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"In desperation, world leaders turned to their last chance: an ancient artifact called the 'Time-Lock'. They believed this relic from a long forgotten race was a portal to a point in ancient history, and their only chance for survival. If only they knew how to turn it on."
―Narrator describing the Time-Lock in Serious Sam 3: BFE.[src]

The Time-Lock is a mysterious device that is capable of sending someone back in time, more specifically back to the date it was armed. It can accept organic and inorganic matter, but it will usually strip off any large inorganic objects on someone when they use it, such as weapons. It plays an important role in many Serious Sam titles.


The Time-Lock is essentially a time machine. In Serious Sam 3: BFE, it appears to require an immense amount of power, as there are two generators dedicated to powering it, with one in Karnak and another one in Luxor. This isn't the case in other games the Time-Lock appears in.


The device was created by an unknown species, but discovered by the Sirians during their travels. During Mental's siege on the Sirians, they sent the Time-Lock to Earth, a planet they were just starting to explore, to prevent it from falling into Mental's hands. After the fall of Sirius, the last remaining Sirians decided to arm the Time-Lock to their time in case it was needed by the humans for whatever reason. After being armed, the Time-Lock was buried in the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, and it was lost for many, many generations.

While thought to be extinct, a few surviving Sirians placed Time-Locks with each great human civiliaztion on Earth, such as the Mayans and Babylonians. This was part of a backup plan for someone to go forward in time to the location of the backup spaceship should anything happen to the SSS Centerprice.

A few millennia later, the Time-Lock was discovered in an excavation site near the Temple of Hatshepsut. Once uncovered, the humans began to find a way to turn it on. Unfortunately though, Mental had already discovered Earth during this time. Like the Sirians, the humans were losing to the point where Mental only had to defeat Earth to succeed in the annihilation of humanity. The Earth Defense Force began making a last-ditch plan where they would insert a squad of soldiers into the Time-Lock in order to kill Mental in the past. However, the big problem was that the power generators were shut down, and their locations were unknown.


Serious Sam 3: BFE[]

The Time-Lock in Serious Sam 3: BFE.

In Serious Sam 3, the Time-Lock is a massive machine that can safely fit multiple people in it and is buried underneath a part of the Temple of Hatshepsut. In addition, it is colored gold and dark blue and the four towers surrounding the Time-Lock are designed like Egyptian human shapes with alien faces on them.

At the start of Serious Sam 3 BFE, Hermann Stein and his escort, Bravo Team, managed to find some clues to the generator's locations in some ruins found in a museum in Cairo but all his escorts were killed and he refused to hand the data to HQ, so Alpha Team are tasked with rescuing the professor. Sam, the only surviving member of Alpha Team, decides to rescue the professor alone, but he is too late when he discovers Stein's remains. However, Sam manages to find data of the clues and sends it back to HQ, then he leaves Cairo to get to the Great Pyramid.

Sam travels to the Great Sphinx, which apparently leads to a clue. The recovered texts stated that there was something under it and that there was a way inside, but Sam takes the easy way and blows the Sphinx up, which reveals the entrance to underneath the Great Pyramid. Inside, Sam finds an old Sirian base and a hologram that shows both locations of the Time-Lock's generators. After he sends this information to HQ, Hellfire arrives to extract him and flies out to the first generator's location - Karnak

Hellfire drops Sam off in Karnak, and he activates the first generator. After that, he travels to Luxor and activates the second generator. With both generators operational, Quinn informs Sam that he can return to headquarters. Unfortunately, during Sam's return to base, Quinn informs him that the Time-Lock failed to come online as they expected. Both of the generators were turned on but it hadn't started the Time-Lock because there is a safety switch somewhere in Philae that prevents it from activating, so Wilson changes course to drop Sam in Philae to find it. Sam fights his way through the enemy forces on the island and manages to activate the safety switch, only to find out that it didn't do anything, much to Sam's dismay. Quinn tells him that they believe a second switch is located in Abu Simbel. As all the EDF's helicopters are needed elsewhere, Sam takes a boat to get to the town. He digs through some clues left behind by the ancient Egyptians and is successful in activating what he believes to be the switch, only to find out that it does nothing. He tells Quinn about the bad outcome, and she tells him that the last possible location could be near another ancient Egyptian settlement. He is able to locate the switch in the Tomb of Sethirkopshef and thus the Time-Lock is activated. With the Time-Lock fully operational, Sam then goes outside, but not long before Mental sends in a massive Scrapjack to stop him. After Sam defeates Raahloom, Wilson comes back for him and they both fly off to return to headquarters.

Later on, with the EDF gone after Mental launches a sneak attack on their base, Sam decides to go to the Time-Lock himself and start Charlie Team's mission without them. He drives to the Time-Lock until his car runs out of gas. From there, he fights his way to the Temple of Hatshepsut. As he reaches the final stretch, he is attacked by Ugh-Zan IV. Thanks to some creative thinking, he manages to kill Ugh-Zan IV and enter the Time-Lock right before Earth is destroyed by Mental. Sam is then warped to ancient Egypt, and begin his journey to defeat Mental.

Serious Sam: The First Encounter[]

In Serious Sam: The First Encounter, the Time-Lock is a rather small device, with a grey color and located above ground, and its towers are not shaped like figures seen in Egyptian statues. It only appears once in the game.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter[]

The Time-Lock plays a much larger role in Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, with several of them existing throughout different time periods. It seems that the Sirians created these Time-Locks (or teleported them from another part of space), so that someone from the future could activate the backup spaceship, in case anything happened to the SSS Centerprice, a spacecraft that would be sent to Earth if a homing beacon was activated in Egypt.

Sam activates this beacon and the ship is sent to Earth. Once he makes his way to the Great Pyramid, Sam manages to board it after a massive battle between Sam, Mental's forces, and Ugh-Zan III. Unfortunately for Sam, something collides with the ship so that it ends up crashing in Sierra de Chiapas. After the crash, NETRICSA downloads a large quantity of data from the wreckage and tells him about a backup spaceship that he can use to get to Sirius, though it requires the Holy Grail to be activated. NETRICSA also notifies Sam about the Time-Locks that were placed with each great civilization. To activate the the Time-Locks, a special item is required.

In order to get to the Time-Lock that was left with the Mayans, Sam travels on foot through the Valley of the Jaguar and obtains a crystal skull; the item required to activate the Time-Lock that will take him to the Babylon era. Next, Sam heads to Teotihuacan and eventually ends up at the Sun Pyramid where the Time-Lock is located. However, little does he know that Kukulkán, The Wind God, is guarding the portal. After Kukulkán has been defeated, he sees Sam as a worthy opponent and opens the Time-Lock for him, sending him to the Babylon era. In Babylon, Sam arrives at a ziggurat in Persepolis, and NETRICSA says that the Babylonians left a Time-Lock in the Tower of Babel, but getting there will be a long and tedious journey. Sam continues on his quest, fighting more hordes of Mental's forces through an elephant atrium, the courtyards of Gilgamesh, and then eventually to the Tower of Babel.

Once Sam arrives at the Tower of Babel, he fights through many courtyards before being able to enter it, but it is not long before he is greeted by the Exotech Larva, a large insect-like cyborg that Mental created to prevent Sam from entering the final Time-Lock. After a tough fight, Sam defeats the beast and enters the last Time-Lock, which sends him further in time to the medieval era, in 1138 AD. From then on, Sam defeats Mental's hordes all the way up to The Grand Cathedral, where he encounters Mordekai the Summoner, one of Mental's servants who guards the Holy Grail. Sam finally obtains the Holy Grail after one last fight before departing to Sirius in the backup spaceship.

Serious Sam: Next Encounter[]

In Serious Sam: Next Encounter, Mental warns the Evil Serious Sam Clone not to use his personal Time-Lock. However, the clone ignores his advice and hops into it, which starts the problems in Next Encounter that Serious Sam himself has to fix.

Serious Sam Advance[]

In Serious Sam Advance, humanity has managed to adjust the Time-Lock so that they can warp anywhere in history. They use the Time-Lock both to explore the past and to make sure that Mental doesn't tamper with the past in any way. The game starts out with some agents from Earth disappearing during a routine time traveling trip. Sam is sent back into the past via the Time-Lock to see what happened.

Related achievements[]

Serious Sam 3: BFE[]

Achievement Mission completed.jpg
Mission completed 10 Gscore.png Ps 2 silver.png
Power up the Timelock.

Serious Sam Fusion[]

Achievement Mission completed SSF.jpg
Mission Completed
Power up the Timelock.

Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE[]

Achievement Mission Completed SS3VRBFE.jpg
Mission Completed
Power up the Timelock.


  • In Serious Sam 3, Sam says he will see Mental in 3000 B.C., but ends up in 1378 B.C. instead. He probably just wasn't aware of what date the Time-Lock would send someone once they entered it.


List of appearances[]