SS2E: Weapons

ss2e-larvaAnother day, another insanely difficult boss monster. The Babylon segment of Serious Sam: The Second Encounter ends in a fight with a colossal cyborg insect larva that hangs from a track in the ceiling and moves like a rook on a chessboard, firing energy blasts and emitting small explosive offspring. It’s got enough hit points that I quickly ran out of the ammo for the best weapons while fighting it — there are some ammo packs that spawn during the fight, but getting them involves taking your attention away from the monster, which is risky. So I wound up using most of my weapons against it (with the exception of the hand-to-hand weapons, the knife and the chainsaw, which are useless here — and nearly everywhere else).

The weapons in Serious Sam mainly follow the standards laid down by Doom and followed by countless FPS games: chainsaw, pistol, shotgun, machine gun, rocket launcher, grenade launcher, energy weapon. The BFG is replaced by “serious bombs”: like classical videogame smart bombs, they kill everything in the area except the player and certain boss monsters. This isn’t as useful as it sounds, because you can only carry three at once, and the toughest battles in this game have more than three waves of monsters. Add to this set the sniper rifle, the flame thrower, and the SBC cannon.

It’s strange to think that there wasn’t a sniper rifle in Doom or even Quake — today, it seems like one of the basic ubiquitous FPS weapon types, just as much as the shotgun. I wonder if there are any more basic weapon types that haven’t been discovered yet? Things that fill a genuinely new gameplay niche, I mean, and aren’t just gimmicks. It seems like there’s been less innovation there than for weapons in non-FPS games. Duke Nukem gave us bombs that you could lay as traps, and Unreal gave us projectiles that bounce off walls, but those are basically just extensions of what’s implicit in Quake‘s grenade launcher.

4 Comments so far

  1. josh g. on 25 Sep 2007

    Sometimes yesterday’s gimmick can become tomorrow’s niche. Alt-fire features on FPS weapons, for example, didn’t exist until (I think) Unreal or Unreal Tournament, and at the time I knew one hardcore Quake fan who thought they were too gimmicky.

  2. malkav11 on 25 Sep 2007

    Alt-fire features were actually introduced by Marathon back in 1994, so far as I know. Though since only Marathon 2 was ever commercially released for PC and very few PC users paid any attention, it’s not well known in most circles.

  3. lefty on 26 Sep 2007

    “Dark Forces”, a Star Wars FPS i played back on a mac in the late 90s, had alt-fire weapons. Also it might have held the distinction as having the MOST thrown/shot bomby weapons Evar! (thermal detonators which you threw, a mortar-gun, at least 1 other arcing explosive..)

  4. malkav11 on 26 Sep 2007

    Dark Forces definitely postdated Marathon. Albeit only by a year or so, on the PC side.

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