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Serious Sam Classic Discuss anything and everything relating to Serious Sam Classic and its 2 parts; The First Encounter and The Second Encounter.

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Old 03-16-2013, 12:37 PM   #1   Add To Ignore List  
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Default [FE SP/Coop/DM] Slaughter House

Slaughter House

Author(s) : Povilas Kinderis
Game : Serious Sam : The First Encounter
Type : Single Player, Co-op & Versus


Whan I said that The Forgotten Place was the second level to be created by author Povilas Kinderis, I was mistaken. It was actually the last. This level is actually the second published by him only 9 days after the release of The Heart of Egypt. To my credit, judging by the merit of the gameplay alone, I would have been fooled into thinking that this is the third and final level that he had created for Serious Sam : The First Encounter.
This map has some pretty good looking outdoor and indoor areas.

The inexperience shows when you look at the visuals alone. The rooms show a lot less geometric detail than in his other maps, showing blocky brushes, mostly fullbright rooms, CSG holes, blurry textures and hall of mirror effects. This is most evident in the first few areas of the level. I also spotted a couple of instances where the author sticks textures and decals of the Serious Sam logo and his avatar, seemingly at random, taking a bit away from the overall visual experience. Moreover, the level suffers from slowdowns at a couple of points, dipping as low as 45 frames per second during one of the fly-around cutscenes.
Truth be told, this is the ugliest room in the level, and the only place where the missing polygons & hall of mirrors effects appeared.

Despite those flaws, the overall visual themes are interesting, delivering almost alien-looking otherworldly visuals with custom industrial textures and reflective arches. In fact, as I play through the level, I noticed that the visuals get better and better, up to the quality level simillar to what was found in The Heart of Egypt. This leads me to believe that this was the first level he ever started to work on. One thing that I am very thankful for is that the fly-around cutscenes are skippable.
Seriously though, what IS with those decals and textures?

The gameplay itself is significantly better than the other two levels he had produced. Eschewing the in-your-face style of enemy spawning this time around, the battles are large-scale and fluent enough that you can get through it in about 1 hour on Normal difficulty, slaughtering almost 2000 enemies along the way. There is enough enemy variety in the waves thrown at you that it does not feel stale or repetitive. In fact, the only homogenous waves I have encountered in this level are with Harpies, and the final encounter which is a dump of common Reptiloids. The combat is also a lot more easier than in his other maps, as the author is quite generous with the super health, armor and ammunition pick-ups, but unlike the combat in City of Gold, it still is not a walk in the park, especially in Serious difficulty. Unfortunately, just like with The Forgotten Place, the intensity of the combat peaks at around 2/3rds of the way through the level before petering out. The final encounter, as mentioned, is a lazy Reptiloid dump. There is absolutely no tension in that fight as they could very easily be dispatched by firing a few cannonballs into the room where they spawn.
This map does not shy away from giving you room to fight through.

Also just like with The Heart of Egypt, the level contains no secrets and the map sprawl is restricted to picking a lane in open areas to fight through. There are a lot of spots in this level which could have been perfect spots for secrets. Another simillarity is the complete lack of plot. There are no netricsa messages and no plot-oriented cutscenes. Flying around the level with cheats enabled, it really seemed like there was a lot more to this map that was originally planned, but never made it to the final stages of production.

The music is quite fitting, it takes from the Sacred Yards level from the core campaign, and it fits well with the more open style of architecture. It very much brings the memories of finding that secret level in co-op for the very first time. How appropriate, this level features support for co-operative play and there is a considerable increase in the amount of enemies to fight if players spread out through the open areas. There are enough co-operative checkpoints that players can freely drop in and out of a game without worrying about getting equipped with the proper weapons.

The readme is in the same format as the readme file from The Heart of Egypt, giving the usual info about the level, the extra assets included, the test machines used, the tester lineup, construction info and copyright info. The selling point of this level, according to the readme file, is the amount of enemies that players fight each playthrough, and it sure did deliver on that. What is odd is that this level seems to have include a versus map (CoolDM) in the package, and yet it is not mentioned anywhere in the readme file. The deathmatch map is a basic cross-shaped, 2-storey indoor complex with spiral stairs connecting the upper and lower floors at the arms and a central hole leading to the pool at the center of the lower level. The visuals of the map are pretty good for what it is and it looks like it could be fun for for 2~5 players to frag each other in.
Deathmatch level shots if anyone's curious.

Overall, it is a pretty good package that includes a co-operative focused slaughterhouse of a map (that is quite playable in single-player) and a versus map. If you are looking for a fresh co-operative experience, this is one of the better ones. I highly recommend that you check it out and play it with your friends!

Overall Score : 72.5% Good
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:15 PM   #2   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: [FE SP/Coop/DM] Slaughter House

I remember playing this map on my old PC. The framerates in the outside areas were uplayable, at about 10-20 fps. I guess it is not optimized with visibility sectors or LOD. I had to use "please god" to complete it because of that. But other than that, it was a nice map.

Last edited by God Of Gaming; 03-16-2013 at 04:19 PM.
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