I have a confession to make. I never played Serious Sam back in the day. That's right. One hell of a noob, me.
I knew all about it, of course. I knew about the gore, the one liners, the barmy enemies, the huge bosses, the big weapons, the time travelling, the ancient Egypt setting - all of it I'd heard about. Now though, over eight years after it was originally released on PC, I can happily proclaim that I have played Serious Sam. Well, a high definition remake at least.
It counts, though, because bar the complete "built from the ground up in HD with trillions of polygons using the Serious Engine 3" approach Croatian developer Croteam has taken with Serious Sam HD, it's the same game: same rooms, same puzzles, same enemies, same Serious Sam. If you're like me and missed out back in the day, the game affords a welcome opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.
So, what is all the fuss about? Having played a preview build of the PC version, I can safely say that Serous Sam HD is an old school PC FPS, and that's just the way it should be. It's fast in a way that modern day first-person shooters aren't, but don't let that put you off. Serious Sam HD, from what I've played, is serious fun. No nonsense, no brain cells required fun. It's about having a quick trigger finger and a twitchy wrist. You can pick SSHD up and play it, just shooting the hordes of monstrous enemies in the face and pushing switches here and there to solve simple puzzles until you complete the game. Or at least, that's the way things are on the easier difficulties. A challenge is there if you want it, but if you don't, SSHD isn't so old school that it'll punch you in the face then add insult to injury by kicking you in the gut while you're down.
To give you an idea of just how barmy Serious Sam is, here's the premise: you play muscle-bound nutjob Sam "Serious" Stone, who travels back through time to ancient Egypt to kill the forces of the alien overlord Notorious Mental. That's right. The baddy is called Notorious Mental.
It's all just an elaborate excuse to shoot demons in the face of course, and oh my, what demons SSHD has. Here's a list of a few of the enemy types I encountered during my play through of the opening Thebes level: Headless Kamikaze (no heads, bombs for hands, charge at you screaming); Sirian Werebulls (take ages to kill but can be coerced into smashing down previously impassable doors); guys with buzz saws for heads; creatures that look like they should be on the front of a packet of Monster Munch; little bastard frog things; screeching, flying harpies; skeleton horses that charge at you from every direction; and huge robot walkers.
While the majority of the enemies you go up against are sensibly sized, some are not. In the Valley of the Kings level I went up against an Ugh-Zan: an enormous boss reminiscent of the four-armed demon Goro from Mortal Kombat. It was a quite spectacular sight - its new fangled graphical fidelity and its sheer size almost bowling me over.