Memories of Duum
Author(s) : IrCarX Iirion Claus
Game : Serious Sam : The First Encounter
Type : Single Player & Co-operative
Seeing how the gameplay of Serious Sam resembled that of Id software’s Doom, with their mostly blocky architecture and how it threw a lot of enemies at the player, it is only a matter of time before someone uses the Serious Sam gameplay stylus to write a love letter to Doom. A young mapper, by the name of IrCarX Iirion Claus, is that person. The story presented in the map is very simple ; You are in a strange place and you have to find an exit. This means that this is most likely going to be a very short map, and after playing through it, it turns out that it is.
Even from the beginning, the player can see that the map screams Doom. The simplistic and squarish architecture, the industrial style mood and setting. The Doom feel is recreated very faithfully, a little bit too faithfully, in fact. While it is all well and good that the style of architecture is mimicked, there really is no reason not to take advantage the Serious Sam engine has over the Doom engine to polish the map’s architecture and visuals. There are even some points where the visuals take away from the gameplay, namely the room of pillars where the moving lights make it confusing and difficult to find enemies coming after you. There is also a couple of visual glitches present in the map like the invisible elevator at a certain part. All the same, credit has to be given for taking the theme as far as he did.
Oddly enough, there is absolutely no background music used in this map, which, among other things, does make it feel like the map is unfinished.
The gameplay is mostly standard fare for Serious Sam, but with the difficulty bumped up a notch or two. The reasons the battles were sort of tough are due to several factors; The first reason is the fact that health items in the map are pretty tight and are sometimes inadequate to the given situation. The second reason is visibility, some of the fights are harder than it should be because the enemies are barely visible half of the time. The third reason is that the enemies are oddly-sized in this map, throwing the mechanics of combat a little off. While these reasons are not necessarily detrimental to the map, there are many areas where I feel that these aspects could be greatly improved. The disappointing final battle doesn’t do much to help things either. By the way, you only get to shoot half of the more simpler weapons in this map.
The non-combat aspect of the gameplay is also quite non-existent. In fact, it really feels like a beginner mapper’s practice WLD file. There are many doors in this map that only opens once and then closes for good, and there are doors that should be closed but got stuck on open. In my play-through, I had to use the “please open” cheat a couple of times because I missed an opening door. The use of gravity markers, while creative, does get abused in the beginning. The extent of puzzle-solving in this map amounts to one instance of “Press Button X shown here to activate door/event Y”
My final gripe on the gameplay, and I really cannot get over it, is the fact that the map ends abruptly right after you have slain the last frog. And that is it; There’s no door to walk through, no ending cutscene to conclude what little story element this map has, nada. It just cuts to Netricsa where it shows that you have completed the level. This is bad, very very bad, as it takes away the player’s choice to explore the rest of the level or even exit the level at their own pace. Imagine if you’re on Karnak and the level immediately changes to Luxor as soon as you have slain the last enemy before you have a chance to pick up the mega health and armor you have saved up for after the battle. Would you like that? No, you won’t. All this contributes strongly to the feeling that this map is incomplete and that IrCarX Iirion Claus have rushed the production to get it released faster.
This map can be played on a network, but you better hope that you don’t get stuck on a door or pass away because you will be boned. On the plus side, the read me file is pretty informative and the Netricsa messages are pretty adequate considering the context of the simplistic map.
So is the map worth downloading and playing? Well, for what it’s worth, I did enjoy playing through it and felt that the mapper really did, for the most part, put in some effort into making it. At best, it would be a 15-20 minute long enjoyable insight into how a beginner mapper would make a map. At worst, you will have killed 15-20 minutes of your time. So download it and play it a couple of times, the map deserves at least one playthrough.
Overall Score : 50% Fair
Download : [Link]