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Serious Sam (Xbox) Game Review

Overall (not an average):

Developer: Croteam
Publisher: Gotham Games
Platform: Xbox, PC Game (Reviewed on Xbox)
ESRB Rating: M for Mature (Animated Blood & Gore, Animated Violence)
Players: 1-16

Usually the port of a rather highly acclaimed PC game to a console is a Jekyll/Hyde scenario. I look forward to a chance to play the game that has gotten so much fanfare on the PC–I long ago gave up playing games on my PCs. Even though I sport a fairly robust desktop I’ve dedicated it to more “profitable” endeavors. Hey, that’s why I bought an Xbox, for a dedicated gaming platform, one where I don’t have to worry whether my video card and motherboard have the latest video and AGP drivers.

On the other hand ports are ports and usually there are bugs. But I go into these ports with my eyes open and I expect to see some glitches…so I’m fairly forgiving. So I’ll go over the pluses of this game and pickup the bugs at the end.

I always enjoy the discovery phase of a new game. You know what I mean: seeing the monsters for the first time, witnessing the fantastic landscapes and hearing the eerie effects and cool music. Serious Sam doesn’t disappoint. The textures of this game are mesmerizing, and the creatures all have very unique styles and some hilarious personalities. I give the game high marks for look and style.

I felt the comic aspect of the game was understated. The animations that segue from one play sequence to the next could be punched up. Some times I didn’t even know why they were there–the movies didn’t add anything and were not entertaining. The ones that were funny could have been better. Ah, but perhaps I ask too much.

For those not familiar with the premise of the game, I’m not going to give it to you, sorry. Exploring the realm and figuring out what you are supposed to do adds to the game play. Walking into each scenario completely clueless keeps it fresh, at least at first. One of the biggest complaints I have about this game is it gets pretty repetitive rather damn quickly. It doesn’t take much time at all before you look around and see the baddies coming at you and think to yourself, “I’ve been here before.” That’s one of the last things you want to have happen in an action game like this. You can’t avoid this completely, I know this, but still–it could be better.

Now, back to the problems of porting a game. I have had numerous problems running this one–the most annoying of which is the fact that it can take over two minutes to load a level…every time you load the level. Its also annoying that the progress bar is absolutely useless when loading a level. The progress bar will reach 100% and you still have to wait another forty-five seconds for the load to finish and the game to resume.

The other issue is that every now and then the game will hang. Completely. This has been a very rare experience on the Xbox but it happened at the most inopportune time with this game. Immediately after I had cleared a particularly difficult area the game froze, solid. Rage, my friends, instant, blinding, completely irrational rage. I hate it when that happens.

But this game does have its redeming qualities. It was enjoyable to play. I have gotten at least a few hours of enjoyment out of it. I’ve played better, but I’ve also played far worse. So to end this on a relatively high note, this game does have one of the coolest weapons I’ve ever had the pleasure of picking up in a game. Tiny little spoiler here. This game has a cannon. No, not a laser cannon, not a missile launcher type cannon but rather a real cannon. A real, nine-inch-smooth-bore-fires-cannonballs cannon. It’s sweet. Pull the trigger and the cannonball takes off, and doesn’t stop till it gets to the other side. Doesn’t matter what’s in its way. There are a couple of creatures which require two shots to take down, but man, I love that cannon.

Eye Candy:
Ear Candy:

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