Serious Sam: Double D XXL

A game by Mommy's Best Games for PC and Xbox 360, originally released in 2013.
What is Serious Sam: Double D XXL? How many modifiers can you tack onto a game’s title before it becomes overkill? Even abbreviating the thing, it works out to SSDDXXL, which is probably some internet code word for eating a dynamite sandwich. Well, when it comes to Serious Sam, there is no such thing as overkill. There’s also no such thing as abbreviation. When you fire up a Serious Sam game, you’re doing it to bathe in mindless gunfun (new word!), unreasonably large enemy onslaughts, and no small number of unrestrained pupil-dilating boss encounters.

So what is Serious Sam: Double D XXL? Wasn’t there already a Serious Sam: Double D game? Yes there was. So what is this… A sequel? A re-release? A port?

The answer is: None of the above.

The “XXL” in the title is there to let players know that they are in for an improved and expanded 2D Serious Sam experience. This is Serious Sam: Double D with new enemies, dozens of new weapons, new levels, new gameplay, and a host of upgrades and improvements. For the full history of how a 2D Serious Sam game came into existence in the first place, be sure to check out our previous article and learn about our terrible hidden agenda. Otherwise, let’s strap in and see what this sucker can do.

The most immediately noticeable change in Serious Sam: Double D XXL is that the game has been given a substantial presentation upgrade. Smoother, slicker, and prettier is always a good thing in a game where your primary motivation is to make everything explode. Along with this comes fully voiced dialogue for all of the characters. If you enjoyed hearing Sam’s witticisms in previous Serious Sam games, then you’re in luck because John J. Dick is reprising his role as the titular character.

Normally, Sam Stone has to face off against enemies on his own, with only Netricsa to provide information along the way… but that’s no longer the case. SSDDXXL features on-couch co-op so you can blast Kleer skeletons and chomping Gnaar into oblivion with added firepower, and even flank bosses to wear them down from both ends. But who is qualified to join Sam – the unrivaled hero of Earth – on his quest to save humanity? Who else can handle this many guns?

Remember that completely insane advertisement for the Gun Stacker, featuring the excitable gun-loving redneck named Huff? (Hint: The video is right there below this sentence, so you can watch it right now.)

That’s right. Huff is the second playable character, voiced by Michael Dalmon, the actor who played Huff in the commercial. So, in addition to the traditional levels of nonsense that pepper any Serious Sam game, you now have the chance to amp things up with Sam and Huff working together, and to get Huff’s take on time travel shotgunnery. The script changes depending on whether you’re going it alone as Sam or teaming up with Huff to mix up a hot batch of monster-sauce.

One of the best features in Serious Sam: Double D was the tool known as the Gun Stacker, which let you pile up to six guns on top of each other and take them all into battle with you at the same time. Many of the traditional Serious Sam weapons were included, allowing you to mix and match shotguns, Tommy guns, rocket launchers, lasers, and the like to unleash wholesale destruction upon anything in your path. Extra funzies could be had with chainsaws, grenade launchers, and flametrhowers.

Well, you can’t just toss “XXL” onto the end of the name and not throw in some extra firepower to go with it. And so... there are now dozens of new weapons in the game, thanks to the shop system. At certain points, you’ll encounter a creepy shopkeeper with a number of wares available, including ammo capacity upgrades for your weapons, and weapon modifications. Every creature you destroy drops a cerebral controller doohickey that you can pick up and cash in for upgrades, and you can even find hidden caches of this currency if you explore the environment thoroughly (which you should do anyway for those hidden health bonuses and extra weapons).

Normally, in a game that allows weapon mods, you’re getting things like increased firepower, faster reload, less recoil, etc. That’s all well and good for those action heroes used to toting one gun at a time, but that isn’t going to have much of an impact when you’re extracting teeth from a dinosaur with a shotgun-Tommy-rocket combo-pack. Instead, each of the upgrades changes the way the gun functions and allows for entirely new gameplay.

That chainsaw you have can be upgraded to suck in any nearby currency whenever it’s running, while also grinding its way through Gnaar like a solar flare through butter. The infinite-ammo machine pistol can be equipped with an air buffer that lets you soar through the skies, greatly increasing your airtime as you rain down lead from above. Temporally-enhanced shotgun shells let you slow down enemies while you fill their eyes with pain salad. You can unleash a pack of beetles that chase down enemies and climb them, eating away their precious health, and it works on armored enemies that are resistant to other attacks. You can even unlock an upgrade that lets you transform one of your shotguns into Sam’s classic cannon.

Every upgrade grants new abilities and allows for new strategies on the battlefield, and you can swap out abilities to completely customize your Gun Stack and everything in it. Sometimes you don’t need to throw out slippery pats of butter and rockets at the same time, and sometimes you just feel the need to stow your killer bee dispenser.

Regular and upgraded weapons can be swapped in and out via the Gun Stack interface, allowing you to create several stacks that you can quick-cycle through. It’s always handy to have a general purpose stack to deal with popcorn enemies, along with an explosive stack for use against bigger enemies like Bio Mechanoids, dinosaurs, and any of the game’s huge bosses. Keeping a couple of machine pistols and a chainsaw together is a nice way to fight through weaker enemies without using up any ammo… and upgrading to the Air Buffer and Money Grubber lets you explore for secrets while collecting currency from a distance.

Serious Sam: Double D XXL has many of the traditional Serious Sam enemies, all of whom make the same grunts and screams you’re used to hearing, including the headless Kamikaze soldiers that we all know and love/hate. Along with that are several new enemies that were created for Serious Sam: Double D, including the Chimputee, a chimpanzee that has had its limbs amputated and replaced with rockets, a battle axe, and an exploding banana gun. (See, he fits right in!) XXL brings even more new enemies including bigger, scarier armored Gnaar and the mysteriously cute and creepy Torcher Kitty, which is a half-cat, half-bladder that can fly and breathes fire. Welcome to the family!

Let’s see… What did we forget? Oh yes, new levels! While several existing levels have been tweaked and rebalanced, there are a bunch of entirely new levels as well. Have you ever dreamed of riding a flying dinosaur while firing heat-seeking rockets? Well, now’s your chance. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride a jet-powered snowboard through a bunch of headless soldiers in an Egyptian pyramid? Wonder no more! Several new experiences await those looking for a bit of variety, or for returning players looking for new gameplay.

Sam (and Huff) is also bringing back his Jump Pad, which is essentially an ACME portable trampoline that he can toss out at will to send himself – and his enemies – flying through the air. Use it to explore the environment, get the jump on unsuspecting bullet receptacles, or send charging enemies flying over your head while you shotgun them from below. You can even use it on walls to triangle jump your way up into secret areas. Combine it with some of your new weapon upgrades for added ludicrocity.

Per series conventions, Sam starts his adventure in Ancient Egypt before using the Time Lock to venture to other points in history. In this adventure, he’ll be making his way into the Jurassic era and even visiting ancient Pompeii around about the time of a certain famous cataclysm. Along the way, Sam can pick up armor and health, new weapons, new Gun Stack connectors (my, what a big Gun Stack you have!), and pies. Yes, pies.

Scattered throughout the game in various – usually hidden – areas are Mommy’s Best Games pies, with their MBG logo baked in for freshness. Grab one of these mysterious and flavorful pies, and you will unlock one of several challenge arenas that can be accessed from the main menu. These challenges tend to be survival modes that pit the player against a huge number of enemies… often with limited weapons, like asking that you saw your way through 100 Gnaar with nothing but a stack of 4 chainsaws. Once you unlock these challenges, you can work on blasting your way to the top of the leaderboards.

Ultimately, the creamy nougat of Serious Sam: Double D is still tucked away inside of Serious Sam: Double D XXL, but it has been packed with peanuts, drizzled with chocolate, and laced with horse tranquilizers. SSDDXXL takes the impossibly insane and ratchets it up a few more notches with fully-voiced characters, co-op gameplay, more levels, dozens of new weapons, more enemies, and entirely new gameplay. Serious Sam: Double D XXL is like that jumbo-sized candy bar that’s way too big for any one person to consume… but that doesn’t stop you from eating the whole thing anyway.

Mommy's Best Games is responsible for a number of innovative 2D action titles.

Weapon of Choice is a high-octane side-scrolling action game where you take one of 7 operatives – each with his or her own unique weapon of choice – into battle against hordes of monstrous alien beasts and huge boss creatures, all of whom are bent on destroying you and everything else on Earth. The game is a completely over-the-top tribute to all of the things you loved about the 2D shooters of old, with numerous modern gameplay enhancements, including Death Brushing, where time slows down when the player character is inches from death; the Spider Pack, which allows you to walk up walls and across ceilings, leaving your hands free for blasting aliens in their tender spots; and the Vengeance Missile, which lets you to launch a 400 kiloton rocket at whatever is left on the screen after your last death.

Solve your problems with firepower through branching paths, multiple endings, and difficulty modes that challenge you to play the game at high speed with no Death Brushing.

Shoot 1UP is a shmup that centers entirely around the ability to gain 1UPs.

1UPs have been a part of our gaming culture for decades now, and we all know how they work… get enough points, or grab an onscreen icon, and your little “extra life” reservoir starts to fill up with extra chances to beat the game once you’ve been killed.

Shoot 1UP asks the question… why wait to die to use your 1UPs?

That’s right, each time you earn a 1UP – which happens pretty frequently – it is instantly dropped into the action. After just a few minutes of playing, you’ll have a small squadron of ships on the screen. Play a bit longer, and you may find yourself with up to 30 ships at once, maneuvering in unison and firing a wide stream of bad-guy pellets in multiple directions. 2 player co-op and “ghost ship” powerups can double the action, giving you 60 friendly ships onscreen at once.

Once again, the Mommy’s Best Games pedigree shows through with colorful environments, numerous alien baddies, enormous bosses, and innovative action-packed gameplay.

Explosionade falls into the 2D mech combat sub-genre along with a handful of other outstanding titles, such as Cybernator, Metal Warriors, and the Bangai-O series. In these games, the player takes control of a huge mech that is represented onscreen by a relatively small sprite, but which has huge amounts of firepower. Navigation tends to be a bit slow and deliberate, with a focus on pressing forward, defending your position, and choking your enemies with mouthfuls of bullets, missiles, bombs, and whatever else you have stashed away in your arsenal. And, in Explosionade, you can actually double the firepower with some same-screen 2P co-op.

Taking a cue from those games, the mech in Explosionade has a low movement speed, a jetpack-assisted jump, a shield, a machine gun, and an unlimited supply of grenades. That’s right, unlimited grenades. Actually, the grenades are called Meganades because they’re a bit oversized, as are the explosions that they leave behind.

As you might imagine, grenades blow up a lot of stuff. You’ll be demolishing your way through 40 challenge room-style levels blowing holes in the floors, walls, and ceilings, usually with the sole purpose of getting to the other side so that you can blow up even more stuff. Of course, you’ll also be delivering flaming death upon the heads of your enemies, including several varieties of flying critters, hovering sentries, walking soldiers, and mounted turrets. When life gives you explosions, make explosionade!

Defying all logic and reason, Mommy’s Best Games somehow took an over-the-top FPS and smashed it into an equally over-the-top 2D shooter. Serious Sam: Double D is an 18-level romp through time, featuring weapons and enemies that will be familiar to fans of the series, plus new original creations such as the Chimputee and Vuvuzelator, as well as gigundus boss encounters.

But rather than being content with the standard Serious Sam formula, MBG decided to mix in one of their own devious creations: the Gun Stacker. The Gun Stacker lets you carry – and use – multiple guns simultaneously. Wondering whether it would be better to equip the shotgun or Tommy gun? Why not use them both at once and dish out some pain to enemies near and far? You can eventually stack up to six guns, including heavy weapons such as grenade launchers, rocket launchers, lasers, and flamethrowers.

Wondering how you’re going to dodge hordes of enemies in only two dimensions? Pull out your Jump Pad and soar through the air. The Jump Pad acts as your own portable trampoline. Use it to dodge enemies, navigate the environment, uncover the game’s many hidden secrets, or even turn it against your enemies to send them flying into the air while you shotgun their soft parts. The game has all of the action and humor you’ve come to expect from the Serious Sam series… minus the third dimension.

After years of developing explosion-fueled action games, Mommy's Best Games turned to something a bit cuter... but still bizarre and somewhat disgusting, with Pig Eat Ball.

Pig Eat Ball features a young pig princess named Bow living on a space station filled with clam people. Her father, King Cake, has decided to host a competition to win his daughter’s hand in marriage. But Bow has a different idea… she dons a disguise and enters the contest herself. The game features a number of different level types, most of which center around eating tennis balls. However, if you eat too many tennis balls, you get too fat to fit through narrow corridors, so you have to barf them up, slip through, and then re-eat the barfed up balls… called “barfies” for short. The game also features a number of competitive multiplayer modes for up to four players where players race each other, fight over tennis balls, and even build sandwiches. The game has more than 100 levels included, as well as a level editor.