Friday, February 22, 2013

Demo Friday: This is not my Sam

Demo Friday. On time. Seriously.

I have no idea what is going on.

Serious Sam: BFE's release on XBLA was a wonderful moment for me. Even though it was the second time I had purchased the game it was the first time I actually got to play it. The game was everything that I wanted it to be: juvenile, difficult, shoot-y. There is at least one episode of DLC available for it that I have not yet played, but that is being saved for an especially rainy day. Serious Sam Double D XXL took me by surprise because I did not know what it was. A new Sam game? I'm game.

Wait a minute, this isn't Serious Sam, this is a 2D platformer in the same vein as Contra. This is of course not a bad thing, there are not enough quality side scrolling shooter. Taking an existing character and dropping him into a new genre is not unheard of. The problem here is that they actually kept too much from the serious first person shooters. To be specific: enemies appearing out of nowhere. Monster closets are used to great effect in the shooters. There are almost required for the sheer number of enemies that are regularly thrown at the player. This usually happens far enough away that their spontaneous popping into existence give the player plenty of time to react.

The range of vision in a 2D platformer is much, much shorter. This means that enemies appearing out of nowhere are usually in your lap before you know what to do. Remember the headless bombers?


They work because there is just barely enough time to kill them. In the new game there isn't. They appear, you walk into them, and this is supposed to be fun. Add to that floaty controls and not getting hit constantly is almost impossible. I am not disappointed because this is not a Serious Sam FPS, I am disappointed because it is not a very good platformer. The only thing that does work is the gun mechanic: stick guns on to other guns. It looks ridiculous, which is to be expected, and when you get the right combination enemies blow up real good. That is not enough to save Double D XXL. The game exists as a reminder that I never did finish Hard Corp: Uprising and really should get around to downloading that again.

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