This is getting serious!
This article contains some serious spoilers. Read at your own risk!
Since then, the franchise has 4 official games (with another one currently in development), 9 spin-offs, as well as numerous ports for various operating systems and game consoles. All of these are set within the same universe (except for I Hate Running Backwards). Some of them were developed by Croteam or Devolver Digital, and while the main games of the series are implemented in the genre of a three-dimensional shooter with a first-person view, its branches (secondary games) are presented in different genres and developed by other companies. The publishers of various games served as the Gathering of Developers, Global Star Software, cDV Software Entertainment, Majesco, and Devolver Digital; in Russia they were published "1C" and "New Disc".
Since its first installment, the series has been introduced to many consoles such as the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Linux, and Mac. The games in the main series have started on the Serious Engine, starting from Serious Engine 1 up to the latest version, Serious Engine 3.5, while spin-offs and other games in the franchise use different game engines.
The protagonist of the Serious Sam series is Sam Stone, more famously known as "Serious Sam"; hence the name of the series. He was a former Captain of the Earth Defense Force, and has to fight back against hordes of a vicious alien army sent by the notorious extraterrestrial being, Mental, to attack and invade Earth as part of his ultimate goal to wipe out the human race.
Serious Sam 3: BFE story arc
One day, a huge discovery is made. During an archaeological expedition, an ancient device is uncovered in the process, which was theorized to have been made by a technologically advanced species race a long time ago. The scientific implications of this discovery would lead humans far and wide across the universe, colonizing on other planet far away from Earth. For humanity, this opportunity seemed perfect. Unfortunately, perfect never lasts.
Having discovered intelligent life, Mental, the last of an extraterrestrial species known as the Hum-Tah, sends out his hostile alien forces to annihilate mankind. His forces fought against the humans from Alpha Centauri all the way back to Earth, where the planet stood as humanity's last stronghold against the invaders. The humans fought hard, but were no match for the sheer size of Mental's armies. In order to finish humanity off once and for all, Mental begins to invade Earth, which leads to a three-year conquest that has driven humanity almost to the point of extinction. As people began to struggle to fend off the alien invaders, world leaders turn to the Time-Lock as a last resort, hoping to send in a small force of soldiers to assassinate Mental when he laid dormant, thus saving humanity from extinction. In order to so, however, they had to find a way to activate the Time-Lock.
An opening cutscene shows the Sun beaming down on the Sahara, with a Kleer skull half-buried in the sand. In the distance, an UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter can be seen, piloted by Miller and his co-pilot. On board, members of team Alpha; Sam "Serious" Stone, Rodriguez, Jones and another soldier are en route to Cairo, which was abandoned and overrun by Mental's forces during the invasion. As the helicopter makes it way towards Cairo, a large plume of sand erupts from the ground, where a large creature attempts to devour the helicopter. Luckily, Miller and the co-pilot manage to avoid it in time.
Annoyed by the sudden events, Rodriguez complains about how today is his birthday, impatiently stating that he should be snorting coke off a stripper's butt instead of being on an important mission. With the chopper getting closer to the city, Sam reports that team Bravo were protecting a scientist in an old museum in Cairo, but they lost contact with HQ at around 0900 hours. Rodriguez seems unhappy about the plan, seeing how Mental is slowly wiping out all life on Earth while he and his team have been ordered to protect a museum. Sam says that the guy they're looking for has important information about powering up the Time-Lock. The helicopter approaches the ruins of Cairo, but soon after they get into the city, a volley of rockets attempt to hit the helicopter. As the helicopter dodges the missiles, Sam is left hanging over the side as he wasn't wearing his seatbelt. After many desperate attempts to evade the rockets, one of them hits the tail of the Black Hawk and Sam is sent flinging out of it and far from his squad.
After recovering from his fall, Sam sees that he has landed on the roof of a building below and his helicopter has crashed. Sam gets in contact with Earth Defense Force intelligence officer Quinn, who asks how about the current status of the helicopter. Sam tells her the chopper is FUBAR, but that he's still going to the museum, then ends the call. Soon after, Rodriguez calls back, confirming he's alive and comedically berates Sam for not wearing his seatbelt. After a little snip from Sam, Rodriguez tells them that they're at the museum and that Sam needs to get his ass in gear.
Sam starts fighting through the city while only armed with a sledgehammer and his bare hands. Along the way, he gets a call from Jones, who tries to tell him something, but a Beheaded Kamikaze detonates in the background which cuts him off and ends the call. Sam continues his fight through the city, and acquires a SOP38 Pistol along the way.When Sam reaches the plaza near the museum, he comes across the remains of the helicopter wreckage and the mutilated remains of his team. He calls Quinn and reports this, only to be set upon by more of Mental's forces. Afterwards, he makes his way to the museum alone.
After entering the museum, HQ informs Sam that Stein has important information, but will not give it to the Earth Defense Force until he is rescued from the museum. Sam makes another quip and goes to rescue him. However, after fighting through the museum, Sam finds Stein has been brutally killed by the monsters inside, only finding his severed hand with his phone still held. His cell phone is still intact, so he grabs it and uploads the data on it to headquarters, then requests a helicopter to get him out of Cairo. With his main objective completed, Sam travels back through the basement to the surface. Right before he tries to leave, an Adult Arachnoid confronts him outside, leading to a long battle that ultimately results in Sam's victory.
After exiting the museum, Sam is called by the helicopter pilot, Garret. He offers to extract Sam from the city, but requests he make his way to the nearby mosque, as it's the only safe place to land. Sam reaches the center of the mosque and clears it out, but before the helicopter can land, a Major Bio-mechanoid shoots down Garret's chopper and engages Sam in another fight, in which he kills the cyborg. Afterwards, he calls and tells HQ what happened and states that he's going to see if he can find the crash site and save the pilot. Quinn agrees, and tells Sam that the scientists have analyzed the stone tablets that professor Stein was working on. From the analysis, they believe that there's a hidden chamber underneath The Great Pyramid.
Sam continues to fight through the ruined city and reaches the crash site. He tells HQ that he's found the helicopter. Before he can get a good look at it as he's approaching, an unknown creature falls from the sky and impacts the helicopter's wreckage, turning it into a Technopolip that immediately lifts off and begins to attack Sam. Lacking any sort of explosive weapon to breach the helicopter's armor, he runs past it and enters a part of town that is filled with minigun turrets. He deactivates them while avoiding fire from the helicopter and the enemies that have been teleported in to stop him. After shutting down all of the turrets and making his way through the maze of streets, Sam finally finds a XPML21 Rocket Launcher and an ammunition crate loaded with rockets near a gate. He uses the rocket launcher to destroy the Technopolip. With the Technopolip destroyed, he calls HQ and tells him that he managed to “secure the bird”. Quinn knows that the explanation is something she doesn't know about, though she then tells Sam they're going to send another helicopter to pick him up and send him to the Great Pyramid in order explore what professor Stein found.
As it's too hot for anyone to land and extract Sam safely without being shot down, Sam refuses the offer, and tells Quinn that he would rather take the "scenic route", by actually walking out of the city on foot. As he walks out, Quinn berates the risky situation that he will be getting himself into, but he cuts her off.
After going through the gate, Sam spots a topless woman with bird feet perched on a tall building. Quipping to himself about how apparently 'beautiful' the creature is, the creature hears him and reveals its true, more grotesque face, causing Sam to kill it in disgust. Soon after, more appear that are perched on ruined buildings. Sam kills them all, along with some other creatures that have appeared. He gets near an overpass, and decides to transform it into a shortcut by tossing C-4 charges on its support pillars. He blows the pillars up, creating a ramp onto said overpass and a shortcut over much of the city. Quinn asks what the hell he's doing, but he just replies with a cocky response.
Sam continues his fight through the city, and eventually reaches a very large field filled with supplies. After killing more Harpies and other enemies, an Alcor Class Warship warps into the air over the ruined area and begins attacking Sam, beaming down many enemies and firing a large scorcher beam along the ground as it flies over. He eventually manages to critically damage the ship by firing into the hatches that open each times it beams down an enemy. After the ship has taken enough damage, it flies away to avoid destruction. After another quip, he calls HQ and tells them that just fought off an Alcor Class Warship and that he's found transportation to the Great Pyramid; an old car. Quinn tells him that they believe the Great Sphinx has a clue to figuring out what they need to discover and that it's hiding something. Sam says he'll go over there and disconnects. He then hops into the car and drives off.
Sam drives to a slum located near the Great Pyramid of Giza, and is contacted by Quinn. She tells him that the researchers at headquarters are trying to figure out a riddle that Stein found that relates to opening up the Sphinx. Sam, disinterested, then disconnects and fights through the slum to eventually reaches the ruins near the Great Pyramid. After fighting though the ruins, he finds the Sphinx. Sam calls HQ and sees if they've made any progress as to how to enter the Sphinx. Quinn says they're still working on it, so Sam tells her he's going to use his "Plan B," which turns out to be utilizing the nearby C-4 crates to strap the timeless Grand Sphinx with C-4. After calling HQ to check if they've solved the riddle one more time, which they haven't, he unhesitatingly detonates the C-4, causing the sandstone statue to crumble and reveal a secret passage in the ground, much to the chagrin of Quinn and the rest of HQ.
After going through the hole, Sam finds several traps that were set up to prevent intruders from entering. He manages to get past them, and starts traveling through a very long hall. At the end of it, he ends up in a room with pillars in it that has a metallic hallway in it. Unfortunately, the hallway has a door that's impossible to open, so he looks around to see if there's a way to open it. Hidden in the pillar room is another room that has a large alien mummy with a strange device on its left wrist. Sam picks up the device on to see what it does. He walks back to the door, and the device opens the door. Past the door is an elevator that leads to a gigantic room with a hologram of Karnak and Luxor on it. Sam contacts HQ about it uploads some pictures of it, along with uploading data in the map. HQ then tells Sam that he should leave the pyramid because there's a helicopter arranged to get him out.
He then finds another door on the other side of the room and rides it down. It leads to more ruins, but a Beheaded Rocketeer is waiting for him. Sam discovers that the Sirian Mutilator can be used as a weapon, and uses a beam it fires to decapitate the Rocketeer. He then leaves the pyramid through a small shaft. When he gets out he finds that he's at a large field that's past the Sphinx he destroyed. However, a large group of enemies, including sever Major Bio-mechanoids, attack. When they're all dead, his transport helicopter appears. He hops in it, and discovers that the pilot is a friend of his, Hellfire. She tells him that the data from the Great Pyramid is actually information about two power generators needed to power the Time-Lock. HQ has decided to send Sam to power them on.
After some flirting, Sam and Hellfire reach the outskirts of Karnak, the first location with a power generator. She asks if Sam needs some help, but he says he's fine. Sam fights through the outskirts and enters an old ruined building. Inside it, he discovers the Aurigan Cave Demons (whom Sam refers to as "space monkeys"). After defeating them, he solves a quick switch puzzle and finds a way back to the surface.
Sam appears in Karnak now, and continues to more forward while fighting Mental's forces. Eventually, he ends up near a dig site that leads to another Sirian metal door. This one is opened by finding four medallions in Karnak. Sam travels forward, where the finds four buildings that each contain a medallion. The Sirian Mutilator is needed for him to access each one.
After more fighting and finding a keycard, Sam manages to get all four Sirian artifacts and uses them to open the door. Past it is an elevator, which leads down to an enormous area filled with blue lights on pillars. The bottom of the elevator leads to another door, behind which is a large pyramid-shaped object. Sam waves the Mutilator near it, which re-activates it. When it's active, Quinn calls back and tells him that the first generator for the Time-Lock is back online. She also gushes about how humans have never managed to activate Sirian technology until now, but Sam cuts her off so that he can ask where to activate the second generator and get back HQ and enjoy some cold beer. She tells him that it's in Luxor, and that when he's done, he can go back to HQ.
After the ride back up, Sam finds that one of the walls in the dig site has been knocked down, and that the door to the medallion area no longer works. With nowhere else to go, Sam jumps over the wall into an area filled with pillars. Soon after, a Khnum enters the area to face Sam alone. Utilizing multiple explosive weapons and his new Sirian Mutilator, he dispatches it after a lengthy confrontation. With the Khnum dead, Sam continues his travels through Karnak. After fighting off some enemies, he finds a Witch-Bride of Achriman, who tries to crush him to death using her telekinesis. Despite that, he ultimately kills the creature.
After leaving the Witch-Bride arena, he discovers an ASU 7 Automatic Sentry Unit. After letting it work its magic against an insurmountably large horde of Kleers, he grabs the mounted minigun and takes it with him. He continues his travel through Karnak and eventually ends up in a huge yard that links Karnak with Luxor. More enemies appear to stop him, but he manages to kill them and enter Luxor.
Inside Luxor, Sam finds another Sirian metal door in a dig site. As with the other one, it requires that one needs to find four emblems scattered throughout Luxor to open it. Once again, Sam finds the emblems, which are scattered around a bit more this time, and returns to the door. He opens it, which reveals another elevator that leads to a power generator. After activating the second power generator, the time-lock is finally online. Quinn contacts Sam to tell him that the time-lock is online, that its activation finally gives humanity a chance to defeat Mental, Charlie Team is being prepared to enter the time-lock and that Sam can finally get back to base and have a hot meal and a beer.
Sam returns to Luxor's ruins, and finds that a ladder that leads from the dig site has fallen off. Thankfully for him, there's an old ruin that he can go through. He travels through it, finds a Khnum on a throne, kills it, and then blows up a lot of old ruined walls. After blowing them up, he travels through another hallway that leads outside. Unfortunately, there are a lot of enemies waiting for him. However, he finds a SBC Cannon and uses its extreme power to carve through the horde of monsters waiting for him.
He manages to reach the outskirts of Luxor. After clearing out yet more aliens there, Quinn tells him that the Alcor Class Warship is in the area again and that the area can't be used as an extraction point. Soon after, the warship appears. Using his now-complete arsenal, Sam easily dispatches the Warship a second time, this time damaging it to the point where it can't warp; upon the ship attempting to anyways, its thrusters all explode, causing it to crash.
After defeating the Warship, a helicopter lands. Sam hops in and starts talking like the pilot is Hellfire, but it's actually Wilson. When Sam is on-board, the helicopter takes off and starts flying to HQ. While in the air, Sam tells Wilson that it feels like he killed "half of the known universe" back in the ruins. Wilson tells him he had it easy, as Team Charlie is getting ready to enter the Time-Lock and try to kill Mental in the past. While talking about “milk runs”, Sam notices a Major Bio-mechanoid rising from the sand below. Despite Sam's warnings, Wilson fails to notice, allowing it to easily shoot down the helicopter, sending Sam flying out of it a second time.
Sam recovers from the crash, and finds that his weapons were flung from his person in the crash, except for his Sirian Mutilator. He tries to contact HQ about what happened, but his communicator was damaged when he fell. Without any support from HQ, Sam decides to move forward through the sandstorm he's landed in the middle of and see if he can find Wilson. After some walking, he finds another Sledgehammer] and soon after finds some ruins with more of his weapons near it. It turns out that Sam has landed at The Lost Temples of Nubia. After some fighting, Sam finds his helicopter and Wilson's corpse. Since there's nowhere else to go, Sam pushes forwards through the temples, fighting enemies like Technopolips, Major Bio-mechanoids and Khnums in the process. Near the end of the temples, he finds a huge canyon filled with enemies. Sam clears out the canyon and discovers that there's an entrance to an underground temple at the end of it. Sam travels through the temple and avoids several traps, such as a rotating pillar and a room filled with Hatchling Arachnoids.
After traveling through the temple, Sam discovers that Team Charlie have been taken out. Sam contacts HQ using the earpiece of a dead soldier nearby. Surprisingly, instead of Quinn, Hellfire picks up and informs him that Mental found the Earth Defense Force's base and they're currently under attack, claiming they won't last much longer and that Sam's only hope is to stock up on ammo and last as long as he can. Soon after, a Gnaar pounces on her from the top of the metal building she was taking cover behind and kills her. The feral creature picks up Hellfire's earpiece and begins to taunt Sam. After a brief verbal scuffle, the Gnaar responds back by telling him that Mental is going to “moon” him. Perceiving this as literal, Sam tells him that he'll "shoot Mental's ass off and hang it on a wall", and promptly hangs up. Sam then deduces the fact that he is likely the last human left on Earth, and decides to head to the Time-Lock to use it himself.
Sam fights through more ruins, and ends up in a slum. He finds a car that he can use to drive to the Temple of Hatsheput, where the Time-Lock is, but finds out that the car needs gas. Thankfully, there are several gas cans scattered throughout the slum, but Mental's forces continue to appear in order to kill him. Sam manages to put enough gas in the car, and finally drives off to the Temple of Hatshepsut. Unfortunately for Sam, his car runs out of gas near a large canyon. He then heads for the canyon, as he narrowly avoids being devoured by a Sandwhale. With no car, he is forced to travel by foot through the canyon. Even worse, Mental sends a huge amount of his forces in order to stop Sam from reaching the Time-Lock, including multiple Technopolips, Sirian Werebulls, Khnums and legions of Kleers and Juvenile Antaresian Spiders. Fortunately, Sam has since reacquired all his guns and finds the SBC Cannon on the ground, and thus he proceeds through the canyon vengefully.
Against all odds, Sam manages to defeat every enemy that appears, and ends up in a large, sandy area with the Time-Lock on the other side. After entering the area however, a thunderstorm starts brewing overhead and one of Mental's highest-ranking disciples, Ugh-Zan IV, rises from the Sand as a last-ditch effort by Mental to stop Sam. However, soon after Ugh-Zan appears, a Sandwhale bursts from beneath the sand and attempts to attack Ugh-Zan IV. This gives Sam an opportunity to run to some nearby ruins. Sam manages to find a jetpack in one of the ruined buildings. Soon after, Ugh-Zan wrestles the Sandwhale away from him and begins attacking Sam. Utilizing several metal scaffolding poles he finds lying around the arena, he takes advantage of the Sand-Whale occasionally rising from the sand to attack Ugh-Zan to fly up to the creature's back and throw them like javelins into it. After doing this enough times, lightning strikes Ugh-Zan, stunning him long enough for Sam to attack without worrying about the creature's regenerative abilities.
With Ugh-Zan IV dead, Sam gets to the Time-Lock. Sam calls Mental in order to threaten him one last time. However, his daughter, Judy Mental, picks up the line. He asks where her dad is, and she says that he's off destroying ”a pissant planet in the middle of nowhere”. He then told her that he's going to kill Mental, in which she responds to "Are you serious?" and Sam says "Why yes, as a matter of fact, I am". She then tells him that he needs to hurry, because Mental is going to moon Earth at any moment. Sam asks what she means by "mooning", having heard the Gnaar state this before, only to look up and discover what they really meant; rather than the slang term for mooning, Mental has literally destabilized the entire Moon out of its own orbit and sent it hurdling towards Earth like a titanic meteor. This prompts Sam to hang up and make a mad dash to the Time-Lock.
Soon after Sam hops into the Time-Lock, The Moon crashes into Earth, destroying it. Humanity and Earth are now gone in the present, but there is still hope left for the human race in the past.
The First Encounter story arc
After the events of Serious Sam 3: BFE, Sam arrives in Ancient Egypt, in the Temple of Hatshepsut, and starts his journey to find the four elements of air, water, fire and earth, all of which are needed to gain access to the Egyptian city of Karnak, and houses the only way to bring the SSS Centerprice to Earth.
However, Mental, who has been finishing up the Sirians, is alerted to Sam's presence and sends some of his forces to Earth in order to stop him. After collecting them, he enters Memphis and collects the Sign of Amon-Ra, which is vital to summoning the SSS Centerprice. He then travels to Karnak and enters it via placing the elements he had collected earlier in various slots. Sam fights through Karnak, and ends up in Luxor. Within Luxor, he discovers a large obelisk, which hides a large tower that broadcasts the message to bring back the SSS Centerprice when the Sign of Amon-Ra is near it. With the Sirian ship finally coming to Egypt, Sam hurries to the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is where the SSS Centerprice will be at. However, one of Mental's most trusted admirals, Ugh-Zan III, appears and attempts to kill Sam while he's running to the Great Pyramid. Because Ugh-Zan III has the ability to regenerate, the only option for Sam is to run. Sam manages to enter the pyramid after a close encounter with Ugh-Zan at the front of the pyramid, and prepares the ship for boarding by using the Amon-Ra artifact.
While there, his computer, NETRICSA, learns there's a catch with the SSS Centerprice; it will kill anyone that attempts to board it that is not a species authorized to use it. Since there's nothing else he can do at this point, Sam decides to try boarding it while hoping that the Sirians made humans an authorized species. He then takes an elevator to the top of the exposed pyramid, ready to try his luck with the SSS Centerprice. However, Ugh-Zan III scales the pyramid and attempts to stop Sam right before he's ready to board the ship. Sam manages to manipulate the ship's anti-intruder function by weakening Ugh-Zan III with his weapons, then luring him to the center of the boarding area, which is where one enters the SSS Centerprice. Ugh-Zan III's species is not authorized to use the ship, so the ship instead fires a very powerful laser at him, which manages to overwhelm and kill him before he can activate his regenerative abilities.
Right after Ugh-Zan III is killed, Sam runs into the middle of the boarding area, hoping that the ship has humans as an authorized species. It does, and Sam is warped into the ship. As the ship departs to Sirius' trade routes, Sam calls up Mental and lets him know that he has an “important package” he needs to deliver to him, and that it'll be coming soon.
The Second Encounter story arc
After the events of Serious Sam: The First Encounter, Sam is seen traveling through space in the SSS Centerprice. Suddenly, something collides with the spaceship, causing it to crash into some mountains in South America, (the cutscene shows that a crate bus piloted by Croteam Heads crashed into it by accident, though it is not know if this is canon). According to NETRICSA, they have crash-landed in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
However, Sam is not trapped; as NETRICSA discovers a backup spaceship that the Sirians placed on Earth in case something happened to the SSS Centerpiece. Portals through different time areas have been placed throughout different time periods across Earth in order to lead to the backup spaceship; a rocket. However, it seems that Mental is aware of the crash and sends more of his alien horde against Sam.
Sam starts his travels through Mesoamerica in order to find the key that leads to the Mesoamerica's portal. After fighting through a few temples, Sam discovers the key; a crystal skull. With this in hand, he heads to the ancient city of Teotihuacan while fighting more of Mental's horde. After a travel through the capital city and the challenging “trials” underneath the city, Sam finally manages to get to the teleport. However, it is guarded by the Aztec wind god, Kukulkán, who doesn't recognize Sam and fights him in order for Sam to prove his worth in using the teleporter. Mental's forces attempt to intervene, but Sam manages to best Kukulkán in battle, allowing Sam access to the teleporter.
The teleport sends Sam to Babylon, where he must find the teleporter there. Much like in Mesoamerica, Sam fights through temples and villages to find it. As he makes progress through the Babylonian complex, NETRICSA discovers a very likely location for the teleport; the Tower of Babel. After gaining access by finding the three Tablets of Wisdom scattered in various yards, Sam discovers that the area is guarded by one of Mental's minions.
Sam appears in medieval Poland, near a large castle that contains a book which has the location of the key to activate the backup spaceship, the Holy Grail. Of course, Sam is attacked by Mental's hordes, who strike with more force than they did before. After reaching the heart of the castle, he finds the book, which leads him to a village on a snowy mountain, which has a lava-filled cave hidden below. Inside the cave is a teleport that leads him to an ice castle.
Sam travels to the Grand Cathedral, the location of the backup spaceship and the Holy Grail. Mental is unable to destroy the Holy Grail because him and his forces are considered “unholy” by it, so instead he moved it to The Grand Cathedral as a temporary measure. Sam managed to fight through the Corridors of Death and reach the Cathedral. Before he can enter the Cathedral, Mordekai the Summoner appears, who was guarding the Grail with his dark magic. After a difficult fight, Sam manages to defeat him and gain access to the Holy Grail, which is located in the Cathedral. He then calls Mental to “confess his sins”, which was actually to make fun of how he managed to demolish Mental's forces to him. Sam then activates the backup spaceship, heads to his original destination, Sirius and its trade routes, while the Bigheads cheer him on.
Serious Sam is an arcade first-person shooter inspired by the so-called "old-school" shooters such as Doom and Duke Nukem 3D. The central gameplay feature of the game is shooting a large number of enemies while advancing through large open levels. The player’s arsenal is varied and not constrained by any restrictions; on average, in each game of the series, the main character is able to carry up to 10 different weapons, from the usual light, cold arms (knife, chainsaw, etc.) to heavy firearms of destructive power (rocket launcher, minigun, cannon, etc.). The number of enemies on the player's screen can reach up to several hundred at a time, and the total number of opponents at a level can reach several thousand. For killing monsters, the player gets points, which are then added to the total score. The series is distinguished by a wide variety of types of enemies, including land, underwater, flying, living, and mechanical enemies. At the end of some levels are bosses, which are notoriously more difficult to defeat than standard enemies.
Also, as in other old-school shooters, the player can take obtain first-aid kits and armor. Health regeneration is absent at all levels of complexity, except for Tourist difficulty. In addition, in some games of the series there are power ups - special bonuses that temporarily give the player some special features: for example, Invulnerability, Invisibility, accelerated running or strengthening of weapons, like Serious Speed and Serious Damage.
The storyline present in the game is served primarily with the help of in-game videos (cutscenes) and Sam's electronic assistant, NETRICSA. NETRICSA is a neurochip that has been implanted into Sam's skull sometime before the series began, which provides the player with all the necessary information about goals and objectives, detailed plot facts about levels, weapons and opponents, displays current health, armor and ammunition, as well as Sam’s commenting on the actions and helpful tips.
Serious Engine games
Serious Sam: The First Encounter is the first title in the Serious Sam franchise that was made by Croteam. It was released on March 21, 2001, and tells the story of an extraterrestrial being, who humanity names "Mental" due to the insanely large masses of his forces. He invades Earth with his alien army, sending humanity to the point of no return. As they are running out of time to fend of Mental's armies, they have chosen Serious Sam to send into the past via a recently discovered device known as the "Time-Lock", to alter the course of history and defeat Mental.
In March 2001, The First Encounter was released to wide acclaim. The game became a huge success and received multiple awards, including one from IGN, partially because of its $20 USD price tag. In February 2002, an expansion pack, Serious Sam: The Second Encounter was released. A few years later, both games were bundled into one package named Serious Sam Gold.
On February 5, 2002, Serious Sam: The Second Encounter was released. Development appeared to have been started around May 2001, as model files for the sniper rifle, flamethrower, napalm, and modified Serious Sam model found in the “mission pack” folder in the model section of the The Second Encounter SDK. It was officially announced on September 2nd, 2001, and preview screenshots were released later that month. On February 2002, The Second Encounter was officially released to much fanfare. While it didn't win as many rewards as its predecessor did, it was a huge success.
In the same year, on November 10, an Xbox version of both Serious Sam: The First Encounter and Serious Sam: The Second Encounter was released for the Xbox 360. Gameplay-wise, Serious Sam: Xbox is essentially the same as both Serious Sam: The First Encounter and Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, though there have been many changes and modifications. There are also several features which are otherwise not present in Serious Sam 1.
On November 22, 2011 Serious Sam 3: BFE was released for MIcrosoft Windows, and later released onto other platforms, including Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game serves as the prequel to Serious Sam: The First Encounter, taking place in 22nd century Egypt, where mankind falls victim to a three-year long invasion of hostile aliens as part of Mental's scheme to annihilate the human race.
On June 25, 2009, Serious Sam HD was announced by Croteam and was to be published on PC by cDV Software Entertainment and Majesco on the Xbox 360. The original plan was to release both TFE and TSE in one package, but the decision to split them into two games so that Croteam could focus on TFE and see how well it sold before continuing development on the TSE remake.
Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter was released on Steam on November 24, 2009, with a demo coming out in December. In January 2010, the Xbox 360 version was released. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter followed a similar pattern. It was released on Steam on April 28, 2010. The Xbox 360 version came out during September 2010, and a demo for the Xbox 360 was released around that time frame as well. Two packages featuring both games have been released on Steam. The Serious Sam HD Double Package contains both games and costs $29.99 USD, while Serious Sam HD Gold, which contains both Serious Sam HD games and the original Serious Sam 1, costs $39.99 USD.
On February 2011, the Fusion DLC was released, which merged Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter with TSerious Sam HD: The Second Encounter code and executable, finally allowing people to play The First Encounter in The Second Encounter.
Currently, three pieces of downloadable content, Fusion DLC Pack, Serious Eight and Legend of the Beast were released. The Legend of the Beast DLC and the Fusion DLC Pack are currently available, while the Serious Eight DLC is no longer available, as it was a promotional item. After numerous requests from fans, the Serious Eight DLC was released on Steam for $4.99. It's the only item not available in the Serious Sam Complete Pack, it needs to be purchased separately.
Virtual reality games
On March 30, 2017 and April 04, 2017, virtual reality versions of both Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter and Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter were released as Serious Sam VR. The latter became the first virtual reality games in the series, and all of the same weapons, items and power-ups from Serious Sam 1 are included in SSVR, and weapons can now be dual-wielded.
Later that year, on September 20, 2017, Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope was released as the third virtual reality installment in the franchise. The game is set prior to the events of Serious Sam 3: BFE. Due to limitations with virtual reality controllers, player movement is much more restricted, which makes avoiding enemy projectiles harder and the player can only shoot whatever appears in fron of them.
A virtual reality version of Serious Sam 3: BFE, Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE, was released on November 09, 2017. It has the same functionality as the other vr games in the series.
The popularity of the Serious Sam series has resulted in the creation of many spin-off games, most of which are either based on the main storyline's plot, though they are considered to be non-canon.
Serious Sam Advance is a first-person shooter that was released for the Game Boy Advance, released on April 12, 2004 in the United States and April 30, 2004 in the EU. Like other games in the series, Serious Sam Advance is set in early time periods, though this time it is set in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome. Gameplay-wise, it is very much like other games in the Serious Sam series, in that the player needs to kill a large amount of enemies in order to reach the exit of a level, which is represented by an ankh. Compared to other Serious Sam games, Serious Sam Advance did not have such a positive outcome. The game received mostly mixed to negative reception upon its release. The game was given a score of 45% by GameRankings, while Metacritic and IGN gave it 51 out of 100 and 5/10.
Originally thought to be the sequel to Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, Serious Sam 2 is considered to be non-canon, though much like the majority of the franchise, the player assumes the role of hero Sam "Serious" Stone in his adventures against the forces of Mental, who seeks to destroy humanity and all other intelligent life. Gameplay-wise, Serious Sam 2 functions the same as its predecessor, but has a different art style, remodeled weapons, and vehicles. Without using cell shading, the textures and models used in Serious Sam 2 result in a much more cartoon-like version of the universe as portrayed in other games of the series. Serious Sam 2 is the first game in the series where the story travels to worlds other than Earth, resulting in much more varied environments, and the result is a stark contrast in overall visual style to the other games in the series, most notably Serious Sam 1.
Serious Sam: Double D is a shoot 'em up side-scrolling shooter. The game was developed by Mommy's Best Games and published by Devolver Digital. They originally contacted Mommy's Best Games in order to create a game for their Serious Sam indie series in order to promote Serious Sam 3: BFE because of their work on Weapons of Destruction. After some brainstorming, Mommy's Best Games came up with the gunstack concept and submitted it to Croteam to see if it would fit the Serious Sam series. The idea received a positive outcome, and gave them the approval to start working on what would become Double D. The developing studio kept on working on the game and on February 20, 2013, the game was released as Serious Sam: Double D: XXL for the Xbox 360 on the Xbox Live Arcade, integrating more weapons, more enemies, and the long-awaited co-op mode.
Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack! is a side-scrolling platform action game that was released for the Microsoft Windows, iOS and Android platforms. Unlike all the other games in the series, the player takes the control of a Beheaded Kamikaze. The main objective of this game is to chase and kill Serious Sam by getting close to him and then blowing him up, while avoiding the projectiles he throws at the Kamikaze, which the player can dodge by jump over them, or by kicking them away.
Serious Sam: Next Encounter is another first-person shooter game in the franchise, which was released on April 12, 2004 for the GameCube and April 22, 2004 for the PlayStation 2. Instead of taking place in Egypt or South America, the game takes place in Ancient Rome, China, and Atlantis. Gameplay is much like other games in the Serious Sam series, though the player can also use vehicles in certain levels, making it the first Serious Sam game that lets the player drive around in vehicles.
Another game released for the PC, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, has a slightly different plot than the other games. Instead of being set in the past, the game is set in the future. The Random Encounter was released on October 24, 2011, and functions as a mix between an action role-playing game and a Japanese role-playing game. During the open world sequences, the player may roam around freely, but can eventually hit on a randomized mob wave of enemies. These mob waves consist of ridiculously high numbers of enemies of all kinds, where the player is given the task to gun these down. The gun combat is the game's JRPG part, where the player may switch weapons and shoot the weapon selected, choosing a direction, radius, or position to shoot at, as well as using one of the previously gathered items.
Serious Sam's Bogus Detour is an indie sprite-based action-adventure video game which is set during the events of Serious Sam: The First Encounter, though this time, Sam takes a "detour" and is faced with new enemies and challenges to conquer on a new adventure which is set in several locations, such as the Mediterranean, Greece, and even the Moon. The game features online multiplayer (for up to 4 players in the co-operative 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 total conversion with the game editor. The player is able to change their skin with the in-game menu, and there are multiple skins to choose from, such as Canned Cain, Dancing Denzell, and Mighty Marvin. There is no sprinting mechanic, but the player is able to dash by pressing the jump key. Doing so uses up a dash charge every time, which is slowly refilled once the players resumes normal movement. The player can speed up the dash charges with perks.
- I Hate Running Backwards is a top-down shooter rogue-like endless runner game that is set in the universe of Serious Sam during an unknown period in time. In this timeline, Ugh-Zan III has been brought back to life and put together from the parts of Ugh-Zan and Hugo and sent to the future to stop a group of heroes, including Serious Sam, from stopping Mental. Ugh-Zan's mind was uploaded to the new robotic body and he can also transfer it to a tank module that is stored inside his body as a last defense mode.
Serious Sam: Tormental is a 3D roguelike top-down shooter that has a more unique plot compared to the rest of the series. Instead of taking place in Egypt or other locations in ancient time periods, Serious Sam: Tormental takes place inside Mental's mind.
The First Encounter first started development in 1996 as a game called In the Flesh. The idea was to combine modern graphics with Doom's frantic, enemy horde-themed gameplay. In the Flesh became Serious Sam in 1998, when Roman Ribarić, Croteam's CEO “received a vision” that told them to rename In the Flesh to Serious Sam. Most of the developers quickly complied. Development continued as normal, despite the name change.
The First Encounter was little-known until the very end of May 2000, when Test 1 was released. It was designed to help Croteam test Serious Sam on hardware. The test originally came out with little fanfare, but the classic gameplay and graphics quickly made it a hit among PC gamers. Two weeks later, the satirical video game website Old Man Murray had an interview with Croteam where they discussed such issues including an alleged Anti-American Croat conspiracy, then-Croatian president Franjo Tuđman's Nazi sympathies, and Croteam's CEO thinking the word “crate” means “vehicle”.
In October 2000, Test 2 was released, again to test Serious Sam with different PC setups that weren't available at the time. This version was much closer to the final game; it had co-op and death-match as well as the final skins and models for every enemy in it.
Most of the games in the series include several game-modes, such as single player, cooperative, Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and so on. Also, in some games of the series there is a splitscreen - a split screen mode in which several players can play on the same computer or console.
- Main article: Serious Engine
The games of the main, original branch of the series, developed by Croteam, work on their own proprietary home-made studio engine - the Serious Engine. A series of these engines has a high degree of manufacturability and has a wide range of capabilities. The main and most well-known feature of this engine series is the ability to render large open spaces and a huge number of different static and moving objects on the screen, such as enemies, without any loss of performance. This provides the Serious Sam games with an advantage among competitors, as it allows to make the gameplay more fierce and large-scale. The first version of the Serious Engine was available for licensing and was used, in addition to Serious Sam, in several third-party games.
The last iteration - Serious Engine 3.5 - is a true multi-platform engine that supports PC, PlayStation 4, as well as iOS and Android mobile operating systems. The soundtrack of the Serious Sam series is diverse and usually consists of ethnic motifs made in the style and genre of the locale in which the game takes place, as well as from ambient, techno and heavy metal. For all games in the series, the so-called dynamic music system developed by Croteam is standard. This means that the music at the levels changes depending on what is happening on the screen: in calm and peaceful moments, pleasant, relaxing music plays; during the appearance of any opponents, rhythmic, combat music begins to play, which does not stop until the player destroys all enemies nearby from him; when bosses appear, energetic and driving heavy metal begins to play. The soundtrack was written by the Croatian composer for all the main games of the series developed by Croteam, Damian Mravunac, sometimes in collaboration with other guest musicians.
Another feature of the series is a large number of secrets and Easter eggs, deliberately hidden by developers and inherent in many classic first-person shooters. Finding and finding secrets requires careful research and study of game levels. As a result, during such searches you can find both useful things - new weapons, ammunition or armor, as well as completely unusual objects and Easter eggs - for example, the scene of shooting events from the previous game or a scroll with a message from the developers. However, developers often like to make fun of a player and punish him by arranging false secrets-traps. The most common example of such a principle is lonely pills or armor lying in the distance, picking up which, several dangerous enemies suddenly teleport right to where the player is.
The Serious Sam series is characterized by corporate humor and not too serious attitude as to what is happening. The protagonist - Sam Stone - during the game constantly pours out funny, caustic phrases (one-liners), making fun of enemies, ridiculing the world around him and "breaking through the fourth wall". In addition to the fun of the game, not only Sam, but also other characters take part, and the plot is deliberately replete with irony and satire: electronic assistant NETRICSA composes Sam with an adrenaline hockey, monsters play poker in a secret room, Sam's spaceship is knocked down by big-headed developers on a junk box, etc..
All major Serious Sam PC versions released on the Serious Engine family of engines come with a free level editor and additional tools that allow any player to create their own amateur cards and modifications. This played a significant role in the formation of the Serious Sam fan base: a fairly cohesive and numerous community of mappers formed in the network, creating a large number of cards, mappaks, mods, and models for different games of the series.