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XBox Reviews: Serious Sam


Serious Sam Screenshots

The Final Say!

Serious Sam
 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 10 February 2003
Review Score: 9.8/10 
Distributed By:
Take 2 Interactive

This game freakin' rules!'

Now that we've got that out of the way  I am amazed that you have not already dashed out and bought this fabulous game! Not since old school days of the twitch shooter (Wolfenstein/Doom etc), has such a game arrived that is an absolute treat to play. 

Serious Sam Features

  • Players 1-4
  • In-game Dolby Digital
  • System Link 1-X
  • Genre: First Person Shooter

Wanna Really Get Serious? Now Available: Serious Sam Official Strategy Guide



You play the part of 'Serious' Sam Stone who has travelled through time and space to see if he can't undo the evil machinations of Mental, a pseudo god type figure who has been stuffing around with the galaxy and various creatures from different parts of the universe.


For all the purists out there who are already gagging at the score I gave this game, I challenge any true fan of the first person shooter to tell me where this title fails. I will get the only two bugbears out of the way and then get on with the praise.


No rumble in the controller, why? Unless I just didn't figure it out, I could not get any rumble out of the controller which would have been great for letting me know when I was getting shot from behind. I could understand if it wasn't included for a health and safety related issue, as this game is so addictive there's no way you'll put it down and the action and shooting so continuous that the rumble would be going off almost all the time.


Now to the next problem. Very occasionally the frame rate drops a little bit, however it is hardly noticeable. This causes the graphics on the sides of the screen to judder slightly. I did find that although this occurred that it never detracted from my enjoyment of the game and did not seem to happen when a fracas had started. Considering there are battles with hundreds of enemies onscreen all at once firing at you, this is an accomplishment that others should stand up and take notice of.



For those not in the know, Serious Sam and Serious Sam 2 have been on the PC platform for a number of years now and it was on the PC that I first fell in love with the title. The focus of the game is fun and this it delivers in spades. Not only that but the developers Croteam managed to get a gorgeous looking game that would run on lower end systems (at that time) as well as the latest and greatest. On XBox we are all on a level playing field however console gamers come out trumps as both Serious Sam and Serious Sam: The Second Encounter are on this disc as the one complete adventure.

It's possible to detect where the game shifts from number one to part two as the the second instalment featured a few puzzle elements to keep punters guessing on how to progress. Don't worry, it's not enough to really test the grey matter and at the same time not enough to slow the progress of this fast paced game.

The title is set in Egypt and the various textures will be enough to drive you crazy with how good this game looks to play and the level of detail used throughout the game. Another amazing thing about this game is that a fair amount of it actually takes place in outdoor locations and I am not talking about small pent up areas either. There are huge expanses of land that must be traversed and the game handles it all with ease all the time creating more fodder for your canon.

The AI is not clever, nor is it intended to be. These guys won't duck and dodge or try to get out of the way. They will charge straight at you with both guns blazing in the hopes that the sheer number of them  along will be enough to bring you down. And quite often that will be enough to put you down for the count. However unlike the PC versions, you can get new lives and there are predetermined save points that arrive in the form of telephone boxes that you activate by hitting the use button.

The audio in the game is also sensational with Dolby Digital support throughout the game. Everything has been given a nice scrub for the arrival on XBox and it certainly shows. The amount of thought that has been put into everything, even the menu screens are lively and animated. For those who would be upset by the amount of blood that is going to be shed, there is a 'hippie' option that allows flowers to fly through the air as opposed to gushing claret. It's a really nice effect and quite psychodelic. Give it a try even once to see what I mean.

Multiplayer is a strong point in the game offering the chance to smack down your mates or to team up for some serious coop goodness. Even during the coop and deathmatch split screen modes, no one complained about the quality of their visuals or slowdown which further credits how much fun this game is for everyone. The game itself has 30 odd levels that by themselves take some time to complete, however add to that a genuinely fun multiplayer and Serious Sam should be in your machines for quite some time.

By now it should be an easy enough affair to see that I fully recommend this game to all fans of first person shooters and all fans of fun itself! Go get Serious Sam today, it's a game purchase that won't be regretted. For those wishing to experience the game in it's entirety, grab the strategy guide pictured in the game's features box. It makes a brilliant game complete!

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com