16th January 2010 - One of the bigger and more elaborate games to grace the XBOX Live ‘Arcade’ marketplace- Serious Sam: The First Encounter remastered in High Definition is currently sitting pretty at 1200 Microsoft Points. This is in direct competition to the recent release of Matt Hazards first foray into side scrolling goodness. It would seem that we are heading for a showdown as the most macho of Heroes go head to head for your hard earned dollar. Serious Sam is showing his age, but it’s a wonder they let it pass as ‘Arcade’ over a standard XBOX Live marketplace sell. In High Definition there is nothing not to like.
So without further ado, let’s duke it out; in the left corner, aging misogynist, Mr Nukem, in the right, the self important Hazardous Matt and coming up somewhere in the middle the most serious of Sams.
First seen as: Duke Nukem © 1991
Heard saying: “Shove it up your ass”
Famous for: Using jetpacks, fighting mutants and generally throwing money around in strip clubs. Trademark pipe-bombs round off this ‘All American Hero’ as he shoots first and ask questions later. Also known for using his strong left boot, you don’t want to mess with the Duke.
Future Imperfect: The current climate for Duke Nukem is uncertain. Duke Nukem Forever was shelved…forever- leaving Sam and Matt to step up. With his signature sunnies and pig-cop killing ways, Duke is gone but hardly forgotten.
Last Seen: Travelling in time © 2002
Catch Cry: “Sam I seriously am”
Known for: Tearing through time, Matrix style, smashing wave after wave of larger and meaner monsters. Taking on the devil himself as one of the largest single bosses ever, he didn’t even fit on the screen. Oversized guns compensate for tighter jeans and a decidedly more metro look for the hard-ass pretty boy who took the 1990s kicking and screaming in the new millennium.
Time Warp: Sam’s second outing was met with Luke warm praise as the streamlined slightly realistic first encounter was equalled with a ridiculous over the top colour pallet of epic proportions. Almost like someone dropped a bunch of acid picked up a gun and travelled through time. Ridiculous next to Dukes more urban and mature content, Sam is the ADH kid, out of control. As a High Def re-mix it has become an instant classic, rekindling some fond memories. Only time will tell if Sam will ride again.
Currently in: “Blood bath and beyond” © 2009
Quoted as: Quoting any movie or video game from the last 10 years
Notorious for: Trying to save the 8bit version of himself from being destroyed so that he doesn’t exist. Well aware of where he is and totally breaking the 4th wall, Matt will satirise and parody any and all video games or movie genre. After the clichés of past heroes come back to haunt him, Matt in a very post 2000s view is sarcastic to the max. Dashes of adult content do nothing to stop the pop fluff from spewing forth as Ninja zombie pirates from space take on this aging Space Marine. The glory days long behind him, this form is humour is not even funny anymore.
Infinite Possibilities: Perhaps the biggest tell is just how disappointing the Matt Hazard games are becoming. Rather than try for anything half decent, he has resorted to reusing any cliché he can get his hands on. Half Matrix, half time travel space adventure, there is no obvious redeeming value. Just as he laments his own glory days, so too do we lament that 20 years ago, Matt Hazard didn’t actually exist. The older these heroes get, the older we wish they were.
In the end they just don’t make them like they used to.
Ready to Rumble
Who would win in this decade long, battle of the brawn? If Metal Gear, Splinter Cell, GTA and, Max Payne are anything to go by; our Heroes are getting older, not younger. Do they have one foot in the grave or is there still life left?
Article By Ian Crane