Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Serious Sam II

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Serious Sam II is Croteam’s biggest project, released after four-years of little activity. Following Serious Sam: The First Encounter and its semi-sequel Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, which were first released in 2001, and 2002 respectively to a large amount of anticipation, generated by the hope of a slight change within the standard First Person genre, and damn did they get it! Later Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation2 conversions individualised the player’s experience of Serious Sam further; with each being treated to their own vision of the series. Thoughts on the first game differed. A little crazy, is the phrase many people liked to use, manic is another; some just went for absolutely brilliant madness, but in every case the overall description of the first Serious Sam is the same as ours which edged more towards the, “total nonsense all-out-mash-‘em-up” side, which is a slightly more relative view on the game as there isn’t another way that sums up how nutty this game can really be.

Serious Sam II is just as mad. The content of the standard First Person Shooter is all included; lots of guns, enemies to shoot with them and areas to run around shooting all the enemies with all of the Electronic Theatre Imageguns. But apart from the sheer basic structure, Serious Sam II seems to be oblivious to the progression made within the genre within the last five years – or maybe even longer, resulting in a game that survives on sheer wit alone and with Sam “Serious” Stone, as the main character likes to be known, truly excels in that area. He is the a-typical square-jawed American beef-head stereotype, following in the footsteps of the likes of Duke Nukem. He knows nothing more than run, and shoot stuff, preferably if it moves! Luckily if he ever gets stuck – on something like a locked door for instance – he has his handy Narcessa to hand, or rather to mind, as it’s a small device implanted into Sam’s brain, to inform him that a key may well be required to get through that door, she – yes it has been programmed with a female personality – also doubles as a HUD unit, providing visual data on your health, Electronic Theatre Imagearmour, ammunition and other useful stuff like that, Narcessa can also do helpful things like providing you with a targeting aid, which kind of compensates for the lack of a Mouse, and provides, as said before, useful hints and tips, and rather sarcastic comments, as you go through the game.

Be nice to her though, she’s the only friend you have out of the 30 or so other character models on screen that are constantly trying to split you two apart! Yes, there are many, many enemies to fight at any one time in this game. They generally come in waves, air dropped around you or crawling out of every crevice and cranny, or if you’re lucky both. The humongous variety of enemies available really helps the game pull this off well. There’s little fast ones, medium powerful ones, medium fast ones, big powerful ones, big powerful and fast ones, huge ones, monstrous ones and many varying shapes and sizes in between. Various air units, tower units and artillery placements litter the arenas if you get bored of the basic run-n’-gun technique. Starting to sound a little daunting? Well Croteam thought of this too and gave you a huge array of weaponry with which to play with.

Electronic Theatre ImageThe weapons in Serious Sam II follow the same format as the rest of the game: they take the basics of what makes the First Person Shooter and exaggerates it to the extreme. Take for example the humble shotgun, the requisite weapon of any First Person game, which has – at times – been made a bit too powerful for the rest of the game. Well, in Serious Sam II it kills everything smaller than a tank in one shot, blasting larger enemies back over the top of the next wave of enemies coming for you. You’d think that having a gun that powerful would make the game a bit too simple, but alas in their infinite wisdom Croteam have thought of this too; you have to reload the shotgun and even when you take out four of ‘em at the same time, there’s still another twenty odd running towards you, at pace! This is where the mini-gun comes into play, the mini-gun doesn’t need reloading and just streams through its bullets, strewing down the enemy as they come towards you, it’s not very good with the big guy’s though, but at this point you can just change to one of the other fifteen weapons available – including some so enjoyable they have to be played to be believed.

The story though-out the game is totally engrossing yet totally ridiculous; some of the funniestElectronic Theatre Image things I have seen within a game have happened in this one. You follow Sam’s story of universe saving through many different types of worlds, woodland, dessert, lava and other similar stuff, trying to, well, save the universe. Along the way you meet many small friendly people, that you can make friends with, then, if you like, use them as a small diversion for the enemies’ attacks while you get some ammo. The ultimate aim being to find guy named Mental – some big evil guy, intent on destroying the human race, and few others – and kill him, thus saving the universe et al. Rather simple story, but then it’s the shooting bits in between that really make the game anyway.

The Multi-Player on this game is done through System Link or XboxLIVE! Mode on the game. These take you and up to four other people through a set of arena’s taken from the Single-Player game Electronic Theatre Imageand lets you all team up to shoot the enemies that pour from all sides. Operating in the Co-operative Mode is great lots of fun, but I am a little disappointed that there weren’t any other Multi-Player options available.

Everything in this game based on a parody of the First Person Shooter genre, and it’s done really well. The graphics are slick and polished far above what is expected nowadays and a stunning improvement on the first Serious Sam attempt. The explosions look brilliant and the sound just adds a proper kick to all the action. The only disappointment in it all is the Multi-Player that takes some re-play value out of the game, but I feel the Single-Player is worth looking at all by it’s self, with all the levels being re-playable individually and five difficulty settings to choose from. I’m sure that once you play it through once you will find reason enough to play through it again, and maybe again, and maybe in five years time when you’ve forgotten its existence you’ll find it in an old pile, smile, dust off the old Xbox and sit and play just one more time. Electronic Theatre Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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