by Tom Chick
April 27, 2001
"I put my name on that one," Trevor calls from the other
room as I get ready to sit down at one of the computers, "I
called it. It already says 'Trevor'."
"This is Serious Sam. You've got to use an alliteration. Like
Evil Eric or Jumping Jude."
"Set it up for me, would you? I'm almost done here."
Trevor has to install older video drivers on some of the computers
to get Serious Sam to run.
So I type in Truculent Trevor. I'm surprised to see it fits.
"What's that?" he asks when he sits down to play.
"Truculent? It means belligerent or mean."
He doesn't trust me. "Hey, do any of you guys know what 'truculent'
"It sounds like 'succulent'," someone says, "Like
tender. Sweet, you know?"
"I think it means 'gay' or 'womanly'," someone else says,
"'Truculent' means 'possessing feminine qualities'."
Trevor shoots me a look as if to say 'nice try'. He changes his
name to Truckin' Trevor and chooses the black guy in the purple
pantsuit with a big afro. "Hey, look, I'm Samuel L. Jackson.
Hold on to your butts!"
The game starts. I have no idea what's going on. I don't think
anyone else does either. There are things to shoot everywhere. I'm
just leaning on the fire button and whipping around to face various
directions. It's the first person shooter equivalent of Robotron;
I could very well play with two joysticks. Trevor will occasionally
yell something like "Aww!", "Jeez!", and "C'mon!"
because he gets killed a lot.
This is the coop play. After about five minutes, we've all given
up trying things like "You wait here and cover this bridge
and I'll go across and activate the monsters" or "Hey,
come this way you guys, I think I found a secret area". Soon,
we stop answering when someone respawns at the beginning of the
level and asks "Hey, where did you guys go?". Eventually,
we give up on apologies for shooting each other. It's every man
for himself. Calling it 'cooperative' is kind of a joke. It's like
calling a riot in a soccer stadium 'cooperative'.
Yeah, sure, I guess it's like Doom, just like everyone says. Although
I never played multiplayer Doom, I know it didn't move this fast.
It wasn't this big or dizzying. You were never shooting at anything
quite as far out as those harpies lining up for a high altitude
bombing run or a big green guy flinging long range homing acid balls
from the rooftop of a building that would be part of the skybox
in any other game. And there were never this many monsters. It's
like Doom turned up to 11.