Serious Sam: The Random Encounter

So you’ve played Serious Sam: Double D and Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack; what now? How about the third game in the Serious Sam Indie series: Serious Sam: The Random Encounter? Developed by Vlambeer, they decided to go in an entirely different direction for their take and have come up with a game that takes the world of Serious Sam and puts it in an entirely different genre. Indeed, not only have they managed to make a turn-based RPG out of Serious Sam, but I think it’s the best turn-based RPG I’ve ever played. Who ever actually liked Final Fantasy anyway?

First off, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter immediately sets itself apart with its art style. While Double D and Kamikaze Attack both took a very Monty Python-esque approach to their art style (possibly inspired by the multiple Monty Python references in the original games) The Random Encounter employs a distinctly retro vibe. Pixel art and MIDI soundtracks are the order of the day here and it’s just beautiful. Every Serious Sam enemy and ally from games past has been re-rendered as a loveable 2D sprite. Even Sam himself has been lavishly remade as a beefed up caricature of his original self.

The Random Encounter‘s gameplay is noticeably unique too. As you progress through the world map, you’ll come upon the titular random encounters with enemies. Battles are turned based, and each turn lasts five seconds. In this five second gap, enemies will come screaming towards you thick and fast. It’s up to you to pick the right weapons to deal with the enemies between each five second round. There’s no timer between rounds, so you’re free to take as long as you want to to decide what weapons will work best against your current enemy (protip: don’t underestimate the shotgun).

Enemies can also fire back at you too, but it’s here that the game can seem quite unfair. Not unfair because enemies can retaliate against your onslaught, but unfair because sometimes you can’t properly dodge their shots. The Random Encounter has a dodging mechanic whereby you can move your current set of characters up and down to dodge incoming fire and some enemies too. The problem lies with the enemies that attack in such a manner that you just can’t dodge all of their shots with all of your characters. The big yellow scorpion minigun enemy thing (known as “Arachnoids”, according to the wiki) is a particular nasty example of this type of thing. They fire a random scatter of shots that it’s quite possible to dodge with one character, but nearly impossible to simultaneously dodge with the other two. This is because the three characters you control all move up and down concurrently, and it’s quite limiting in that respect.

Like the other two games, though, The Random Encounter still manages to successfully capture what it means to be a Serious Sam game: shooting hordes of crazy enemies in their faces. Ultimately, this is what makes the game such ridiculously good fun and really that’s all that should matter.







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