……But what does the D stand for?
or those of us in the know, Serious Sam (and it’s sequel) were a real breath of fresh air in an increasingly realistic shooter market a few years ago. Serious Sam always felt like a series that would fill the overrated shoes of Duke Nukem over time (especially in light of the truly horrible Forever), by offering some massively over the top gaming with not so much as a toe planted on Terra Firma. Sam is all about creativity, big guns, frantic combat, and saucy words in a way that is far more tongue in cheek than Duke ever imagined. In fact, without Duke Nukem 3D and it’s immense impact on the shooter market at the time, I think that Sam would have been considered the true innovation that Duke never quite lived up to be.
So, as a warm up to the upcoming Serious Sam BFG, Mommys Best Games have built a low priced, entry level 2D side scrolling shooter, in the vein of classics such as Contra, and sprinkled them with some of the Sam magic. You, as Sam, basically run from left to right, choosing a path forwards while fighting off waves of truly weird enemies. From amputated chimps with rocket launchers, mentally deformed dinosaurs with lasers strapped to them, lovely ladies with bombs for boobies, and stacks of pancakes with vuvuzelas sticking out of them (seriously), there’s hordes of weird and wonderful creatures to be found. And the ones I’ve described are only some of those found in the first of three worlds, each broken up into about a half dozen levels.
The hook, however, is the weaponry – very quickly in the game, Sam finds a Gun Stack connector, which (as it’s name suggests) lets you stack your guns (and chainsaws) up into a pile for added death capabilities. Even better, as you find connectors and guns, you can build up to 6 layers of weaponry mixed to your personal preference. So, if you ever wanted to wield a two shotguns, a rocket launcher, a tommy gun, and a flamethrower, you can. And you can even add a chainsaw as a bayonet for good measure.
Shame then, that this is the only new idea. Double D loves locking the payer into a room then teleporting waves of enemies at them so much that this basically becomes the pattern for the entire game. Yes, there are some mental bosses, but they usually big, tough versions of a horde anyway, and often easier. Sam does add a few ideas to add longevity to the game (such as the challenges and the jump pad, which lets you access areas of levels you couldn’t reach before), but it just gets so repetitive. Add in poor sound effects, crappy J-rock inspired soundtracks and no speech whatsoever, and Sam is actually a lot thinner on the ground than it’s initial levels would have you believe.
The shame is that, really, Double D feels like a Flash game thats been slightly beefed to try to justify a full price release. The problem with that is, the main gimmick (gun stacking) runs dry too quickly, and you are left with a title that only appeals to a narrow margin of gamers, and ones who would know where to find free games that are probably better than this. It’s just not a particularly good game, in the end – the first ten minutes of fun quickly give way to a repetitive and rather laborious cash-in which milks its only idea to far beyond the realms of fun.
The Bad: Repetitive; looks and feels like a free Flash game; little depth; enemies go beyond the inventive into the really absurd; short;