Serious Sam: Xbox Review

By Jason "Rodzilla" Rodzik - November 11, 2002

Making a first person shooter for a console is a challenging task. The lack of the standard Keyboard/Mouse combo that exists on every PC in existance means that the gamer is relying on the single joystick in their hands and the quality of work done by the developers. I myself am a longstanding PC gamer who shudders at the thought of playing FPS games with a controller. So I sat down with the game, powered up my XBox, and sat with the controller shaking in my hands.

The controller setup along with auto-aim works very well. Within twenty minutes of loading the game, I was blasting the heads off of enemies from half a mile away. Serious Sam: Xbox comes with three different setups for the buttons and four different setups for the joysticks by default. In addition to the standard controls(right), there's a beginner button and axes configuration, a lefty beginner axes configuration, and a lefty button and axes setup.

The ability to bind two of your favorite weapons to two different keys is a godsend. In the middle of a heated firefight, it simply takes too long to use the prev/next weapon keys to switch between weapons used on different bad guys. Being able to switch straight from the shotgun to rocket launcher with the push of the button was extremely helpful, and kept me alive numerous times.

But sometimes there's just too many different kinds of enemies to be dispatched without being able to switch immediately to any weapon. Unless you think a few seconds ahead, have the entire list of weapons engrained in your head so deeply that it's just basic instinct, and are able to hit those change weapons buttons really fast, there are times when you'll lose a good bit of your health while trying to find an appropriate weapon to most effectively deal with new threats.

Aiming with the controller, while feasable after a little practice, still isn't a great alternative to using a mouse. There just isn't enough precision to aim accurately over long distances. This is where auto-aim comes in. Move your cross-hair close enough to an enemy and a colored crosshair will appear over the enemy. Fire your weapon while this is displayed(it stays there as long as your crosshair is close to the enemy) and anything you fire will go in that direction. This helps immensly, allowing you to get close to distant enemies and still be able to take them out while preventing you from spending precious seconds trying to get your joystick to play nice and get in the exact position it needs to be.

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