In 2011, Mommy’s Best Games released their 2D take on the insane shooter Serious Sam, with Serious Sam: Double D for PC. Players rushed their way through numerous, and equally outrageous levels as waves of enemies pushed forward into a hailstorm of flames, rockets, and shotgun blasts. Now, the studio is hoping their XBLA port, Serious Sam: Double D XXL can capture the hearts of passionate action gamers.
Bringing Double D XXL to XBLA has allowed the team at Mommy’s Best to implement new features and content into the core experience including challenge levels, missions, and weapons. In addition, players are able to hop into the brand new co-op campaign which brings Dan “Huff” Huffington into the second player’s control. Venturing through the co-op campaign can prove to be great for simply letting loose on the couch, but “Huff” often comes off as a little too obnoxious. Of course, if you have a friend who happens to be slightly obnoxious it might be just be the perfect fit.
Luckily, the campaign leaves Huff in a completely different time period and allows players to enjoy one brainless action hero at a time. Sam may not be the smartest guy, but he certainly knows how to decimate hordes of ridiculous enemies. This is the core of Serious Sam, pure over-the-top action. Giving players a huge arsenal is the heart and soul of what makes the game charming, and the fundamental idea that allows the plot to simply boil down into a condensed bowl of “annihilate everything” soup.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the key ingredients for this are destruction and chaos. These two ideas combine to form the awesome “gunstacking”game mechanic. Players utilize this feature by combining up to six weapons in a stack, purchasing and applying weapon modifiers, and then watching their incredible display of firepower blast through the waves of enemies in front of them. It’s an awesome feeling to create a stack of tri-beam laser rifles, saw-blade shotguns, and grenade launchers that unleash flesh eating beetles. Yet, the game also encourages players to strategize how they stack their guns, as opposed to allowing for reckless combinations. Piling heat-seeking missiles on the bottom will only limit their range, so be sure that they are stacked high in order to gain maximum effectiveness.
As the bodies begin to pile up, you quickly realize that you’re not fighting just for the sake of violence. In fact, taking out foes actually lets you gain access to certain sections of the game’s levels, and can also provide its heroes with safe passage over dangerous terrain. Platforming plays a key role in uncovering secret areas that offer players the chance to uncover hidden connector parts, additional weapons, and insane money drops. By collecting these extra parts, players will see a significant increase in their firepower, which encourages them to venture off the beaten path. Perhaps the most engaging platforming moments are when you shoot a machine to slow down time, and cautiously climb your way up a volley of missiles. These brief platforming sections provide enough pause from the action that once the kamikaze pancakes rush you again, you’re ready for more destruction.
Double D XXL focuses on creating over-the-top action by throwing waves of enemies at you over the course of its three act campaign. Each act houses a wide range of enemies. Magma monsters riding pogo sticks, pterodactyls mounted with machine guns, and hamster bosses are just a few of the crazy encounters you will venture into. By making use of outrageous enemy types, the game provides enough variety to consistently last the 5 – 6 hours it will take you to complete its campaign. This serves the game a great justice by allowing players to enjoy the action without feeling jaded by the end.
Once you’ve finished the campaign, there are a few options that will attempt to satisfy your desire for mayhem. You can jump into the co-op missions mentioned earlier, or explore the challenge levels and head-to-head mode. These additional game modes provide a few extra hours of content, and expert shooter fans should have no problem clearing out each challenge stage. However, the head-to-head mode can offer a great time if you and a friend are looking to kill some time on the couch.
Serious Sam: Double D XXL is a game that targets a very specific audience. Utilizing the two key concepts of destruction and chaos allowed the developers to create a highly focused game on pure action. With a co-op campaign, head-to-head mode and challenge arena, action fans can easily justify the 800 Microsoft Point purchase. Just remember that the only thing Serious Sam is serious about is over-the-top action. If that’s what you’re looking for, then Double D XXL is waiting for you to stack your weapons and pile up the bodies.
This review is based on the Xbox Live Arcade copy we were provided with.