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Product: Serious Sam
Company: Croteam
Website: http://www.xbox.com
Estimated Street Price: $19.95/29.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

Serious Sam casts you as Sam "Serious" Stone a legend in his time, due to his extreme bravery in battle. As attempts to defend the solar system fail the planet Earth is coming under direct attack, and humankind stares into the face of its own annihilation. World leaders turn to their only hope, an ancient artifact called the "Time-Lock" that can teleport a single person back in time. The choice of whom to send is obvious: you are the only hope for humankind. Return the past and change it by exterminating the evil forces determined to end humanity.

  • All of the levels of the first PC game and the sequel packed into one 36 level adventure in 5 different episodes.
  • Hack, Blast, and Annihilate over 100 creatures at a time that attack simultaneously from air, land, and water.
  • Amazingly innovative stages taking place in wide-open desert settings. With graphics so crisp and clear you'll almost feel the sand in your boots and the sun in your eyes.
  • Get deadly serious through insane power-ups, Invulnerability, Invisibility, Serious Damage and Serious Speed.  There's nothing you can't handle while jacked on these.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"The Xbox version of Serious Sam also has the addition of cutscenes that were not in the PC version, these are rendered and help flow the "Story" on and add a few more laughs into the game as well."

For those of you who may not have seen or played Serious Sam on the PC, let me give you a bit of background into the character and the game itself. If you can think back to the good old days of Doom when there used to be loads and loads of enemies attacking you all at once, well this is the kind of game you are going to get here. Constant barrages of very imaginative creatures going after poor old Sam.

The Xbox version of Serious Sam comes with both Serious Sam versions one and two combined. So there are a heck of a lot of levels for you all to play through (over 30 in all). Serious Sam is all about pure fun, it doesn't try to take itself seriously either, despite it's title...The first group of levels in Serious Sam are based in Egypt. You come across all kinds of nasties from guys with bombs on their hands and heads to dog like skeletons who charge after you. The second main area is Babylon and medieval Europe

The game gradually introduces you to more and more creatures in the levels, the further you get into them the harder they become. To say that the game is fast paced would be a bit of an understatement as there are so many enemies coming at you all at once it is hard to keep up! As is becoming standard in First Person Shooters on the consoles, the game comes with an auto-aim feature, which makes it far easier to kill people and although Serious Sam isn't supposed to be Halo, it does make things perhaps a bit too easy to kill.

Serious Sam didn't ship with Xbox Live! support which is the biggest let down here as Serious Sam on the PC has some very good multiplayer code. But there is the regular split screen and system link action to be had via multiplayer in Serious Sam. System link mode supports up to 8 players across four Xbox consoles and it can be great fun, System link works very well indeed. The split screen mode isn't as good, but then again I wouldn't have expected it to be when 4 people are crammed around the TV squinting to see each player. There are two different modes for multiplayer gaming, Cooperative and Deathmatch. Deathmatch being the most fun, while playing multiplayer in Cooperative mode is pretty good too.

Graphics & Sound

Review Quotes
"If you can think back to the good old days of Doom when there used to be loads and loads of enemies attacking you all at once, well this is the kind of game you are going to get here. Constant barrages of very imaginative creatures going after poor old Sam."

Graphically Serious Sam is surprisingly good. The textures used in the game have come across well to our TV screens from the Pc version, they look great from a distance and pretty good even when close up. The main thing that Serious Sam does really well is to have a massive number of enemies on the screen at one time, upwards of 10 creatures can be coming at you all at once and there is never any slow down at all.

The Xbox version of Serious Sam also has the addition of cutscenes that were not in the PC version, these are rendered and help flow the "Story" on and add a few more laughs into the game as well. Another impressive part of Serious Sam are the effects, there are some great lighting effects used some which reflect water ripples onto walls and the size of the levels are massive, and unlike some First Person Shooters not only do they feel large, they are large and this adds to the game thanks to the massive amounts of enemies thrown at you all the time as it gives you a large arena in which to take them down.

The sound isn't anything fantastic but it is entertaining in a Duke Nukem kind of way (Except Sam doesn't rip off the Evil Dead). There are suitable weapon sounds and some of the creatures you come up against have some really great sound effects, especially the screaming kamikaze bombers who run after you. Nothing great, but nothing bad here either.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 90%
Gameplay: 90%
Presentation: 82%
Graphics: 83%
Multiplayer: 86%
Sound: 82%
Manual: 89%
Interface: 85%
Price/Value: 80%
Overall: 87%

While Serious Sam isn't a budget title like it was on the PC (Well in the U.S anyway) it does have both Serious Sam and Serious Sam: Second Encounter in one here in the Xbox version. The game is great fun there is no doubt about that. The multiplayer side is great too although it misses out on being superb due to the lack of Xbox Live! support, but then again they may have had to wait ages to get it in. If you want some relentless action without having to worry about much else, Serious Sam is for you!

Specs & Package
Overall Score 87%
Version Reviewed Serious Sam (NTSC)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Serious Sam DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Good graphics
Pure fun
Cool multiplayer characters
The Bad Points No Live! Support
Xbox Live! Enabled? No
Widescreen Support No
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Yes


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