This is getting serious!
This article contains some serious spoilers. Read at your own risk!
- "Now, let's start this adventure for real!"
- ―Sam Stone
Serious Sam's Bogus Detour is an indie twin-stick shooter video game developed by Crackshell (in conjunction with Croteam) and published digitally by Devolver Digital for Microsoft Windows and SteamOS on 20 June 2017. The game is part of the Serious Sam indie series and is the sixth indie spin-off overall.
The game starts with Serious Sam inside the Temple of Ptah, where the Shrine of Amon-Ra lays within; an important item for which Sam will need later on his mission. Sam makes it out of the temple, fighting some more of Mental's forces. Along the way, Sam encounters a race of mutants called the Orcs; once ordinary Zorgs who were sent to Earth by Mental after he forged an alliance with the Mental-Altani corporation, a wide-scale planetary mining company. With the help of Mental-Altani, it seems that Mental is planning on overthrowing Earth as part of his scheme to wipe out humanity in the past.
Sam arrives in Alexandria and makes his way to the Great Library, where Mental has stationed one of his commanders, Major Slick Stinger, to defend the area. Sam defeats Slick Stinger and heads for a ship that is boarding for Greece. On the way to Greece, the ship is detroyed during a thunderstorm, and Sam is washed ashore on a beach not far from the city of Troy. With no weapons and having to battle his way against mutated wildlife, he ends up in a large butchery, where an Orc aircraft is parked nearby. Some heavy fighting ensues and Sam obtains the parts he needs to repair the plane. Having done so, he uses the planet to fly to Greece which, according to NETRICSA, is the location of a portal where Mental's forces are being transported from.
Fighting his way up Mount Olympus, Sam encounters a large Aludran Reptiloid who is guarding the portal. After killing him, Sam obtains the last fragment of the keycard which he uses to access the portal. It turns out the portal is connected to a military base on the Moon, which was constructed by Mental-Altani to send Mental's troops down to Earth. Sam navigates his way through the base, destroying the power generator and finds out about Mental's ultimate plan: to destroy the Earth with weapons of mass destruction carrying an extremely dangerous species of pathogen that are capable of wiping out entire planets.
With help from NETRICSA, Sam hacks the missiles so that they will destroy the base instead of Earth once they are lanched. Before Sam can launch them, however, he is confronted by Director Doppler, head of the Risk Assessment Body of Mental-Altani. After a brief duel with the Director, Sam tracks him down again, who is now in the launch command room. There, he forces Sam to battle two war utility mechs, Tech-X and PRIME-209, but not long before the Director launches the missiles, which initiates a countdown in the process. With only minutes to spare before the base is destroyed, Sam almost defeats the Director, but he teleports away before Sam can finish him off. Sam escapes the base and steals a parked spacecraft before the base is destroyed. After escaping, NETRICSA tells Sam that he can now relax back on Earth after taking a 'bogus detour', and continue with his original mission.
- Beheaded Kamikaze
- Evil Ferdinand (Boss) (survival mode only)
- Fattie Swallower (Boss)
- Firestarter (Boss) (survival mode only)
- Infected Fish
- Infected Flower
- Infected Gnaar
- Infected Tortoise
- Juvenile Antaresian Spider
- Kleer Skeleton
- Lava Golem
- Light Orc Zone Trooper
- Major Bio-mechanoid
- Major Slick Stinger (Boss)
- Marsh Hopper
- Minor Bio-mechanoid
- Obsidian Elite Kamikaze
- Ooze Spawn
- Orc Assassin
- Orc Butcher
- Orc Cadet
- Orc Captain
- Orc Scientist
- Orc Sniper
- Orc Trooper
- PRIME-209 (Boss)
- Sirian Werebull
- Tech-X (Boss)
- Tetrachoke the Wizard (Boss)
- Anti-Humanity Sensor Mine: An anti-personnel mine that only reveals itself when the target gets close to it. When the targets steps on it or if the mine is destroyed, it explodes.
- AS-24 Devastator: An automatic shotgun that uses high-piercing explosive rounds as ammunition. Has decent accuracy, range, and splash damage overall.
- Auto Shotgun: An eight-barrelled shotgun with a tight spread, but has a high rate of fire. Useful against groups of weak enemies.
- Erasergun: A portable railgun that uses supersonic bolts to deliver high-range beams at enemies. Can cut through multiple enemies at a time or deal high damage to tough targets.
- Fists: Melee weapon which comes by default when starting a new game. Very weak against enemies but useful as a last resort.
- Flamethrower:: A powerful gasoline-fed flamethrower which serves as an efficient crowd-control weapon.
- Laser Cannon: An automatic energy weapon that fires powerful laser beams at the target. Deals moderate damage in succession. It is based on the XL2 Lasergun from the classic games, but has two barrels instead of four.
- Lightersaber: A powerful melee weapon based on the iconic weapon from the Star Wars franchise.
- Oozegun: Fires a blob of ooze at the target that damages it over time. The player can press down the fire key to charge the oozegun to launch the projectiles at further distances.
- Pistol: Semi-automatic firearm that is dual-wielded. Has unlimited ammunition, but a weak damage output and low rate of fire. Can be upgraded to deal more damage and increase its fire rate.
- SBC Cannon: A portable artillery weapon that uses uranium-filled cannonballs as ammo.
- Scrap Cannon: A weapon that fires high-damaging scrap projectiles. It can only be ported into the game with the use of modding software.
- Sledgehammer: A melee weapon that can crush several weak enemies in a row.
- Slicer: A utility tool that fires sawblades which can bounce and ricochet off walls and destroy obstacles in its path, as well as dealing damage to anything that comes into contact with them.
- Shotgun: A pump-action shotgun with a wide spread and decent rate of fire, but low firepower. Can be upgraded for increased range and higher fire rate.
- Super Shotgun: A double-barrelled shotgun that functions identically to that of the Double Barrel Coach Gun from other Serious Sam games.
- The Shaft: A lightning gun that fires a constant stream of electricity when the fire key is held down. It deals extra damage to metal-based enemies.
- Thompson submachine gun: Fully automatic submachine gun. Useful for clearing small to medium groups of weak enemies, but not much against larger groups.
- Tower: An automatic sentry weapon which is often found in Orc bases, guarding the area from intruders. There are three types of towers, each one firing different types of projectiles at targets.
- Wall Laser: Automatic weapon that fires rapid bursts of lasers when someone steps over its red laser sight.
- XM214-A Minigun: An automatic weapon with an extremely fire rate of fire, but expends ammunition quickly.
- XPML21 Rocket Launcher: A powerful rocket launcher. Deals high damage to tough enemies or can be used against weak masses of targets.
Serious Sam's Bogus Detour is much like any other Serious Sam game, but the game is set from a 2D perspective rather than 3D games. The main objective of the game is to battle hordes of enemies while making it through to the next level.
The player is able to change their skin with the in-game menu, with multiple skins to choose from, such as Canned Cain, Dancing Denzell, or Mighty Marvin. There is no sprinting mechanic, but the player can roll by pressing the jump key (some characters have different animations when performing this action). Doing so uses up a dash charge each time, which is steadily replenished once the players resumes normal movement. The player can increase the dash recharge rate with perks.
The player can upgrade their weapons or character's abilities, which can increase their chances of survival as the game progresses. These upgrades can be bought with stars. They are usually placed in random areas throughout the level and can also be found in secrets. The player will also receive a star bonus when they level up.
There are three types of upgrades; combat, survival, and weaponry upgrades; combat upgrades increase weapon range and ammo capacity, reduce reload speed, or provide weapons with a faster rate of fire; survival upgrades let the player increase their health and armor capacity, or upgrade their movement speed; weaponry upgrades increase a weapon's firepower or potential on the battlefield.
The game features several gamemodes. The game features a single-player campaign, survival mode (which can be played either offline or with up to 12 players) and online multiplayer (for up to 4 players in the cooperative campaign and 12 players in both versus and survival modes) and full modding support, which can allow players to make their own mods, gamemodes, and even change the game completely with the game editor.
Serious Sam's Bogus Detour was developed by Crackshell, a Swedish indie game studio founded by former Overkill Software developers. It was the studio's second game after Hammerwatch. Crackshell's designer, Jochum "Hipshot" Skoglund, enjoyed referencing old media he liked in his games, so the team added the Beheaded Kamikaze, an enemy from the Serious Sam series, as an Easter egg to the Hammerwatch expansion Temple of the Sun, which was released in September 2014. Considering to turn the Easter egg official, Skoglund got in contact with Roman Ribarić, the CEO of Croteam, through friends at the studios Skoglund had previously worked for. Ribarić had played and enjoyed Hammerwatch, and gave Crackshell free reign to use Serious Sam multimedia assets for their endeavour. He was also fond of the resulting crossover, and while talking about it, Skoglund asked whether he could pitch a game idea to Croteam. Subsequently, he and an artist at Crackshell created a tech demo titled "2D, Seriously?", featuring Sam seen from a top-down view with rough environment details. Other working titles included "Serious Top-Down" and "Serious Sam 2D". Skoglund sent a screenshot of the demo to Ribarić while working on it, who "loved it" and provided Crackshell with a contract to develop a full game based on it.
Crackshell's Niklas Myrberg created a proprietary game engine (later named A000FF) with a level editor using C++ and AngelScript, improving on issues the team had faced with the C#-based engine he had developed for Hammerwatch. Rotating sprites for weapons were created in 3D using Autodesk Maya and then rendered in 2D at sixteen angles. Skoglund devised the plot after reading through the synopses of previous Serious Sam games, settling on a diversion during the story of Serious Sam: The First Encounter. He chose to also include characters from other Serious Sam games, such as the alien marines featured in Serious Sam 2. He noted that the Serious Sam series had a lot of hardcore fans, especially "older gamers" in Eastern Europe, which made it pleasant to fill Serious Sam's Bogus Detour with references to previous games. Skoglund thought it was fun to work on a third-party intellectual property (IP) and to have access to all Serious Sam and The Talos Principle assets, including audio, visuals and the Serious Engine. He liked how material and ideas from The Talos Principle, which originated as an experiment during the development of Serious Sam 4, could be used in a Serious Sam project. Skoglund wanted to show Croteam that Crackshell had taken the project seriously and wanted to deliver a good take on the series that felt substantial. He hoped to be able to use the game to get to work on other IPs he had been a fan of, such as Syndicate.
Skoglund revealed the game through the forum of TIGSource in December 2014, saying that the studio intended to self-publish the game in 2016. The Crackshell team, which spanned five members in May 2016, shared development updates on TIGSource and later through Twitter and YouTube. In April 2017, Devolver Digital, which had since become the game's publisher, released a first trailer for the game. Bogus Detour was exhibited at the E3 game conference in early June 2017. It was released on 20 June 2017 for Linux and Microsoft Windows through the Steam and GOG.com storefronts. Multiple patches released until August 2017 fixed bugs and added features like split-screen functionality. The game's soundtrack, composed by Damjan Mravunac, was released to YouTube in July 2017.
Serious Sam's Bogus Detour received "generally favorable reviews", according to Metacritic. The website calculated a normalised rating of 76/100 based on twelve critic reviews. James Cunningham of Hardcore Gamer opined that the game was a "perfect" translation of the Serious Sam franchise to the twin-stick shooter genre. Clotaire Jacquier of Jeuxvideo.com felt that the top-down view complemented the series' core elements and that the game was a "successful mix" between the series and the genre. This was echoed by Enrique Garcia of Vandal, who stated that, although Bogus Detour was neither perfect nor innovative within its genre and mechanics, the game respected all common elements of a Serious Sam game. In a 2020 retrospective on the Serious Sam series, Jonathan Kaharl of Hardcore Gaming 101 said that Bogus Detour was "easily the best of the Serious Sam spin-offs".
Cunningham lauded the game's "gorgeous" pixel art as "well detailed and animated". Similarly, Jose A. Rodríguez, writing for IGN's Spanish outlet, called it a "work of art" and cited satisfaction in gradually distributing enemies' remains on the levels' floors. Garcia also liked the "retro-style" visuals, while Jacquier labelled the graphical and musical presentation as solid. According to Rodríguez, the music and sound well underlined the gameplay. Also noted positively were the difficulty, exploration rewards, and multiplayer, although Jacquier was disappointed by the scarcity of online players at the time of his review. Rodríguez considered the progression system the best part of the game, while Jacquier criticised it as unclear and laborious.
Jacquier faced some irritation when tracking long distances over empty areas, especially due to Sam's initially slow pace. Rodríguez found that the small size of the player character could cause disorientation with numerous elements on-screen, which was amplified when there were multiple players.
Serious Sam's Bogus Detour sold poorly compared to other games in the series and had not recouped its development costs by December 2017. Bulgarian cracker Voksi, who was friendly with Crackshell and had tested the beta version of the game, approached the studio in March 2018 with the idea of creating a sanctioned build that could be pirated. This version was distributed through Voksi's forum, Revolt, and prepared with a note asking the player to buy the game to support the developers, though otherwise not obstructing the gameplay.