you stand there, some flunkies run past as a boulder chases them and a bit of the Indiana Jones theme plays. It’s a nice reference that indicates how the game generally treats its world.

The story has this too. The basics are played pretty straight, a time travel story where aliens invade during the time the Egyptian pyramids were built, but the surroundings have the lighter touches. Your character is mostly the source of this – the superior fighter who has seen it all – quipping throughout – while mission briefings and logs are more serious. It’s a bit of an odd mix, but mostly creates the atmosphere, saying “We know it’s ridiculous, but it makes for interesting surroundings.”

It is as well, being set (for the first chapter) in Egyptian temples. There’s a bit of texture repetition – some corridors can look alike – but mostly the architecture is interesting enough and allows for some nice set pieces, with statues and special rooms around to complement your fighting.

Final Thoughts

Serious Sam is a well-made game. The scripts and levels seem pretty well worked out with some very good level design. It’s entertaining in places, but without hitting you over the head with it, and the serious sides make for an interesting story that help give a reason to move forward.

The designs of monsters and levels fit well, a mix of Egyptian and alien weirdness. Just loads of fun.

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