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Serious Sam: The Second Encounter Review
publisher: Take 2 Interactive
P400, 64MB RAM, 150MB HDD, 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Feb 04, 02 (released)
|» All About Serious Sam: The Second Encounter on ActionTrip|
Rather like the original title, in Serious Sam: The Second Encounter you'll once again be given the delightful task of facing masses of deadly minions, most of which answer to one evil dude - Mental's his name and getting on Sam's nerves is his game. Right now you're in big trouble, 'cause Mental has released twice as much brutes and they are all back to get their paws on Sam (some of them are considerably larger too). Little do they know, that Sam is not just mean and determined to kick their butt, he is also pretty darn Serious about it.
Merry X-mas! Hey, you're no Santa!
I'm so happy, I think I'm gonna explode!! Arghh!
And so begins the second quest of wiping out every scum and filth you happened to come across throughout three brand new worlds of mysterious puzzles and outrageous action. Following the plot of the first game, Sam takes off in a space ship in hope of finding Mental and finally putting a stop to his evil doings. Sadly, the ship makes a sudden twirl back towards Earth. Once you crash on the greenish and wild South-American soil, you'll immediately be overwhelmed by the rush of merciless foes. The battle can begin.
If you manage to stray from the intense action just for a moment, you can notice visual improvements in some of the land textures (cool looking grass, bushes, and so on). You'll especially detect that the grassland undergrowth was enriched with various details. Thankfully, this makes the environment appealing and more true-to-life. Next to that, the game features bright, vigorous, and colorful outdoor levels, some of which may require a long time to complete simply because of their sheer size. The walls, dungeons, hills, and icy areas are very abundant in texture detail and will seem convincing even when Sam gets close to them. Nothing new and spectacular can be observed related to any kind of GeForce3 visual optimizations. Regardless, there's enough of those gorgeous light effects about, as well as some pretty cool fog effects. The Serious engine played its part well once again.
Blasting your way through an area swarming with Mental's followers is always the best thing to do and is generally the one thing you're required to do. And, what about the puzzles? Will they get on my nerves? - You'd ask. Frankly, no. They are an integral part of the whole adventure and you can be sure that they won't obstruct the easiness of gameplay in any way. Few of them really kept me busy for quite some time, but that's not to say you'll have to burn some brain cells on solving them. You'll find that a great number of these enigmas was created to fit the game's flow entirely; their mystical appearance is sure to give you a spine-tingling sensation a la Indiana Jones. Besides, when you're hurrying across the wilderness of South America and Babylon, where ancient civilizations have kept their secrets and treasures buried for ages, you simply cannot expect a warm welcome. Instead, you can look forward to a lot of unpredictable booby traps, packed with a lot of fiends ready to chop, eat, or simply squash Sam's ass.
Without revealing too many details, I have to say that the game will always have something new to offer. Whether it's an unsuspected enemy lurking behind a corner, or a new trap to deal with, you'll be pleasantly surprised each time. Even if there aren't that many brand new enemy units to fight, you'll still find the whole thing to be very exciting. One of the major innovations comes with the new-fangled bosses that appear at the end of each world. Alongside their great strength, you can also expect them to be more than a worthy challenge to your "Serious" skills (although, I should say that my point of reference here isn't so much the AI department, it's rather the huge masses of brainless monsters hurling themselves at you from all sides). These bosses, apart from being menacing entities of old, are also visually quite eye-catching. My compliments to the 3D animation section of Croteam. Also, we mustn't forget the additional (hidden) enemies, which will leave secret weapons and power-ups, at the same time amusing you with their weird appearance.
You burn now, I'll just lie here for a while.
Saam, my chainsaw's bigger than yours.
As far as the new weapons go, experimenting with the chainsaw was one of the most exhilarating moments in the game; that's, of course, next to the effective sniper-rifle (which can be extremely fatal to your opponents when fired from a great distance). So, that's two cool new toys to play with. For the last, I saved the impressions of the most helpful little thing called the flamethrower. This baby works great and it will torch nasty foes, faster than you can say: "Sam I Am!!" Additionally, the flamethrower causes some splendid visual effects, giving you a chance to set fire to absolutely anything on the screen, be it animal or vegetable.
Sound effects are not quite first-rate, but they add that special spark to the gameplay. This means that a mere screech in the distance or a sudden change of tune in the background can be the perfect moment for you to put your sniper rifle to use. In a nutshell, the music coincides with the on-screen action and along with the in-game sounds, it provides a descant atmosphere for the player, much like it did in the original.
As I've mentioned, the expansion has quite a few surprises, which increase the overall quality of gameplay. Above all, the last level (medieval Europe) really impressed me: slipping on the ice, fighting against tons of enemies, while a hideous storm rages, chasing Santa across the snowy planes;). Both visually and gameplay wise, this level offers some clear improvements over the original. Apart from that, let me just say, if you're thinking of buying this expansion pack with the notion of having twice as much fun, you'd be right, though the game does tend to get way too challenging at times. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter should meet the demands of any gamer (that is, unless you loath having classic FPS-Sam-I-Am kinda fun). And I think that, just for fun, you should test the game in the hard mode, with all visual parameters beefed-up to the maximum, and see the result. Well, fair enough, you may need more than a GeForce3 to power that.
To conclude, I draw your attention to the awesome coop mode, which 2lions and I have been testing in the past two days. Make that relentless-non-stop-without-a-drink-of-water-or-even-a-piss testing. So, I think it can safely be regarded as the most fun I've ever had in a multiplayer mode.
8.8 Very Good
The second chapter is worthy of the first. Even more of that classic Serious Sam gameplay, but with more freaks to shoot at, and with slight visual improvements;
It can get devilishly tough at times, and it really could use more new weapons and monsters.
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