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First Person Shooters (Games)

Review: Serious Sam II 183

The genre of the first person shooter was born with simple elements in mind: shoot, strafe, win. Since then it has moved on to loftier frontiers, better stories, bigger things. Despite this it's an lot of fun to go back to the basics once in a while. 2001's Serious Sam was the kind of mindless fun that a PC gamer needs every once in a while. No long cut-scenes, no intricate plot, just the opportunity to turn some harpies into feathered confetti. The sequel, Serious Sam II, has a lot of potential but manages to miss out on the essentials that made Croteam's first encounter a success. Read on for my impressions of Serious Sam II.
  • Title: Serious Sam II
  • Developer: Croteam
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • System: PC (Xbox)
  • Reviewer: Zonk
  • Score: 5/10

On loading Serious Sam II, a group of strange coloured midgets look on at footage of the original game and wax philosophical that Sam may indeed be ... 'The One'. The rest of the game goes downhill from there. In the original cutscene, though, the plot goes on to babble some nonsense about a magical amulet that's split into sections and entrusted with different civilizations. The story in SamII has you moving from place to places assisting these little guys against the ravening hordes of evil. After you beat the boss of one area, you get a piece of the amulet and can move on.

The problem comes with everything between coming to a new area and moving on. I'll get to that in a moment, though. I'd like to paint an overall picture first. Gameplay is very much like that of the original title. The title sports pure FPS-standard controls. You use the controls to aim a bevy of weapons at oncoming hordes of enemies. Where Half-Life 2 places enemies intelligently and Doom 3 had them leaping at you from the shadows, SamII throws wave after wave of unintelligent monsters in your direction, daring you to take your eyes off the prize for even a moment. The fun factor of the original Sam, at least with this facet of gameplay, is still sound. Having to deal with over a dozen critters moving in your direction at once is both intimidating and amusing. Death doesn't hold much fear, as you have multiple lives and can respawn if you do end up meeting the grim reaper. Tossing death back at your foes is accomplished with a dizzying array of weaponry, from the standard rocket launcher to a paired set of submachine guns all the way to a parrot-bomb. Each weapon, besides having an amusement factor, is capable of taking out different types of enemies. Enemy types are varied, and in addition to keeping you on your feet make you think a bit as well.

Besides running and gunning, there are some vehicles sequences as well. You'll have the option of piloting a hoverbike, a jet fighter, and a dinosaur over the course of the game. The Boss fights themselves are also a nice change of pace from the normal scenarios. As fast as you have to think with multiple incoming, you almost have to think faster while holding down your fire button to continuously fire at one creature. Aside from huge Boss fights to break up the game itself, there are mini-boss fights throughout the game. Though there isn't necessarily one each chapter there are enough of them to give a small sense of satisfaction as you make progress towards the end of the game.

The real problem is that, while all of this sounds good on paper ... it just doesn't work on-screen. The weapons are unfun rehashes of similar weapons from other titles. There's a curious lack of satisfaction to using them. How they managed to make an auto-shotgun unsatisfying to use is a trick, but there just doesn't seem to be much weight to the action. Unlike the previous title, which saw you mowing down enemies in great sheets of blood and gore, SamII feels more like a trip to a carnival. Popping enemy-shaped balloons with darts just doesn't have the same feel. The controls, despite being standards throughout the genre, manage to feel cumbersome and unwieldy in this setting. Whether I was firing a rocket launcher or a sniper rifle, I always managed to feel as though my opponents had a better grasp of the whole 'pointing the mouse' thing.

These frustrations could have been overcome, though, if the sense of pace to the title was anything like that in the original game. Just as quickly as you tore through a mapful of enemies, you were off to another locale with more bloodthirsty hordes to slaughter. In SamII you do the incredibly fun activity of walking to your destination a great deal more than I would like. At some points there is even an MMORPG level of travel involved. While I guess I can understand wanting to show off your new graphics engine, it absolutely kills the game's pacing. To add insult to injury, several levels have cutscenes to fill us in on what exactly it is we're doing as we move through the game. In almost any other title, I'd be glad to listen to plot and learn more about my surroundings. This, though, was Serious Sam! While the scenes are skippable, whenever I made the mistake of sitting through one I regretted the decision. As laughable a plot as the amulet thing is, when I actually took the time to listen to a cutscene it was like watching a joke that no one had let the writers in on. The blue midgets talking to the gravel-voiced psychopath just went on and on, when all I wanted to be doing was squishing some evil with whatever came to hand.

Despite my frustrations with how it was put to use, the Serious engine is relatively pretty. It's not Source, Unreal, or Doom, but it stands well on it's feet as a modern FPS engine. The shiny saturated look of the original game has been mostly preserved, with the monsters not only looking creepy and weird but managing to do it with style as well. The audio environment is pretty much a wash. There isn't any music or orchestration worth mentioning, and the sound effects only managed to be good enough not to annoy. Some of the weight of the sound effects from the original game seems to have been lost, as well, leaving weapons fire somewhat hollow.

For whatever reason, SamII developer Croteam chose to fill in places that weren't lacking in the first game. By adding bulk to the design and essentially ignoring what made the original title fun, they've managed to drain the fun from what should have been a hard to screw up sequel. Even the return of the first game's co-op multiplayer mode isn't enough to overcome the game's lack of soul. Vehicles and traveling, cutscenes and an attempt at a plot ... sound like any other games you know? By trying to make their game into an emulator of more serious genre titles, Croteam diluted the essential fun-ness that the Serious Sam model had to offer. Serious Sam II is a frustrating, confused experience that made me lament the fact that you can never go home again. Even at just thirty dollars on the PC, I don't recommend this title to anyone but a desperate FPS junkie looking for a fix.
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Review: Serious Sam II

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  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:15PM (#13924968) Journal
    Serious Sam 2 had the misfortune to come out in the middle of a fairly bumper crop of big PC fpses. In particular, Quake 4 and F.E.A.R. really stand out.

    I picked up both Serious Sam 2 and Fear (I can't be arsed typing all the capitals and .s again) last weekend and I can tell you now that switching between sessions of the two games is a truly mind-bending experience. One moment you've got incredible amounts of cheese (and I think Zonk kind of misses the deliberate badness of SS2's cutscenes), then the next you've got brooding darkness and pants-wetting terror.

    Bouncing through a Fear map in a happy, bouncy Serious Sam 2 mood is to set yourself up for a serious scare - in my case, making a high volume "urk" noise and nearly falling off my chair - the first time you run merrily around a corner. Playing Serious Sam 2 in a state of nervous exhaustion, crouching in corners and freaking out at the sight of each enemy, on the other hand tends to... well... take quite a while.

    On a side note, I more or less agree with the review above, although it does seem a bit too harsh in places. The plot made me smile, with its complete and blatantly deliberate disregard for plausibility and sanity and the weapons seemed satisfying enough to me. Besides, the cutscenes are skippable and slamming a game for having cutscenes just seems a bit too "I'm l33ter than you because I think cutscenes in games suck and are not for REAL GAMERS". The vehicles do suck, though. Least entertaining fps vehicles ever.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Quake 4? Stand out?

      You must be joking.

      It's a rehash of a rehash of a rehash.

      They even managed to bless it with shitty multiplayer.
      • maybe a rehash of a rehash but its a beautiful to behold and i for one haven't had so much fun playing a FPS in ages. Gotta love FEAR, its a great game and Serious Sam 2 is notable for its co-op mode.
      • Quake 4? Stand out? It's a rehash of a rehash of a rehash.

        That's beside the point. Quake 4 has brand recognition, as well as an association with Doom 3 to carry it. Serious Sam, OTOH, was an underdog the first time, and will be an underdog this time as well.
      • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:40PM (#13925162) Journal
        Quake 4's a rehash, yes, but I don't think it's entirely without value.

        First of all, it manages to do a lot of stuff on the Doom 3 engine that I'd not seen there before. Now, I understand that Raven had to virtually re-write a lot of the engine, but the results are still damned impressive. Outdoors looks a bit sparse compared to Farcry, but it actually manages to *do* outdoor sequences without grinding to a halt, which is more than could be said for Doom 3. In fact, the game in general looks every bit as good as Doom 3 and yet, for some reason, runs significantly better on my far-from-stellar system (P4 3.4ghz, 1 gig RAM, Radeon x800).

        The gameplay isn't half bad either. Sure, it's essentially the same run-and-gun gameplay as Quake 2, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing - the play-style was fun then and it's still fun now. There's a good range of weapons and they're all satisfying to use. Plenty of enemy types and the game manages to keep throwing new ones at you until right near the end. Even a few creepy sections, although the game never really replicates the constant tension of Doom 3. It's not a genre-defining game, but it's still about as good a game as the PC can hope for these days.

        The multiplayer seems very Quake 3, which disappointed me a bit. I always loathed Quake 3 and thought it was a major blip in id's record. However, I'm sure the multiplayer scene will be graced with the usual assortment of mods that should extend the game significantly over time.

        HOWEVER, I do have one very major gripe with the game that lowers the score I would have given it from the 8 or so it should have deserved to about a 4 or so. Namely, the retarded copy-protection system prevented my DVD+RW drive (the only drive in my gaming desktop) from reading the disks at all. The "helpful" customer service guy explained that this was a "known" issue with my brand of drive... no fix in sight. Eventually, I worked out I could install the game over the network by sharing my laptop's DVD drive, and then downloading and installing a crack. Hardly ideal.

        I hate games piracy. Really, I do. I know a few people who work in the industry (although I wouldn't work there myself if you put a gun to my head) and outside of a few of the biggest studios, profit margins on PC games are pretty minimal in most cases. Games piracy digs into this already slim margin and, for once, the hype about it costing jobs seems pretty justifiable (unlike in the music industry, for example). Until the advent of these retarded copy protection systems, I'd never used a warez site or a peer to peer network to find a game or a crack for one. Sadly, even though I still purchase all my games legally, I'm now intimately acquainted with both. And I'd be lying if I said that the temptation to go further wasn't there now.
        • "far from stellar system"?

          Half Life 2 runs like a dream on my Athlon 1200, 768MB RAM and GeForce 4 ti4800 card. The Doom 3 engine is a pig in a wig.

          • Half Life 2 runs like a dream on my Athlon 1200, 768MB RAM and GeForce 4 ti4800 card. The Doom 3 engine is a pig in a wig.

            Probably because the artwork behind Half-Life 2 is of such a high quality that it doesn't lean on the engine too much - I was really surprised how nice things looked when testing it with different DirectX capability settings [valvesoftware.com].

            Source is, in some ways, a very old-fashioned engines. That's probably what makes it so great, in that it takes stuff which worked well in the past and extends it to
    • by Tet ( 2721 ) <slashdot@astradynYEATSe.co.uk minus poet> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:20PM (#13925001) Homepage Journal
      I more or less agree with the review above, although it does seem a bit too harsh in places.

      Agreed. I installed a Windwos partition on my machine for the first time in 3 years or so specifically so I could play SS2. I was a bit disappointed, in that it seems a bit watered down. The violence is a bit more cartoon like than before, and there's less of a feeling of utter terror as you're overwhelmed by hordes of enemies. But that said, I still enjoy the game, and felt the review was overly harsh. I'd have given it an 8/10 (as opposed to the original which gets an 11).

    • by ucahg ( 898110 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:45PM (#13925189)
      len("Fear (I can't be arsed typing all the capitals and .s again)") = 61
      len("F.E.A.R.") = 8

      61 > 8

      Whatever you say.
    • "(and I think Zonk kind of misses the deliberate badness of SS2's cutscenes)"

      "Posted by Zonk on Tuesday November 01, @01:13PM
      from the too-serious-for-its-own-good dept."

      Irony at its best.
    • The only thing that makes Quake 4 stand out is it's title. The rest is pretty mediocre. I totally agree with the eurogamer review [eurogamer.net] on that.
    • Serious Sam 2 had the misfortune to come out in the middle of a fairly bumper crop of big PC fpses. In particular, Quake 4 and F.E.A.R. really stand out.

      Wow, talk about a confusing name change. First Serious Sam: The First Encounter, then Serious Sam: The Second Encounter. Now Serious Sam II. Shouldn't this be III? I got burned out on the "more of the same" exercise in Sam II. Fun, well done, well storied, but ultimately looking for more than what was there and getting tired of trying to dance my way thro

    • Well, I think Zonk is being harsh on Sam 2. Some of problems in Sam 2 are holdovers from Sam 1 - like the useless shotguns. Sam's shotgun has always been the weak end of the weaponspread - it's what you use when you're out of machinegun ammo. The super-shotgun is what you use when you're out of chaingun ammo and there are guys at point-blank range. I don't know why the developers chose to make the standard shotgun graphically into an autoshotgun without changing it's r.o.f., but it was a bad idea.

      A prob
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:15PM (#13924970)
    Sorry, I quit FPSs when they started to want me to jump from place to place. I guess I've been tuned out since 1995.
    • Yeah, that's my biggest gripe with games like UT2004 - when I play people who are really good at it, all they do is jump around and shoot at you. It's annoying as hell since I don't like to jump around aimlessly and shoot. Somebody should make a UT clone and remove all jumping while shooting...
      • by affliction ( 242524 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:40PM (#13925160) Homepage
        Yeah jumping is not manly at all.

        They should stand there and take it, like real men.
        • Yeah, I'm not saying that :) I'm just saying that do it like real soldiers/killers/etc and hide behind something and shoot, or whatever. Just jumping around and shooting seems a bit unrealistic to me, which I guess goes with the territory in a game called "Unreal Tournament" I think. I'd just enjoy it more if it was more difficult to jump and shoot at the same time, but as other commentors have said, that's part of the fun I guess - learning a new skill with the speed factor.
          • Well then you should like the Tom Clancey line of games. I like the unrealistic element of play because I'm better at shooting accurately while jumping than most. In realistic games, I tend to die after about 10 seconds and then have to wait for the game to end before trying again. As long as there's some variety of games out there I'm happy.
            • I was just thinking about playing Ghost Recon on our LAN back in the day before I read your post. It was great, but there was one guy who always picked the SAW and cried when he got sniped. To be honest, it is sort of like rock-paper-scissors, except snipers usually beat medium and heavy weapons if they're worth their salt. But in my opinion, adjusting to and taking advantage of any aspect of a game is part of what makes it fun.
          • If you want realism, play America's Army. Fantastic game, with the most amazing level of realism I've ever seen.

            UT has nothing to do with realism.
      • Serious Sam 1 was, to me, a modern replacement for House of the Dead. The single player and deathmatch games were okay, but it really shone in co-operative. Have a few drinks with some friends, then play it on the hardest difficulty setting (with the blood set to flowers for the most amusement). The enemies are stupid and just run at you - the aim is to try to run out of ammunition before they overwhelm you, respawn, and keep firing. You then get a short puzzle-solving sequence before more random slaugh
      • I know what you're getting at, but in fairness there are hundreds of FPS' out there that are at the realistic end of the market. You can always play one of those if you'd rather be crawling on your belly just to get an accurate shot. ;)

        To me the main thing that makes UT and the like *fun* is that they're unrealistically fast, and that skill-wise they're not all just about aim. Learning and getting good at the movement (including jumping!) gives you an extra way to get better and better. Cunning movement tr
      • Aim rockets at their feet. Then, when they jump, they'll go way further than they thought, then you can frag them in their confusion.
  • by honeypotslash ( 927312 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:15PM (#13924971) Homepage
    More guns, bigger guns, more explostions, more monsters. And now vehicles! Along with no plot to get in your way of killing all the baddies!
  • by krgallagher ( 743575 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:20PM (#13924999) Homepage

    Shouln't they have called it "Son of Sam"?

  • Speaking of old FPSes, does anyone remember Catacombs, which was the first FPS I ever played (and the earliest published that I recall) It was shareware, published by softdisk, and featured a mage killing monsters in (initially) a graveyard IIRC... Was this the first FPS to be published, or was there another?
    • I think most people point to Wolfenstein as the first FPS.
      • While I don't recall which came first, I would imagine that The Catacomb Abyss was out first for two reasons:
        1. It was simpler - the default weapon was a fireball, and the only other weapons were a spread of three fireball, and an omnidirectional fireball pulse.
        2. It ran happily on my 8086 with 640KB of RAM and an EGA display, while Wolf3D had somewhat higher system requirements (a 386 seemed to be a good working minimum - Doom really needed a 486).
        • Hovertank 3D [idsoftware.com] by ID was the first 3D FPS on PC, according to ID software themselves. Both the Catacomb 3D [idsoftware.com](which came out before Wolf3D) and Wolfenstein 3D [idsoftware.com] engines evolved from the Hovertank 3D raycasting-engine. However, the game Darkside [ysrnry.co.uk] on C64 and other platforms came out in 1988, and allthough it could hardly be called fast-paced, it featured a first-person perspective and movement in a (in some ways more advanced than Wolf3D)3D world.
    • Re:Old FPSes (Score:3, Informative)

      I donut know what game you were playing, but Catacombs wasn't first person at all... it had a top down bird view:

      http://www.angelfire.com/games5/dosgames/cat1shot. jpg [angelfire.com]
      • Re:Old FPSes (Score:3, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) *
        He's referring to Catacomb 3D [wikipedia.org], presumably a sequel. Although a lot of people consider Ultima Underworld [abandonia.com] (1992) to be the first true FPS, even though Wolf3D was the first truely immersive one.
        • It would be kind of hard to call Ultima Underworld FPS...since the 'S' does stand for SHOOTER. Other then that, it might be one of the first (or the first) First Person game.
          • First person non-shooters are older than dirt. I remember playing text-only first person maze-exploration games. They probably pre-date the personal computer.

          • Other then that, it might be one of the first (or the first) First Person game.

            Not even close. Prior to that came:

            Plus, the myriad flight sims throughout the mid '80s, space games like Elite, and I'm sure many others.

        • Re:Old FPSes (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Ford Prefect ( 8777 )
          Here you go: Infestation [mobygames.com], released in 1990. Most definitely an FPS, was in true 3D, and seems to have been entirely forgotten since it wasn't for the PC but the Atari ST and Amiga instead.

          It's bastard difficult, though - I've only ever managed to survive thirty seconds or so. Apparently you can get inside and remove your helmet and wander round, so it's a proper indoors/outdoors FPS engine! ;-)

          I think I'm off to have another play...
          • Re:Old FPSes (Score:3, Informative)

            by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) *
            Flat shaded games don't generally count in the "Which one was first?" war. If you count them, then you can go all the way back to the 70's when the Atari came out.

            The reality is that the term "First Person Shooter" was created for Doom. It was then retroactively applied to Wolf3D as they are in the same linage. Everyone then forgot about the existance of Ultima Underworld, Catacombs 3D, and Hovertank. (Even though the latter two were Id products.)
    • Re:Old FPSes (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wasn't much of a FPS, but I think the first walkthrough 3D game was Dungeons of Daggorath for the TRS-80 Color Computer.

      Here's a link with screenshots:
      http://nitros9.stg.net/daggorath.html [stg.net]

    • Maze wars was the first fps i believe.
  • Cutscenes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fiver- ( 169605 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:24PM (#13925030)
    I agree about the cutscenes. This is Serious Sam, not Deux Ex. I don't care about the plot. I just want to shoot hundreds upon hundreds of monsters. It's frustrating because on one hand I don't want to sit through the rather lame cutscenes, I just want to get back to the action, but I'm also afraid that some vital plot point will be revealed in one of the cutscenes, so I'm hesitant to skip them. Stupid blue midgets, I don't care about your village.
  • Refreshing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ninjakoala ( 890584 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:25PM (#13925042)
    What I really like about Serious Sam is that it's sort of a mix of my still-favourite FPS games: Duke 3D and the two original DOOM games.

    It has Duke cheese written all over it - which is a good thing in my book - and is one of the most arcade-like first person shooters around.

    Personally I'm tired of the oh-so-realistic games and just want something that's crazy, exaggerated and comic-like. Oh, and fast. Serious Sam delivers. It's the Sonic of FPSes pretty much.

    There are lots of people this sort of game won't appeal to, but it's a fresh breath of air to me.
    • SSII should have gone for a gimmick like multi-monitor monsters where monsters have to fight through the monitors to get at your character. one gimmick is all they needed to put this game over the top. Oh well
    • Good point ninjakoala...I'm the same way. I play CS:S like 20 hours a week, so sometimes I like to fire Serious Sam up just for a humorous break. I think this game series probably appeals to two very narrow niches of players...total gaming newbs who just bought the game because it was 20.00 at EB, and hardcore gamers who need a laugh to go with our Mt. Dew every once in a while.
      : )
    • It's the Sonic of FPSes
      Funny, I had the same sense when playing the demo. The lighting, coloring, and music are all out of Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast.
  • I thought about the same as the reviewer after trying the demo, the carnival comparison is appropriate. Way to many stupid flying enemys to pop, no sense of fear or urgency. And the 2 cutscenes in the demo were awful, so I can only imagine it went downhill from there...
  • ... but you also need to keep in mind that the game costs 30Euros , that is 20 Euros LESS then normal games. Also the reviewer seems to totaly ignore the fact that you can play the game in Co-op mode , something that is incredibly fun and I only wish more developers added coop to their game. It's not an amazing game , but for 30Euros , you get more then what you paid for.
  • Weird Stuff (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arkiel ( 741871 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:37PM (#13925137) Journal
    I've played and beaten this game, and after reading this review, I have the following things to assert.
    1) The game's diverse set of locales is an improvement over the original. It is the next logical step up after The Second Encounter gave us vast plains, Mayan architecture, and snowy fields.
    The vast majority of levels in Serious Sam II have significant differences from one another. The first jungle episode being the weakest example.
    2) Croteam is about as funny as a dead family pet being found under the power-lines. Hire a writer. This wierd stuff may fly in Croatia, but the rest of the civilized (I'm guessing Europeans, Australians, Asian countries won't get it any more then this American did) world does not want to watch what could be gently referred to as retarded 70s British comedy.
    3) They took out localized gravity and portals. This was pretty much eye-candy in the first game, true, but damn-it-all, the gravity was FUN. The only reason they took it out of this game, I would think, is that they couldn't make it work in the new engine.
    4) *spoiler* No Mental, and he did the joke we all just knew he'd do (maybe it was done in SS:SE? Reeeal familiar, anyway).
    5) Underpowered weaponry, good way to describe it. I want a double-barreled shotgun that can take out a crowd, not just two at the most. That said, some of the weapons are fun to look at
    6) Boss battles are fun, but sometimes uneven. For instance: Second-to-last boss battle involves you running like hell from a marauding robot which has Mental inside. You run up and suddenly find yourself in a helicopter. Now, the controls are logical, but this is the first instance where you have piloted something that can actually move freely in three dimensions. That little moment of startling uncertainty is fun, and unique in the game. It is probably not such a bonus to people lulled into a shoot-reload malaise.
    7) The best FPS computer game featuring co-op play out this year. Also the only one.
    • #4: No Mental.
      #6: Robot with Mental inside.

      • Sorry sorry. You HEAR Mental, and you see it's little escape craft. You don't see the creature itself. The fact that Mental is inside the robot is not evident until the game is finished.
    • This wierd stuff may fly in Croatia, but the rest of the civilized (I'm guessing Europeans, Australians, Asian countries won't get it any more then this American did) world...

      Ummm... You do realize that Croatia is actually smack in the middle of Europe? Furthermore, Croatia was civilised 100s of years before US of A even came to be.

      But, hey, being American, you probably did not.
  • maybe I'm wrong... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rogabean ( 741411 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @02:46PM (#13925198)
    But wasn't there a sequel to Serious Sam 1 the very next year after it was released called Serious Sam: The Second Encounter? I remember playing the hell out of that one. So why is this one called Serious Sam 2? Yep IMDB shows it was released in 2002.
  • I think one of the main problems with this game was that it was clearly developed for a console. The lo-res cut-scenes and horrific user interface just scream "console controller". Cro-team simply forgot where they got their start, and showed absolutely no love to PC owners (other than an extra boss at the end of the game - IIRC, console versions of this don't include the Mental Institution boss).

    I really liked the colorful worlds (no boring grays and browns like virtually all shooters available today), a

  • "The weapons are unfun rehashes of similar weapons from other titles."

    Aren't they all? How different can a shotgun or sub-machine gun be? The same can be said of almost any other FPS out there, including Doom 3 or Half-Life 1/2.

    "How they managed to make an auto-shotgun unsatisfying to use is a trick, but there just doesn't seem to be much weight to the action."

    "The controls, despite being standards throughout the genre, manage to feel cumbersome and unwieldy in this setting."

    "Whether I was firing a rocket l
    • Re:Opinions (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) *
      Although, as I point out in an earlier post, I'd be tempted to be a bit kinder about the weapons than Zonk was, I can probably explain some of the points he's making here.

      The main difference from the weapons in Doom 3, Quake 4, Half-Life 2 etc is the near-complete lack of reloading. Weapons have a set rate of fire. Some, like the double-barreled shotguns, have what looks like a reload animation, but other than the pistol, none of them actually interrupt their normal rate of fire for a reload. The game doesn
      • The difference between the auto shotty and the double barrel is rate of fire and spread, auto has less spread and faster shots, DB has slower rof and more spread... although I do think they should have upped the reload speed on the autoshotty with possibly less damage...
  • I love it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Falconoffury ( 880395 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @03:00PM (#13925311)
    I don't really understand what problems people have with this game. It has just as much action as the first serious sam. I also don't understand the lack of satisfaction in the weapons. I thought some of the weapons were more satisfying. Nothing like sending a flying death bird towards your enemies, and the sniper rifle is very satisfying. The music sounds great. The sound effects are good. I don't understand why it's so bad for some of the humor to fail. I watched all the cutscenes, and I at least laughed some of the times. It's a silly game, but that shouldn't make it bad. We need more sillyness out there. I've read several reviews of this game, and none of them satisfactorily explained what was so unsatisfying about the game. I personally give it a 9.5 out of 10. I love it.
  • I don't think so if I recall the gameplay of Wolfenstein and Doom correctly.
  • If you're still thinking about buying the game after reading this review, I urge you to download the demo and give it a try. The reviewer pinned down everything that was dissatisfying about the demo.
  • The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the first video of it: MORPG (not massively though).

    Think about it:
    Lots of monsters, absolutely huge areas at times, accurate physics (at least in the original, where it was quite possible to suicide from running to fast and hitting a wall for instance) etc.

    The original was quite easy to modify script wise (I suck at modeling and level design) and if this one is as easy, then it shouldn't be too difficult to mold it into an RPG of sorts.
  • by slaker ( 53818 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @03:15PM (#13925449)
    I just recently upgraded my "toy" PC. I've been looking for something fun to do with it ever since.

    HalfLife 2 has totally stupid Steam.
    Doom3 was awesome for about two minutes, then boring.
    Every other FPS is a clone of UT or whichever of the indistinguishable WWII shooters came first. ... or its a console port, and therefore both evil AND stupid.

    But Serious Sam is different. It's the proper Doom mentality of "No way I'm beating all six dozen of those guys all at once" and then doing it anyway, or even better, "No way I'm beating all 12 of those bosses all at once". I like the utterly massive scale (bad guys that're 20 or 30 times taller than you are, etc). I like the ridiculous weapons, although I wish the escalation continued past the point it does (Rise of the Triad was great in that regard! You could use "The Hand of God" as a weapon. Sam needs the hand of God). I like the attitude of corny jokes (shades of good ol' MDK).

    The cutscenes are skippable, if you aren't into 'em.

    Personally, I like the game. I haven't finished it yet, but it's entertaining in a way that realistic shooters like, say, Farcry, just aren't. The weapons are kind of weak, but it's still fun to use them all. I'm a little disappointed that their sound engine isn't terribly immersive, but that's hardly a big deal in the context of this particular game. Oh, and I miss the gravity changes. Those were cool.
    • Have you ever played Painkiller? Much more fun than SS2 IMHO.

      It's faster, has really great feeling weapons (the stake gun is *fun*) and varied levels. You should be able to pick it up for next to nothing now too.

      Multiplayer was a bit buggy when I tried it, but otherwise highly recommended.

    • If the only thing you have to say about HL2 is that it has steam then you are missing the point and you might as well admit that you don't like these types of games to start with. There is NOTHING wrong with steam as a distribution device. I've never had it not work and I don't know a single person that has had a problem with it. The majority of the problems come from people trying to pirate the game or they are running some extremely wierd or overclocked setup. 99% of the time its a defective end user
      • I have had problems with it and I am not pirating the game and not overclocking...

        Have you been to a lan party with steam lately? Try playing it on a ded server with no internet connection even after authenticating that same day (server too) you'll love the "steam ticket has expired" error....

        I have had many problems with steam, so i guess lucky u.
      • I refuse to play a single-player game that requires regular connection to the internet. I should be given the choice to download patches or anything else that requires online activity. I spent a very long time (around 10 years) on a 9600bps connection to the internet. Just because I live someplace where I have a faster connection today doesn't mean that in the future I wouldn't have that problem again, and requiring an internet connection to either download the program or authenticate the DVD for a single p
  • I really liked the last two Serious Sam games. They were unique at the time because they were the only games to throw huge numbers of enemies at you at the same time whiole still looking great.
    One of my favourite gaming moments is the level in SS1 where you are rushed by about 150 skeletal horse-things, all on-screen at the same time, firing every grenade, then rocket, then other weapons into the oncoming mass with explosions in the ranks throwing bones everywhere while you back-peddle as fast as you can. O
  • I loved the first Serious Sam - it was entertaining and fun. Plus it wasn't outrageously taxing on my poor-man's system.

    I haven't played the new one yet, but I plan to. I have to have something to do in that half-hour from the time I finally get the kids to bed and I pass out myself!
  • This title was clearly designed for a console release rather than a PC-dedicated release as the first title was. Biggest gripe? Save points. It has a save-anywhere feature, but doing so takes you back to the beginning of a section rather than freezing at a point you want, such as just before you grab the item that will spawn a million or so enemies. I don't like having to see the same scenery over and over again just to get to one spot. Save that for the XBoxers. I agree that the weapons are underpowe
  • If you're looking for a well done, fast-paced, pure fun FPS, I strongly recommend Painkiller [painkillergame.com] and its expansion pack Battle out of Hell. It was released over a year ago, which means it will probably run even on a not-so-recent machine. Check out the demos.

    Basically, what Serious Sam promises, Painkiller delivers.

  • by RobiOne ( 226066 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @05:04PM (#13926478) Homepage Journal
    Remember good old Descent 3 ? Either you hated it because you couldn't figure out how to control the ship in 3D or you loved it because it felt like the most free environment short of a space sim. Totaly 360 degree, and very playable with a mouse + keyb.

    Dust off the old copy and install it on todays hardware. I'll bet it'll impress all over again. It did for me. The sounds are great, the graphics sweet, and playability is good too. I liked the cunningness of the AI and being a hotshot at the controls, strafing everywhere in 3D. The indoor/outdoor dual fusion engine behaved smoothly in transitions and gave you more options when dealing with the baddie robots.

    Ahh the memories.. too bad the average gamer was so conditioned to the Doom style of play back in the day, and couldn't appreciate the extra degree of freedom and excitment.

    The Descent genre needs a resurrection. Especially now with Mars exploration ;]
  • I wrote a review [hellojoseph.com] of this game. I only played the demo but I was seriously disappointed. What a huge smelly pile of crap.
  • I got SSII a few days ago, and it definetly feels like it's missing something.

    Cutscenes dont bother me much at all. Actually the thing that bugged me more was the fact that they were pre rendered, and sometimes he would wear a serious sam II shirt which he doesn't in the game. Cutscenes beat Netrissa poping up that stupid Email icon every five minutes in the old game.

    My biggest problem with it, was that it didn't seem to inundate you with unending hords of enemies. Sure your getting a lot in SSII, but not n
  • Agree with the poster about Descent3.

    I was IMO a 'hat trick' as d3 nailed the fun factor all over and did it with updated grfx and good sounds.

    And the sounds in SS2 are lacking, save for the parrots (snicker) and the sniper rifle have good sounds...the other, well sound hollow. The chain gun sounds OK, but compared to Quake4...damn. Heck, I'd use the chaningun in q4 just to hear it.

    But, the killer for SS2 is it is such a console port....ugh!
    The first two had wide open areas you could use to buy time and s
  • PC:
    Serious Sam (2000)
    Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (2002)
    Serious Sam 2 (2005)

    Serious Sam 1 (which is 1 + Second Encounter).
    Serious Sam 2

Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.