Serious Sam HD is the kind of game that some people are starting to miss after a lengthy hiatus. The shooter genre has moved away from the fast paced fragging seen in games like Quake and into more realistic territory. However, the folks at Croteam realized that occasional we just want to have enemies thrown at us while we wield a big gun, so they came up with Serious Sam HD.
Now technically, this game is nothing new. At it’s core, it is just a remake of Serious Sam: The First Encounter that came out in 2001. No new weapons, no new enemies and no new maps. However, this isn’t such a bad thing. The original Serious Sam’s were great, and this is simply Croteam’s way of demonstrating the Serious 3 Engine before they bring out Serious Sam 3. All the fast paced, hard shooting, gory action that you have come to know and love is back again, in glorious High Def’.
The story in Serious Sam is not it’s strong point. There is a vague idea of you having to gather up some crystals in order to activate something that opens something else which in turn saves the world, and there are even a few cutscenes. However, the plot is nothing more than a threadbare pantomime to break up the exhaustingly fast action.
When we come to gameplay, however, Serious Sam really shines. Forget everything you ever learnt about taking cover and popping out for a few shots. This game is all about throwing hundreds of enemies at you at once, while you take them on in huge open arenas or claustrophobic caverns. It’s also worth noting that the enemies in Serious Sam have no notions of self-preservation. Their only goal is to kill you, or injure you. If they are killed, but manage to get your health down to 25, then they are happy. Better yet, there are a huge variety of enemies in the game. You start off fighting weak enemies shooting strange flares at you. These guys can be killed with a few slugs from your revolver. Then you move up to cyclopses. Then wierd decapitated soldiers with bombs for hands. Then skeletal dogs, then scorpions armed with miniguns, then huge robots shooting heat seeking missiles…. You get the idea. All these enemies help to keep the game fresh.
Of course, the game would be no fun if you didn’t have an arsenal with which to dispatch these uglies with. There are pistols, shotguns, SMG’s, rocket launchers, miniguns and more. And you had better use them. Because although the game might start off a little easy, it quickly becomes devilishly difficult. Hundreds of huge enemies. Few healthpacks. Even on the normal setting, prepare to get your ass handed to you a good few times during the whole playthrough, which takes a little under 12 hours.
Now, of course when a game is called ‘XXX- HD’ you expect good visuals. And here Serious Sam HD delivers. It’s no Crysis, but a high level of detail on both weapons and enemies helps to make up for some muddy textures on the enviroment.
There is also a decent multiplayer component to Serious Sam, which should provide some longeveity to an already fairly long game. I can’t deny it- 16 player co-op is a heck of a lot of fun. However, even if only playing with a couple of other friends, regardless of difficulty, the game soon turns into a cakewalk. Any group of seasoned FPS players will be able to blast through the campaign, as combined arms and some extra eyes and ears really do make the game quite easy.
On the whole though, Serious Sam is a great game. Most people who did play the original have probably lost it in the bottom of a drawer now, so this makes for a good reason to pick it up again. The remastered graphics are really nice on the eyes, and is a good sign of things to come. The online multiplayer can get a little bit easy, but overall if you are missing some old school shooter action, you should pick up Serious Sam HD.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Old school shooter action, wacky enemies, cool weapons, huge enviroments, great visuals, 16 player co-op, fairly cheap
Nothing new or different from the original First Encounter aside from visuals, AI is a joke, can be very easy co-operatively, some annoying bugs
Had your fill of tactical shooters? Tired of having to take cover, and use accurate burst fire? Serious Sam is for you.