Making its console debut after a successful outing on PC, Serious Sam Double D XXL is not the videogame you may be expecting. Prior to the launch of Serious Sam 3: BFE on PC, Devolver Digital had hired three independent studios to expand the franchise with new ideas. Mommy’s Best Games’ attempt to reassign the Serious Sam experience to a completely new genre was considered an almost complete success on PC, and comes to the Xbox LIVE Arcade on good form.
Serious Sam Double D XXL is the exact kind of senseless, nonsense shooting experience you’d expect from the Serious Sam videogame franchise. With it’s tongue wedged firmly in it’s check the videogame sends the brainlessly heroic Sam ‘Serious’ Stone into battle against thousands of enemies armed only with a gun or six. Taking the fight to the enemy is a prerequisite, not a tactic, and being both outnumbered and outgunned is a constant state of affairs.
Somewhat easing that burden is the opportunity to play co-operatively with a friend, though oddly this option is restricted to offline play only. Serious Sam Double D XXL is more enjoyable as a multiplayer experience (though it is advised that the basics of movement and enemy weakpoints are learnt in single-player first) though there are undoubtedly some odd design decisions in place. The most notable is the shared assets: all items aside from health and armour are shard between players, such as ammo and cash, but also your gunstacks are designed by both players out of the same limited pool of guns and arms.
As players progress through Serious Sam Double D XXL they will discover new weapons to use against the enemy forces. These weapons can be customised with special functions bought from the trader who pops up regularly, presenting an armoury full of customised (and occasionally comedy) weapons. Furthermore, by collecting gunstacker arms players can combine two weapons for dual effect. In fact, given enough arms and weapons there’s the opportunity to combine up to six weapons in a single stack, and there’s no limitations on which weapons can be included. Any combination of weapons and effect will work perfectly fine; it it’s in your inventory, it can be stacked.
Of course, with or without these co-operative limitations in place there’s no guarantee you’re going to survive. With a second player on-screen you are able to revive one another: upon death the player that remains alive must find their buddy and activate the process, a series of orbs that shoot from the deceased and must be collected or shot to allow the dead player to return. However this isn’t simply a magic win button; the returning player only holds a small amount of health.
Serious Sam Double D XXL feature some fantastic level design throughout, keenly pushing the player towards aggressive tactics at every possible opportunity, the levels perfectly accommodate the weapon and enemy types present. But Serious Sam Double D XXL doesn’t stop there. There’s more variety then the madcap gunplay might suggest however, while high speed skateboard levels and rides upon a dinosaur’s back are perfectly placed distractions.
An odd proposition, Serious Sam Double D XXL is a brilliantly enjoyable single-player experience that becomes more fun in multiplayer, but less of an enjoyable campaign experience due to its limitations. Thus it’s the Challenge mode where most players will probably spend their two-player time, working together to achieve a target amount of kills in a short period of time in a specifically designed arena. It’s difficult to suggest that Serious Sam Double D XXL is as comfortable on consoles as it was in it’s original PC release – a factor that has very much surprised Electronic Theatre – but nonetheless it provides an entertaining few evenings of knocking seven shades of robotic remote controls out of dinosaurs.