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Video Game / Serious Sam

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"Turok? Duke? Freeman? Quakeguy? All amateurs. I'm the only serious action hero around here!"

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 him. Going through ancient Rome, feudal China and finally legendary Atlantis, Sam fights against a cyborg gladiator minotaur, a mechanically modified three headed Asian dragon and the soul of a Sirian warrior fused with the spaceship to create a terrifying giant flying robot, before he eventually defeats and captures the evil clone.

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 3: BFEnote . 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.

Serious Sam 4 was announced for Q4 2014, though it has been continually delayed since, with the first hints of what it will be like since then coming in 2018, where it was revealed to have the subtitle Planet Badass. Early promotional art seems to indicate that it's a prequel to BFE - so a prequel to a prequel - taking place in Europe during Mental's invasion.

The series also spawned several spin-off games, most of them released in 2011 to promote BFE:

In end 2014, Croteam also released a puzzle game, The Talos Principle. It is not related to the Serious Sam games beyond a similar premise of visiting ancient civilizations (albeit via simulations rather than Time Travel with alien technology) and, with the release of the "Serious" DLC, the ability to play as Sam.

As of late 2016, the series has been in the process of being converted to VR, starting with the aforementioned Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope in October, and VR-converted versions of the two halves of Serious Sam HD following in March and then April 2017. A pair of Compilation Rereleases also exist: Serious Sam Classics: Revolution combines the Classic versions of First and Second Encounter into one game (along with a third campaign called Bright Island), developed by an indie team of Serious Sam fans with help from Croteam, who themselves have created Serious Sam Fusion 2017, combining the HD versions of First and Second Encounter, their VR versions, and BFE, including the ability for the VR and "flat" versions of any one game to be able to play together; Croteam also promised a VR version of BFE, which released in November 2017, and have hinted at a possible remaster of Serious Sam II.

Serious Sam provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Second Encounter's opening Cut Scene was omitted from the HD remake (reportedly because of how completely and utterly silly it was), leaving you beginning the game standing underneath a burning spaceship wreck with barely any explanation as to what happened. The cutscene was later added back in Serious Sam Fusion 2017.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Sewer levels in TFE and II.
  • 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 Shout-Out 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 Klawdovic. Klodovik is seen in the background.
  • Action Bomb:
    • The Beheaded Kamikaze, which constantly screams "AAAAAAAA" 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.
    • NE 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. Unlike the Kamikazes, they don't deal Splash Damage, so in TSE keeping the chainsaw revved up while crouched works.
    • II lets Sam use some of his own in the form of the Klawdovic, a homing, exploding alien parrot.
  • Adjustable Censorship: How many other M-rated games have options to have enemies bleed flowers instead of blood? We could only find one other, two if you're being generous. Point is, Sam was at it first.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Ugh-Zan III from TFE. The first part of the fight is just Sam running from him to get inside the Great Pyramid. There's also Hugo from II, who chases Sam out of the building he's in and out into the nearby yard until he can get to a helicopter and fight on more even ground, as well as the Mental Institution, which slowly advances throughout the fight and will eventually crush Sam against the wall if he takes too long to destroy its core.
  • Affectionate Parody: Mainly of Duke Nukem and other macho first-person shooters from the 90's such as Doom.
  • A.K.A.-47: BFE does this for the pistol and the assault rifle. The former is modeled after a Desert Eagle, and is called "Special Operations Pistol from 2038", or "SOP38" for short, and the latter looks like a pimped out HK416 and is called "M29 Infantry Assault Rifle".
  • Alien Blood: Green is present in the original. Monsters with purple and yellow blood variety are added in II. It is possible to change the blood effects from red to green to hippie (enemies bleed fruit and flowers) to "kids" (enemies bleed candy canes and lollipops) in the settings menu. Green blood turns everything's blood bright green, even creatures that don't bleed red blood, and doesn't feature the same level of gib detail as Red.
  • Alien Invasion: Mostly relegated to the backstory, where Sam is traveling more than three thousand years in the past trying to stop the invasion from ever happening. BFE, however, puts you right in the middle of it.
  • Alien Sky:
    • The final level of TFE.
    • The South/Central America stages of TSE.
    • A lot of instances in II, considering the entire game consists of traversing alien planets.
  • Alliterative Name: About all the player characters available to choose.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: II.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • BFE has Sam flying around in Blackhawk helicopters between missions despite said helicopter design, by the time the game takes place, being more than 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 miniguns, but on the other, in the first game he still totes around a Tommy Gun rechambered in 5.56mm, a pair of Smith & Wesson revolvers from 1875, and a giant technomagical cannon that looks straight out of the Age of Sail and fires huge explosive depleted uranium cannonballs at speeds defined by how long the fire button is held.
  • An Axe to Grind: Sam gets to use an axe in BFE: Jewel of the Nile.
  • 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 Show It to You: Ripping hearts out of Beheaded Rocketeers out is possible in BFE.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Armor: Apparently the intention behind the AS-24 Devastator in BFE. The grenade rounds fly extremely fast and can pierce several small enemies in a row, and while a direct hit hurts a lot, the Splash Damage is extremely weak.
  • 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. All that's left behind is a cluster of asteroids.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Surprisingly enough for a genre that adheres to this trope, downplayed, especially in BFE. The .45 ACP handgun deals slightly less damage per shot than the 5.56x45mm assault rifle, which deals half as much damage as the 7.62x51mm minigun, which deals less than 1/10 the damage of the 16mm Raptor anti-materiel rifle. These damage values are all fairly consistent with these weapons' real-world muzzle velocities (or their equivalents). As a result, several weapons are gloriously overpowered. Played straight, however, by the rocket launcher, which only deals the same damage as the 40mm Devastator grenade launcher despite firing ridiculously huge rockets.note 
  • Arm Cannon: Biomechanoids in TFE, TSE, and BFE; Tank Biomechanoids in II; Scrapjacks and junior Arachnoids in BFE.
  • Art Evolution: Goes from looking like a Duke Nukem clone to a cartoony buff dude. In III, he retakes the realistic path, though still significantly distanced from Duke.
  • 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 II, where some ranged enemies will strafe while firing, and 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.
  • Asteroids Monster: The Lava Golems.
  • 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.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses:
    • Seen in one of the II cutscenes and the box art of TFE HD.
    • Double D actually has you escape a pit this way, throwing wave after wave of Gnaars at you until you can build a mountain of corpses tall enough to climb out.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Alcor-class Warship and the Mental Institution have weak points to shoot.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • Kwongo in II, being an Expy of King Kong and all.
    • The second chapter features a freaking huge wasp.
    • Both Ugh-Zans (III and IV).
  • Author Avatar:
    • The secret "fanboy" monsters are Croteam caricatures seen in the secret areas of TFE, TSE and BFE.
    • 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 awesome One-Hit Kill, like breaking a Cloned Soldier's neck, pulling the head off a Kleer, stomping a Hatchling Spider, tearing a Gnaar's eye out, or ripping a Beheaded Rocketeer's heart right out of its chest. These moves, while awesomely gory, take a second or two to pull off; this doesn't sound like much, but being immobilized for any amount of time in a game built around circle-strafing is bad news, leaving you vulnerable to the non-stop Zerg Rush of all the other Cloned Soldiers, Kleers, Hatchling Spiders, Gnaars and Rocketeers attacking you at the same time. 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 Hatchling Arachnoid Spider, since it has quite some range against them and very low execution time.
  • A Wizard Did It: Some of the more ridiculous weapons in Sam's arsenal, like the infinite ammo handguns and the SBC cannon are casually handwaved with "techno-magic".
  • Bad Santa: Ho, ho, ho, motherfucker!
  • Badass Boast: "It's not over until I teabag every last one of you alien motherfuckers", so says Sam.
  • Badass Normal: Sam, taking down entire alien armies since 2001. 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. In BFE, at the start of the Lost Temples Of Nubia level, he loses everything save for the Syrian Mutilator attached to his arm.
  • 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: 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 fully-automatic 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 Cannon. Not a Hand Cannon, a "technomagical" Cannon, that fires uranium-filled cannonballs, no less. Great for taking out hordes of Kleer Skeletons, Werebulls and Biomechs, as well as the Final Boss. BFE also introduces the Devastator, an automatic grenade launcher that can hold twenty rounds and fires 40mm "high-piercing high-explosive" rounds.
  • Big Bad: Mental, a Galactic Conqueror who is Sam's Arch-Enemy. He destroys every intelligent life in the galaxy, while Serious Sam is killing his army to face him.
  • Big "NO!": In TSE, after Sam discovers that Mental has already taken the Holy Grail.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: II introduces giant spiders, even gianter spiders, and the boss of the second stage: a gigantic bee named ZumZum.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: One of the secrets in The Pit level from TSE.
  • 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 NE 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.
    • The name of the enemy Zumb'ul of the planet Ras-ad-Nyk from TSE translates to "Hyacinth of the planet Plant Nursery".
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The council from II. The brothers and sister appear to be from different races and species.
  • Blackout Basement:
    • A few rooms in TSE. One of them had the player fire at a switch to keep the room lit.
    • Every single underground location in BFE. There are no lights of any kind save for Sam's Infinite Flashlight. These locations are almost always puzzle-oriented, with less intensive combat sequences.
  • 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.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Starting from the HD remakes of both TFE and TSE, the series has a lot more hemoglobin to spare thanks to the new engine. Parodied in one the trailers for the game showing off one of the alternate blood types, put to "Sunshine and Lollipops".
  • Booby Trap:
    • 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 are two health pills. Grabbing one of them causes a large Biomechanoid to spawn right next to you. The other plays the 'monster spawn' sound dozens of times at maximum volume to freak you out.
    • Of all the secret areas in the game, maybe a third of them are traps which spawn hordes of nasties right next to you.
  • Border Patrol:
    • BFE has a nasty surprise for those who want to wander off into the desert. Challenging the Sandwhale is key to finding a few secrets.
    • 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 in TFE, where you're just tossed back into the center of the map). II also makes you start losing health if you wander too far out into the Magnor swamp past the blue lights (presumably where the swamp becomes too toxic to stand in).
  • Bottomless Magazines: Every 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 shotgun need to be reloaded. Despite being some of the few weapons to have actual reload animations, every pistol has limitless reserve 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".
  • Bowdlerization: Parodied, and intentionally invokable; while you can use the standard types of blood and gore, most games in the franchise allow the ability to turn the gore into candy or vegetables.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall
    • 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 The 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:
      NETRICSA: Let's just say it has something to do with a bigger game budget.
      Sam: What game budget?
    • When fighting a boss called Zum Zum:
      "This game is full of bugs!"
  • Brick Joke:
    • 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.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: First two Magnor levels in II.
  • Bullfight Boss: Only the first bull enemy you encounter is a mini-boss. After that they become one of the most common enemies. Later you encounter a version with cannons mounted on their backs.
  • Butterface: The Witch Harpies in Next Encounter and BFE.
  • Cephalothorax: Gnaars.
    • Dum Dums in NE.
  • Call-Forward: In BFE. Echoing a sequence in TFE, a lone Beheaded Kamikaze comes running over a hill. After taking him out, Sam utters a Bond One-Liner... only for a whole horde of them to come surging over that same hill.
    Sam: Uh oh.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Croteam are, apparently, creating a much more serious remake of the second game. The original Serious Sam 2 is, thus, non-canon. They also stated that The Next Encounter is non-canon.
  • Cartoon Bomb: The Serious Bomb.
  • Catchphrase:
    • No particular phrase, but Sam's brand word "serious" pops up quite a bit.
    • NE 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.
      Sam: Ole!
    • He tends to yell "I knew it! I KNEW IT!" a lot in 2.
  • Chain Lightning: In a sense. The Syrian Mutilator can lasso up to four enemies at a time if you snare one and hover the cursor over the others, and it'll destroy all of them at once.
  • 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. If necessary, it can work as a shield against the Alundran Reptiloids' green fireballs while revved up.
    • They count as guns in Double D, meaning there's nothing stopping you from making a stack of 6 chainsaws and running headlong into the enemy, common sense be damned.
    • Also available as the only strictly-melee weapon for purchase in VR: The Last Hope. However, unlike the chainsaws of the previous titles, this chainsaw requires fuel for continuous use.
  • Characterization Marches On: In The First Encounter, NETRICSA is pretty much all business for most of the game, although she occasionally has some signs of her own personality. Come The Second Encounter, she's suddenly cracking a lot more jokes and acting more casual and excitable. For BFE, though, she's fully in all-business mode, what with 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 getting a headshot on a moving man-sized target, from 300 yards away, using a pistol, while strafing, without looking down the sights.
  • Charged Attack: The Grenade Launcher, SBC Cannon, and II's Zap Gun.
  • Checkpoint: Present in Next Encounter and Serious Sam 2.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: You know those Sand Worms that keep trying to munch Sam if he wanders out into the desert? Well, they do that to anything, including the Final Boss, which gives you an opening to attack his weak point!
  • 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.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Enemy cannons in TSE are capable for doing that.
  • Climax Boss: Ugh-Zan III.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Sam in BFE, as part of the Darker and Edgier package. Not so in the earlier games.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Fight on a narrow bridge above a huge lake of lava, in a confined space so there's nowhere for the heat to go but where you are? Why not?
    • Hell, at one point Sam crosses over a river of lava by jumping across platforms made of cooled lava, which are floating barely an inch higher than the lava itself.
    • Oddly inverted with the destruction of the Earth. The shattered fragments of the mantle and core are still orange-hot after the Moon shatters the planet, but they visibly cool down within ninety seconds as the credits roll. With no atmosphere in space, there's nowhere the Earth's fragments could possibly vent that heat (the same reason the Earth's mantle is still hot in real life after 4.6 billion years).
  • Colony Drop: The ending of BFE involves the Moon falling on Earth shortly after Sam enters the Timelock.
  • 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 Adult Arachnoid. Normally those things are giant boss monsters. Here it's the size of Sam and zipping around like a bee while pelting you with machine guns. When, or rather if, it was bypassed, the player would periodically start spinning wildly while looking upwards at level 5.
  • Crate Expectations:
    • The massive crate pyramid in TFE.
    • Croteam's brand crate bus... Which crashes into the UFO hijacked by Sam and becomes the reason why Sam has to purge the unclean away from Earth again in ''TSE''.
    • II. Almost every one of them contains an item.
      Sam: I hate crates!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: BFE introduces One-Hit Kill melee attacks to Sam's arsenal. Among other things, he can rip the eye out of a Gnaar, rip the heart out of a Beheaded Rocketeer or twist the face off a Scrapjack. Most of these come with ludicrous amounts of blood sprayed all over the camera. If that wasn't enough, he can then toss the newly obtained gib at another enemy - potentially killing it! This nets you the "Useful Trophy" achievement.
  • 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. In addition, the Arachnoids are retconned into 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 and violence (though that was to be expected), a more serious story and retcon of the Sirians to be serious. On the other hand, Sam and the in-game jokes help keep the mood surprisingly light for the most part.
  • Deadly Dodging: One of the doors in TFE requires dodging one of those werebulls at the very last second so it can collide with the door and break it.
  • Deadly Game: After getting captured on Sirius in II, Sam has to survive 3 days in a The Running Man-style alien game show.
  • Deadly Lunge: Kleer Skeletons in all games and Cave Daemons in Serious Sam 3.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sam will sometimes take a break from his one-liners and throw out some good old sarcasm.
    Sam: [walking into a room where an ambush is obviously set up] What are you waiting for, a one-liner?
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The most ammo-efficient way to kill a Kleer is to shoot it with the Double-Barreled Shotgun as it's pouncing. If you mistime, though, it'll hurt.
  • 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 this trope. 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 tailor-made to teach you how the boss's weapon works. In the case of the second one, the Major Biomechanoid, it also has the unique ability to sprint. The first Khnum you fight as a boss is exactly the same as all others, however.
  • Dem Bones: Kleer Skeletons in every game; Bone snakes and Kleerfloski in II.
  • Denser and Wackier: II, compared to the rest of the series. The graphics are much more cartoony than the other games and the monsters Sam faces are much the same such as the Beheaded Kamikazes, who have a big Serious Bomb for a head instead of headless men holding bombs. One of the weapons, the Klawdovic, is also pretty jokey as it's an alien parrot with a bomb.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The final level of BFE features a very washed out color palette even if you have the color filter set to the colorful Vivid. It's meant to indicate that the effect Mental's magical influence has on Earth has reached a boiling point.
  • Destructible Projectiles: Missiles both from Sam and from monsters can be shot down in all games. Homing attacks like the Alundran Reptiloids' fireballs can also be destroyed, but non-guided ones tend to be immune to counter-fire, with the curious exception of the Antaresian Spiders' acid spit in BFE.
  • Developers' Foresight: Right before obtaining the Minigun 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.
  • Die Laughing: Next Encounter has laughing gas as ammo available for the XOP Gas Gun. One spritz of this will cause any non-boss enemy will cause them to laugh uncontrollably and, if they're not attacked afterward, will simply run out of energy from laughing too much.
  • 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.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • 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 the Single Shotgun about ten seconds into the first level of BFE. The second offers a secret Laser Rifle if you know where to look, which effortlessly shreds the Major Biomechanoid boss from the third level.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The medallion in II.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Picking up a mere 1HP or 1 armor pickup might trigger an ambush with HORDES of enemies. The games are not friendly to Munchkins.
    • A secret rocket festival secret in a TSE level, The Pit, has a Schmuck Bait 100HP bonus which spawns 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 "secret nuthouse" 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.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • The giant female Beheaded Kamikazes ("Femikazes") in Double D.
    • The Female Major Biomechanoid. Complete with Gag Boobs and a purse.
    • Sam's sister Sammy in the multiplayer mode, and Hellfire the chopper pilot in BFE's campaign mode.
  • 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.
  • Double Entendre: On being told by Sam that he needs to reactivate the Sirian generators, Hellfire responds with this:
    Oh, now you can turn things on?
  • The Dragon: Ugh-Zan III to Mental in The First Encounter.
  • Drop the Hammer: Sam's melee weapon for most of BFE is a Sledgehammer. It can One-Hit Kill any enemy short of a Kleer Skeleton, and the horizontal and spinning swings can wreck multiple enemies at one time. When going against up to mid-tier monsters, it's a reasonably effective Emergency Weapon.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • Getting a second Shofield allows Sam to dual wield them.
    • Uzis are dual-wielded in NE.
    • 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.
    • Any and all weapons in The Last Hope and the VR version of TFE and TSE. Yes, this includes the Chainsaw, Shotgun, Minigun, Rocket Launcher, and any other weapon you can think of. The cherry on top of all that? You can mix and match in every VR title, too!
  • Dummied Out:
    • The Laser Turret in II is seen during one of the cutscenes. It didn't make it into the 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.
    • The infamous Beam Gun was cut from both TFE and II, although the models still exist in each game's respective files. NE had a similar-looking weapon under the guise of "Sirian Power Gun". The Beam Gun can, however, be found in SSC: Revolutions, both in its TFE version and in the new Bright Island campaign.

    E to N 
  • Early-Bird Cameo: If you pick up secret items, you can encounter certain enemy types much earlier than they would normally spawn.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Earth gets destroyed at the end of BFE, by nothing short of Mental dropping the moon on it. Sam makes it through the timelock though, and may be able to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Easier Than Easy: Tourist difficulty. It even comes with a graphic of Sam in a pink baby-bonnet and sucking on a pacifier when selecting it.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In Serious Sam 3, you'll get a jetpack during the final boss fight.
  • 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 the P-Lah Chainsaw in TSE; though 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 former offers the redesigned P-Lah, the Zap Gun and the Colt Anacondas, while the second has the Sledgehammer, the SOP38 and later, the Sirian Mutilator.
  • Empty Room Until the Trap: All over the damn place.
  • Enemy Summoner: Mordekai The Summoner; Giant spiders and Spawner enemies in II.
  • Escort Mission: Certain levels in II will have Sam trying to protect a key NPC from an oncoming horde of enemies. Fortunately, he usually has backup, and said NPC is also capable of protecting himself. The fight against Kwongo is an odd example of an escort boss fight, since instead of attacking the boss directly, Sam has to protect a bunch of catapults and the Simbas manning them from enemies while they attack Kwongo instead. While it isn't an instant game over if they're lost, they're the only thing that deals any actual damage to the boss, as Sam's weapons only deal pitiful scratch damage even with Serious Damage power-ups, so he's in serious trouble if they're lost and Kwongo isn't down to a sliver of health.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: BFE wastes no time in offing every Red Shirt that shows up, but by the end of the game, everyone except Sam, including Quinn and very likely Hellfire is dead. And we do mean ''everybody''.
  • 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 high scores in the XBOX version of Serious Sam and both versions of II will award you extra lives. They also reappear in BFE, but only during co-op sessions. It's quite literally every 10,000 in II.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: T. Wrecks, a Biomech with a T-Rex head, in Serious Sam II.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys:
    • Sam remarks about this after killing the first Zombie Monkey to appear in NE. 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.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • In TFE, Ugh Zan III does an evil laugh when he first appears and if he manages to stomp Sam.
    • Kleerofski in II has an even more maniacal evil laugh.
    • Scrapjacks in BFE will chuckle heartily if they manage to kill a player with their rockets.
  • Excuse Plot: Can be read here. Tries to justify the action going on. BFE involved more story and retconned some of this, moving Sam to somewhere in the near(?) future and being a Special Forces soldier trying to stem the tide of angry monsters.
  • 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.
    • The Khnums can also be considered expies of the Serious Sam 1 enemy Aludran Reptiloid, Highlander. They look vaguely similar, are roughly the same height, are both enemies encountered first as a boss and then as a giant mook, and they both use fireballs as their main attack. However, the Khnums are stronger, faster, and do more damage than the Highlanders, in addition to being completely bullet proof.
    • Sam to Duke Nukem, holding the Captain Ersatz status previously.
    • Many of the concepts and enemies first introduced in NE have appeared in II and 3 in this form or another. For instance, NE has Dum Dums while II gets extremely similar Slimeballs. Ditto for Uzis, Martial Arts Masters and... shoot-as-you-click pistols for BFE.
  • Exploding Barrels: II. They don't do much damage. Also in BFE, but they're much rarer and are also much more dangerous.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Antaresian Spiders from Serious Sam 3.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: One of the series that established the Classic type. BFE has shades of Semi-Classic in the first few levels, but discards most of it in favor of Classic gameplay as the game goes on.
  • Fan Disservice : The Witch-Harpies in BFE are topless with detailed breasts and nipples except their face is the stuff of nightmares (NSFW).
  • Fireballs: Many enemies fire them, though they seem to be favored by Giant Mook types in particular, including the Aludran Reptiloid, Highlanders from the 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 Khnums in BFE.
  • First-Person Ghost: You can't see Sam's feet if you look downward.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • TFE has Ugh-Zan III on the first half of the battle.
    • TSE has Kukulkan the Wind God and Mordekai the Summoner.
      • In a fashion similar to the above game, NE puts the first and the last bosses into this trope, which are Diabloid and Sirian Overlord.
    • Kwongo, Zumzum, Prince Chan and Mental Institution in II.
    • Ugh-Zan IV in BFE.
      • Rahloom , the Giant Scrapjack in the Jewel of the Nile DLC, also counts as this.
  • Floating Continent: These are floating above the surface of the planet Ellenier in II.
  • 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.
  • For the Evulz: Mental is kind of a douche.
    • 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.
  • Fun with Acronyms: “BFE” as an acronym stands for “Bumfuck, Egypt”, meaning “in the middle of nowhere”[1]. The action in the prequel takes place in Egypt.
  • Futuristic Pyramid: The final boss of II.
  • 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 Antaresians.
  • Gangsta Style: The Uzis in Next Encounter. Nothing's stopping you from doing this in The Last Hope, VR TFE, and VR TSE if you feel like it.
  • Gatling Good: The Minigun 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.
  • Genre Throwback: To the old-school first-person shooters.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: Picking up a lone pill at one point in TSE spawns a "secret watcher", a pair of giant eyeballs staring at you. Shooting them reveals that they're connected to a Giant Kamikaze.
  • Giant Mook: Many, from adult Arachnoids to the Biomechanoids to BFE's Scrapjacks and Khnums.
  • Glass Cannon: Some enemy cannons take only a few hits to kill but will do massive damage to Sam.
  • Golem: Lava Golems.
  • The Goomba: Beheaded Rocketeers and Gnaars. They're among the easiest enemies in the series, and are ubiquitous enough to be mascots.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Sniper Rifle and the Laser Gun 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 for these two guns is extremely rare, as well. The Jewel of the Nile DLC levels make them and their ammo more accessible.
  • Gun Accessories: BFE has a few examples.
    • The assault rifle features a vertical foregrip, a flashlight that Sam never uses, and an EOTech reflex sight that zooms in the view and negates bullet spread when used.
    • The shotgun has an empty side saddle that's there just to doll up the weapon, as the gun is fed with detachable box mags.
    • Getting the Deluxe edition adds a sniper scope to the Devastator.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: T. Wrecks in II chomp on cigars... even though they're just a dinosaur head on a mech body.
  • The Goomba: Gnaars and Rocketeers in TFE and TSE. Funnily enough, there's a Gnaar in II dressed as Mario. BFE also has the Cloned Soldiers
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Pieces of medallion in II.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Parodied with Mordekai, who speaks random nonsense in Latin due to brain damage.
  • Guns Akimbo:
    • Sam's various handguns (except the SOP38 in BFE) can be used two at a time; the Uzis in Next Encounter and II are always dual-wielded.
    • Ugh-Zan III goes further with four guns.
    • The Last Hope and the Virtual Reality Updated Re-release of The First Encounter and The Second Encounter up the ante by letting the player dual-wield any gun - yes, including the Miniguns and Rocket Launchers! If that wasn't enough, every VR game also lets you dual-wield different guns in each hand, so you could hold a minigun and a rocket launcher at the same time! Have fun.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Land of the Damned stage of TSE. The level starts off in a snowy village with the player eventually heading into a magma filled cavern, and ending things off with a battle on a frozen lake.
  • Hands-Free Handlamp: Sam has a flashlight, installed in his belt buckle, that he turns on (regardless of player input) in basements and crypts where the sunlight doesn't reach. In an odd twist, the assault rifle has a mounted flashlight that Sam never uses.
    "Let there be light!"
  • 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. In BFE, the difficulty between bosses and levels is more even (if only because herds of bosses become parts of the levels).
  • Hard Mode Perks: In the Classic titles, you can carry twice as much ammo in Serious mode.
  • Harder Than Hard: Serious and Mental difficulty.
  • Healing Factor:
    • Ugh-Zan III, which leads to the Puzzle Boss part of his fight. The same goes for Ugh-Zan IV in BFE.
    • The Exotech Larva in TSE can also heal itself, though only after it loses its plasma-launching arms, and only when it's at a specific area in the room.
    • Also Sam on Tourist mode, albeit slowly.
  • Hearts Are Health: The ♥ symbol is used for Sam's health bar, as well as the symbol used for Ultra Health pickup.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Mental himself. The only thing we've seen of him in the whole series is a boney hand. In a spinoff.
  • Hero Antagonist: Kukulkán the wind god. He is actually a good god who nonetheless fights Sam because he has to guard the Sirian portal
  • Homing Projectile
    • In TFE and TSE, the Aludran 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.
    • Incredibly abundant in VR TLH, being a game where almost every enemy fires a projectile of sorts. Homing projectiles are just par for the course.
    • Sam officially gets his turn to shoot lock-on stuff in NE, 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, Zorgs, and Atlantleans) to bolster his ranks.
  • Human Aliens: Sirians.
  • 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.
    • The official explanation for how Sam is able to carry around 30 five-foot cannonballs on his person is: "his pockets".
  • I Call It "Vera": Sam's dual Shofield .45's in The First Encounter are apparently named "Smith" and "Wesson".
    • This gets a Call-Back (Call-Forward?) in BFE, where he calls his brand new SOP38 pistol "Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson"note .
  • Idiot Hero: Sam in II
  • Immune to Bullets: Kukulkan the Wind God, the first boss in The 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 II, every weapon except the two shotguns is 100% pixel perfect accurate. Even the Schofield revolvers and the Thompson. Sam can easily nail anything he can see from any distance, never even suffering from recoil or 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, even with the addition of a scope to the former with the Deluxe edition of the game. 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.
  • Inescapable Ambush: Arena-type fights.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Present in II where they yield points.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in II: some Simba children are killed on-screen.
  • Infinite Flashlight: Whenever Sam goes underground in BFE, he turns on his light. It can stay lit indefinitely.
  • Informed Ability: Ugh-Zan III is described as a "vicious warlock" but doesn't seem to have many magical powers (just his Healing Factor and fireballs), and fights soley using manufactured weapons.
  • 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, the Alduran Reptiloid Highlander's Bride (with a HUGE instant death radius), and, to some extent, many medium-large enemies that attack mainly from long-range like Scrapjacks and Khnums. Major Biomechanoids are an interesting variation: at close range, you can't dodge their rockets, and they have tons of Splash Damage to shred Sam with.
  • 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.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The invulnerability powerup.
  • Invisible Monsters:
    • 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.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: In TFE, entering the Temple of Thutmose in Sand Canyon prompts a message from NETRISCA that "It is too quiet".
  • Jungle Japes: M'Digbo, the first world in II.
  • Kaiju both Ugh Zan III and IV are big enough to qualify. Ugh Zan III is even said to be 330 feet tall, while IV's size isn't listed.
  • Kill It with Fire: One puff of flame can ignite enemies (the afterburn alone will deal with anything human-sized), and 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 napalm ammo ALL the damn time.
  • King Mook: The Aludran Reptiloid Highlanders and the Uber Lava Golem.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: TFE and TSE for the XBOX and II.
  • Last Ditch Move: Beheaded Bombers and Biomechanoids in TFE and TSE. Major Biomechanoids have quite a high chance of hitting the player with that one.
  • Last Lousy Point: Among other things, the game tracks and tells you your body count compared to the total of each level. Each level can easily have several hundred of them. Go nuts.
  • Last of His Kind: Sam is apparently this for humanity by the end of BFE.
  • Leap of Faith:
    • 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 the first two games, 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).
  • Lightning Bruiser: Alduran Reptiloid, Highlander. Especially the Highlander's Bride variant, who is the fastest enemy in TSE. And one of the biggest.
    • Also, Sam himself, who can run at sixty miles per hour while carting around a minigun that's bigger than he is. BFE is not even afraid of showing him running with a goddamn cannon in his hands.
  • Look Ma, I Am on TV!: Look ma, I'm a lumberjack!
  • Losing Your Head: Beheaded zombies. Especially Kamikazes.
  • 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...
    • Of course, even the earliest installments in this series have plenty of red goo and bodily carnage to go around...
  • 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 Cannon is also a "technomagical" weapon.
  • Magma Man: Lava Golems.
  • Mascot Mook: The Headless Kamikaze, who's even the focus of the first trailer for BFE.
  • Marathon Level:
    • "The Great Pyramid", "Karnak" and "Metropolis" in TFE
    • "Grand Cathedral", "The City of the Gods", "Ziggurat", "Courtyards of Gilgamesh" and "Tower of Babel" in TSE
    • "Mental Institution" in II.
    • Several later levels of BFE can feel like this... but "The Guardian of Time" takes the cake.
    Sam: Would you consider attacking one at a time?
    • 1,700 enemies, followed by the final boss fight. This isn't a marathon, it's an Ironman triathlon.
  • Mayincatec: South American levels in TSE.
  • Meaningless Lives: NE doesn't have a lives system. Instead, dying at any point sets Sam back to the most recently activated checkpoint, less 5,000 points.
    • In II, losing all lives during a level give the player two options: Start the mission from the beginning, or continue with the added penalty of a frozen score.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • Sam frequently shows this in Next Encounter, as demonstrated above with Everything Is Better With Monkeys.
    • NETRICSA joins in on her self-awareness on being in a video game in II.
  • Missing Secret:
    • 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.
    • Tourist and Easy difficulties disabling weapon self-damage and self-knockback results in one secret in TFE becoming inaccessible due to requiring rocket-jumping to reach.
    • Due to a few broken triggers, some secrets in TSE don't exist, but the secret counter still indicates like they're there.
    • In some of the games, due to bad counting, it's impossible to get all of the kills in a level. Basically, when the game calculates how many enemies are in a level, it counts all of the pre-placed enemies and all of the spawners. The problem here is that some spawners only spawn their enemies on certain difficulties, meaning that the game counts enemies that you can't kill due to playing on a difficulty where they never appear. In addition, some spawners aren't even connected to anything that activates them, but these spawners are also counted. More info can be found in-depth here.
    • The level "Dunes" in the PC version of Serious Sam Classics: Revolution has a spawner that takes 27 hours, 46 minutes, and 40 seconds to spawn an enemy. Or at least it used to. After Omgarrett uploaded a video that proved it, one of the developers said in the comments that it would be fixed.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Sam brings one out in the Xbox version's introductory scene.
  • Monster Clown: The unicycling suicide clowns from II.
  • Monster of the Week: Taken to the form of "Monster of the Stage" in NE. 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 Gun, and the Minigun.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in The Last Hope, which now lets you go Guns Akimbo with those miniguns!
    • And then the VR version of TFE and TSE takes it up to potentially game-breaking levels by letting you go Guns Akimbo with any pair of weapons, automatically getting two of each weapon, and the reload animations are completely removed, raising the fire rate considerably for your starting Revolvers and Shotguns.
  • More Deadly Than the Male:
    • Female Gnaars are bigger and have more hitpoints than their male counterparts. They're still cannon fodder, though.
    • The Aludran Highlander's Bride. She's taller, angrier, and, if you get within slapping distance, can score a One-Hit Kill on you even with full health and ammo.
  • 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.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous
    • All three variants of the Aludran Reptiloids have four arms each.
    • Ugh Zan III has four arms, too. As does Ugh-Zan IV, though two of his are cybernetic.
    • Diablotaur from NE only has two biological arms (carrying a sword and a shield), but has four cybernetic arms the fire off different weapons.
  • 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 for it.
  • Mythology Gag: In the first level of every main Serious Sam game, there is a secret Rocket Launcher hidden somewhere in the stage, with the exception of the original release of BFE. A secret Rocket Launcher was restored for the first level of BFE in the Serious Sam Fusion remake.
  • Nerf: Inverted in NE, 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 BFE 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 NE's cannon had such power.
  • Neural Implanting: An AI, NETRICSA, is surgically implanted into Sam's brain.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Some of the graffiti in BFE blames Sam for bringing Mental's hordes to Earth.
  • No Fair Cheating: You can't get points at the end of the level when using cheats in II. Downplayed in the PC version of BFE, where installing mods has no effect on your score but disables the online leaderboards (the game even asks you on launch if you want to turn your mods on for this session).
  • No-Gear Level:
    • In TFE, Sam loses most of the ammo at the beginning of "Alley of the Sphinxes", save shotgun shells and cannonballs. 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 NE, 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.
  • No Scope: Disencouraged with the RAPTOR Sniper Rifle. Firing it while unscoped has a number of drawbacks: in classic TSE, its power-per-shot is greatly reduced; in BFE, the shot will be subjected to a lot of spread; in the HD release of TSE, both things happen. NETRICSA explains that it's a failsafe engaged when the rifle is fired outside an optimal shooting position, to prevent the recoil of the 16mm round from breaking the shooter's wrist.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Mordekai apparently died after an incident involving "the Necronomicon, 20,000 pounds of ectoplasm and a mispronounced Latin proverb".
    • Ugh-Zan IV is actually the biological father of Ugh-Zan III thanks to an accident with an experimental time machine.
    • In Jewel of the Nile, we learn that Sam was nicknamed "Hairy" in high school. The story apparently involves goats, and that's all we know.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Any of the games.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: 3 actually provides a plausible explanation for the Scythian Witch-Harpies having 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 (i.e. horny men).

    O to Z 
  • One Bullet Clips: The pistol, shotgun, assault rifle and Devastator in BFE. The revolvers in older titles as well, though they can't be manually reloaded.
  • One-Hit Polykill:
    • A zoomed-in Sniper Rifle shot in Next Encounter.
    • A properly-aimed cannonball against weaker enemies can murder them with contemptuous ease.
    • The Devastator's grenades can pierce through small fry enemies if they're close enough. There's an achievement for skewering five with one shot.
  • One-Man Army: Sam himself, as you could expect from a classic FPS hero. Massive hordes, massive enemies, massive hordes of massive enemies, doesn't matter, he'll just wreck them all with a witty one-liner on the tip of his tongue. Hell, the final level of BFE has over 2400 enemies, and Sam is perfectly capable of killing all of them should the player be skilled and patient.
    • This lists the total number of monsters in all the games at 45723, more than all the other listed First-Person Shooter protagonists combined.
  • One-Scene Wonder: From NE:
    • The Serious Combine and Serious Submarine, both of which are only used in levels that have to be unlocked by collecting gold medals.
    • There is exactly one red backpack to be found.
  • 1-Up: One of the pickups in II and in the XBOX version of Serious Sam.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Sci-fi orcs in this case in II. They have green skin and are in space suits. They return in Serious Sam's Bogus Detour, where they are explained as being mutated Zorg, having taken on orc-like features as a side effect of a substance they created to regrow their skin.
  • 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.
    • In II, all Beheaded other than the Kamikazes are absent, but it does have a range of more traditional undead in the form of shotgun-wielding zombie stockbrokers, German soldier zombies armed with miniguns, and zombie martial artists.
  • Oxygen Meter: Appears when starting to run out of air.
  • 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, 90% of enemy projectiles count. Brutally averted with the Khnums' fireballs, though – those babies fly hundreds of meters in a fraction of a second.
  • Parody Sue: Sam himself is basically a parody of the fearless FPS protagonist who kills entire armies of monsters/aliens/whatever all by himself that was the default in most early shooters.
  • 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.
  • Pinball Scoring: Most of the games in the series have the potential for scoring in the millions.
  • 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 Werebulls in TSE.
  • Pre Ass Kicking Oneliner: Expected, since the eponymous character is thought as a parody of Duke Nukem.
  • Plot Coupon: The medallion in II.
  • 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.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Beheaded Kamikazes, believe it or not.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: An odd case in BFE's "Technopolyps", which infest machines rather than people — in this case, attack helicopters. The first time you face one, you lack weapons that can damage it and must use buildings to avoid it until you find a Rocket Launcher.
    • 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.
  • Puzzle Boss: A lot of bosses could technically be chip damaged to death with normal weapons, but typically require some kind of trick to deal any significant damage. Other bosses can heal themselves, thus requiring a way to circumvent that.
    • Ugh-Zan III in TFE is of both varieties, more so on the highest difficulty.
    • To some extent, Exotech Larva in TSE.
    • Zum Zum, and Kleerovski in II.
    • Ugh-Zan IV in BFE. Rahloom in the Jewel of the Nile DLC.
  • Quad Damage: The Serious Damage powerup.
    "Serious Damage!"
  • Rage Against the Author: 100% Completion of at least one stage of one of the games requires you to murder caricatures of the Croteam staff.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: The pistol in BFE. Ammo for it is infinite and it fires and reloads decently fast, but it has very low firepower. Not much use against Major Biomechanoids or above save for shooting down missiles.
  • Rated M for Manly:
    • Within the first five minutes of playing TSE, you'll be doing bullfighting with a pump-action shotgun. This only serves to set the bar for the rest of the game.
    • Just one minute into BFE, you end up facing a Gnaar unarmed. How to deal with it? Rip its eye out barehanded.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: Serious Sam 3: BFE ended with Mental successfully destroying Earth, but not before Sam successfully sending himself to the past to stop Mental during his weakest. The "Hero" theme played in the end credits signify this.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • 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 the Oasis and Metropolis peace themes.
  • Red Shirt:
    • Sam's squadmates in BFE 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.
    • Some of the headless gunmen wear shirts in a variety of colors, with one class of them wearing red.
  • Regenerating Health: A feature of the games' Tourist difficulty. Inverted in the Xbox Serious Sam, Next Encounter, and II where Sam's health and/or armor would drop if it exceed 100.
  • Remilitarized Zone: Planet Kronor in II.
  • Retcon: BFE performs one on the Back Story of the previous games. Sam was not chosen to go back in time. He was the only guy left alive and close enough to get to the Timelock, and took it upon himself to jump through. Creates some Fridge Logic in doing so, however: if Sam was the only person to get through the Timelock, then who sent all the weapons and ammo back in time? Also, why did his pistol transform into a revolver?
  • Retro Upgrade: The Cannon in all games are actual cannons... that fire cannonballs filled with depleted uranium that explode after a set amount of time.
    • The M1928 Tommy Gun got one in both Encounter games, as it's stated they were yanked out of mothballs and refitted to the more modern 5.56 to fight against Mental's hordes.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Most breakable objects in II contain a useful item.
    • Taken literally in one early mission in NE, under the name of "Prohibition Bonus".
  • Ribcage Ridge: Lots of giant skeletons found in planet Kleer in II.
  • Roar Before Beating: Some of the bosses in BFE.
  • Rocket Jump: Though it never worked in the original, it can result in excessive Sequence Breaking.
  • 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.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: Seen in some of BFE's early levels, set in Cairo.
  • Running Gag: In BFE, helicopters getting shot down.
  • Sand Worm: These won't let Sam go into the open desert in Serious Sam 3.
  • Save Scumming: In the Hard, Serious, and Mental difficulties, be prepared to use quicksave and quickload VERY frequently.
  • 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...
  • Scoring Points: Uncommon for an FPS post-2000.
  • Screaming Warrior: The Headless Kamikazes.
  • Sentry Gun:
    • Cannon turrets in I and II.
    • Rocket and plasma turrets in II.
    • EDF's Minigun turrets in BFE. They eschew friend-or-foe technology in favor of sheer durability, so they'll shoot Sam down just as readily as they will Mental's monster hordes; fortunately, their effective range is shown by a laser aiming array, and there's a small grace distance where the turret will aim at Sam in warning but not shoot.
  • Serial Escalation: This is done with the amount of bad guys onscreen at once. It's the most apparent in The First Encounter and 3.
  • Series Fauxnale: II is built up as if it's the final game in the series, with Sam collecting parts of a Dismantled MacGuffin to defeat Mental with before finally storming Sirius, Mental's homebase, and even getting into a massive battle with Mental's house. When it comes time for the final showdown, however, Mental distracts Sam with a voice recording of himself in a dark room while he escapes in a flying saucer.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: When factoring in the enemies' Artificial Stupidity, it's fairly easy to position Sam where one enemy can deal damage to, if not outright kill, other enemies. The Major Biomechanoid's rockets are particularly useful to lay waste to other mooks
  • Shared Life Meter: The first two games will occasionally lock Sam in an arena and hurl massive amounts of enemies that have to be killed, using a boss life meter to gauge the player's progress.
  • Shifting Sand Land: TFE, most notably the "Dunes" level.
  • Shiny Sense: In Serious Sam 3, 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 NE, even though they still float.
  • Shoot Everything That Moves: How else are you expected to save the universe?
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The Double Shotgun, which is basically a melee weapon, similar to its Doom counterpart.
  • Shout-Out:
    • 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 first level of TFE, Sam whistles part of the main song from the musical Singin' in the Rain.
    • In the second level of TFE, 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.
    • Cucurbito the Pumpkin's enemy bio states that Mental got the idea for him after listening to "a band whose name had something to do with destroying vegetables".
    • To Monty Python upon picking up the Chainsaw in Poland:
    "Oh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK!"
    "To be or not to be - that is a serious question."
  • Silliness Switch
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Kamikazes, Curcubitos, Kleer Skeletons, Werebulls 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 Kleer Skeletons.
  • Spider Tank: There are giant spider robots of two 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. Notably, the AS-24 Devastator in BFE has a large radius of negligible 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.
    • Croteam have also stated that Doom was the main inspiration for Serious Sam. Quake was also likely an inspiration, given the similar weapons and gameplay elements.
    • Serious Sam 2 is arguably what would happen if Ratchet & Clank was a first person shooter. Since both games have a cartoony art style, and both involve travelling to several different planets and killing similar alien and robot enemies.
  • Sprint Shoes: Picking up winged shoes allows Sam to move faster for a short period of time. NE changes them to roller skates. In BFE, Sam can just sprint at will.
  • Start To Crate: Possibly parodied in TSE right at the start when the flying saucer Sam hijacked in the first game is damaged and forced to crash land by some Croteam Heads accidentally smashing into it with a crate bus.
  • Stock Money Bag: One of the things that yield points in Serious Sam II is a stock money bag.
  • The Stoic: Sam takes this to Parody Sue levels. Even when he meets Ugh Zan III his response is just a cheerful "you're a big'un, aint ya?"
  • 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 of Serious Sam Classic.
  • Suddenly Voiced: NETRICSA in II.
  • Sugar Bowl: Ellenier in II, although it's more of fairy tale 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.
  • Super Strength / Super Speed / Super Toughness: Sam can decapitate monsters with his bare hands, carry hundreds of equipment while sprinting at 30 MPH, and take hundreds of bullets, lasers, and rockets before going down.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • NE has gnaars replaced with Dum Dums, teethy green balls with two arms, similar to the ones you may find in II's M'Digbo. Not only are they hardly a 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...
    • A lot of II's enemies are just Denser and Wackier counterparts to the classic enemies from the other games, such as the Rhino Cybertoy to the Sirian Werebull, the T-Mech to the Biomechanoid, and Marcel the Clown to the Beheaded Kamikaze (Despite the fact the Beheaded Kamikaze is one of the few returning enemies, albeit with a new design.)
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Lampshaded throughout. At one point, a minor health pill runs away from you with a giggle. Getting it spawns enemies. Happens a second time in BFE, with a small health bottle making a mad dash towards the open desert.
  • Take That!:
    • Serious Sam is brought back in II because "Some blondie guy was taking forever".
    • Another minor one to Duke in BFE - During one level, after defeating a wave of enemies, Sam uses one of Duke's phrases: "Damn, I'm good!". After defeating another wave, he follows up with "Damn, I'm better than good!".
    • The BFE trailer ends with "No cover. All man.", one towards cover-based games. It reappears (in Arabic) as graffiti in the game proper.
    • The Cloned Rifleman/Shotgunner enemies in BFE seem to be making fun of "modern military shooters".
    • The "Serious Sam Help Line" series of trailers for BFE contain lots of these; at one point the operator tells someone who wants regenerating health to "stop being such a f*** p***".
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: To the point of parody. Whenever you pick up anything, expect a legion of monsters to attack you. And if it's any level after the first, another one after that. It gets kind of humiliating when you get your ass kicked six ways to Sunday over a health pill that restores 1 HP. And it's a secret to boot! Also happens in NE, but this time, complete with the items being Crosshair Aware.
  • Tech Demo Game: One of the reasons of making of The First Encounter was to show off the capabilities of the Serious Engine. The First Encounter and The Second Encounter even had a tech demo level!
  • Tempting Fate: "Are you serious?"
    Sam: Why yes, as a matter of fact, I am.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: To be expected in an Affectionate Parody of Duke Nukem, Doom and other macho first-person shooters.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Well, more like "Huge guy, really huge girl" but the female Alundran Reptiloid highlanders in the Second Encounter are much bigger than the males (110 feet tall to the male's 45 feet), as well as being powerful enough (they have about 6000 hp) to count as a Boss in Mook Clothing. Luckily you only encounter one on normal difficulty and the fight is optional.
  • Threat Backfire: A Gnaar threatens Sam that he will be mooned. Sam isn't impressed, nor is he when Mental's daughter, Judy, reiterates the threat. Cue the moon falling from orbit, prompting Sam to leap into the Timelock.
    Sam: Oh fuck!
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Late game guns found through a secret. Especially the Cannon, as its weapon pickup only gives Sam a single cannonball.
    • Some of the weapons in 3 due to generally less ammo pickups, encouraging varying weapons more often. Goes double for the Laser gun, as ammo for it can only be acquired in secret areas.
    • The Serious Bombs, which clear the entire screen of enemies (albeit, within a limited radius, as NETRICSA's description implies).
  • 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.
  • Trio Boss: NE's Hydra boss has three heads: one fires rockets, one blows fire, and one that shoots a laser. They have to be fought at the same time.
  • Turns Red:
    • Highlander (And Highlander's Bride) Aludran Reptiloids in Serious Sam 1 fire twice as fast when heavily damaged.
    • Major Biomechanoids and Scrapjacks 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.
    • The First Encounter and The Second Encounter got a second re-release specifically for Virtual Reality users, most notably as a free-movement alternative to The Last Hope.
    • Serious Sam Fusion 2017 not only serves as a hub for the current and upcoming main titles, but also brings TFE/TSE HD and 3 BFE to the Serious Engine 4 with a lot of updates and changes.
  • Utility Weapon: Aside from ammo-efficient crowd control, the Syrian Mutilator in BFE can make large enemies hold still for a little bit, and even be used to make pull-assisted jumps. Very useful if you really have to get away from that pursuing Khnum right this instant.
  • Variable Mix:
    • Generally, music becomes more intense when there are many enemies nearby.
    • For the final level of all games, the music starts getting more fast-paced with more instruments the further you proceed against Mental's massive hordes.
  • Video Game Flame Throwers Suck: Very much on the "Flame" side. The Flamethrower in The 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, and even more so against Kamikazes since one puff will keep them still until they die.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Quinn in BFE.
  • The Power of Rock: Quite a good part of the soundtrack.
  • 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. It even persists in BFE, as seen [[here.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: NETRICSA chastises Sam in The First Encounter if, instead of heading straight for the Great Pyramid, he takes 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!
  • Wutai: Chi Fang in Serious Sam II.
  • You All Look Familiar: Lampshaded in TSE, where the Pumpkinhead enemy shows up twice in a row.
    Sam: Hey, didn't I kick your ass two rooms back?
  • Your Size May Vary: The SBC Cannon's cannonballs. On the ammo pickup they're about the size of a football, when fired they're big enough for Sam to fit inside one while standing, and Word of God says Sam keeps them in his pocket. Then again, it's all technomagical.
  • Younger Than They Look: Serious Sam himself is, apparently, 22. Yet he looks more like someone in their late 20s or early 30s.
  • Zerg Rush: Lampshaded by Sam.
    "Oh, God. Never underestimate the power of stupid things in large numbers."

Alternative Title(s): Serious Sam 2, Serious Sam 3 BFE, Serious Sam The First Encounter, Serious Sam The Second Encounter


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