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Review: Serious Sam II

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the too-serious-for-its-own-good dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 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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omgzzzzzzz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13924962)

Frost pist!!1

Unfortunate release timing (5, Informative)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 8 years ago | (#13924968)

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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13924996)


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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

Hallucienda (893346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925130)

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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925141)

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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925312)

Q4 also has Q3 deathmatch which is "the deathmach".

I suspect Q3 will be more popular until hardware catches up.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925162)

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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925286)

"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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925895)

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 today's hardware. So far, the only way I've managed to slow it down on a fast PC is by using far too many materials with complex shaders - it munches its way through geometry like there's no tomorrow. So much so that I'm not sure if there is a way of directly checking scene polygon counts, merely the system load that's induced...

Re:Unfortunate release timing (0, Offtopic)

Tenzen01 (155389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926098)

I hate switching CD's when the entire game is already installed on my computer.

I also have had my share of problems with Copy Protection on games I legally own.

The answer for me was Alcohol 120% [alcohol-soft.com] . It lets you run games completely from your hard drive. I never met a copy protect scheme it couldn't get around. I run all my games from it now.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (4, Interesting)

Tet (2721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925001)

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).

Re:Unfortunate release timing (5, Funny)

ucahg (898110) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

lscotte (450259) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925587)

Actually:

Fear (I can't be arsed typing all the capitals and .s again) = 64
F.E.A.R. = 12

If you count shift key presses assuming no capslock and US layout. String length is not equivalent to number of keypresses.

Have fun...

Re:Unfortunate release timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925595)

It still took more effort to explain why you wouldn't spell F.E.A.R. correctly than to actually do so.

I'm assuming you just wanted to be clever. However, you failed.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925689)

Above all its a fucking lame name for a video game. Either way those alien bastards are going to pay for busting up my ride... ohhh strippers!

Re:Unfortunate release timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926001)

Well he did type fear once more, so it saved him a couple keys, but 65 is still greater than 16.

But more importantly, what the hell does "I can't be arsed typing all the capitals and .s again" mean? I can't be assed again? Does that even make sense? When did "assed" become a verb (or even a word, for that matter)? Is that some sort of hacker ghetto slang I'm not familiar with?

Can't be Arsed to Properly Explain (1)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926150)

I think it's an Imperial thing [peevish.co.uk] . "can't be bothered" is a reasonable translation. No, it doesn't correspond directly, but neither does "know fuck-all" or similar constructions.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

chamenos (541447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925267)

"(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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (2, Interesting)

Hank Chinaski (257573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925397)

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.

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

qor72 (120629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925704)

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 through billions of mobs...

Re:Unfortunate release timing (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925963)

You have marketing to blame for that, the original title was "Serious Sam: the encounter that won't happen".
But then someone figured it was too prophetic...

Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (4, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (2, Insightful)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925023)

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...

Re:Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (5, Funny)

affliction (242524) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925160)

Yeah jumping is not manly at all.

They should stand there and take it, like real men.

Re:Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (1)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925776)

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.

Re:Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926134)

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.

Re:Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925171)

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 slaughter.

Re:Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (3, Interesting)

flocculent (564644) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925511)

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 tricks have really added an extra dimension to a bunch of the classic multiplayer FPS - strafe running in doom, strafe/curve jumping in quake2, boost jumping in UT2003, etc

Take these things out of arcade FPS titles and you're left with games that can feel pretty shallow and have less of a learning curve and therefore typically less incentive to keep playing month after month. In UT2003 I was learning new ways to get across maps 2 years after I started playing because of the flexibility of the movement.

In Serious Sam, Halo (and most 'realistic' titles also) I feel like my feet are glued to the floor or I'm running through syrup. After playing quake and ut for so many years it's a pretty frustrating feeling. The controls/movement just don't have any flexibility or feel.

It's just a shame that there aren't many fast arcade FPS' coming out any more, but it looks like everyone else would prefer to have another WWII 'sim' shooter.

Re:Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (1)

Slime-dogg (120473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925566)

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.

Re:Sorry, I quit FPSs when they wanted me to jump (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925027)

I'm glad you posted then.

Good for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925177)

Meanwhile, the genre has matured beyond that nonsense, but what would you know. Closing your eyes and covering your ears makes you l33t I guess.

Who could ask for more? (5, Funny)

honeypotslash (927312) | more than 8 years ago | (#13924971)

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!

MORE ZONK FAGGOTRY ON THE MAIN PAGE (0, Troll)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13924979)

Goddamnit Zonk. Are you fucking retarded or just freakishly stupid with a really low IQ?

Re:MORE ZONK FAGGOTRY ON THE MAIN PAGE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925076)

Can't it be both?

53R10U5, LIEK JEFFK! (2, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925170)

Here's a bettar review! [somethingawful.com]

ALL HALE JEFFK!!!!!!eleven!!!! (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925330)

Curiously, I find myself in agreement with the gist of his reviews a lot more than I do with this 'Zonk' guy.

lameover (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13924990)

i dont think the first one was even all that great, it was just a decent fps. play rainbow 6 or blackhawk down yo. check my site [therightcoast.net] !

Shouldn't that be ... (4, Funny)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13924999)

"SamII"

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

Re:Shouldn't that be ... (2, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925043)

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

Nah. They should have called it, "Serious Sam: The Serious Little Monkey".

( Sorry, for some reason that stuck in my head after I read the headline. :-) )

Yet another game review from Zonk (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925408)

Aka "Slashvertisement."

Anyone noticed what's happening? Remember when TechTV became more gamer-oriented and became G4? Same thing happening to Slashdot.

The story loop is:
Google
Google
Microsoft
iPod
Game Review
Google
Microsoft
Google
iPod
Game Review

Rinse, repeat.

Re:Yet another game review from Zonk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925524)

Thanks for the link to Civ 4!

Re:Yet another game review from Zonk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925662)

As your name points out, your overly critical. I've seen some of your past posts and they were just as 'old man'ish. Chill. If you don't want game reviews, or articles by Zonk, use your brain and change your settings, instead of posting crap that will do nothing but lose your karma on the best days.

Re:Shouldn't that be ... (1)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925520)

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

They wanted to, but the dog said, "no".

I'd advise waiting (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925016)

I expect Croteam to get the franchise right by Serious Sam 3.1.

Old FPSes (1)

Sealoth (243147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925029)

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?

Re:Old FPSes (1)

Fiver- (169605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925094)

I think most people point to Wolfenstein as the first FPS.

Re:Old FPSes (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925158)

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).

Re:Old FPSes (1)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925720)

The Catacombs game must be older. Look at its credits--it was written by id software, and it features a Wolf3D engine but in 16 colors. http://www.dosgamesarchive.com/download/game/3 [dosgamesarchive.com]

Re:Old FPSes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925111)

Who cares, we all know you Googled for "first FPS" game and are now pretending to have played it "way back when".

You fake asshole.

Re:Old FPSes (2, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925207)

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 (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925288)

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.

Re:Old FPSes (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925575)

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.

Re:Old FPSes (2, Interesting)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925793)

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 (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925958)

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 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925569)

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]

Re:Old FPSes (1)

capninsano (913991) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925692)

Maze wars was the first fps i believe.

Cutscenes (5, Funny)

Fiver- (169605) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

you guys still buy new games after WoW? (0, Offtopic)

tont0r (868535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925032)

I havent bought a game since April since I bought World of Warcraft.... is there really a point to playing other games? hehe.

Re:you guys still buy new games after WoW? (1)

anakin876 (612770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925077)

what do you do when the servers are down? sleep? I have every other tuesday off - and I find it HIGHLY frustrating that the servers are down for the whole morning when I could be playing.

Re:you guys still buy new games after WoW? (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925102)

Not paying a fee month to month comes to mind.

Re:you guys still buy new games after WoW? (1)

tont0r (868535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925175)

serious sam II costs an average of $30, which is cheaper than most new games. $30 = 2 months of lots of entertainment in WoW. how long are you going to play a mindless shooter? yes i realize that there are people who enjoy playing the same thing over and over. but for $15/month, i get lots of enjoyment and new content constantly enough for me to enjoy it. i was buying 1-2 games a month. thats $50-$100. now i spend $15/month. so the monthly fees arent really that bad :P.

Re:you guys still buy new games after WoW? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925482)

I don't have the kind of time where I can justify spending much on games. Sadly, I'm down to only a few hours a month of playing around on the PS2. I waited until Mercenaries could be had for $25; I just bought Super Bust a Move 2 (Frozen Bubble) for $20 and the first Serious Sam for PS2 for $7. Along with a couple other games bought on the cheap, I've got a couple years' worth of games on my plate.

Re:you guys still buy new games after WoW? (1)

HeavyMS (820705) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925758)

"$30 = 2 months of lots of entertainment in WoW"

Yea killing the same monster over and over and over and over again... dude WoW is brainless to, no action (beyond cheating) you take have any consequence on your character. All you need is to spend some gold and you can redo you lvl 60 char. I have the game and frankly I can't remember why I consvinsed myself to buy a supscriptions game.

Refreshing (5, Insightful)

ninjakoala (890584) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Refreshing (1)

orateam (861461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925075)

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

Re:Refreshing (1)

cryptocom (833376) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925280)

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.
: )

Re:Refreshing (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925733)

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.

The reviewer was far too kind.. (0, Flamebait)

melcrose (884835) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925069)

I thought it was one of the worst FPS's I've ever played, though I can be harsh. (personally, I think quake 4 (single player) is a completely un-inspired piece of crap.) Skip it. Not even worth the download.

I tried the demo (1)

modemboy (233342) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925072)

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...

I agree on some points.. (2, Insightful)

FunctionalMethod (751923) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925135)

... 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.

Re:I agree on some points.. (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925268)

"Even the return of the first game's co-op multiplayer mode isn't enough to overcome the game's lack of soul."

Weird Stuff (5, Insightful)

Arkiel (741871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925137)

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.

Re:Weird Stuff (1)

JohnPerkins (243021) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925287)

#4: No Mental.
#6: Robot with Mental inside.

?

Re:Weird Stuff (1)

Arkiel (741871) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925602)

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.

Buy it here! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925145)

You can buy the game here: Serious Sam 2 [amazon.com] . And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%!

Re:Buy it here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925265)

Kaleidojewel, you blow goats. Stop posting referrer links.

maybe I'm wrong... (2, Interesting)

rogabean (741411) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:maybe I'm wrong... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925460)

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter was an expansion pack to Serious Sam, not a sequel. It used the same engine, same weapons and (mostly) the same enemies as the first.

Re:maybe I'm wrong... (1)

NicklessXed (897466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925628)

This is seriously getting old... Second Encounter was supposed to be kind of a "Serious Sam 1.5", since they wanted the real Serious Sam II to have a new engine.

Re:maybe I'm wrong... (1)

rogabean (741411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925677)

sorry didn't know... thank you for clarifying. :)

Console-itis (1)

jgbishop (861610) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925214)

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), and the turrets and vehicles were a welcome addition. But otherwise, the whole thing seemed like a let down. I guess I was expecting a "Third Encounter" rather than a true sequel.

Opinions (1)

chamenos (541447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925224)

"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 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."

"Some of the weight of the sound effects from the original game seems to have been lost, as well, leaving weapons fire somewhat hollow."

Why did you find the auto-shotgun unsatisfying? Rate of fire too slow or the lacklustre animation? Why did the controls feel cumbersome and unwieldy? Was it because it was laggy? Having an opinion is fine, but I hate it when people are unable to substantiate them. It's like telling someone who asks you why you liked a movie "Oh I don't know, I just do!". Drivel like this sets off my B/S alarm, and holds no weight with me.

Re:Opinions (2, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925302)

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't even have a reload key. This can feel a bit basic after playing other recent fpses, but it fits SS2 well.

The shotgun's a funny issue. It's not actually a bad weapon, if you think of it as a normal fps shotgun. It's got about the same rate of fire, damage and spread as you'd expect. However, the model for the shotgun shows a huge great multi-barrel affair, that looks like a gatling gun. When you pick it up, you expect that holding down the trigger would unleash a fully-automatic hail of death. It doesn't. Once you get used to this, the gun's fine. However, the model does create a bit of a false expectation. The double-barreled shotgun also seems to have less spread than I remember from the original game.

God knows what he meant about the controls. They feel fine to me.

The aiming on the rocket launcher does feel a bit broken, though, which may be what Zonk was referring to elsewhere. There seems to be a slight lag between pressing fire and the weapon actually triggering. The shots don't always seem to go exactly where they were pointed, either. Could be my imagination, could be some random left-over code from the console versions, or could be neither of the above.

In fairness, the game has some pretty damned unique weapons. The flying parrot bombs aren't something I've seen elsewhere.

Re:Opinions (1)

Mad Ogre (564694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926130)

Weight of the shotguns? What do you mean? An autoloading shotgun can weight the same as a pump gun... and in some cases less so. Look at the Remington 870 Magnum Express... one of the most common shotguns out there. Then take a look at the field grade autoloader from Charles Daly (no, not the best auto out there, but its just an example.) The CD gun is a lot lighter than the older Remington pump gun.

I love it (3, Interesting)

Falconoffury (880395) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

FPS born with strafing? (1)

Satorian (902590) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925346)

I don't think so if I recall the gameplay of Wolfenstein and Doom correctly.

Re:FPS born with strafing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13925887)

Doom absolutely had strafing in it. Wolf3D, can't remember but I think it so...

This review is spot-on (1)

thanester (705099) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925402)

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.

Serious Sam (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925419)

I remember the first Serious Sam. It was fun. The type of game where you can play, go on vacation for two weeks and come back and remember what you were doing...running...shooting...shooting...running... shooting. Pretty basic. As for F.E.A.R., its more of a story line game with incredable graphics, audio and physics that keeps you hooked. You find yourself thinking of the game when you're not playing it. Though they are both FPS, they are two totally different kind of FPS games. Personally, I like the F.E.A.R. type of game more because I can dedicate more time to playing it. But in four months when my wife has our baby, I will probably either abondon games for a while or take up a game like Serious Sam 2 because its not the "constantly play me" kind of game. I guess them also means my World of Warcraft account may be put on hold for a while. This makes me sad. Very sad. Poor little gnome mage :*(

But what of the engines potential? (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925426)

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.

Games are kinda blah right now (2)

slaker (53818) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Games are kinda blah right now (1)

flocculent (564644) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925610)

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.

Serious Sam==Robotron 3D (1)

markh1967 (315861) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925455)

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. Other games tend to bump up the detail level until the engine has serious trouble displaying more than a few creatures at once and the games are designed with this in mind, whereas Serious Sam was really more like Robotron in 3D for most of the levels. It's the nearest I've experienced to old-skool pulse-raising arcade gameplay with modern graphics.
Shame they've lost the plot with this one; hopefully they'll get it right again next time.

Fond memories (1)

Wiseazz (267052) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925465)

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!

I dislike SS2. (0, Troll)

Baka_kun (647710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925468)

because it rendered my computer inoperable. 1 hour after installing it i had my first hang, my first hang and reboot in about 4 months. now i cant even have a graphicsdriver or more than 60hz on my screen without the system screen becoming chequered with all the colors of the rainbow, and then a total freeze followed by a reboot.
so i REALLY dislike this game.

Consolitis (1)

kwietman (795554) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925484)

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 underpowered in terms of feel, although some seem unreasonably strong, particularly the double-barreled shotgun, which has near-unerring accuracy at half a mile with no loss of power. Other than that, pure mindless fun; didn't really expect anything else from SS2. It seems, however, that the inventiveness that made SS such a hit kind of took a dip, probably for the same reason Netricsa gives for having a voice now: "Bigger Game Budget." The Croteam guys probably had suits looking over their shoulders this time, whereas they were able to roll under the radar with SS.

Re:Consolitis (1)

Superfarstucker (621775) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925613)

I think the save anywhere go back to checkpoint feature is a particularly welcomed one in my book :)

Even with all it's faults (1)

Macblaster (94623) | more than 8 years ago | (#13925568)

The price is still right. Essentially this game series is the cult B movie of computer games. Some flaws, but you're not paying 55 bucks, instead you're paying about half. It's like the movie you find in the bargian bin at blockbuster. Sure its about ghosts living on the internet, but you werent paying the 25 dollars you would have spent on some acadamy award winning feature. Anyway, thats just my 2 cents. If 1400 people also want to contribute, we can go out and buy a copy.

Linux Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13926123)

A Linux client is supposed to be released "soon". Also, the development tools will be cross-platform as well.

You forgot... (1)

kmartshopper (836454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13926140)

The genre of the first person shooter was born with simple elements in mind: shoot, strafe, win.


You forgot bunny hopping...
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