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The camera moves dynamically over the vast Egyptian landscape and slowly draws close to a strange looking structure. It vaguely reminds you of an inter-dimensional teleportation device that you might have seen in one of those cartoon shows of the early 90ís. Suddenly a blue light sparks within the mysterious platform and in comes a character wearing red snickers, blue jeans, shades and a sleeveless shirt that has a picture of a frowning bomb on its chest. Behold, the modern-day Duke Nukem- Captain Sam Stone. And will be more commonly known from now on as Serious Sam. His attitude is a close competition to the Duke and his arsenal closely surpasses that of Doom. Do take notice that I mentioned the two oldies instead of the new warriors in the blockÖ

Its not often you hear about Croatia. The times I heard about them was during the Soccer World Cup Franceí98 and in the news about the war situation prevailing there. The war maybe over now but Croatia has turned around all guns blazing to release one of the much-awaited game of 2001, Serious Sam. The small Croatian group of game developers named Croteam has launched a game of pure firepower under the banner of GOD Games, using their very own game engine, named the ďSerious EngineĒ, no kidding.

The game story is not very complicated. The first impression you get after watching the intro movie is that itís a ĎStargateí game; remember the movie starring Kurt Russell? A few changes here and there of the Stargate story and you get the plot for Serious Sam. It features a teleportation gate, spaceships, pharaoh statues and hieroglyphics and pyramids and of-course the mysterious land of Egypt. However the story doesnít immerse the gamers into the game but the game does sufficient to provide some pure fun of firing away big guns at a huge assortment of enemies. The developers mentioned during the gameís production days, that the game would provide gamers the fun of playing Doom in modern day graphics and AI. Well they did manage to fulfill the first promise but they were not even beating about the bush when it came to the second one.

The game graphics is one hell of an excellent piece of work. The developers did a fine job with their new game engine that actually made it possible to create superb player models and environment. The game features huge landscapes, wonderful Egyptian monuments including the great Pyramids and they clearly prove the power of the engine. The modeling for Sam is very well done and so are the ones for the enemies. Sam has a distinct personality. He is always spitting out really cool comments as he makes his way through the hordes of enemies- does remind you of Duke Nukem. The enemies come in all shapes and colors. There are headless enemies shooting funny looking things, there are skeletons, laser and rocket-shooting robots, huge demons and more huge demons. One thing for sure, the Croteam people are very good with colors. The appearances of different enemies are distinctly different when talking in terms of colors. Especially the huge Lava Golem, the Arachnoids and the final bosses are standouts.

The gameplay is basically linear as gamers wonít have to bother about puzzles at all cause there arenít many that will make your brain work overtime. The maximum the game can produce is the find key/lever gameplay. There are a lot of secrets in every level. Itís the Doom style thing, look behind differently colored walls, or pick something that will open some other secret place. Other than these itís just straightforward run and gun gaming. The enemy AI is practically non-existent. The baddies wonít dodge, wonít try any plan or run to get help when you confront them one on one. But this drawback is well compensated. The number of enemies that attack during a single confrontation does remind you of a bull stampede you watched on TV. I specially recall an encounter where I confronted four separate waves of Sirian Werebull, each waves consisting of around 15 bulls, maybe more, who keeps count, whenever I got caught by one of these living monstrosity I was flung up high into the air only to land on a different one who repeated the feat as if they were playing volleyball with me being the ball. Well this is just one instance of the many more attacks like this; just the enemy category will be different. The beheaded kamikaze attacks (Iíll not break the surprise about these creatures) are one of the best there is.

The game sound effects and music are one of the qualities of the game. The enemy war cries and the explosion effects will make you jump of your seat. The in-game music shifts itself between a calm and serene tune to a hi-beat and adrenaline-rushing rocker according to the situation the players are in. You wonít be hearing the soft tune for a long time in a stretch, as the enemies donít give you enough time to look around the place in peace and quiet.

Sam is equipped with few of the biggest guns ever to have treaded the game scene. His arsenal spans from a knife to a huge cannon. The cannon is the final weapon and its power is understandably great. You will have to choose between weapons to fight different weapons instead of just using one single weapon. Ammo is plentiful and you will really have to keep a good stock of them to actually take on the continuous wave of enemies. "NETRICSA" (NEuroTRonically Implanted Combat Situation Analyzer) is a small computer implanted inside Sam's skull, this small gadget keeps Sam updated on new areas Sam enters. One cool thing this baby does is, it stores info on every weapon you get and every category of enemy you kill and you can go through them whenever you want. It helps, cause the enemies' weak points are mentioned in the info and there are tips to overcome their attacks.

Though the game is suppose to run at a good frame-rate through-out, I had a hectic time with it even at 640x480 resolution with my 16MB Savage 4, PIII 500 MHz processor and 64MB RAM. I suffered numerous screen losses. So anyone who wants a smooth performance better check your hardware before getting this game. The game is playable with the hardware I mentioned. I canít tell about other machines cause I havenít checked it yet on the other machines I have access to.

The game is retailed in the US at $20. Pretty cheap and thatís why its not a tough bargain. The game isnít what you will call a superb gaming experience. In fact it has a lot of drawbacks. One of the major faults is the duration of the game. Itís really short and to add to that it has a really abrupt ending. The game does come with its level editor though. You can download mods from the net as well. There are many of them if you look properly. This also means that the level editor is easy to use and ones who really want to do something about the game can have a go. But itís a real treat for the nostalgic doom fans. This is basically Doom; just that it is a lot cooler looking and staged in Egypt instead of hell.


Game Info

Game Name: Serious Sam

Genre: FPS.
Publisher: GOD games.
Reviewed by:
Mail him.

Game Score: [Five lightning rating]

Story / Plot:
Reviewer's Tilt :

Game Tested on:

- PIII 550 MHz
- 128 MB RAM
- Savage 4 16MB
- Windows 98

The Good: Easy controls, great graphics, really cheap, huge variety of enemy, comes with the level editor.
The Bad: non-existent AI, very short game, not a good plot.
The Ugly: - The skinnies....