Serious Sam: The First Encounter (Retro Review)

Serious Sam: The First Encounter (Retro Review)

Serious Sam: The First Encounter from Croteam was originally available on PC but was ported over to Xbox (the original) and even though that happened so many years ago (on PC SS hit in March of 2001), SS:TFE has lost nothing in the interim. The frantic action is still amazing, the graphics are still great, the sounds really help create an atmosphere that will make you jump as you hear in the distance the headless suicide bomber yelling and getting louder but you just can’t quite see him.

Serious Sam has been given an HD remake release on PC and also coming to Xbox 360 by Devolver Digital and {company name} and that has gotten us at PPG to think about going back and reviewing the original (not everyone has a computer that can enjoy the new HD remake, or have access to a 360).

Unlike most retro titles, you don’t have to get yourself into a certain mindset, like accepting that graphics just weren’t that great when the game in question was new, you just load up SS:TFE, check the controls and run for your life and blast anything that moves (no worries about NPC’s that you shouldn’t shoot here, just mindless shooting fun done right).

When SS:TFE was released, it was a breath of fresh air, a time when enemies that were clearly larger than you were usually reserved for bosses of some sort, most assuredly mini bosses. In SS:TFE, you are fighting creatures that are your size and smaller right alongside creatures that tower over you, some by a foot or two, others by the ten foot or more. Mechanized enemies, explosive enemies, fast enemies (those bulls come to mind and so do the headless suicide bombers) to really slow enemies (that crab creature is just, um, yeah).

Weapons are well represented on both sides here, you aren’t limited to pistols but can pick up some reall nice firepower that will eat the enemies up like mince meat. Keep in mind though, they have just as varied a collection of firepower ranging from heat seeking meteors to lasers all the way up to missiles. Frantic action is definitely on the agenda here, very little having to worry about reading page after page of text for a story, just hit start, load up the guns and shoot. Simple. Fun.

Artwork and levels are definitely in line with an Egyptian theme (similar to Power Slave from Playmates Interactive) but liberties are taken where it will benefit the levels or general gameplay in a positive manner. You are basically travelling across Egypt here with aliens in control. The levels are not just inside, square corridors either, you have bridges, water, stairs, rooms over rooms and such to deal with, not to mention the expansive outside areas that are available in some levels. Definitely unique for the time, old hat for gamers that cut their teeth on current gen stuff- I still dare you to find a game that is this frantic and hectic in nature.

9 out of 10

Review by Carl “tiverse” Williams

Rated: Mature
Original Release Date: March 2001
Serious Sam: The First Encounter Recommended System Specs:
PIII 500 or equivalent
128 MB
Video Memory:
16 MB
Hard Drive Space:
450 MB

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
Serious Sam: The First Encounter (Retro Review), 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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