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Monday, October 03, 2005

Seriously, Sam

I downloaded the Serious Sam II demo a couple days back and since the DSL was flaking out yesterday, I opted to give it a try. The CheapBox handled it OK ... preferring the the lower end of settings and 800x600 resolution. In other words, nearly the same setting as every other modern shooter out there.

My main problem wasn't the graphics, but the demo itself. I'm kinda surprised CroTeam released in it's current state. When it seemed like all there was to the demo was running around a rooftop trying out guns ... well, at least that was simple and fun. I kept wondering why I couldn't get past one point though, and apparently it was just that I hadn't shot down enough things ... or ... something. Opposed to the previous concept of having on huge wave, Serious Sam II seems to be based on the premise multiple waves. Sometimes there will be generators producing the enemies and some enemies can produce the enemies.

At first I was afraid this would devolve Sam from it's normal overwhelm-the-senses design, but later in the demo I was proven wrong. Sure enough, eventually there will be a storm of creeps bearing down on you. Enough that the CheapBox cried Uncle and required a settings adjustment.

No, the real problem is that it leaves the player a bit confused as to what is the real objective. Should they just stand and deliver and wait for the waves to finish or do they have to hunt down some spawn point first? In the short demo, I had to finish off waves, destroy generators and then finally just get to a specific point ... but I never really knew any of that before I actually (sometimes accidentally) did it.

The level was also plagued by invisible barriers, bizarre "secrets", and a jumping puzzle. Most of that could be easily resolved for the final game, but it was a shame to keep tripping over such things during the demo. Also, I'm begging them to add in a proper grenade toss anim, because having a grenade just sprout from the middle of your ... screen ... is wrong.

On a side note, I finished the day with Doom 3. Largely it was perfectly playable. There is, however, two downsides to it on the CB. One is that when id pulls on of their exploding wall tricks, the framerate crashes and I'm really defenseless against that monster closet. The second is that with a lower resolution, it's even harder to see sometimes.

Still, I'm hopeful someone will make a killer mod for Doom 3, so on the hard drive it stays.

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