This is getting serious!
This article contains some serious spoilers. Read at your own risk!
- "I didn't even need to invent General Brand, you already believed in him. He's that tough old bastard who doesn't play by the rules. But if we trust him, he'll do what needs to be done."
- ―Brand revealing his true intentions.[src]
Howard "War Dog" Brand was a member of the Earth Defense Force and the founder of the Alien Artifact Acquisition, ranking as General. He is a major antagonist in Serious Sam 4 and serves as the final boss of Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem.
Brand was born to a military family in Washington D.C. with a history of service dating back to the American Civil War. In his adulthood, he attended the United States Aerospace Academy in Titusville, Florida and quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the most respected men in his field, becoming General in the Earth Defense Force. During his time in the field, he fought multiple engagements, such as the Battle of Beijing, the Second Battle of Munfordville, and the Battle of Gothenburg.
When Sam and the crew of the spaceship Surveyor accidently awakened Mental from his dormancy, they were accused of misconduct, but Brand strongly defended them. After the discovery of the first Sirian artifacts on Earth, he founded the Alien Artifact Acquisition team and hand-picked its members based on their skills and abilities.
Serious Sam 4
Brand is first seen on an Earth Defense Force base in Rome, demonstrating to a fellow soldier how to use a sniper rifle while killing a few Kleer Skeletons. He later appears along with the rest of the Alien Artifact Acquisition squad, where they discuss how to get into the Vatican Library. Carter suggests they use the HAARP, an experimental seismic weapon fired from a satellite, to fire on Mount Vesuvius. Brand agrees with Carter's idea, much to the dismay of professor Gottlieb Kiesel. He tells the team that the weapon hasn't been used in years, but he still has the access codes needed to operate it. Quinn informs Brand that the satellite's targeting system is down, so tracking beacons will have to be placed manually. So he has the rest of his team set up 8 beacons across Pompeii.
Once the beacons have been set up, Quinn tries to contact Sam, who tells her that they have cleared the perimeter, but they have not yet reached a minimum safe distance from the volcano. Due to radio interference, Quinn cannot understand everything he's saying. Brand believes they are ready to activate the satellite, but Quinn protests, stating they are not quite ready to leave the area. He orders his soldiers to activate it anyway, causing the volcano to erupt in a massive explosion. Later on, Brand meets up with an enraged Sam, who assaults him and demands to know what happened. The soldiers point their guns at Sam, but Brand gives them the order to stand down. He tells Sam that he's not going to reprimand him for his actions, but he's not going to forgive Sam for what he did. He goes on, saying that being a leader means "having to make tough calls, even if people hate you for it" and that's he accepted the loss of Jones, but also demands the respect that comes with it.
After Sam obtains a book from the Vatican, Brand and the team reassemble on a plane to France. While on the plane, Brand asks Father Mikhail if he thinks the Holy Grail is located in Carcassonne. He believes it's there, but he fears that the Grail is cursed and not to be rifled with, as men have died trying to hide it. Brand isn't interested in any of the supernatural stuff Mikhail is spouting, and insists that they need the Grail to win the war, no matter the cost. Mikhail warns him that it could cost the men their souls, to which Brand responds "I'll write them a check". With the conversation about the Grail over, Sam askes what the situation is on the ground. Brand informs them that they will rendezvous with a French resistance cell, and the contact, Michelle, will lead them to the castle. Before Brand can finish, the plane is shot down by Octanian raiders, forcing the team to jump out and parachute down to the ground.
The A.A.A. team regroup and get to the church in Carcassonne, where Mikhail performs a ritual which reveals the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. Mikhail warns Sam not to touch the Grail, when Brand suddenly appears with a squad of his soldiers, their guns aimed at the A.A.A team. Brand orders Sam to stand down and Rodriguez questions his motives, to which Brand shows his true colors and mocks them for being so gullible for putting their trust in him. He rants on to his former team, believing that humanity was losing the fight with Mental and he should be on the "winning" side. To betray his team even further, he says that the humans should have joined up with Mental just like the Khnums and older races did when they had the chance, and to prove he's right, he will offer the Holy Grail as a tribute to Mental.
Brand takes the Grail and allows the snake to bite him, turning him into a monster. He quickly grows mad, boasting himself as "the Beast of the Apocalypse, the Lord of Despair, and the last human". Mikhail tries to intervene, but Brand grabs the rod and impales him with it, killing him. Sam taunts Brand, which he responds by sending a large blast across the room, knocking him unconscious along with the rest of his team. Brand orders the soldiers to leave Sam alive, while have the rest of the team taken to a Octanian Mothership to be processed.
When Sam recovers from his tranquilzer trip, he grabs a parachute and is about to disembark from the plane. Brand catches him in the act and further manipulates him to join his side as Mental's "pet". He declines and jumps out, landing in an oil rig in the Arctic Circle. Sam learns that Brand is heading to Tunguska, which is the location of the portal that Mental's forces have set up. Sam later joins his friends and leads a massive force of EDF soldiers to combat the alien forces.
Seeing Brand on the battlefield, he heads towards Sam and, using the Grail, sends a blast of flames towards the EDF soldiers, knocking Sam down to the ground. He approaches Sam, and he is now even larger than he was before. He captures Sam as a prisoner and summons Ugh-Zan VI, the Great Warlock and one of Mental's servants, through the portal and presents to him both Sam and the Grail as gifts for Mental. He hopes to form an alliance and bring about the end of history. Ugh-Zan, disinterested, flicks Brand off, leaving Sam and the EDF to deal with the monster. They are successful in killing him, and are able to find and capture Brand, who has now reverted back to his human form. They strap him to an ICBM missile and ignore his desperate pleas and warnings, ranting on how Mental will destroy the Earth and such. Rodriguez adds one final touch (a C-4 explosive) just in case and the missile is launched, sending Brand into the portal and destroying it.
When finally faced in Siberian Mayhem, Brand proves to be one of the toughest opponents Sam has ever had. He takes an absurd amount of punishment to bring down and has a wide variety of attacks that can quickly kill the player if they aren't avoided. He is much harder to fight on Serious difficulty, as he deals an absurd amount of damage.
The first fight
- Keeping distance from Brand is essential in dodging his attacks, as he is suprisingly fast for his size and attacks the player in rapid succession.
- Some of Brand's attacks leave a lingering flame that can still injure the player if they step on it. Not all of these flames are dangerous, but it's best to stay out of their way.
- His sweeping laser beam can be jumped over just like the Draconian Burners encountered throughout the game.
- Once in a while Brand will leave the arena and jump onto one of four walls, using the Grail staff to pick up debris from the area to throw at Sam similar to the abiltiies of the Witch-Bride of Achriman and Lord Achriman. This attack is especially tricky to dodge as the debris have large hitboxes, so it's best to destroy them by shooting them before they can reach you.
Once Brand's health bar is nearly depleted he will once again jump onto one of the walls and fully absorb the power of the false Grail, regaining all of his health and gaining new attacks.
The second fight
- Keeping distance was important before, but now it is practically necessary to be able to dodge most of his attacks at all as they have gained an increase in speed.
- One of Brand's attacks involves him trying to rush down the player in a straight line, leaving fire trails behind him that burst into flaming walls shortly afterwards to cut off the player's path. He will do this three times before needing to catch his breath, giving the player ample opportunity to either hit him with all they've got or heal up and collect ammo.
- Brand will still have a move where he jumps out of the arena, but instead of flinging debris he will now summon two massive fiery cobras that breathe lasers. One will always swing its beam horizontally while the other attacks vertically. The vertical lazer can easily be sidestepped, but to avoid the horizontal one it is advised to move towards the cobra and underneath the laser instead of dodging backwards into the fire.
After Brand's health has been depleted for the second time, the fight will be over.
Personality and skills
Brand initially appeared to be a well-meaning general who was forced to make pragmatic choices in order to ensure humanity's safety in the war against Mental. In actuality, he was a backstabbing sociopath who later betrayed the human race and joined forces with Mental and decided to choose his own path as "the last human". He saw Mental as a god, and intended to gift him with alien artifacts such as the Holy Grail and humanity's strongest soldier, Sam himself.
When Brand was bitten by the snake on the Grail, he was transformed into a monstrous beast, gaining enhanced physical strength, size, and endurance. In this form, he gained the abilities to cast fireballs and was much faster and agile than a human. His voiced also sounded a lot deeper and more monstrous in this form. This form was only temporary, though, as Brand soon reverted back into his human self after Sam destroyed the Grail in order to kill Ugh-Zan VI.
Not much information is known about Brand's relationship with Carter, but he nonetheless assigned him to his squad, since he was skilled at hacking and gaining enemy intel.
Brand assigned Rodriguez to the A.A.A after seeing his potential with firearms and the respect he had for his comrades.
He was admired by Hellfire's skill with firearms, especially with her signature minigun. These feelings were later revoked when he saw Hellfire as nothing more than fodder to be disposed of while he considered Sam to be of higher importance.
Quinn was a respected member of the Earth Defense Force and proved useful to Brand during certain situations. He would sometimes ignore her advice when she pointed out the risks involved with something, such as when he wanted to have the HAARP activated, despite Sam having problems with communications.
Brand was close to Stone and respected him during his time in the EDF, even when Sam was accused of misconduct. He selected him to be part of his own squad, the Alien Artifact Acquisition. When Sam and the team uncovered the Holy Grail in the church, however, Brand betrayed Sam and his team. He knew that Sam was the best humanity had to offer, so he decided to have him kept alive and be delivered to Mental as a pet while the rest of his team were disposable.
When Sam attempted to jump out of Brand's plane, he convinced Sam that the war was over and he is all alone. He taunted him further, saying that his life would be a lot more fun as Mental's toy than staying on Earth.
Though Wilson isn't seen in Serious Sam 4, he said that he once rode Brand's hovercraft and damaged it in an accident. It isn't known how Brand responded to this, but it was enough for him to not involve Wilson on any EDF missions, and instead he left him behind at the EDF headquarters.
Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem
|From Russia with love. (Defeat General Brand)|
|Find every General Brand audio log.|
|Beat the final boss in Singleplayer on Serious difficulty without loading mid-battle savegames.|
- When Brand was transformed by the Grail, he wasn't wearing his shades. When he reverted back into his human form, he is seen wearing them again. This is likely a developer oversight.
- The automatic checkpoint when reaching Brand's second phase in Siberian Mayhem counts as a mid-battle savegame. It's best to disable automatic saves when going for the "Veni, Vidi, Vici" achievement.
- "Freedom Too", General Brand's boss theme, is a remix of "Freedom (is Mine)" by Undercode, the instrumental of which was used in Serious Sam: The Second Encounter as the boss theme for Kukulkán, the Wind God. This is ironic, as Kukulkán was a benevolent deity not affiliated with Mental while Brand was an evil, mutated mortal who wished to join his Horde to exterminate humanity.
List of appearances