Serious Sam is a serious title for serious gamers. This First Person Shooter (FPS) was previously on the PC and X-Box and now Playstation 2 owners can join and play to see what the mayhem is all about.
Serious Sam takes you back to the old days of Doom and Smash T.V. with its extreme fighting situations, hordes of piling enemies, 12 heavy armed weapons and a constant supply of ammo to keep the action going for hours. Serious Sam: The Next Encounter is seriously packed with action with its extreme yet simple fighting formula. Every level you enter a room, kill all the enemies, move to the next room. Doors will shut and lock behind you with a yellow X across the exit until you clear the room of every enemy to move forward. You will repeat this over and over until there are no rooms left. Enemies appear out of thin air which can turn a safe looking room or area into a serious fight for life. This means you have to keep Sam moving at all times by circle-strafing in order to avoid attacks and keep an eye on your surroundings; this seems to be best and most effective tactic. Serious Sam: The Next Encounter has hordes of enemies coming at you all the time which means Sam will need as much ammo as possible and the game provides plenty of it. The hand-guns have infinite ammo and all other weapons do not need any reloading. To add more fun, holding down the fire button provides a rapid fire effect. There are other situations that include difficult platforming elements and new elements of vehicle driving are involved. Actually some of my favorite parts are jumping in a hummer-like vehicle and plowing through hordes of enemies while body parts fly in all directions.
Another new edition to the Serious Sam series is the Super Combo Mode where Sam goes into a killing rampage. Getting a 20 kill combo activates the Super Combo Mode and for a limited time Sam moves faster, deals more damage and points for each kill doubles. Although I think this system is completely useless because it only lasts about 10 seconds and it often runs out, even in the middle of mowing down a horde of enemies. There is no way to make it last longer with additional combos or even triple the points; there have also been to many times where I got a Super Combo only to have no enemies to kill.
Serious Sam also has a multiplayer Co-Operative mode so you can join a friend and do serious damage. Multiplayer mode includes classic death match, hold the flag and pass the bomb.
The world of Serious Sam: The Next Encounter is vibrant, bright and quite colorful. The frame rate is solid. Not once during game play did it slow or lag when play got hectic with multiple enemies on screen at one time. The best part about the graphics is the character design. The character design is great, not only in single player but multiplayer as well. Multiplayer characters are humorous and single player has great looking bizarre creatures like huge brains with legs, chariots that fire rockets and my favorite, the headless screaming guy running at you with bombs in each hand waiting to take you with him. Characters look so bizarre that you will be willing to risk your life just to get a closer look before you start killing everything in sight (although its not recommended).
The music and sound effects go perfectly well with the intense game play. Although the sound of the weapons and music drowns out everything else, with all the action on screen you won’t care. Your only concern would be the on screen action and there will be tons of it. One of my favorite parts is when you hear the screaming of the headless bomber. Once you hear that you will franticly try to find where they are coming from before they run into you and explode.
The challenge and replay for Serious Sam: The Next Encounter is moderate. The only real challenge is overcoming the hordes of enemies that are bent on your extinction, the semi difficult platforming elements, and the extremely frustrating boss battles. Serious Sam is not the most innovative or complicated game, but it has its strong points. Serious Sam is worth pulling out now and then for plenty of action, laughs, even some multiplayer FPS mayhem and online madness. So if you miss the old days of Smash T.V. and Doom, or just want some heavy action, even cheap thrills then Serious Sam: The Next Encounter will easily pass the time.