Serious Sam Double D XXL is a very loud and intense game, as you may have guessed from the title. It is an updated port of the original Serious Sam Double D from Mommy’s Best Games, known for their indie titles such as Shoot 1 Up and Explosionade. Serious Sam DD XXL is an officially sanctioned title from Croteam, and is a part of the “Serious Sam Indie Series.” Creative talent Nathan Fouts has taken the zany and outrageous action found in the Serious Sam universe and spliced it with a 2-D shooting action a la Contra, to mixed results.
The main selling point of the game is guns. Lots of guns. Guns that can be stacked onto one another to resemble something…ridiculous. The game allows you to “stack” guns of various types, ranging from the simple tommy gun to the rocket launcher. In order to stack your guns to deal maximum damage, you will have to find connectors scattered throughout the levels of Serious Sam DD XXL. Some are hidden in secret areas, while others can be found relatively easily. By stacking your guns, you will be able to take down ridiculously epic enemies, such as mutant dinosaurs, amputee chimps, flying kittens with flamethrowers, magma monsters on pogo sticks, and kamikaze dominatrices. All of the art is hand drawn with love, and some of the creativity is quite inspiring. The music is hit or miss. Some of the heavier metal tracks can really pump you up, while the softer ambient songs are mediocre. The title screen music is atrocious, however.
The game features three acts, with multiple levels in each one. There are tons of pickups for ammo, health, and armor. Brain controllers can be collected from enemies, which allow you to spend money with a strange shopkeeper. In shops, you can spend your currency on weapon upgrades for each gun, giving the player a surprising amount of variety with firepower. Aside from the common pickups, there are also developer tokens that can be found that will allow for specific challenge rooms.
Most missions are standard, with a few twists. Many stages feature use of the time-stopper, which might allow Sam to jump on rockets or kill enemies in slow-mo. Almost all stages force Sam to make use of his throwable jump pad in order to reach new heights. There are also three vehicle levels scattered throughout the game, involving patently absurd methods of transportation. Where Serious Sam DD XXL seriously shines, however, is when you have a full stack of guns and are blasting through hoards of enemies. Your Xbox, like mine, may grind to a halt from the mayhem. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t hit its stride until towards the end, when you have access to all of the amazing firepower. The game begins slowly, featuring a bit too many simplistic lever and door mechanisms that can detract from the exciting gun gameplay. Truly, Serious Sam DD XXL is a game meant to be played more than once. With a short campaign lasting three to five hours, multiple difficulty levels, a setting for game speed, and leaderboards, the game becomes more enjoyable on subsequent playthroughs when you have a bigger arsenal to play around with. Add in the unlockable challenge rooms and versus maps, and there is room for replayability.