In days long past, the alien race known as the Sirians did battle with the alien overlord "Mental". Although many Sirians were killed, Mental was repelled.In the 22nd century, Mental has returned, bringing with him a vast army that spacefaring Humanity fails to beat back. With Mental's forces pressing onto Earth, the decision is made to send a single elite back in time via rediscovered Sirian time-travel technology known as the "Time Lock" and defeat Mental in the past, thereby changing history in Humanity's favour. Sam "Serious" Stone is the (un)lucky man.Armed with only a head-implanted AI and a self-replenishing revolver, Serious Sam battles through ancient Egypt in The First Encounter, bringing down Mental's HUGE warlock Ugh-Zan III and finding a Sirian ship in the Great Pyramid, with which he heads for space.Unfortunately, he collides with a "Croteam Crate-Bus" and crash-lands in Mayan-era South America, which is where The Second Encounter begins. Battling across South America, Babylon and medieval Europe, Sam brings down a wind deity, a cyborg giant larva and Mental's summoner before finding a second backup ship.In Serious Sam: Next Encounter, Mental attempts to get retaliation on Sam by creating a pint-sized evil clone of Sam.By Serious Sam II, Sam has finally made it to Sirius, where he is made to collect five artifacts to weaken Mental and set up the overlord's downfall. The final battle has yet to come, though.The game series was praised for being a well-made throwback to old-skool shooters where the emphasis is on massacring enemy hordes instead of dueling small, smart squads. When we say hordes, we mean hordes, especially in those nice open expanses where you truly get to appreciate how much opposition Sam's up against - and, consequently, how much of a Badass he is.In November 2009 and April 2010 Croteam released a remake of both halves of the first game called Serious Sam HD. It features enhanced graphics, ragdoll physics, and various minor tweaks, but the gameplay is otherwise unchanged. Around the same time, the originals were also released on Steam as Serious Sam Classic, given as a bonus for getting the HD remake's "Gold Edition".In February 2011, Croteam announced a more realistic-looking prequel called Serious Sam III: BFEnote Before First Encounter. It came out 22/23 November 2011. It is set during Earth's final days attempting to repel Mental's invading hordes. Humanity doesn't yet know how to activate the Timelock, and Sam has been sent in with a team of EDF Redshirts to find a scientist who might know. Things go rather sour from there.The series also spawned several spin-off games, released in 2011 to promote BFE:
Abnormal Ammo: Klawdovic the Kamikaze Parrot from II. Although that would be close enough to be called abnormal grenades rather than ammo. Klawdovic is actually a homage to Clodoveo, a parrot in the Italian comic book Alan Ford, which was very popular in Croatia where the developers are from, where the parrot was named "Klodovik", which in Croatian has the same pronounciation as Clawdovic. Klodovik is seen in the background.◊
Action Bomb: The Headless Kamikaze, which constantly screams as it runs towards the player, despite having no head.
According to NETRICSA, they have voice synthesizers implanted in them to psyche out their targets.
TNE includes a second version of the Kamikaze. This one still has his head attached, but he wears a strait jacket, a hood with a painted-on smiley face, and lugs a giant stick of dynamite on his back.
The original games include the marsh hopper: a One Hitpoint Wonder that jumps towards you and blows itself up on contact to coat you in toxic slime stored in its body. A good half of the occurrences of the boss health bar in TFE are merely you having to take on a tidal wave of the things all at once.
Adjustable Censorship: How many other M-rated FPS games have options to have enemies bleed flowers instead of blood?
Anachronism Stew: BFE has Sam flying around in Blackhawk helicopters between missions despite said helicopter design being almost a century old. Egypt looks pretty much like how it looks today (but more blown up), and the ruined cars that dot the levels appear to be early 1990s Peugots, which would be equivalent to a modern city being full of Ford Model Ts. In all the games, Sam's arsenal gets a heavy dose of this. On one hand, he has laser cannons and super-accurate mininguns, but on the other he still totes around a Tommy gun rechambered in 5.56, a 6-shot Colt revolver (replaced by a Desert Eagle in BFE),and a giant cast-iron cannon which fires depleted uranium cannonballs.
Ancient Astronauts: The Sirians. Most evident in BFE, where you find their hidden facilities beneath ancient landmarks, like the Great Pyramid and the ruined cities of Karnak and Luxor. The way their stuff looks would seem to imply that the Egyptians adopted their aesthetic.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: Sam is noticeably missing his trademark red sneakers at the beginning of BFE. If you find the "classic outfit" secret in the first level, he regains them for the rest of the game.
Apocalypse How: Planet Kleer suffered from this due to having seven million tons of napalm dropped over it, incinerating absolutely everything on it, but the air is still breathable.
Earth itself is destroyed by having the moon thrown at it at the end of BFE.
Arm Cannon: Biomechanoids in TFE, TSE, and BFE; Tank biomechanoids in II; Scrapjacks in BFE.
Art Evolution: Goes from looking like a Duke Nukem clone to a cartoony buff dude. In III, he retakes the realistic path.
Artificial Stupidity: Every single enemy is dumb as a bag of hammers. Melee enemies will simply run at you and hit you, while projectile enemies will stand still and shoot at a very slow and inaccurate rate, not even trying to dodge your attacks, even the Painfully Slow Projectile weapons. This is mostly done so they can throw hundreds of enemies at you at a time without straining system resources. Enemy AI is improved a bit in BFE, where enemies are more accurate, shoot their weapons faster, occasionally hide behind stuff, and can move out of the way of your projectiles - a few enemies (such as the Kleer Skeletons) will even occasionally try to flank the player.
A-Team Firing: The Sniper Rifle in TSE and BFE won't hit unless the player zooms. In Next Encounter and the HD remake, it instead deals less than a fourth of its full damage without the scope - this is handwaved as the gun being able to detect if the user has it in a proper aiming position and somehow slowing down the bullet if not so the recoil doesn't rip his arm off.
Author Avatar: The Croteam caricatures seen in the secret areas of TFE and TSE. Not to mention they are brought back in 3.
While more of a publisher than an author, Fork Parker, the financial director of Devolver Digital, gets one as a multiplayer skin in 3.
Awesome, but Impractical: Melee attacks in BFE. When in sufficient range of most enemies, pressing the melee button will cause Sam to pull off an awesomeOne-Hit Kill, like breaking a cloned soldier's neck, pulling the head off a kleer, stomping a hatchling spider, tearing a Gnnar's eye out, or ripping a beheaded rocketeer's heart right out of its chest. These moves, while awesomely gory, take a few seconds to pull off, leaving you vulnerable to the non-stop Zerg Rush of enemies. Plus, all of the enemies that can be killed with melee can also be killed in one hit with the sledgehammer, which doesn't leave you vulnerable while using it.
The only enemy against which it's actually useful is the baby arachnoid, which instakills them, and actually has quite some range and low execution time.
Badass: Sam, taking down entire armies since 2001.
Badass Normal: He's an otherwise regular EDF trooper dragged into this mess.
Bag of Spilling: Sam loses all his items save for the basic pistol every time he finishes an episode. In Serious Sam, the Second Encounter, he has to gather up all the weapons no less than three times. In Serious Sam 2, Sam's health, armor, and extra lives are all reset to default at the end of each level, presumably so players won't have to worry about conserving them.
Happens in BFE at the start of the Lost Temples Of Nubia level.
Base on Wheels: The final boss of II is Mental's headquarters, Mental Institution, a gigantic moving pyramid complete with cannons (that shoot depleted uranium projectiles), rocket turrets, fireball launchers, and hangars that deploy fleets of Fatso Fighters and Seagull Bombers.
Beam Spam: Since the game loves to throw hundreds of enemies at you, and a lot of them shoot lasers (most prominently the minor biomechanoids), this will happen frequently.
BFG: The Cannon. Not a Hand Cannon, a "technomagical" CannonCannon which fires uranium-filled cannonballs no less. Great for taking out bulls and bio-mechs, as well as the Final Boss.
Really, almost all of Sam's guns besides the pistols, shotguns, and assault rifles / submachine guns count. There is: A grenade launcher with Bottomless Magazines, a semiautomatic rocket launcher that never needs to be reloaded, a gigantic minigun, a 16mm sniper rifle, a plasma rifle, a laser gun that chews up enemies like a chainsaw through tapioca, and the aforementioned cannon. BFE also introduces the Devastator, an automatic shotgun with explosive rounds and a ridiculously oversized range of attack.
Big "NO!": In TSE, after Sam discovers that Mental has already taken the Holy Grail.
Bilingual Bonus: In II, zombie stockbrokers speak Italian, zombie chaingunners speak German and finally bull soldiers and tank biomechanoids speak Croatian.
Also present in TFE and TNE in a stealth form. The word "Reeban" as in the Reeban fishes is pretty close in pronunciation to a Russian word "ryba", which means "fish". Ditto for the Peelah chainsaw.
Stealthed in II again, with Yagoda the Witch (one of the many minor enemies out there), which could be roughly interpreted as "Berry the Witch".
Yagoda doubles as a reference to Baba Yaga, a witch character from Russian fairytales. Besides, considering how Russia and Croatia are both slavic countries and thus the languages are pretty similar...
Bitter Sweet Ending: In BFE, Sam ends up defeating the powerful Ugh-Zan IV and activates the Timelock, thus traveling back in time for TFE, but Mental throws the moon at the Earth causing both to be destroyed immediately after.
Blackout Basement: A few rooms in TSE. One of them had the player fire at a switch to keep the room lit.
Blasphemous Boast: Some fan-suggested lines recorded by Sam's actor include ones such as these:
"Praying to God won't save you now - I fragged him last Tuesday." "I am he who gods fear."
Blatant Item Placement: The scientists are throwing the items into the same time travel device you went into. In the GBA version, this utilized one of your weapons where when you press a trigger, a safe, bathtub or piano will be dropped on an enemy.
Many items spawn enemies. Most notably, optional pills and small armor shards often trigger ambushes in Serious Sam I and II.
In TFE, in the Oasis level, there're two health pills. Grabbing one of them causes a large biomechanoid to spawn right next to you, but the other double subverts this in that it just causes a rapid-fire usage of the spawning sound.
Of all the secret areas in the game, maybe a third of them are traps which spawn hordes of nasties right next to you.
Subverted in an instance in TSE, there's a pill that spawns another pill when collected. The pill trail eventually spawns a valuable item that generally causes the Genre Savvy player to open fire, especially since there's an earlier pill trail in the first level that does spawn an enemy at the end. In Serious difficulty, however, it double subverts this in that an enemy is spawned with that item in this case.
TFE and TSE make you slowly lose health and burn in the sun if you go too far out of open area levels.
Except for the Dunes, where you're just tossed back into the center of the map.
Bottomless Magazines: Everyone weapon other than the Revolvers, Zap Gun, and the two shotguns never require reloading in the first two games.
Averted for more weapons in BFE. The pistol, assault rifle, Devastator, and both shotguns need to be reloaded.
Despite being some of the few weapons to have actual reload animations, every pistol has limitless ammo. There's a server setting for co-op that lets every other gun get in on it, too.
NETRICSA's descriptions for enemies that attack with non-magical projectiles usually give an explanation for why they can launch them forever - such as Rocketeers' weapons having the same techno-magical ammunition replenishers the player's pistols do, and Bombers having "a large supply of inflatable bombs in [their] pockets".
In TFE, NETRICSA is pissed about Sam taking a shortcut to a valley, away from their main destination, just because he wanted to kill more aliens. She chastises the player for such action.
The game had a secret in the very first level. Find the secret rocket launcher, use it to blow up a door, and you find caricatures of Croteam. Unfortunately, if you want to achieve 100% Completion, you have to kill them.
The entire plot of TSE revolves around replacing the space ship you got in First Encounter. How did the space ship get damaged? At the beginning of the game, it crashes into a "Croteam crate bus" filled with caricatures of the game's designers.
Sam frequently breaks the wall in Next Encounter.
When NETRICSA starts talking in II, Sam wonders why she didn't before, following by this reply:
A few secret ones between TFE and TSE involving Pinky.
Two in TSE involve Time Travel. One of the phone booth conversations takes place between yourself in two different levels, and another takes places between you in Second Encounter and you near the end of II.
Call Back: In BFE. Or rather Call Forward, due to Time Travel. Echoing a sequence in TFE, a lone Beheaded Kamikaze comes running over a hill. After taking him out, Sam utters a Post-Mortem One-Liner... only for a whole horde of them to come surging over that same hill.
Catch Phrase: No particular phrase, but Sam's brand word "serious" pops up quite a bit.
TNE has a couple of one-liners which occur every time Sam fights the werebulls, no matter on which level he is.
Sam: Enough of the bull already.
He tends to yell "I knew it! I KNEW IT!" a lot in 2.
Chainsaw Good: Against Gnaars and Marsh Hoppers and even Kleer Skeletons due to its significant length, though only available in TSE, the Xbox port, and II. Cucurbito the Pumpkin enemies in TSE also use chainsaws.
Characterization Marches On: In The First Encounter, NETRICSA is pretty much all business for most of the game. Come The Second Encounter, she's suddenly cracking a lot more jokes and acting more casual and excitable. For BFE, though, she's back to all-business mode, the game being a prequel.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Sam has no apparent super human powers. This doesn't stop him from tanking hundreds of bullets or multiple anti-tank rockets, ripping grown men apart, gibbing them with quick melee strikes, carrying twenty guns, dodging bullets, sprinting at 60 miles per hour, or accurately making a headshot on a moving man sized target, from 300 yards away, using a pistol, while strafing, without looking down the sights.
Cherry Tapping: Ripped out hearts or skulls in Serious Sam 3 can be thrown at enemies for a minor amount of damage. In addition to small damage, the attack is delayed and rather inaccurate. Killing an enemy that way yields an achievement.
Chicken Walker: Biomechanoids from TFE, TSE, and BFE, Torso Mech - The Nervous Chickens in II.
Cool Shades: At first; gone by TSE and II. They're back in BFE, for this game being, as the title says, before The First Encounter.
Copy Protection: Pirated copies of BFE will spawn an invincible, quick, deadly scorpion. Which is also giant and pink. When it was bypassed, the player would periodically start spinning wildly while looking upwards at level 5.
Custom Uniform: Sam doesn't wear the standard military uniform the redshirts do. Neither does Hellfire.
Cute Monster Girl: The Hellchicks in II and Harpies in TFE. BFE features the Witch Brides Of Achriman.
Cyborg: Many enemies are both organic and cybernetic, including the Biomechanoids, artificially built biomechanical war machines.
One by way of retcon: the Arachnoids are changed to this in BFE. In contrast to the past two games, the adult Arachnoids now have their red armor surgically attached to their skin (on the front of their torsos as well as their arms, heads, and two of their legs) and their machine guns built into their pincers.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: One BFE achievement requires you to refrain from sprinting, aiming down sights or manually reloading for an entire campaign runthrough. If you've played any recent shooter, the temptation is very hard to resist.
Darker and Edgier: BFE, compared to the rest of the series. More gore, violence, a more serious story and retcon of the Sirians to be serious, though Sam's jokes and one-liners remain.
Deadly Dodging: One of the doors in TFE requires dodging one of those werebulls at the very last second so it could hit the door to break it.
Deadly Lunge: Kleer Skeletons in all games and space monkeys in Serious Sam 3.
Degraded Boss: Alduran Reptiloid - Highlander. Even though in TSE, they've gained more hitpoints and higher resistance to cannonballs, they're just Giant Mooks.
In Next Encounter, the Alduran Highlanders are actually quite common. In one very late mission, six of these guys appear at the same time.
BFE is full of these, most of the early bosses are only bosses because you lack more powerful weapons, though they at least have three times as much health as the normal mook versions and you fight them in an area that is to their advantage. In the case of the first one, the Major Biomechanoid, it also has the unique ability to sprint.
Dem Bones: Kleer Skeletons in every game; Bone snakes and Kleerfloski in II.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Right before obtaining the chaingun in the City of Memphis in The First Encounter, you come across a drawbridge over a pit of spikes. To cross it, you have to jump on it the moment the second incoming Werebull tries to run over it. Shortly after, you have to face a seemingly neverending stream of Kleer skeletons. The drawbridge won't open now for your retreat, sandwiching you between the spikes and the horde. You can still rocket-jump over the pit and fire away at the hapless kleers on the other side for about 15 seconds, then the drawbridge opens again without warning.
Double Entendre: On being told by Sam that he needs to reactivate the Sirian generators, Hellfire responds with this:
Oh, so you can turn things on now?
Difficulty Levels: TFE and TSE have one of the greatest difficulty difference in any FPS. Tourist difficulty is like disguised god mode while Serious, especially with extra co-op enemies, may include FPS hell elements and may leave you wondering if it can be completed without god mode or not. In Mental mode, enemies are invisible unless they're attacking. This includes melee enemies. And you will still run out of ammo long before you have killed all the mobs. Good luck with that.
Difficulty Spike: The final boss at the end of the PC version of Serious Sam II's final level Mental Institution. First off, if the vehicle you need to destroy the boss with gets destroyed, you die instantly. Not only that, it can summon planes that either collide with you, carpet bomb you, or just shoot at you as well as launching out cannon balls and big fireballs. The carpet-bombing planes will mess you up if you don't take them out before they let their bombs loose on you.
Disco Dan: Dancing Denzell and Groovy Gregory, both multiplayer characters.
The Rocket Launcher, which is found at the very start of the original games if you take your time to explore the first level.
The Flamethrower and Sniper Rifle can also be found at the start of each chapter in TSE.
You can get a shotgun about ten seconds into the first level of BFE. The second offers a secret laser gun if you know where to look, which effortlessly shreds the Major Biomechanoid boss from the third level.
A secret rocket festival secret on a TSE level, The Pit, had a Schmuck Bait 100HP bonus which spawned not just one Major Biomechanoid, but a whole bunch of these. Good luck dodging their missiles without losing what you got as a secret.
The "nuthouse" secret in BFE's fifth level. Pick up a single 1HP pickup, get ambushed by three Major Biomechanoids. Keep in mind, this is in an area too cramped to effectively dodge their rockets, one of these was an end-level boss in the third level, and unless you've been grabbing secret weapons, you still don't have any decent weapons against them yet.
The Dragon: Ugh-Zan III to Mental in The First Encounter.
Dodge the Bullet: Sam can actually do this at medium to long range, if the player is quick enough. Most noticeable in BFE. Notably, guns are hitscan when used by Sam against enemies, yet the exact same weapons used against him aren't (merely very fast), suggesting that all the projectile speeds are faster than they appear, but are slowed down from Sam's perspective on part of him being really fast.
Getting a second Shofield allows Sam to dual wield them.
Uzis are dual-wielded in TNE.
The Anacondas and Uzis in II are always used two at a time.
The Gun Stacker Connectors in Double D take this to ridiculous levels, allowing you to simultaneously wield more guns than you have arms if you get enough of them.
Dummied Out: The Laser Turret in II is seen during one of the cutscenes. It didn't make it to game.
A Gnaar Voodoo Doll graphic would be seen in the same game as well, right as soon as you explore its' .gro files.
In a similar fashion to Duke Nukem 3D, Croteam once planned to include pipebombs in TFE, which apparently were nothing more than the grenade launcher ammo thrown separately from the actual grenade launcher. The concept eventually made its actual debut in BFE as the C4 explosives.
Elite Mooks: Pretty much every enemy type has an Elite Mook version. Some examples include:
The Beheaded Rocketeers have the red-shirted Firecrackers that fire out five shots at a time instead of one.
There's also the Zorg; while they are still disposable cannon fodder, they are basically Beheaded Rocketeers except twice as good in every way. Twice as durable, fire two projectiles at a time instead of one, said projectiles do twice as much damage, and they travel twice as fast.
The Gnaars have the female Gnaars, which are bigger and have more health.
The Arachnoid Juveniles have the Arachnoid Adults, which are also bigger and have more health.
The Biomechanoid Minors have the Biomechanoid Majors, which have much more health, are bigger, and fire missiles instead of energy beams.
Fiendian Demon Reptiloids in The Second Encounter are just like Aludran Reptiloids... except they are twice as tough, deal twice as much damage, and their projectiles travel twice as fast.
Emergency Weapon: Knife and Schofields in TFE, that plus P-Lah chainsaw in TSE; though subverted in that the knife and chainsaw are about on par with the coach gun in terms of close-range power.
II and BFE turn the amount of emergency weapons up to three: the first offers the redesigned P-Lah, Zap Gun and Colt Anacondas, while the second has sledgehammer, Desert Eagle and, at a later time, Sirian Mutilator.
Every 10,000 Points: It's a rare example of seeing it in a first-person shooter, especially in a series made after the year 2000. Getting lots of points in XBOX version of Serious Sam and both versions of II will award you extra lives. They also reappear in BFE, but only during the coop sessions.
Everything's Better with Monkeys: Sam remarks about this after killing the first zombie monkey to appear in TNE. Same after destroying waves of them through the entire game.
Sam:You know, studies show that games with monkeys in them... are 30% more fun.
Sam nicknames the Aurigan Cave Demons in BFE "space monkeys", and after killing the first group of them encountered remarks that "the only good space monkey is a dead space monkey".
The first boss of II is a King Kong expy named Kwongo.
Everything Trying to Kill You: Par for the course for the genre, although Serious Sam II surprisingly averts this, as some of the levels are sparsely populated with friendly natives who cheer you on, give you powerups, and even sometimes act as helpful NPC allies in combat.
Expy: New enemies Scrapjack and Khnum in BFE bear a resemblance to Doom's Mancubi and Hell Knights, both in appearance and attacks. The Cloned Soldiers also bear a resemblance to the zombiemen, being disposable and weak human enemies with hitscan weaponry.
Many of the concepts and enemies first introduced in TNE have appeared in II and 3 in this form or another. For instance, TNE has Dum Dums while II gets extremely similar Slimeballs. Ditto for Uzis, Martial Arts Masters and... shoot-as-you-click pistols for III.
Exploding Barrels: II. They don't do much damage. Also in BFE, but they're much rarer and are also much more dangerous.
Fireballs: Many enemies fire them, though they seem to be favored by Giant Mook types in particular, including the Aludran Reptiloid, Highlanders from the First Encounter, Fiendian Reptiloid Demons and Aludran Reptiloid, Highlander's Brides in The Second Encounter, big lava golems in the first two games, Phoenixes in Next Encounter, and BFEs new enemies, the Khnums.
Foreshadowing: Late into BFE, A gnaar taunts Sam by claiming that Tah-Um is coming to "moon" him. While Sam initially takes this literally, if you look into the sky you can see the moon clearly visible for the first time in the game.
The witches in Serious Sam II were former beauty queens lured in by a contest. The winners all got turned into hideous old women, and Mental was easily able to recruit them, thanks to their destroyed self-esteem.
One of Mental's goons, Hellchick, robbed from the poor to give to the rich. Just 'cause. Mental was so impressed, he hired her.
Galactic Conqueror: Mental. And no, being killed in his conquests will not save you from being a Slave Mook. Just ask the Kleers, Sirians, and humans. Races conquered and/or assimilated willingly by Mental include the Repitiloids, Zumb'uls, Zorg, Arachnoids, and and Antaresians.
Gatling Good: The Minigun, the Chaingun and the Laser Gun. This gets turned against the player in BFE, where Gatling Sentry Guns will target Sam if he enters their view. Funnily enough, he obtains his Gatling gun from one of these sentries.
Ugh-Zan IV's appearance is equally random. Lampshaded in that in the cutscene, you see the most of the boss arena, and then suddenly he pops into view from behind a building while there is no way he could have been there before.
Ugh-Zan III also pops up from behind a building, where there's no way you couldn't have spotted him at the very start of the level.
Glass Cannon: Some enemy cannons take only a few hits to kill but will do massive damage to Sam.
Guide Dang It: The sniper rifle and the lasergun make their return in BFE, although without knowing all the secret places, one might think they never ever appear in this game at all. The ammunition to these two guns is extremely rare, not to mention that at one point, it shows up as a regular, non-hidden item...
Gun Accessories: BFE's new assault rifle, subbing in for the Thompson seen in previous games, features a holographic sight. It's ideal for picking off small enemies at range. Getting the Deluxe edition also adds a sniper scope to the Devastator.
Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Hordes of enemies (especially kleers) will mess you up, but the bosses are often easier due to the fact they are big, easy to hit, and have slow, easy to dodge attacks. Averted in BFE, where the difficulty between bosses and levels is more even.
In TFE and TSE, the alduran reptiloids, fiendian reptiloids and Ugh Zan III fires these.
Of the two, only the green Common Aludran Reptiloids have these in NE.
In II, the number of enemy types shooting homing projectiles is bigger.
BFE, thankfully, has very little of this.
Sam officially gets his turn to shoot lock-on stuff in TNE, Homing Bullets and Heat-Seeking Rockets in particular.
The Horde: Mental's army of course! They're mostly made up of things like robots, zombies, clones, biomachines, war beasts, and genetically engineered species, but Mental's not above just recruiting primitive races and using their own primitive technologies (such as the Reptiloids, Arachnoids, Orcs, Zorg, and Atlantleans) to bolster his ranks.
Hyperspace Arsenal: Playing the game in third-person mode in the First and Second Encounter reveals that Sam pulls all his weapons out of his back pocket. Including the "longer than Sam is tall" minigun.
I Call Her "Vera": Sam's dual Shofield .45's in The First Encounter are apparently named "Smith" and "Wesson".
Immune to Bullets: Kukulcan the wind god, the first boss in Second Encounter, can only be killed with explosive ammunition or lasers. Or the chainsaw, though the prerequisites for a chainsaw kill include having titanium testicles.
Improbable Weapon User: Kleer skeletons and their "two metal balls chained together" weapons. They're real tools, that are supposed to be thrown so that they wrap around a person's legs and trip them up, but instead they're always used as standard projectile weapons.
Improbable Aiming Skills: In Serious Sam 1 and Serious Sam 2, every weapon except the two shotguns was 100% pixel perfect accurate. Even the pistol and submachine gun. Sam could easily nail anything he could see from any distance, never even suffering from recoil, and never even needing to look down the sights. In BFE, he does need to look down the sights for the pistol and assault rifle, which slows down his movement, but while doing so his accuracy is again 100% perfect, and the same applies for weapons (Devastator, Rocket Launcher, etc.) without sights. It's possible to pull off really ridiculous feats of accuracy this way; see Charles Atlas Superpower.
Improvised Weapon: Sam uses a conveniently placed pile of metal poles to turn Ugh-Zan IV into a giant walking lightning rod.
Insectoid Aliens: Arachnoids throughout all the games, Scorp Soldiers in II, and Antaresian spiders in III. The former two are sentient and use weapons and armor as well as their stingers for melee attack, but don't move around much. The Antaresians are seemingly less intelligent, relying on Zerg Rush and their natural armor, acid spit, and jaws. They also just love to make giant egg nests everywhere, including in the middle of cities.
Instant Death Radius: Huge Lava Golem, Ugh Zan III, Ugh-Zan IV, Alduran Reptiloid Highlander's Bride (with a HUGE instant death radius), and, to some extent, many medium-large enemies which have long-range main attack.
Interface Screw: The Witch-Brides of Achriman in BFE will use telekinesis to slightly pixelate your screen, slow you down, and if you're close enough to them lift you into the air and throw you around.
Some Gnaars in TFE and TSE, especially at higher difficulties, are nearly invisible.
Mental difficulty makes every monster constantly flash between invisible and visible.
Invisible Wall: II was quite a heavy offender. In TFE and TSE, there were invisible teleporters or jump pads which would lead back to area or nothing at all. However, II includes some in very uncomfortable positions.
Kill It with Fire: One puff of flame can ignite and kill human-sized troops, a constant stream can wear down hordes of enemies in seconds. If you're good at dodging, the low rate of ammo consumption and high damage over time makes the flamethrower one of the best weapons around. And in Mental difficulty, have fun with looking for flamethrower ammo ALL the damn time.
King Mook: The Aludran Reptiloid Highlanders and the Uber Lava Golem.
The black wall in one of the Egyptian tombs in TFE.
In TSE, palace of Courtyards of Gilgamesh level had a Leap Of Faith room.
Sam: Those Babylonians were totally crazy!
Legion of Doom: Mental likes to recruit some of the galaxy's most notable villains into his army, like Ugh Zan III (an ancient deity and one of the most feared beings around), Mordekai the Summoner (one of the galaxy's most infamous sorcerers), Prince Chan, Count Kleerofski (both local alien dictators), and the Uber Lava Golem (ancient guardian of the Ally of Sphinxes). His headquarters is also the home of The Joker, Lex Luthor, and Darth Vader.
Lethal Lava Land: Half of the penultimate stage in TSE and the entire planet Kleer in II.
Lighter and Softer: II was much more brightly colored and cartoonish than its prequels, and upped the gags (while TFE had quite a few jokes, and TSE began introducing Mental's goons as horror show rejects, sun burn victims, and all around weirdos, II really upped the jokes).
Ludicrous Gibs: HD has this, plus you can carve up bodies with your knife if you want. Taken Up to Eleven in BFE, where you can split Werebulls in half with the cannon and blow Scrapjacks apart with a well-placed hunk of C4. Not to mention all the nasty bits the Sirian Mutilator leaves behind...
Macross Missile Massacre: The rockets fired by the BFE enemy Scrapjack are weak, but they fire a lot of them. In one memorable instance in the final level, around eight Scrapjacks appear at the same time in an open canyon, and cover the entire area with rockets.
Macro Zone: Planet Magnor in II. Most notable in Giant Junkyard level.
Magitek: The Shofields that Sam wields are "technomagically" enhanced to have unlimited ammo.
The demo level for TFE has a broken secret, but this was fixed or removed in the full game. However, if you play the same level in co-op, there is a secret that becomes unreachable because it closes before the first player can act.
Due to a few broken triggers, some secrets in Serious Sam - The Second Encounter don't exist but the secret counter still shows like they're there.
Monster of the Week: Taken to the form of "Monster Of The Stage" in TNE. In a nutshell, some non-boss mooks will be exclusive not only on a certain episode, but on a certain level as well, unless they make their only reappearance in The Lost Levels section. Several of these include Elephant Gunner, Wicker Man, Dib Dib Dum Dum and Phoenix Bomber.
More Dakka: Thompson/Uzis, Laser, the Chaingun and the Minigun.
Mooks: Oh boy are there mooks. There are literally tens of thousands of mooks of dozens of different types in any given game. They include alien soldiers, wild alien animals, alien mercenaries, zombies, robots, witches, harpies, clones, demons, ogres, and biological war machines. Mental's got a lot of resources, apparently.
Mook Maker: Mordekai the Summoner in TSE. The Alcor Warship in BFE. It also shoots lasers.
Most Annoying Sound: In-universe: Sam really hates the screaming of Kamikazes. Nearly every game has a call back to Sam's annoyed comment:
All 3 sizes of Alduran reptiloids who have 4 arms.
Ugh Zan III has four arms too. As does Ugh-Zan IV, though two of his are cybernetic.
My Greatest Failure: According to the original backstory, Sam was the captain of the starship that drew Mental's attention to humanity and he threw himself headlong, even suicidally, into the fighting to try and atone.
Nerf: Inverted in TNE, where most of the guns have been boosted up significantly. For instance, the Shofield pistols have a 12-bullet clip compared to the Colts' 6-bullet drum and can shoot as fast as their 3 counterpart. Rocket launcher, grenade launcher, flamethrower and Uzi pistols support at least two types of ammo, with one being the "original" mode and the rest being gimmicky. But what really takes the cake here is the sniper rifle that takes down an Adult Reptiloid in two shots while zoomed. Needless to say, neither the original sniper rifle nor even TNE's cannon had such power.
In TFE, the player loses most of the ammo at the beginning of "Alley of the Sphinxes", save shotgun shells and cannonballs which is handwaved by having Sam being forced to drop the ammo due to weight in the desert in the level's introduction message. The XBOX port even disallows Sam to ride on a magic surfboard should only he arrive on the Alley.
After completing each chapter in TSE or II, you'll have only basic weapons remaining.
Happens in BFE at the beginning of "The Lost Temples of Nubia".
Partially occurs in TNE, which has predefined weapon sets at the beginning of each level, which means that whenever you find a secret place with a new weapon, you have to exploit it now because you'll lose it by the end anyway. It gets more ridiculous between The Three Halls of Harmony and The Beast Beneath The Temple stages: on the first, you officially possess the cannon (it's not hidden anywhere), then it disappears heck knows where until the boss battle.
Non-Mammal Mammaries: 3 actually provides a plausible explanation for these, regarding the Scythian Witch-Harpies, who have breasts despite being a bird-like species. The harpy's datafile indicates the breasts are non-functional, and are merely an evolved form of predatory mimicry for attracting primate prey.
Our Zombies Are Different: The Beheaded units deployed by Mental's hordes are reanimated Sirian soldiers, revived with a combination of magic and cybernetics (in BFE especially, where they have a robotic eye in the place of their head). They are extremely weak when compared to the average human, but unlike most zombies they still retain rudimentary intelligence (being able to use weak, basic weapons and obey orders) as well as move at a pace faster than a walk.
Painfully Slow Projectile: The main reason rockets are not as effective at a range anymore in BFE is because most enemies have actually learned to move out of the way of them, which is easy since they're very slow. In addition, ninety percent of enemy projectiles count.
Pinball Projectile: The ammo from the cannon and grenade launcher qualify for this. Firecracker shots bounce along the ground and off walls.
Next Encounter adds ricochet ammo for the Uzis.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Some mooks can be seen scaled down quite a bit while retaining their combat strength. One of the most memorable is a stampede of rat-sized bulls in TSE.
Psychopathic Manchild: Mental may count as this, since he makes mooks based off horror movies, like Curcubito the Pumpkin, lives in a building with Dark Vader and Lex Luthor, and destroys entire planets by throwing their own moons at them. Also, when ordering helicopters for his army, he simply told his staff to make a fleet of "big mofos of helicopters".
Psychic Powers: Witch-Brides in the third game have powerful telekinesis, in addition to the standard psychic powers of levitation, force fields, and enhanced durability. Notably, the first one you meet has a short cutscene where it picks up a piece of rubble the size of a small car and uses its telekinesis to crush it into pebbles. As soon as the gameplay begins, she tries the same thing on Sam, but it only does about ten points of damage to him.
Powers via Possession: The parasite also appears to enhance the Apache's durability significantly, as its immunity to bullets now extends to anti-materiel rifles, and it can take multiple rockets before going down.
In Serious Sam II a certain riff plays during battle music of Ursul Gardens, most of Planet Kleer levels, and when getting a medal piece.
In The First Encounter a similar melody plays in Oasis and Metropolis peace theme.
Red Shirt: Sam's squadmates are given just enough dialogue in the opening cutscene to make you think they'll at least play a minor role in the story, then are promptly killed off in the first level. Other than Hellfire, all other human allies that appear later in the game suffer similar "killed-as-soon-as-they're-introduced" deaths.
Enemy beheadeds, the lowest of them, wear shirts in a variety of colors - one of them being red.
Rope Bridge: There's one in a level in TFE. If you complete a specific task in this level, you'll be able to cross it and access a hidden level. Otherwise, it will snap and take you to the next regular level.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: TFE. In the harder difficulty settings, "Dunes", "Metropolis", "Alley of the Sphinxes", and "Karnak" are more challenging than rest of the levels.
Schizo Tech: Kleer skeletons use old ball-and chain projectiles, in II, some enemies like centaurs use classic weapons, other enemies use weapons ranging from modern to futuristic. There is also magic involved.
Schmuck Bait: In TSE, Sam can walk into a hallway with a little alcove at the end. It contains a boxing glove with a lever below it. NETRICSA suggests that Mental put it there in case Sam gets too curious. Go on, give that lever a tug...
Shiny Sense: In Serious Sam III, ammo glows yellow, health red, armor blue, weapons green and key items purple. This was done to compensate the lack of spinning around mid air and sparkling in the previous installments.
Also available in TNE, even though they still float.
Short Range Shotgun: Averted with the multi-barreled shotgun in II which has a decent range. The single shotgun in I and 3 has slightly poorer range. Played straight however, with the double shotgun, which is basically a melee weapon, similar to its Doom counterpart.
To Duke Nukem. In fact, Sam's incarnation in TFE, at least on the package, looks like a black-haired Duke Nukem.
Another one is at the start of TSE, in the form of a red phone booth (gold in the XBOX version), and its conversation.
One boss in II is called "Boss Hugo".
In the second level of TFE and the XBOX Serious Sam, at one point a boulder drops down and starts rolling toward you. Sam begins whistling the Indiana Jones theme.
In the first level of TSE, while crossing a rope bridge he whistles the Peruvian song El Condor Pasa.
The Cucurbito the Pumpkin enemy may be a reference to the band The Smashing Pumpkins as his bio states that Mental got the idea for him after listening to "a band whose name had something to do with destroying vegetables."
In the end of the penultimate chapter, Sam calls out to the alliance fleet about to attack planet Sirius "Are you with me?" Among the responses are "Acknowledged!", "Ready!", "Affirmative!", "Roger!", "Rabbit!"
The Dopefish is hidden as secrets in TFE in several places.
Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Kamikazes, chainsaw pumpkins and pretty much any other enemy. Lampshaded in Second Encounter, where the player's AI comments that she can "hear those familiar hooves coming" right before a fight with a bunch of hoofed Kleer skeletons.
Spider Tank: There are giant spider robots in 2 sizes in II.
Spikes Of Doom: There are spikes here-there in both TFE, TSE and II scattered around the game.
Sam: Spikes? I hate spikes!
Splash Damage: Comes from explosive weapons, as well as from the Kamikazes. Notably, playing below Normal difficulty makes the player immune to his own splash damage.
Spiritual Successor: Sam could be considered a sort of unofficial successor for Duke Nukem, just without all the sexual and toilet humor. The fact that the first game came out the same year as 3D Realms' "Duke Nukem Forever will be done when it's done" announcement doesn't hurt, either.
Sprint Shoes: Literally. Picking up special shoes allow Sam to move faster for a short period of time.
NE changes them to roller skates.
Story Overwrite: When end of level cutscenes in II show Sam walking through a battlefield, disappeared bodies have not only appeared again, but also they include enemies not fought in the said area. Also happens in the Dunes and Grand Cathedral cutscenes from the XBOX version.
Sugar Bowl: Ellenier in II. Although it's more of fairytale land.
Super-Persistent Missile: The magic fireballs thrown by Aludran Reptiloids will never give up trying to hit the player - they simply bounce off terain and buildings as they try to home in on the player.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: TNE has gnaars replaced with dum dums, the teethy green balls with two arms, similar to the ones you may find in II's M'Digbo. Not only they're not a big threat either, they also come up in two flavours: walking and flying (with the second codenamed as Twiddle Dum Dums). They can't be invisible, however...
Averted by providing enough ammo for all of them except the minigun. The minigun's small, for its fire rate, supply is lampshaded in its description, where they warn you that it eats through all 1000 rounds in seconds.
Subverted in II and the HD remakes, the ammo wasting rate is lowered considerably.
Played more straight with some of the weapons in 3 due to less generous ammo.
Translator Microbes: NETRICSA actively translates other languages for Sam. BFE features both old tablets with hieroglyphs and modern Egyptian graffiti in some areas. Upon looking at them, subtitles will appear in the original language, but then slowly transition to English (or whatever set language). This is also presumably why Sam can talk to Gnaars, Mental and whoever else.
Highlander (And highlander's bride) alduran reptiloids in Serious Sam 1 fire twice as fast when heavily damaged.
Major biomechanoids in Serious Sam 3 start to fire volley of rockets when damaged enough.
Updated Re-release: The first two games were released in High Definition to show off the capabilities of Serious Engine 3. Parodied in many commercials.
Variable Mix: Music becomes more intense when there are many enemies nearby.
Video Game Flame Throwers Suck: Very much averted. The flamethrower in Second Encounter deals a ton of continuous damage and passes through enemies, allowing you to easily ignite entire hordes if you get them bunched up. Very useful against a pack of Kleers.
The War Sequence: Many, many examples. Hell, you might as well rename the series "War Sequences: The Game". Major battles are often punctuated with a voice aptly screaming "WAAAAAAAAR!!!" right before the heavy metal music starts.
What the Hell, Hero?: NETRICSA chastises the player in the First Encounter if, instead of heading straight for the Great Pyramid, they take a detour to the Sacred Yards instead.
NETRICSA: I can see you're not listening to me. I told you to go straight to the Great Pyramid. But no, you had to come here. You just wanted to kill some more monsters. You think that saving the world is a joke? You're not serious at all!