Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kamikaze Credit Where Credit Is Due

Kamikaze from Serious Sam, c. 2001
With a new Serious Sam game being released, I thought I would pay homage to the first shooter I remember that had a suicidal bomber enemy that would run kamikaze at you... and it's not Serious Sam.

I really liked PC games from the mid-90's through the early 00's. I typically had a PC that could handle them too. It was Doom that convinced me to drop my Amiga and get a PC, and from there it was a non-stop shooters, RTS, and just about any other game I could find. I was present for the birth of hardware accelerated 3D, and it was good. Demos were plentiful too, and although high speed internet was much more rare than nowadays most computer magazines had a CD of demos tucked in the sleeve. (Remember those? Printed magazines?) In 2001, FPS games had gotten a little crazy in complexity and narrative. Everyone wanted to have Doom's success, but with more thinky. Along comes this out-of-nowhere development team, from Croatia of all places, with a fun, fast, mindless romp of an FPS called Serious Sam. It was universally loved. If you didn't love it, get out of my universe. Old Man Murray even interviewed its creator. Twice.

One of the many web-based reviews was going on and on and on about how great it was, and gushed on about how original the screaming kamikaze bombers of Serious Sam were, a new enemy never seen before. Immediately, I thought to another shooter I had played, MDK, which also had screaming kamikaze bombers. MDK was released in 1997 and it wasn't a big hit, so I suppose it was a forgivable oversight on the part of the reviewer. I decided to send a quick and friendly heads-up to the reviewer... something along the lines of:
Regarding your Serious Sam review, the kamikaze bombers are very cool but this isn't the absolute first time we've seen something like them. MDK had kamikaze enemies that ran at you holding a bomb over their head. Thanks for the great web site, etc, etc.
The one-line response from the reviewer was something like:
I don't remember anything like that in MDK.
 Well, that will teach me, won't it? He doesn't remember it, therefore we may imply that it didn't happen.

Fast forward ten years, and the Amazon App Store free download of the day is "Serious Sam Kamikaze Attack" and memories of this whole forgotten exchange flood back. What was the name of that game again? What web-site was that? I may not remember the web-site that had the review, but I was able to dredge up the name MDK and here is incontrovertible proof of the MDK bomber dudes existed, via the miracle of youtube (time 5:30-6:00 roughly.)

Ha! Take that, ten year old computer game review! 
Plus, you gotta admit... MDK was pretty amazing for its time.


  1. My first FPS memory was a little game called Wolfenstein 3D. Not cutting edge, but fun none the less. Ah nostalgia, thanks for the memory!

  2. Wolfenstein 3D was a blast! This was also my first FPS!
    "HAHAHA, ein kleiner Amerikaner"...



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