Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter…The First Review

Porting over old games to current game systems can be mixed bag. Its success really depends on the love, exposed gamers had for the original, as well as how good the port-over is made. Croatian developer, Croteam and game publisher Majesco, combine a classic first person shooter with an HD update.  The result brings a blast from the past on X-box LIVE with the Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter.

The games plot is just as ‘out there’ as any first person shooter. Earth is involved in a conflict between Mental (The bad guy) and the Sirians, an alien race that left their junk aka items all over our planet. In the 22nd century Mental’s forces return to Earth bent on crushing mankind. The humans use the “Time Lock” a Sirian device that can send a single individual back through time. That’s right JUST ONE. Obviously because he is the hero of the story that individual is Sam “Serious” Stone. As the game opens, Sam lands in ancient Egypt. He travels from one Egyptian monument to the next, fighting against all the monsters Mental throws after him (and there are a lot) If that is not the set up for a first person shooter I don’t know what is 😉

The Good
The most obvious positive point for this game is in the title. Taking a game from 2001 and giving it a high definition facelift is going to make the visuals pop on a HD television and for fans of the original, this game does not disappoint.  If you had a heart on for this game then playing this port will be really special for you. This is especially true now that this game supports a four-player co-op campaign and XBLA achievements. The action is also a strong point of this game. Wave after wave of enemies come barreling at you and will keep you franticly trying to target them all (especially the ones holding bombs!)

The Bad

The game seems to spawn new enemies whenever you take up a new item.  So any items you see become synonymous with traps. As you go on in the game you actually end up leaving weapons alone!  Mainly because you know that what you have is good enough and you wont have to face yet another torrent of Mental’s minions. After a while the literal wave after wave of enemies kinda gets boring.  Targets don’t sneak up on you… or drop down on top of you… or snipe you from afar. They run at you ALL THE TIME. The lack for variation becomes apparent after while. They don’t even look for cover. That brings another bad point of the game. The lack of strategy. With enemies that just run up and shoot or explode in your face. Your basic and only strategy is to move back and shoot maybe to the side to help you dodge bullets but it’s mostly back, back and back again which becomes pretty stale.

Here’s the deal

As ports go, Serious Sam HD does a nice job. It’s eye candy for those who have played the original and want to go “Hey remember that game Serious Sam: The First Encounter? Well they did an HD port of it and it looks great!” But porting the game to HD doesn’t make it a great game. Games like these totally survive on the nostalgia factor. Because none of the gameplay has been updated the gameplay conventions FEEL old and betray the HD facelift that the developers worked so hard to give to this classic shooter. Changing the game play would no longer make this game a pure port, But in doing so the developers make this game an HD time capsule showing new players how far first person shooters have come since 2001 while giving veteran players a chance to relive one of their old favorites. 7/10 NIGEL H.

~ by consolecreatures on February 4, 2010.

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