Serious Sam HD by Majesco is a remake of the PC classic. Unlike Doom or Duke Nuke ‘em, Serious Sam took the FPS genre in a completely different direction with gritty, non-stop carnage. Even after the HD facelift, Serious Sam still succeeds at being a fast-paced FPS with intense action.
Self-proclaimed Halo experts should check their green helmets at the door before donning the white t-shirt and blue jeans of Serious Sam. They’re in for one ‘serious’ ride when they enter the alien infested world of SSHD.
SSHD doesn’t bother with elaborate plots. Aliens have invaded Earth and Serious Sam is there to stop them. You must travel through desserts and Egyptian pyramids to collect four artifacts. Once you collect these artifacts you can then face off against Lord Mental.
There are 15 extensive levels with many secrets to uncover. Hidden ammo, armor, rooms, and weapons abound. Some hidden areas may trigger traps and other hazardous scenarios, so always be on your guard when exploring.
Each level is expansive and full of doors that need to be unlocked. The tried-and-true formula of ‘find an item to unlock door X” is present, but it’s mixed together with hidden levers, push blocks, and other triggers. This formula may sound dated compared to modern FPS, but SSHD has other ways of spicing things up while you’re working your way through Egypt. Unlike other FPS, the items you pick up will cause creatures to spawn. You read it right; that health replenisher you desperately need could very well be the last one you use. Some gamers may consider this a bit unfair, but I digress. The Serious Sam universe prides itself on being hard as nails.
The biggest gripe most gamers have with FPS on consoles are the controls. SSHD’s are fluid, responsive, and work the way they should. Since the action is arcade-based, there was no difficulty switching between weapons on the fly. You can toggle your weapons by using the shoulder buttons or the directional pad.
There are no checkpoints. You can save your game anytime you want by pressing the ‘Y’ button. The game also ‘quicksaves’ after you complete a level. You can also load a previous game without having to quit which is another plus.
The HD graphics are remarkable. The amount of detail seen in the walls, the use of colors throughout, and the Egyptian drawings on the temples have to be seen. Everything down to the cracks in the walls stand out.
The cast of alien goons that made the original so likable are also back in all their HD glory. The screamers with their bombs still come charging down hillsides to suicide bomb you into oblivion, the harpies swarm you like bees, and the grunts keep coming at you with a relentless unrest. The increase in graphical quality compared to the original 2001 PC release is apparent. SSHD is a feast for the eyes.
SSHD is a fantastic edition to the XBL Arcade marketplace. What it lacks in story it gives back in knuckle-whitening arcade action. It’s bloody, fast-paced, and full of unique experiences. Do yourself a favor and experience the carnage that is SSHD today.
Score 10 out of 10
Mike ‘STGuy1040‘ Pittaro
Platform: Xbox 360 / XBL Arcade