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"By the middle of the 21st. century, having bled the Earth dry, mankind was on the verge of collapse. Then, a startling discovery was made. Beneath the sands of the earliest known human civilization, traces of another, even more ancient, but technologically advanced civilization are uncovered. The profound scientific implications of this discovery would lead humankind to the far reaches of the universe. Everything seemed perfect. But perfect never lasts. Without warning, the Earth was attacked by a chaotic horde of marauding aliens. Within three years, humankind was staring into the face of its own annihilation. In desperation, the world leaders turned to their last chance, an ancient artifact called the Time-Lock. They believed this relic from a long-forgotten race was a portal to a point in ancient history, and their only chance for survival. If only they knew how to turn it on."
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Serious Sam 3: BFEnote  is a First-Person Shooter videogame developed by Croteam, published by Devolver Digital, and released in November 22, 2011, for PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. It's the fourth installment in the Serious Sam series.

The game is a prequel set during Earth's final days attempting to repel Mental's invading hordes. Humanity doesn't yet know how to activate the Time-Lock, 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 game has a more realistic look than the other games, with Sam returning to mow down hordes after hordes of monsters with an array of different weapons. It also takes hints from modern shooters with additions such as melee kills, iron sights and sprinting.

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In order to promote the game, Croteam picked up three indie companies who created SS games: Mommy's Best Games created Serious Sam Double D, a side-scrolling shooter, Be-Rad Entertainment created Serious Sam Kamikaze Attack, a Perspective Flip where players control a Beheaded Kamikaze hellbent on killing Sam, and Vlambeer created Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, which is basically SS reimagined as a Role-Playing Game.

In 2017 the game received the VR treatment; this version was released as Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE.

Followed by Serious Sam 4, another prequel.


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See also


This game shows examples of

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    Main game 
  • Ace Pilot: Hellfire is introduced as the "crazy pilot" that dared to travel to the Great Pyramid in order to pick up Sam.
  • 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.
  • Action Girl: Hellfire is famed for being a badass on par with Sam. Unfortunately, even she was overwhelmed by Mental's forces.
  • Airborne Mook: In addition to the Witch-Harpies, the game introduces the telekinetic Witch-Brides.
  • A.K.A.-47:
    • The pistol is modeled after a Desert Eagle, and is called "Special Operations Pistol from 2038", or "SOP38" for short.
    • The assault rifle looks like a pimped out HK416 and is called "M29 Infantry Assault Rifle".
  • Alien Invasion: The game puts you right in the middle of Earth's last stand before Sam is sent to the past.
  • Anachronism Stew: Sam flies 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.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The Sirians. Most evident here, 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: Sam's melee kill of the beheaded rocketeers involve him ripping their hearts out.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Sam is noticeably missing his trademark red sneakers at the beginning. 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. Its explosive 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.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Because Khnum and Technopolyp Gunships are Immune to Bullets, whenever you have to fight one there's always a crate of respawning explosive ammo somewhere nearby so the game isn't Unwinnable by Mistake if you run out of explosives.
  • Apocalypse How: Earth itself is destroyed by having the moon thrown at it at the end. All that's left behind is a cluster of asteroids.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power:
    • Surprisingly enough for a genre that adheres to this trope, downplayed. 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 tremendously overpowered.
    • Played straight 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 come in two varieties: smaller blue ones with laser cannons, and bigger red ones with rocket launchers.
    • The Scrapjack has two Rocket Launchers instead of arms.
    • Both Arachnoid variants have minigun cannons.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: One of the posters of the Secret Yard of Fame invokes this trope, as one of the devs being accused of "arson, theft, destruction, mass murderings and jaywalking".
  • Art Evolution: Sam retakes the realistic path, though still significantly distanced from its inspiration.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The AI was improved when compared to other games. 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 won't hit unless the player zooms.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Alcor Class Warship has hatches from which up to 20.000 enemies are deployed. These hatches act as its only weak point, and are very susceptible to all kinds of damage.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • The titanic Khnum, whose height is at least five times that of Sam.
    • Ugh-Zan IV is a colossally huge creature like his predecesor, Ugh-Zan III.
  • Author Avatar:
    • The secret "fanboy" monsters are Croteam caricatures seen in the secret developer yard.
    • While more of a publisher than an author, Fork Parker, the financial director of Devolver Digital, appears as a selectable multiplayer skin for those who preordered the game.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Melee attacks. 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, ripping a Beheaded Rocketeer's heart right out of its chest or decapitating a Scrapjack. 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 enemy classes 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.
  • Bad Santa: Post-release, the Santa Sam free skin.
  • Badass Boast: Just in the game's Darkest Hour:
"It's not over until I teabag every last one of you alien motherfuckers"
  • Bag of Spilling: At the start of the "Lost Temples Of Nubia" level, Sam loses everything save for the Syrian Mutilator attached to his arm.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: According to NETRICSA, this is the status of the Witch-Bride of Achriman, trapped in the oombo between the shadow world and the real world.
  • Battle Theme Music: Sam's first encounter with a Khnum (as a boss) has an instrumental version of Undercode's "Final Fight".
  • Beat Still, My Heart: When a beheaded rocketeer's heart is removed with a melee kill, it still beats a couple of times.
  • BFG: In addition to the returning weapons of Sam's overpowered arsenal, BFE introduces the Devastator, an automatic rocket launcher that can hold twenty rounds and fires 40mm "high-piercing high-explosive" rounds.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sam ends up defeating the powerful Ugh-Zan IV and activates the Timelock, thus traveling back in time for Serious Sam: The First Encounter, but Mental throws the moon at the Earth causing both to be destroyed immediately after.
  • Blackout Basement: Every single underground location. 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.
  • Blatant Item Placement: Weapons are scattered around more realistically, but ammo crates for rockets and C4 in particular are still placed in areas where they would be very helpful, such as, say, just before a boss that can only be damaged by explosives.
  • Body Horror: Both the Cloned and Beheaded soldiers look less like cartoon soldiers like in past games and more like Strogg (more specifically, like the Quake IV Tactical Strogg).
    • The Cloned Soldiers have damaged skin by acid and temperature as a side effect of the process of their implants.
    • Instead of a head, beheaded soldiers have a "Life Control Unit".
  • 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.
  • Boring, but Practical: The assault rifle is a bog standard FPS assault rifle (complete with aim-down-sights), but it deals surprisingly decent damage, with 10 or so rounds doing roughly as much damage as 1 rocket hit. Ammo for it is also extremely common, making it a decent all-rounder weapon for most of the game.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Khnum are huge, sturdy foes first fought as a boss. While your regular Adult Arachnoid, Scrapjack or Adult Biomechanoid can go down with just a C4 attached to it, a Khnum takes three of them at minimum, and he has a sprint attack to get near Sam so using C4 or rockets end up being a bit suicidal. Furthermore, his fireball arc is hard to avoid, and he's surrounded by other troops.
  • Butterface: The Witch Harpies. According to NETRICSA, the entirety of their appearance is there for deception reasons, as they hide their even more hideous selves. Especially their Nightmare Face.
  • Call-Forward:
    • 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.
    • Sam's dual Shofield .45's in Serious Sam: The First Encounter are apparently named "Smith" and "Wesson", though they're never named as such in that game. In BFE, however, he calls his brand new SOP38 pistol "Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson"note .
  • 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.
  • 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 Its Weak Point.
  • Cherry Tapping: Ripped out hearts or skulls 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: Both varieties of Biomechanoids walk in this fashion.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Sam, as part of the Darker and Edgier package, which sets it apart from the rest of the games.
  • Colony Drop: The ending involves the Moon falling on Earth shortly after Sam enters the Time-Lock.
  • Convection Schmonvection: 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).
  • Cool Shades: This game reintroduces Sam's sunglasses after being chronologically absent during both Serious Sam: The Second Encounter and Serious Sam II.
  • Copy Protection:
    • Pirated copies of BFE will spawn a special Adult Arachnoid reserved only for pirates. It's invincible, fast as hell, and utterly annoys the player with its machineguns.
    • When, or rather if, it was bypassed, the player would periodically start spinning wildly while looking upwards at level 5.
  • Creator Cameo: There's a secret "Yard of Fame" in the first level which contains posters with the creators' names.
  • 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. This gib is also key for several secrets.
  • Custom Uniform: Sam doesn't wear the standard military uniform the redshirts do. Neither does Hellfire.
  • Cute Monster Girl: The Witch-Brides Of Achriman, female humanoid monsters with six tentacles protruding from their back.
  • Cyborg: In addition to the usual examples, 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 achievement requires you to refrain from sprinting, aiming down sights or manually reloading for an entire campaign runthrough. If you've played any modern shooter where these gameplay elements are an integral part of the core gameplay, it becomes difficult to avoid.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the rest of the series. A more somber tone, 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.
  • Darkest Hour: After Sam activates the Time-Lock, Mental goes full-force against Earth's forces, and everyone not named Sam Stone begins to perish, either at the hand of Mental's forces or in the eventual Colony Drop. It's up to Sam to find the Time-Lock and travel back in time, as current-day Earth is doomed.
  • Deadly Lunge: Kleer Skeletons and Cave Demons have a leap attack that sips Sam from a chunk of his health.
  • Degraded Boss: Most of the early bosses, with the exception of the first Khnum, 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:
    • The Adult Arachnoid is fought in an area with plenty of columns to take cover from its minigun cannons. Later on, not only he's quicker and easier to take down, but there are specific weapons such as the C4 Explosives that can bring it down in one hit.
    • The Major Biomechanoid is fought in the Ibn Tulun Mosque, and in addition to its increased health, it has the unique ability to sprint. In this battle, the mosque's columns and the central structure are your only covers against the Mecha's rockets, but you'll also have a lot of room to maneuver. Later on, not only the class loses its health and sprinting but also some of its size. Also, like the Adult Arachnoids, certain weapons such as the aforementioned C4 Explosives can bring it down in one hit.
    • The Technopolip Helicopter is fought across an area full of coverage areas, and during the initial phase of the attack is immune to your weapons' damage, as you don't have proper weapons against it. If you didn't find the secret Rocket Launcher, you need to travel to the end of the level and pick up that one so you can bring it down easily. Later fights against it rely on your explosive weapons and it takes less damage to be brought down.
    • The Witch-Bride of Achriman is fought in an area full of coverage, which comes in handy when dealing with her annoying telekinetic attacks. She's also the squishiest of all the mook "bosses", in spite of its increased health. Even still, she takes quite the beating before falling down.
    • The health bar on the first Khnum you fight serves to show you that they're Immune to Bullets. A crate of C4 at the opposite end of the area from when you first encounter the boss provides the best means of taking him down, unless you've really been saving up on rockets and devastator rounds.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The final level 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 from both Sam and the monsters (especially Scrapjack and Adult Biomechanoid rockets) can be shot down.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • If you pick up Sam's classic red sneakers, he'll have them for the rest of the game. The same is true for the Sirian Mutillator.
    • Getting into many closed areas in the city levels allow you to escape via either a set of conveniently placed barrels or any other means of escape. As for the other closed areas...
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • You can get the Single Shotgun about ten seconds into the first level of BFE.
    • The second level offers a secret Laser Rifle if you know where to look, which effortlessly shreds the Major Biomechanoid boss from the third level.
    • It's possible to find a C4 bunch as a secret in the fourth level. It's needed for another secret, but said secret area has an alternate entrance. For the record, C4 can tear down Adult Biomechanoids, Scrapjacks and Adult Arachnoids in one shot.
    • The SBC Cannon can be found in the fifth level as a secret, with its proper introduction taking place way later in the game.
    • The Serious Minigun and the Devastator can be found in secrets of the sixth level, "The Secret Riddler", before it's properly introduced several levels later. Their power will help you tear down small squads as well as big foes, though in these levels you'll be short on ammo. In this level you can also find the Sniper Rifle, which is even more rare and whose zoomed shots are capable of one-shooting anything from mid-to-lower tiers from huge distances.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Picking up a mere 1HP or 1 armor pickup might trigger an ambush with hordes of enemies, some of them being high-tier.
    • The "secret Arc de Triumphe" in the first level requires Sam to walk on a nearby arc, after which a bunch of Beheaded Kamikazes appear and run towards him.
    • The "secret nuthouse" in the 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, the monster class 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: Hellfire, the chopper pilot, is this towards Sam: a one-liner sprouting soldier who uses a Custom Uniform and has quite the attitude.
  • Doomed by Canon: Any character not named Sam Stone eats the dust during the game thanks to it being a prequel of TFE. This includes every Red Shirt ally/squad member of Sam, everyone at Mission Control, and, by the end of the game, everyone, period.
  • 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?"
  • Drop the Hammer: Sam's melee weapon for most of the game 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.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Earth gets destroyed at the end of the game, by nothing short of Mental dropping the moon on it.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Quite an understatement for the ginormous Sirius complex below Egypt. It houses an ahead-of-its-time technological city housing the generators Sam must activate in order to power up the Time Lock.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Sam gets a jetpack during the final boss fight.
  • Emergency Weapon: The melee Sledgehammer, the ranged SOP38 and later, the Sirian Mutilator.
  • Enemy Summoner: The Alcor Class Warship deploys up to 20.000 enemies as one of its "offensive" tactics.
  • 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: Lives make a return from II in that Sam needs them to keep fighting, otherwise is Game Over, but only during co-op sessions.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Sam nicknames the Aurigan Cave Demons "space monkeys", and after killing the first group of them encountered remarks that "the only good space monkey is a dead space monkey".
  • Evil Laugh: Scrapjacks will chuckle heartily if they manage to kill a player with their rockets.
  • Expy:
    • The Scrapjack and Khnum enemies 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. Considering that Croteam was approached by Id in order to work on what ended up being Doom (2016), this is hardly surprising.
    • The Khnums can also be considered expies of the TFE enemy Alundran Reptiloid, Highlander, with a little bit of the the Fiendian Reptiloid Demons from Serious Sam: The Second Encounter. 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, do more damage than the Highlanders and are Immune to Bullets. Khnums are also two-armed as opposed to the Highlanders' multiple arms, and their fireball attack has an arc pattern instead of being homing projectiles.
    • Likewise, the Scrapjacks also bear a resemblance to the Bull Soldiers from Serious Sam 2, and to some extent, the Zumbuls from The Second Encounter.
  • Exploding Barrels: Red and yellow ones which explode with the slightest shot. Scarce and more dangerous than in previous games. Certain levels contain rooms full of them, and firimg in these rooms is not recommended.
  • Explosive Breeder: The Antaresian Spiders. Finding a field full of spider eggs and shooting one is a good way to get swarmed by little spiders.
  • Eye Scream: Sam's melee execution of the Gnaar enemies involve him gouging the eye out of the hapless victim.
  • Fan Disservice: The Witch-Harpies are topless with detailed breasts and nipples except their face is the stuff of nightmares (NSFW).
  • Finishing Move: Sam can destroy enemies in one hit with a melee attack.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Inverted. Sam is the only survivor of Mental's Alien Invasion and he gets to enter the Time-Lock before Mental destroys the Earth, thus, Sam is the "light" that gets flinged into the past.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • The Alcor Class Warship fights by deploying other races into the battlefield.
    • Ugh-Zan IV fights alongside wave after numerous wave of enemies.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One of the posters in the secret yard of fame of the first level is "Look behind you, a Three-Headed Gnaar!". Hellfire may not have been killed by a three-headed one, but she should have checked behind her during her last conversation with Sam.
    • After Sam exits the temple in the level "The Last Man on Earth", 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.
  • 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 the ruined cities of Egypt.
  • Gatling Good: In addition to Sam's weapons, this gets turned against the player, where Gatling Sentry Guns will target Sam if he enters their view. Funnily enough, he obtains his Gatling gun from one of these sentries.
  • 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.
  • Gun Accessories:
    • 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.
  • The Goomba: In addition to the usual examples, the Cloned Soldiers, who are weak, lower tier enemies who fall easily, as well as the Spider Hatchlings, who fall easily and quickly to Sam's boot.
  • Guide Dang It!: In no part of the game prior to the fifth level's last part is indicated that the Alcor Class Warship can only be damaged in its deploying chambers, and only when these are opened. Luckily, said chambers are highly susceptible to weapon damage, which makes the fight less of a chore.
  • 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: In BFE, the difficulty between bosses and levels is more even (if only because herds of bosses become parts of the levels).
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Khnums and the infested attack choppers can only be damaged with explosive weapons.
    • The Alcor Class Warship can only be damaged with projectiles at certain weak points.
  • Improvised Weapon: Sam uses a conveniently placed pile of metal poles to turn Ugh-Zan IV into a giant walking lightning rod.
  • In the Back: While in-game Sam getting attacked from the back would spawn enough entrances to guarantee an own page, there are some more notable cases:
    • Hellfire meets her end after being attacked from behind by a Gnaar who then proceeds to taunt Sam.
    • This is the modus operandi of the Cave Demons, who will wait strapped either to the back of a column or a wall until Sam has their back turned in order to leap-attack him.
  • Infinite Flashlight: Whenever Sam goes underground, he turns on his light. It can stay lit indefinitely.
  • Insectoid Aliens: In addition to the Arachnoids, the Antaresian spiders, who 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:
    • Ugh-Zan IV 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 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.
    • The first time you met the Alcor Class Warship, it will decolor the screen.
  • Interquel: Set between Serious Sam 4 and Serious Sam: The First Encounter.
  • Invisible Wall: In the city levels, disguised as part of the rubble of the ruined buildings.
  • Kaiju: Ugh Zan IV is big enough to qualify. Unlike its predecessor, its size isn't even listed, but it's still the biggest monster of the entire game.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Airborne Mooks, Sirian Werebulls and Beheaded Kamikazes cannot be melee-killed.
  • Last of His Kind: Sam is the last human standing by the end of the game.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • The Major Biomechanoids are a lot faster than you'd expect from their huge size. They can close the distance to you surprisingly quickly, especially in tighter areas.
    • Ugh-Zan IV is much faster than Ugh-Zan III was, largely due to his much longer stride thanks to his mechanical spider legs. In fact even without his regeneration you probably wouldn't be able to beat him without the jetpack, as you simply can't run fast enough to prevent him from just walking over and stepping on you.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The rockets fired by the Scrapjack are weak, but they fire a lot of them. In one instance in the final level, around eight Scrapjacks appear at the same time in an open canyon, and cover the entire area with rockets.
  • Marathon Level: Several later levels can feel like this... but "The Guardian of Time" takes the cake. 17.000 enemies, followed by the final boss fight, make this level not just a marathon, but an Ironman triathlon.
  • Mission Control: Quinn, the faceless woman who keeps feeding Sam with orders, information, and the occasional banter.
  • Mook Debut Cutscene:
    • The Gnaar, your first enemy, climbs the tower where Sam just landed. As Sam lacks weaponry at this early point in the game, he must execute the Gnaar by ripping his eye out.
    • The Beheaded Kamikazes are introduced in a similar fashion as in Serious Sam: The First Encounter: first a lone kamikaze runs from what looks like a hill, Sam kills it, sprouts a one-liner and then several more appear.
    • The Antaresian Spiders are introduced in an abandoned research facility/museum. Sam is whistling the Spider-Man theme while walking across a hall with suspicious organic structures, and after he finishes, these structures hatch and give place to the creatures they've been holding.
    • The Major Arachnoid appears among some ruins in the second level as a boss. As usual, Sam sprouts a one-liner before and after the fight.
    • The Major Biomechanoid appears in the arena portion of the Ibn Tulun Mosque as a boss, breaking part of the scenery after Sam disposed of many enemy waves.
    • The Technopolip parasite is introduced in the same level, where Sam observes a chopper which was supposed to rescue him being shot down by the aforementioned Biomechanoid. However, after Sam reaches the chopper, it gets invaded by a parasite who Sam must pursue and take down.
    • The Scrapjack appears in the "Unearthing the Sun" level, right at the beginning, exiting the temple Sam is supposed to infiltrate.
  • Mook Maker: The Alcor Class Warship can summon smaller monsters.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Female Gnaars are bigger and have more hitpoints than their male counterparts. They're still cannon fodder, though.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: This game's version of the Gnaar has three rows of teeth, which, according to NETRICSA, allow them to gnaw anything including garbage and rotting corpses.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Ugh-Zan IV has four arms, two of them cybernetic.
  • Neck Snap: How Sam disposes of Cloned Soldiers and Small Arachnids.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Some of the graffiti blames Sam and/or the EDF for bringing Mental's hordes to Earth.
  • No Fair Cheating: Downplayed in the PC version. 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: At the beginning of "The Lost Temples of Nubia", Sam loses all of his arsenal except for his starting weapons and the Sirius Mutillator.
  • No Scope: Disencouraged with the Sniper Rifle. Firing it while unscoped, the shot will be subjected to a lot of spread. 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: Ugh-Zan IV is actually the biological father of Ugh-Zan III thanks to an accident with an experimental time machine.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The game 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).
  • Oh, Crap!:
  • One Bullet Clips: The pistol, shotgun, assault rifle and Devastator.
  • One-Hit Polykill: In addition to the Cannonballs, 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.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The main reason rockets are not as effective at a range anymore 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. Averted with the Khnums' fireballs, though – their rockets fly hundreds of meters in a fraction of a second.
  • Powers via Possession: The Technopolip parasite appears to enhance the Apache's durability significantly, as its immunity to bullets now extends to anti-material rifles, and it can take multiple rockets before going down.
  • Prequel: Towards Serious Sam: The First Encounter, as it details Sam's last moments on his day's Earth before being sent back in time.
  • Psychic Powers: Witch-Brides 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.
  • Punched Across the Room: Sam's melee attack against full-health soldiers send them flying far with a kick, leaving them vulnerable for other weapons to finish them off.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: An odd case with the Technopolip parasite, 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.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • The helicopter parasite boss fight can only be brought down with explosives. So, during the battle, it gains invulnerability until Sam gets a Rocket Launcher.
    • The Alcor Class Warship has some weak points that open whenever the ship is deploying troops and must be shot down as soon as they open, for them are their only attackable points.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: The pistol. Ammo for it is infinite and it fires and reloads decently fast, but it has very low firepower.
  • Rated M for Manly: 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: The game ends 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Roar Before Beating: Some of the bosses do this.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: Seen in some of the early levels, set in a ruined El Cairo.
  • Running Gag: Helicopters getting shot down.
  • Sand Worm: Sandwhales, One-Hit Kill kaiju-size. These won't let Sam go into the open desert.
  • Scenery Porn: The artwork and asset production teams at Croteam deserve their praise for making everything look stunning, even in a game where looking at the scenery during a firefight is not recommended. Highlights of the game include the Egypt desert post-Great Pyramid levels as well as the sections involving the futuristic look of the Elaborate Underground Base of the Sirians.
  • Sentry Gun: EDF's Minigun turrets. 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.
  • Shiny Sense: 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.
  • Sprint Shoes: In addition to the sprint shoes, Sam can sprint at will for whatever distance he needs to sprint to.
  • Sticky Grenade: The C4 explosives have a variation: they exchange glue for a pair of hooks that still manage to get them attached to Sam's enemies.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Although they are meant to be expies of the Mancubus enemies from Doom, the Scrapjacks also serve as this to the the Bull-Soldiers (themselves being substitutes to the Zumbul enemies), who also duel-wield rocket-launchers, from Serious Sam 2.
    • The Cloned Soldiers, as well as being expies to the zombie soldiers from Doom, also serve as this to the Zorg enemies from The Second Encounter. The shotgun-carrying Cloned Soldiers also serve as this to the Zombie Stockbrokers, who also carry shotguns, from Serious Sam 2.
    • The new Antaresian Spider enemies are also this to the Spider Mechanoid enemies from Serious Sam 2.
    • The new Technopolip helicopter enemies are noticeably reminiscent to another helicopter enemy from Serious Sam 2.
  • Take That!:
    • During one level, after defeating a wave of enemies, Sam uses one of Duke Nukem'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 seem to be making fun of "modern military shooters".
    • The "Serious Sam Help Line" series of trailers contain lots of these; at one point the operator tells someone who wants regenerating health to "stop being such a f*** p***".
  • Tempting Fate: The tendency of Sam to talk a lot before the events happen is lampshaded during his final chat with Mental's daughter.
    Judy Mental: Are you serious?
    Sam: Why yes, as a matter of fact, I am.
  • 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: In addition to the Cannon, Snipet Rifle and the Serious Bombs, some of the weapons fall into this as well, due to their pickups giving generally less ammo, encouraging varying weapons more often. Goes double for the Laser gun, as ammo for it can only be acquired in secret areas.
  • Translator Microbes: In addition to NETRICSA, 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).
  • Turns Red: Major Biomechanoids and Scrapjacks start to fire volley of rockets when damaged enough.
  • Updated Re-release: So far the game was subjected to the VR (as a free-movement alternative to The Last Hope) and Fusion treatment (which shows the capabilities of the Serious Engine 4).
  • Utility Weapon: Aside from ammo-efficient crowd control, the Syrian Mutilator can make large enemies hold still for a little bit, and even be used to make pull-assisted jumps.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Quinn acts as Sam's Mission Control.

    Jewel of the Nile 
  • An Axe to Grind: Sam gets to use an axe as a melee weapon.
  • Ascended Extra: A non-character variation; the sniper rifle is treated like a regular weapon in this campaign, rather than making most of its appearances in secret areas.
  • Flunky Boss: Rahloom, the Giant Scrapjack fights alongside many enemies.
  • Noodle Incident: We learn that Sam was nicknamed "Hairy" in high school. The story apparently involves goats, and that's all we know.

Gnaar: It's all over, Sam. You can't win.
Sam: Over? Oh, it's not over until I teabag every last one of you alien motherfuckers!
Gnaar: It's too late. Tah-Um is coming to moon you.
Sam: Huh? He tries to moon me? I'll shoot his ass off and hang it on my wall. See you in 3000 B.C. bitch, I'm headin' for the Time-Lock.
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