Serious Sam Double D XXL Review
Move over BK, there’s a new stacker in town.
Serious Sam Double D is a Side-Scrolling Shooter that started as a PC exclusive in 2011, and this week it becomes Serious Sam Double D XXL on the Xbox Live Arcade. I enjoyed the PC version so I was excited to see what Mommy’s Best Games had in store for us with this extra-large version.
Serious Sam games aren’t known for their memorable stories and Serious Sam Double D XXL is no exception. The game starts off with Sam landing in Egypt, and with the help of his trusty AI NETRICSA, he has to track down some of Mental’s old beacons and destroy them. There is a little dialogue in the game, but it’s mostly just for comedic relief, so you’ll be disappointed if you were hoping for a well told story. Longtime Serious Sam fans aren’t here for the story though, they’re here to kill hordes of enemies with big guns, and Serious Sam Double D XXL does not disappoint.
Even though it’s played as a side-scrolling shooter instead of the traditional First-Person view, Serious Sam Double D XXL is a Serious Sam game through and through, with classic enemies such as the Gnaar, Kleer, Biomechanoids and of course the Headless Rocketeers, Bombers and Kamikazes, weapons like the Shotgun, Flamethrower, Tommy Gun, Chainsaw and Rocket Launcher, secret areas to find, health, armor and ammo pick-ups and lots and lots of trigger pulling action. Mommy’s Best Games took everything you love about Serious Sam and added in some of their own creations like the flying Chimputee that is armed with an Axe and a Grenade Launcher and the Vuvuzelator, which is a stack of pancakes that blasts you with the always annoying Vuvuzela. It wouldn’t be a Serious Sam game without a few ridiculous new enemies.
The biggest thing that Mommy’s Best Games brought to the series has to be the Gunstacker, which is a new system that lets you stack up to six different weapons on top of each other and fire all of them at once. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds. Throughout the game you’ll find new Connectors, which let you add more guns to the stack, and you can create eight different stack combinations for different strategies. Maybe you want to go with a stack of Chainsaws and Flamethrowers to thin out large mobs or maybe you want to mix things up and stack a random assortment of weapons, it’s up to you. I became quite fond of my stack of Rocket Launchers and Flamethrowers for groups of larger enemies and the massive bosses and the rest of the time I went with the Chainsaw, Flamethrower, Tommy Gun, Shotgun, Grenade Launcher and another Tommy Gun on top. Trust me, it won’t let you down.
New to the XXL version are weapon attachments, which you can buy from the Trader during each level, using credits that you’ll collect from fallen enemies. These attachments include the Damage Stacker that increases the damage of all of the guns in that stack, Cybernetic Bees which fires a swarm of bees that will lift enemies up in the air and eat away their armor, the Money Grubber which pulls credits towards you, the Ponzificator which will duplicate dropped credits, the Beetle Baller which will send out a group of flesh-eating beetles and many more. You can also now buy Ammo upgrades from the Trader, which will increase the clip size of each weapon. This is a big upgrade from Serious Sam Double D that adds more variety to the weapons and collecting more credits to buy more upgrades increases the replay value of each level.
When I first heard about Serious Sam Double D and that it would be a side-scrolling shooter, I was a little skeptical, but after playing both the original PC version and the new XXL version, I have to say that it works quite well. The levels are well designed, with tons of secrets to find and some great platforming sections as well. Sam can already jump pretty high, but you can also use the JumpPad to reach areas that are out of Sam’s normal reach. You can stick the JumpPad to the ground, walls or even on top of an enemy and you’ll need to get creative with it to find all of the secret areas. It’s a pretty cool little gadget that comes in handy quite often.
If you don’t speed through each level, and you take the time to try to find all of the secrets, the campaign in Serious Sam Double D XXL will take you anywhere from six to eight hours to complete. After that you can test your skills in the challenge levels, which you’ll unlock as you find Mommy’s Best Games tokens throughout each level. During the challenge levels, you’ll have a specific stack of weapons and you’ll have to kill a certain number of enemies before you die. They can be a little hard when playing by yourself, but they are a fun distraction after you’re done with the campaign.
The update in Serious Sam Double D XXL that I was most excited for was the inclusion of two player co-op in the campaign and challenge maps, but I soon found out that it’s far from perfect. For starters, it’s two player offline only, and in my opinion if you’re going to add co-op to your game, it needs to be online as well. The next disappointing thing about the co-op is that only the first player can earn achievements or post in the leaderboards while playing co-op, so the second player has to go back and do it all over again by themselves. I’ve seen other games do this, and I hated it then too. If you can play the game together, you should be able to earn achievements together. I recognize that these issues may not be major to everyone, but they bothered me and I thought they were worth mentioning. On the flip side, I do like the fact that it’s drop-in, drop-out co-op, and since the game can get pretty hard at times, it’s nice that you can revive each other and that there is a great checkpoint system in place.
The XXL version of Serious Sam Double D also includes a new multiplayer arena mode that lets you can go head to head with another local player in a fight to the death. The matches are played on small, Mario Bros. styled maps and I just found it to be quite boring. It’s by far the least fun part of the entire game and I’m not sure why anyone though it was a good idea. In my opinion, their time would have been better spent on making the co-op online instead of including a barebones, boring multiplayer mode.
Despite some of the issues that I have with the co-op and multiplayer aspects of the game, Serious Sam Double D XXL is by far the best game that Mommy’s Best Games have ever created. The Gunstacker system was a brilliant idea and combined with the new weapon attachments, it adds a whole new layer of fun to the game. Mommy’s Best Games have long been one of the big names in the Xbox Live Indie scene, but Serious Sam Double D XXL takes them to the next level, and they deserve all of the success that they get from it. If you’re a long time fan of the Serious Sam series, go buy this game, you won’t regret it.
Bonus Points: 902 points for having a level set in Nova Scotia.