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Serious Sam Double D XXL hand-ons

Ahead of the 20th February release date I’ve played through the first act of Mommy’s Best Games’ Serious Sam Double D XXL. Guns were fired and subsequently many intergalactic buttucks kicked. In some cases several guns were fired with one click of the trigger thanks to Sam’s best new friend, the Gunstack.

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Originally released for the PC in August 2011, SS DD XXL is being updated and brought to the XBLA marketplace. On the surface this has a Flash-based appearance. The character models are simplistic in design and animation. The lands they inhabitant are drawn in a style similar to old 1960s comic books. Appearances are not what Sam cares about, and the first thing I did in-game was walk left. In true mid-‘90s fashion there was a secret waiting for me.

For a series about time travel, it’s not so much that part of SS DD XXL feels old but the whole heart has been surgically removed and teleported from the nostalgic era of PC shareware. There were multiple secrets hidden within each part of Egypt. Some provided new armour and weaponary whilst others were intentionally pointless or lamponed other games and films. At any moment there would have been no surprise if Jazz Jackrabbit or Commander Keen leapt out and joined the war.

“ Firepower is certainly not amiss”Sam, however, has all the friends he needs in his trusty arsenal. This time around he’s able to use the Gunstack system. By collecting adjoining parts scattered throughout Egypt and beyond, up to six individual weapons can be stacked on top of each other. Do you want to take on Mental’s minions with a chainsaw attached to a machine gun attached to a Tommy gun attached to a shotgun attached to a – you get the point. Firepower is certainly not amiss.

The simple setup allows for easy control. Sam leaps high and you’re always given the benefit of the doubt when jumping for ledges and higher ground. Aliens can be mounted too which allows for some cinematic moments as you unleash a five-tier weapon into the mechanical skull of a giant robotic beast. The few puzzles were solvable via firepower and required the carcasses of enemies to be piled up to reach higher ground or suppress traps. Brawn over brains.

“Local two player co-op”Included in the package will be Challenges and Head-to-Head Arenas. The latter will provide grounds for two Sams to battle it out locally. Challenge mode is split into twelve even slices, each unlockable during the campaign by collecting hidden home-baked pies. It’s also worthy of note that the campaign will come equipped with local two player co-op.

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Following the rather dry and lackluster Serious Sam BFE on XBLA, this dishes out more of the colourful carnage the original was well received for. There are lots of guns. There are a lot of enemies. There are also some spelling mistakes and misjudged comedic attempts. Whether a simplistic 2D blast-em’up will survive a three act campaign is too be seen, but I’ll certainly be finding out and posting my final opinions closer to release.

The author of this fine article

is the Deputy Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @shaneryantb.

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