Serious Sam – PC – Preview

You can feel it in your gut
– the power, the pride as ‘Serious’ Sam Stone picks up a new death-dealing
weapon. You will almost echo his heartfelt ‘YAAAA!’ as you cock and load
for the first time.

You know that old saying,
‘I wasn’t looking for trouble, but it found me anyway?’ Forget it! Sam
goes looking for trouble, and he usually finds it in bushels.

The preview of Serious Sam,
from Croteam and Gathering of Developers, quickly revealed the kind of
first-person shooter game that requires you to check your sensitivities
at the door. You have two choices – kill or be killed. Think of it as a
sort of Duke Nukem meets Tomb Raider. Sure there is a story line here,
but the game mostly revolves around the notions of blow something apart,
explore, blow something apart, solve a puzzle to keep the game going, and
then blow something apart.

The storyline goes something
like this: There is this really evil being known, in English, as Notorious
Mental who is bent on wiping out the human race. However what he wasn’t
counting on is a weapon called a Timelock, left to humanity by an extinct
civilization from Sirius. Using the Timelock, Serious Sam returns to ancient
Egypt to assassinate Notorious Mental when it is on the weak side.

There are all sorts of nasty
monsters to blast into chunks of flesh and blood smears. The Gnaar Male
has the body of an ape, single claws for hands, no head but a single eye
on its breast and a huge, fanged mouth where its’ abs should be. There
is the unusual array of beheaded warriors, such as the Beheaded Rocketeer
and Beheaded Firecracker – executed Sirian soldiers raised from the dead
who carry weapons in their right hands and their heads in their left. And
there’s a headless kamikaze that yells (with what?) as he races across
the ground on a collision course with you. And yes, if they hit you, they
can do serious damage. There are a wild assortment of beasties (like were-bulls
and Scythian Witch-Harpies), skeletons and other critters for you to flay
with your assortment of weaponry.

And speaking of the weapons:
Even though the mini-gun (sort of like a Gatling gun) discharges way too
fast, it is particularly effective if surrounded by enemies. Just pull
the trigger and rotate in a circle. That is great fun! The LPML21 Rocket
Launcher is effective against the bigger, meaner creatures. If you spot
a huge red creature that looks like a cross between a human and a giant
scorpion, you’ll want that rocket launcher. And if that creature is standing
behind a tree – no problem. Blow up the tree. The environment of this game
is wonderfully interactive.

You can be one of four different
characters, such as Hilarious Harry, Serious Sam, Pirate Pete and Righteous
Robert. And there are five difficulty levels, beginning with tourist (which
is akin to invincibility so you don’t have to find a cheat), moving to
easy and then two more stops en route to serious.

You will have to solve puzzles
along the way, and you have a NETRICSA (or NeuroTronically Implanted Combat
Situation Analyzer) to keep you company, record what is happening, analyze
situations and give recommendations, and keep you informed of your mission

While the sound is very good,
and the controls are easy (and can be customized to any configuration the
game player would like using a mouse/keyboard combination or joystick),
the most stunning aspect of this program lies in its graphics. They are
beautifully rendered. You can close on a wall, almost as though putting
your nose on it, and still see the rich texture of it. The colors are lush,
three-dimensional with realistic lighting and shadow effects. If the environmental
elements were to summed up in one world, that word would be dazzling.

This is the kind of game
where you would just like to look around, without anticipating nastiness
around every corner. However, anything is likely to pop up in a moment’s
notice. In case the point hasn’t been driven home enough by now – this
is a blood-filled, action-packed shooter. The game has arcade elements,
such as floating weapons, potions, ammo and armor that you collect by walking
through it.

Serious Sam promises to be
a serious shooter program that will sate the bloodlust of any fan of the
genre. It has enough other elements – such as the puzzle elements – to
move the game along for those who require a wee bit of plot in their games.
And the action is nonstop. But the one thing that really recommends this
game is the graphics. They are incredible.

When released, this product
will support multiplayer gaming.