The plot is laughable bollocks at best, but it’s in the arcade style gameplay that Serious Sam shines.
Created in the style of more traditional FPS games such as Doom and Quake with a side helping of Duke Nukem humour, Serious Sam follows the adventures of one Sam “Serious” Stone and his fight against the forces of the notorious extraterrestrial overlord ‘Mental’ who seeks to destroy humanity – yes, for obvious reasons I actually laughed out loud at that bit.
There’s no crouching behind cover, no regenerative health metre and no cheesy “I wish I was a Hollywood blockbuster” story forcing the game along. All that’s required from the player is quick trigger finger and the use of strafe-jumping to avoid enemy fire. Also having a willingness to accept that not everything has to be so bloody serious as found in todays tiresome, bore-fest first person shooters is a requisite for absolute enjoyment.
Levels typically consist of a series of elaborate arenas in which the player must defeat a set number of enemies before proceeding to the next level and so on. And just like the good old days the player can carry an unlimited amount of guns and ammunition with which to tear shit up.
On the series first appearance in 1996 it received rather high praise, but as you might expect later versions of Serious Sam received a lukewarm reception from the “proffesional press” with its “dated-looking graphics and rather basic gameplay model”, but considering that this is the same video game press that give each other reach-arounds for Call of Duty and Battlefield each year you can take their “opinions” with a pinch of salt.
Take it from me, the Serious Sam games are a blast.