Serious Sam: The Random Encounter
Sometimes there is truth in advertising. Serious Sam: The Random Encounter (SS:TRE) is a Serious Sam game – backpedaling while shooting at ridiculously large groups of enemies is the norm. And there are a whole lot of random encounters – you spend most of your time in them.
Although Serious Sam: The Random Encounter is an RPG parody, it’s not an RPG. There are no stats. No XP. No LV-Ups. No detailed equipment system. Next to no story. Very little dialogue.
What Serious Sam: The Random Encounter does have is a very original, very fun battle system. Your team of 1-3 heroes backpedals on the right side of the screen while hordes of enemies approach from the left. Every 5 seconds, the action pauses allowing the player to enter in commands for each hero – aiming weapons, switching weapons, or using an expendable item. After all commands have been entered, combat resumes and the player can move up and down to dodge attacks and better aim their attacks. Repeat until one side is defeated.
The battle system is one part shmup, one part strategy game and is a complete blast. Each weapon has its own strengths and weakness and often its own aiming system so learning how best to use each weapon and when to use them is key to the game’s strategy.
On the downside, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter is incredibly short. The entire campaign took me a little less than 90 minutes to complete and that’s with having to restart a couple levels a few times because I ran out of lives. After completing the campaign, there’s a score-focused endless mode to play where you can see how many battles you can win before running out of lives, but even with that bonus, most players are unlikely to play the game for much more than a couple hours.
Still, I’d rather have a short and fun game than a long and tedious one. Here’s hoping that someone takes the wonderful framework than Vlambeer has created here and expands it out to a bigger, more complex game. In the meantime, enjoy your backpedaling carnage.
Serious Sam: The Random Encounter can be bought on Steam for $5.