This is getting serious!
This article contains some serious spoilers. Read at your own risk!
- "No cover. All man."
- ―Serious Sam 3: BFE tagline.
Serious Sam 3: BFE is a first-person shooter video game developed by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital. The game is part of the Serious Sam series and serves as the prequel to Serious Sam: The First Encounter. It was released for Microsoft Windows on November 22, 2011.
Support for OS X followed shortly after and was released on 23 April 2012. After a high number of requests, a Linux version of the game was released on 20 December 2012, just one day after Valve opened the beta branch for "Steam for Linux".
In the middle of the 21st century, humanity had begun to uncover artifacts and ruins left behind in ancient times by the Sirians, a long forgotten alien race from the planet Sirius. During this time, Mental, an extraterrestrial overlord, is awakened from dormancy by the humans and sends out his hostile alien armies to attack Earth. This leads to a three year-long war that has driven humanity almost to the point of extinction. In a last-ditch effort, the survivors turn to the Time-Lock, a recently excavated device that, allegedly, is capable of granting a single person the ability of time travel via an inter-dimensional portal. Through it, that person could reach a pivotal point in time and assassinate Mental in the past and change the future for humanity. But as the device lies dormant, they must first discover a means to turn it on.
Sam "Serious" Stone, Captain of the Earth Defense Force, is dispatched with a small squad of soldiers to Cairo in Egypt, which has been occupied by Mental's alien army for sometime. Their mission is to recon with Bravo Team after they lose contact with HQ. Sam tells his squad they are are protecting professor Stein, a scientist carrying hieroglyphics believed to contain instructions for powering up the Time-Lock. Sam's insertion goes haywire after his helicopter is shot down and both teams are quickly wiped out, leaving Sam the only survivor. He makes it into the museum, recovers the data from Stein's phone and transmits it to headquarters. The scientists at HQ decipher the hieroglyphics which indicates a hidden Sirian chamber below the Great Pyramid of Giza. Sam clears himself to the pyramid and makes it to the Sphinx. From the riddles uncovered from the hierogylphs, Sam detonates the Sphinx with explosives, revealing a tunnel underneath the Sphinx and descends into the pyramid. Once inside, he not only discovers the hidden chamber, but recovers crucial information and a bracelet device from the remains of what might have been Earth's last Sirian.
The data from Sirian chamber reveals that in order to power the Time-Lock, two dormant but incredibly powerful plasma generators need to be activated. Once outside the pyramid, Hellfire arrives to extract Sam to Karnak, the location of the generators. This is slowly accomplished and Charlie Team is ready for insertion into the Time-Lock. Sam is relieved of duty and in the process of being extracted from Luxor, but his helicopter is shot down once again and he is forced to flee towards the lost ruins of Nubia.
Traversing through more tombs, Sam gets back in touch with Hellfire and learns that Mental's forces have overrun headquarters shortly before she is killed. Now determined to finish what the Sirians started, Sam vows to use the Time-Lock himself and kill Mental in the past before he can destroy humanity in the present. Sam then makes one last travel to the Temple of Hatshepsut, where the Time-Lock is located. The struggle to this destination ends with Sam killing Ugh-Zan IV, the father of Ugh-Zan III from The First Encounter. With Ugh-Zan IV dead, the Time-Lock is then activated, displaying an inter-dimensional portal to 3000 B.C., the timeline where the Sirians became extinct. Sam calls Mental on Stein's phone and is answered by Mental's daughter, Judy. She tells him that Mental is planning to "moon" him. Sam notices the Moon plummeting rapidly within Earth's atmosphere and escapes through the Time-Lock as the Moon impacts Earth, destroying the planet.
- Charlie Team (Not seen)
- Hermann Stein (Not seen)
- Judy Mental (Heard only)
- Mental (Not seen)
- Miller's co-pilot
- Quinn (Heard only)
- Sam Stone
- The Oracle
- Unnamed EDF soldier
- Adult Arachnoid
- Alcor Class Warship (Boss)
- Aurigan Cave Demon
- Beheaded Kamikaze
- Beheaded Rocketeer
- Cloned Soldier
- Common Aludran Reptiloid (Jewel of the Nile DLC only)
- Hatchling Antaresian Spider
- Hatchling Arachnoid
- Juvenile Antaresian Spider
- Kleer Skeleton
- Major Bio-mechanoid
- Minor Bio-mechanoid
- Raahloom, the Imposing Prototype (Boss) (Jewel of the Nile only)
- Scythian Witch-Harpy
- Sirian Werebull
- Ugh-Zan IV (Boss)
- Witch-Bride of Achriman
- 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun: One of the classic Serious Sam weapons returns, but this time the shotgun has to be manually reloaded. It retains the same damage, spread and range as it did in the previous installments.
- AS-24 Devastator: A heavily modified, powerful automatic shotgun that fires explosive rounds. The rounds are fired with such force that they literally pierce through the target. It holds 20 rounds in drum magazines.
- ASU 7 Automatic Sentry Unit: A stationary sentry weapon that will fire at anything that moves and can tear through multiple targets in seconds.
- Axe: A wooden melee axe which functions exactly like the sledgehammer. Appears only in Jewel of the Nile DLC.
- C-4 Demolition Charge: A powerful explosive that can do extreme damage over a wide area. It can be thrown at a target and it will attach to it with the use of universal hooks. It can also be used to destroy enviromental obstacles such as pillars and walls.
- Double Barrel Coach Gun: A double-barrel shotgun that reappears from the classic games, though it now has heavy recoil.
- M29 Infantry Assault Rifle: An automatic assault rifle featuring a holographic sight, which can allow the user to fire more accurate shots from a distance.
- Melee Grab: A unique feature which will always kill the intended target, provided that they are close enough for it to be used. It can only be performed on certain enemies.
- RAPTOR Sniper Rifle: A powerful semi-automatic sniper rifle. It uses 16 mm armor-piercing Kevlar-coated bullets, which will pass right through most small to medium-sized targets.
- SBC Cannon: One of the most iconic weapons in the series, this portable cannon is one of the most powerful weapons in the game, and is capable of mowing down opponents in a row.
- Sirian Mutilator: A strange device of Sirian origin worn on the wrist. The bracelet fires a beam that can lasso onto as many as five targets at once, though this depends on the enemy's size. Once the target has been released from the beam after a short period of time, the Mutilator will tear the enemy to pieces.
- Sledgehammer: Melee weapon that deals a powerful blow to enemies up close. It can also be used to break down obstacles such as walls or planks.
- SOP38 Pistol: Semi-automatic handgun with a 10 round magazine that is useful for elimination of several weak targets, but not very effective against tough opponents.
- XM214-A Minigun: An iconic and powerful weapon with roughly the same damage output and rate of fire from the previous games.
- XL2 Lasergun: Energy weapon that fires slowlight energy pulses that have an extremely high rate of fire, which enables the user to take out targets at long range. Unlike the other weapons, this weapon is only found in secrets.
- XPML21 Rocket Launcher: Experimental rocket launcher designed to fire a fast barrage of unguided missiles that can penetrate through most known armor types. The loading mechanism is noticeably different from its classic counterpart.
Serious Sam 3: BFE takes place in 22nd century Egypt, during Mental's invasion on Earth, as implied in The First Encounter. Like previous titles in the series, the main theme of the game involves fighting against small to massive-scale hordes of enemies, often in large, open environments. Compared to previous games, however, Serious Sam 3 has more closed environments than its predecessors, usually in the early levels. There are also more ranged enemies than before.
The player can also carry an unlimited amount of weapons. There are 13 weapons in total. 5 of them have a manual reload. The signature close-combat weapons from the first game, the Military Knife and P-LAH Chainsaw, have been replaced with a sledgehammer that has three modes of attack (vertical strike, 180 turn, and full 360 turn).
Classic enemies such as the Beheaded Kamikaze, Beheaded Rocketeer, Gnaar and Kleer Skeleton return in the game. New ones include the Khnum and Scrapjack (resembling the Hell Knight and Mancubus from the Doom series), as well as Cloned Soldiers that are reminiscent of the Strogg from the Quake series. The Kamikaze has returned to his original design, rather than the Serious Sam 2 design. The Gnaar's design has radically been changed from the original game. It is now much larger, differently shaped and walks on all fours, unlike its bipedal counterpart in Serious Sam 1.
NETRICSA has also changed; rather than having multiple tabs showing data for enemies, areas, weapons and so on, there's now only one list all acquired information is displayed in. Additionally, rather than showing an image of the subject on the left and an info dump on the right, NETRICSA now shows a 3D image of the subject, automatically panning around it and describing individual parts using text boxes. Also, like in Serious Sam 1, she doesn't speak like she does in Serious Sam 2.
Several new features have been added in order to spice up gameplay and give the game a more realistic feel. The first of these include the implementation of bullet spread for weapons such as the pistol and assault rifle, which causes the weapons to fire inaccurately unless the iron sights mechanic featured for select weapons are used, which allow for more precise aiming but reduces the player's movement. Most weapons in the game now feature recoil like other first-person shooters, instead of the weapons being perfectly accurate like in the previous games. The player can also sprint, letting them run from one location to another and outrun enemies with ease. Finally, some guns, such as the assault rifle and the pump-action shotgun, feature magazines that must be reloaded manually.
There is no regenerating health, instead, there are health and armor power-ups scattered throughout the levels that the player must pick up. Additionally, the levels are full of secrets, where health, armor, ammo and, in some cases, weapons from later levels can be found, following the tradition of the previous games. Some weapons such as the lasergun and the sniper rifle and their respective ammunition pickups are in fact secret-only, and otherwise are not found in the levels normally. There are no puzzles, however the player must find keys, pull levers and find environmental anomalies in order to progress.
Many features found in Serious Sam 2, such as vehicles, have been removed. The score system is still in place, and like Serious Sam HD, top scores are uploaded to online leader-boards, letting people around the world compete for the best scores. Secrets are also common, like in previous games.
Serious Sam 3: BFE features several gamemodes for both online and offline. Offline, the player can play the single-player campaign and survival. Online multiplayer is also back and split-screen from Serious Sam 1 has been re-introduced. This lets one enjoy multiplayer with friends without having to connect online. Other players can play using Xbox 360 or Xbox One controllers, other keyboards, and a mouse.
The only DLC released so far is Jewel of the Nile. It was released on October 16, 2012 for the PC and Mac versions, and October 17, 2012 for the Xbox 360 version. It contains three all new single player levels, a new weapon, a new enemy and a new boss for $9.99 USD or 1200 MS Points.
Marketing and release
Before the release of Serious Sam 3: BFE, three indie games were announced to be in development. All were released around the release of Serious Sam 3.
The Gold Edition of Serious Sam 3: BFE has many features compared to the normal version of the game. Some of these features include:
- The main game
- The Jewel of the Nile expansion pack
- Bonus Content, which consists of:
- The original soundtrack of the game in AAC, FLAC and WMA formats
- The Brett Sanderson player model
- A sniper scope for the AS-24 Devastator, but only for the single-player campaign
- A making-of video of the game (in Croatian, with English subtitles)
- A digital 42-page colored artwork album
- A digital copy of the game's box art
- High-resolution images of the game's posters
- High-resolution versions of the game's different trailers
Xbox 360 version
Serious Sam 3 was released on the Xbox 360 on October 17, 2012. It is available through Xbox Live and on disc in the Serious Sam collection, and is split into two parts on Xbox Live. The single player and co-op game modes are available in a package for 1200 MS Points, while the Versus modes and Jewel of the Nile DLC are available in a package for 1200 MS Points, but require that the player buys the single player package first. There is also a demo with a slightly modified version of Broken Wings. The game has two player split screen mode, while up to four players can play online. The Jewel of the Nile is included in the Serious Sam collection.
The Xbox 360 version of the game is the same as the PC version, but has lower graphics and, every time the player is killed, a tip appears that's related to whatever killed the player.
Unlike other Serious Sam games in the franchise, BFE features features Steamworks DRM as part of its copy protection system. If the game code detects what it believes to be an unauthorized copy, it alters gameplay to make play exceedingly difficult. An invincible Adult Arachnoid is spawned: it can charge at high speed, melee attack, and attacks from a range with its twin chainguns. This makes progress in the game much harder, and ultimately prevents the player from progressing further. This invincible Arachnoid is also known as the DRM Scorpion.
If the invincible Arachnoid protection is bypassed, there is another one: mid-way in the game during a fight with the aliens; the camera permanently locks to the sky, preventing the player from aiming.
Serious Sam 3: BFE received mostly positive reviews. The game scored a 7 out of 10 on Eurogamer, praising it for what Duke Nukem Forever failed to deliver. However, the gameplay was criticized due to its redundancy, as well as how it compared to previous installments in the franchise. However, Game Informer praised the game's graphics and heavy metal score while keeping the original concept, giving it a score of 7.75. Destructoid gave it an 8.5, saying "It's a lot of fun indeed. A lot of backbreaking, grueling, soul-destroying fun. Metacritic gave the game a score of 72 out of 100 based on 53 reviews, while the game scored a similar rating of 75.61% on GameRankings, based on 37 reviews.
Achievements and trophies
- Main article: Serious Sam 3: BFE Achievements and Trophies
Serious Sam 3: BFE has 62 PC achievements, 25 Xbox 360 achievements with a total of 250 Gamerscore points (300 if the player has bought Jewel of the Nile), and 55 trophies; 40 bronze trophies, 8 silver trophies, 4 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy.
Behind the scenes
- The Super Armor, despite not appearing in the game, is present with both a model and functioning programming in the game's files. It does appear in the Serious Sam Fusion of the game, but only once on the final level.
- Prototype screenshots for the game show that the game was originally going to use Serious Sam 2 enemies and weapon designs in the realistic desert setting.
- Concept art of a gorilla-like creature suggest that it was going to be in the game at one point, but was later scrapped.
- This is the first game since Serious Sam: The Second Encounter to forego the inclusion of power-ups and Serious Bombs, the latter being replaced by C-4. This is also the first game to not include the traditional grenade launcher, the weapon instead being replaced by the Devastator.
- Many of the one-liners from The Second Encounter are reused in Serious Sam 3.
- Launch trailer: Serious Sam 3: BFE launch trailer.