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Although fouling up such a short game would be difficult for any developer, one should credit Vlambeer for offering consumers a quality couple of hours. After all, what's worse: a short, polished product, or a 60-hour grind fest? While Serious Sam isn't Vlambeer's baby, their efforts have sparked an interest within me to try the other titles. At $5.00, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter is a steal. Or murder. Or something criminal more appropriate to Sam's interests.
The Random Encounter makes for a short game, but an extremely enjoyable one, the two-hour campaign providing you with plenty of hectic victories and glorious defeats. It also leaves you with an Endless Mode, some lovely pixelated memories, and that warm feeling that only comes from seeing something very new built from ideas that are very, very old. Even if Serious Sam 3 turns out to be rubbish, it will have been worth it for this.
The story is a short one, only a few hours long – but the battles are always a little different, and it’s so easy to pick up that even after finishing it, you still want to test your reactions against its hordes of enemies. And so it sits quietly on your hard-drive, teasing you every now and then, drawing your attention away from its bigger brothers and reminding you that above all else, gameplay is the most important thing. For £3.99, The Random Encounter has plenty of oomph to keep your fingers busy, and looking back I can’t help but feel it would be a perfect port for IOS or similar platforms. And it has a gloriously bleepy soundtrack. Go go go!
Indie Game Magazine
Vlambeer have achieved what many people would say is impossible, they created an enjoyable Serious Sam RPG. While the game’s story falls just under two hours Serious Sam: The Random Encounter is still worth the $5 price tag.
It’s a fun novelty that you’ll want to spend an hour with. Yet, at its end, I didn’t want any more and I didn’t care to revisit the game’s Endless Mode. I enjoyed The Random Encounter for the hour or so it lasted, but the fact that I don't want any more pretty much says it all.
PC Gameplay (Benelux)
De sfeervolle retro graphics en muziek, de hilarische oneliners en de over-the-top actie maken van The Random Encounter een niet te missen ervaring voor de die-hard fans.
As what’s essentially a marketing device, TRE could’ve ended up in the less-than-glorious ranks of games released to promo fast-food chains, but instead ended up being a really innovative take on an FPS conversion. Sure, it’s not very deep from an RPG-elements perspective, nor does it have the kind of story that’s going to make you go “Hm!”, but it will entertain you and help whet your appetite for the monster-stomping extravaganza that will be Serious Sam 3.
The Random Encounter certainly gives countless waves of bad guys. And it does so with a flair and humor that far surpasses its deceptively simple aesthetic. I just wish it could give a bit more.
While the game itself isn't bad so to speak, it does get repetitive kind of quickly. It's an interesting concept, and I am a huge fan of 16-bit games, especially RPGs, but the short length of the game and the repetitiveness of the battles is kind of a let down for me.
Combat is the highlight of the game, but it runs out of gas after the first level. Once the tutorial is over, it seems as though the game just has a really hard time figuring out what new to throw at you. Large bosses come at you with dozens of minions, but by the time you’ve got all three of your party members it hasn’t even been thirty minutes and you’re a third of the way through the game. All there is to expect from the second and third acts is larger crowds of bad guys. There is some charm to this little indie game. It’s bright, it’s colorful and it’s unique amongst RPG’s with a stylized combat system that manages to successfully replicate the series of games it is based on. The foundation, however, is weak, boring and repetitive. The only incentive to survive its repetitive battles is that you won’t have to attempt them a second time.
While it certainly succeeds in being unique and in keeping with the series’ tone, it sadly fails to translate into a decent game. We all love a title that tries to be bold as much as we love a short walk down memory lane, but Serious Sam: The Random Encounter is just, well, bad. Seeing our favorite enemies rendered in 16 bits is really just not worth even the very small amount of time or money you’ll spend playing this game - particularly when there are other worthwhile demakes or Flash games available for free. For an “adventure,” TRE provides only the most basic tactical offerings, challenges that can only be laughingly called puzzles, and combat so bland it contradicts the colorful menagerie of enemies you’ll face. If you’re really aching for a Sam fix, dust off one of his previous titles and play that - or just wait for Serious Sam 3: BFE on November 22nd.