Developer: Mommy’s Best Games
Review Platform: Xbox 360 / Xbox LIVE Arcade
Review Copy Provided By: Mastertronic
Release Date: February 20, 2013
What happens when you take a first person shooter like Serious Sam and mix a little Contra in? You get Serious Sam Double D XXL from Mommy’s Best Games. XXL is a console port of the PC game Serious Sam Double D and adds local co-op with more missions, challenges, enemies, and upgrades. MBG is best known for Nathan Fouts and his Xbox Indie Game, Weapon of Choice. It is easy to see that DD draws influence with Fouts’ previous works while keeping the Serious Sam feel to it.
Serious Sam is known for massive amounts of insanely designed enemies that the time traveling Sam has to destroy on his way to the end of each level. DD XXL keeps this formula and moves it from the first person shooter genre into a side scrolling twin stick shooter on par with games like Weapon of Choice or Contra. If you have never played a Serious Sam game then the character design may shock you. Headless enemies with cartoon bombs for hands and cyborg animals are just the tip of the iceberg. If a preteen boy on a Mountain Dew-infused sugar high can think of it, then it is probably in Serious Sam DD XXL. The ever present villain in the Serious Sam universe, Mental, is appropriately named.
Fouts’ influence on the graphics is obvious as much of it has a hand drawn watercolor look to it. The characters the game almost look as if they are paper puppets which has a surprisingly pleasing aesthetic to it. Mixed in with the character design, it is easy to feel as if you are playing a game that is the in the mind of a hyperactive child raised on comic books and Saturday morning TV None of it feels forced though.
Do you know what is better than a shotgun? Two shotguns and a chainsaw stacked on top of each other. That Tommy gun not doing enough damage for you? Stack three of them together and create a shower of lead that will hold off any horde. That is the beauty of the gun-stacker system. As long as you have the weapons and modules, you can stack up to 6 weapons to customize and strategize the kind of destruction you want to deliver upon the hordes of enemies. The system is so simple and keeps with the spirit of the Serious Sam line of games; unadulterated chaos and violence.
The weapon upgrade system adds another level of strategy to the gun play. Players can kill enemies and pick up little green control boxes that become DD XXL’s form of cash that Sam can spend at a merchant that appears at least once every level. Upgrades include things like the Air Buffer for the default gun and allows Sam to float down slowly as long as the gun is firing or one that shoots out turrets that can be used to assist Sam against the horde. The upgrades when paired with the gun stacking system allows players to personalize their own version of slaughter and is likely to bring the sadist back to see the different kinds of destruction they can create.
A Serious Sam game would not be a Serious Sam game without an Egypt level and once again that is where DD XXL starts Sam. Once out of Egypt, Sam will also head to Jurassic Canada and Pompeii Rome. The levels are a bit more ingenious than one might expect from this game type. They are filled with secrets, puzzles, and humor. An example is that enemy bodies hang around after you kill them and there are several areas in the game where you have to create platforms out of the massive piles of corpses to get across traps like spike pits.
The drop in and out couch co-op is a nice addition that XXL brings to the DD formula. If the gun stacking system wasn’t enough unfettered destruction, co-op allows you to double it and keep with the spirit of Serious Sam. DD XXL is full of testosterone filled moments of WTF that are perfect to share with your buddies.
Serious Sam Double D XXL takes the pc original and expands it into a better game. Adding co-op and weapon upgrades increases the fun factor ten fold. DD XXL is a game that screams “I am bat shit insane” but that is okay. Sometimes we need a game that is off the wall and filled with flying apes and banana bombs.