‘Serious Sam’ more random than before

Gnarrs? Remember those? They’re from Serious Sam, the frantic first person shooter from Croteam that came out around ten years ago.

With the third game on the horizon, Croteam is concocting the greatest marketing strategy ever: “The Indie Game Series.”  Why is this so awesome? Because it allows for indie game developers to bend the licensed property to their own play style, allowing for bizarre and innovative titles. The first one, released in September, was ridiculous. The second was just released on the iOS, called “The Random Encounter,” while the release of the third game is pending.

For those of you that don’t know, “Serious Sam” has been all about filling the screen with tons of enemies for you to kill and blow up however you see fit, while running backwards, hoping they don’t get to you before you kill them. How does this fit into the mold of a 16-bit JRPG? Very, very, very strangely.

The game basically starts out with Sam going through a teleporter to fight Mental, the series’ main antagonist, only to have it not work, and be sent to the middle of nowhere. Thus, he must find his way back.

The game basically plays like the classic Japanese RPG’s from yesteryear, the only exception being that instead of waiting to execute attacks from a paused battle, you control the movement while giving commands every five seconds. It’s a great take on classic combat mechanics.

You don’t gain levels, which is a shame, because character progression is awesome, and having more than 100 hit points is always a plus. However, the items scattered around the world, as well as what you get off of enemies after you defeat them, gives you a meaningful boost and can be used during the many random encounters against countless foes, making fighting easier as a whole.

All of the weapons from the previous Sam universe are present as well, with their different characteristics. For example, the shotgun has a radius that auto targets anything coming your way. The laser cannon shoots in a straight line, but has some spray. The trademark mini-gun also shoots in a straight line and is always useful in a fight. The rocket launcher is probably the best crowd control weapon with its high damage and its spread.

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The game is pretty funny as well, with quick dialogue being spoken and never really getting in the way of things too much, except to say how much butt they are going to kick, or how much machismo they spit. However, it is pretty short lived, as beating the game could be achieved while waiting in-between classes. The endless mode is pretty fun, and it really tests your dodging skills.

For five bucks, it’s cheap entertainment that lasts. You’ll talk about it with friends, but it might not have the staying power until Serious Sam 3 releases. Still, this game is worth picking up if you are fan of RPGs in general, and even more so if you are a fan of Serious Sam.