Serious Sam: Double D ReviewPublisher: Croteam
, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
UK Price (as reviewed): £5.99 (inc VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $7.99 (ex tax)
How to describe Serious Sam: Double D? Irreverent? Gory? Childish? There's one adverb that could never be attached to SS:DD, and that's 'boring.' One of several indie titles that Croteam has allowed to use the Serious Sam universe, Mommy’s Best Games’ Serious Sam Double D is a 2D side-scroller with a serious attitude problem and a very strong tolerance for gore.
Double D slots into the continuity of the series quite well, however. Sam has defeated Mental and is travelling through time removing any stray minions he left behind when he first passed through on his killing spree. However, when he gets to Ancient Egypt, he finds out that everything is not as it seems; now he must fight his way through time to uncover the truth. Insert cliché here!
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The gameplay is incredibly simplistic, with Sam walking from left to right across hand drawn, cartoony backdrops and scenery, and shooting everything he sees. Good news: if you don’t like the artistic style of the backdrops, don’t worry because they become hidden behind a stack of bodies. In Serious Sam: Double D, the corpses of your fallen foes don’t fade away but instead become useful as a grizzly, bloody ramp. Occasionally you'll depend on this ramp to move on and access new areas, with enemies infinitely spawning until you've accomplished the task. One of the game's laughably simple puzzles is solved by filling a spike pit with corpses until you can climb out to safety; an example that almost crosses from irreverence to tastelessness.
Functionally, Double D has only one other unique mechanic: the gun stacker. As its unimaginative name suggests, this enables Sam to combine the functions of up to six guns on top of each other and fire them simultaneously, killing everything in an instant.
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Strangely, for such a bizarre and over-the-top mechanic, this introduces a measure of tactical thinking to Double D. Do you stack a pair of Tommy guns and try to kill enemies at range, or do you put a pair of chainsaws on top of a shotgun and jump into the middle of them? That's the extent of conscious thought that Double D requires, but it does provide some humour at the same time.
What the gun stacker doesn't add, however, is any appreciable long-term depth, as once you strike a decent combination of weapons it becomes easy to overly rely on it.
A portable jump pad adds a bit more complexity, plus the option to stand safely and watch as enemy suicide bombers are catapulted to their death. Still, this also gets old quickly and Double D rapidly collapses back to being an all-out shooter that derives all of its fun from the mindless scale of its action. This does make it a tremendously cathartic experience, however.