Serious Sam 2 - Xbox
You may have loved the first person shooter Serious Sam, but will the second in the series do the same again? We get blasting and find out.
Coming straight out of Croatia, the follow up to Serious Sam is a cheeky little first person shooter featuring 12 levels of colourful blasting and standout comedy.
The main man is Serious Sam. Seriously? The guy is a joke. Luckily, all we have to look at is a hand and an enormous weapon. Some amusing one-line text messages populate the foot of the screen, giving a softer edge to what is plainly outright murder. Sets vary from Babylon to Mayan temples and in that respect, together with the uninteresting hero, SS2 evokes memories of Times Splitters 2.
Definitely worth a mention is the length of scenes - SS2 plays like Doom, but allows the user to march and kill for over 15 minutes without a break in the action. This helps build up a good sense of the geography in the distance, which is coupled well with the choreographed torrent of vile scum that need to be dispensed with.
Croteam, the games developer say SS2 "runs on the newly designed Serious 2 engine with graphics, environments and physics that are 100 times more complex than previous Serious Sam games".
While sound and scrolling sits well in single player mode, the multiplayer levels don't hold up so well. Frantic, yes, but the engine seems to stutter a little and this won't be a title that offers more in two-player mode than one, like fighters, racers, sports or more simplistic battles, like Bomberman.
In fact, the well defined style, colour and simplicity of the Bomberman sprites and packaging help lift the game for me. Serious Sam's uninteresting garb and surroundings do little to build a sense of stigma, and the missing franchise/movie/comic game tie-in really shows.
VerdictSerious Sam is undoubtedly still fun to play. Perhaps the damage is done by the wealth of classics among FSPs, perhaps the most stifled genre on our consoles, and particularly, online. Although there are some nice weapons - sniper rifle, chainsaw - there isn't anything novel enough to lift the gameplay over Halo, TimeSplitters and the Medal of Honour series.
Serious Sam 2 will make a good budget purchase. Some comic timing and nice comment from the programmers - plenty of tongue in cheek nods to its predecessors, coupled with sufferable music should make this an after the pub lark.
If you've played the original Serious Sam on Xbox, there won't be many surprises. This is a generic extension of SS, but doesn't pretend to be anything else.