Serious Sam: Double D

A few months ago, three crack indie game development studios were tasked to create games based on their own re-imagining of a franchise they didn’t create. These development studios promptly turned their talents to create three brand new, strikingly different but instantly recognisable Serious Sam games, all sanctioned by the original developers Croteam and publisher Devolver Digital. The first of these to be released is Serious Sam: Double D from Mommy’s Best Games; the same studio that brought you the killer Weapon of Choice Xbox Live Indie game.

Serious Sam: Double D takes the form of a 2D side-scrolling platformer that sees you navigating Sam through hordes of Mental’s minions whilst shooting them all in their faces, so it’s nice to see that Mommy’s Best Games have still managed to nail exactly what it means to be a Serious Sam title. They’ve made a few of their own adjustments, however…

The coolest and most noticeable addition comes in the form of the Gun Stacker, which is pretty much self-explanatory: you can stack your guns, one on top of the other. It can come across a bit gimmicky when you first encounter it, but scratch the surface and you’ve suddenly got to start planning how you stack your guns. Do you take four tommy guns and quadruple your damage at the cost of your ammo draining four times as quickly? Or should you take a variety, but risk wasting ammo on less vulnerable enemies? What first strikes you as nothing more than a mindless gimmick quickly adds quite a bit of depth to an otherwise brainless escapade. You’d be forgiven for thinking that that was the only creative endeavour too.

On several occasions I found myself needing to use the bodies of my fallen enemies — and let’s face it, it’s not like there was a shortage of them — to overcome obstacles in my path. A good example of this would be the pit that you’re dropped into early on, with seemingly no way out, secret or otherwise, only for enemies to start piling in seconds later. At which point it’s up to you to start racking up the kills and eventually the bodies will pile high enough for you to jump straight out of the pit. On another occasion, I found I had to lure enemies into a spike pit so that I could safely cross along the bodies that were clogging up the spikes. I’m actually surprised that I’ve never seen such a simple and effective game mechanic like that being used before.

Another cool feature is the portable jump pad: a pad you can throw at any nearby point on the ground (or even on dead bodies for extra height) and jump on it to reach areas you couldn’t with a normal jump. It’s another example of those deceptively deep gameplay mechanics that keep popping up in Double D, because creative use of the jump pad can reward you with hidden items and shortcuts. It won’t be long after you get it that you’ll find yourself doing chains of wall-jumps to reach areas inaccessible even with a boosted jump or sending enemies hurtling to their doom with it.

All of this serves to make Double D a very enjoyable and challenging game and one that you can play for extended periods of time, which is a problem I had with the original Serious Sam games. I found the situation in previous Serious Sam games got very repetitive, very quickly, but Double D provides just enough variety to keep you going, and at the same time it remains true to the carnage and craziness that you have no doubt come to expect from Serious Sam.







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