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Video Game / Serious Sam 4

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"If they thought this was gonna be easy, they came to the wrong fucking planet."
Sam "Serious" Stone

Serious Sam 4 (formerly known as Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass) is a First-Person Shooter video game developed by Croteam, published by Devolver Digital, and released on September 24th, 2020. It's the fifth main installment in the Serious Sam series. The game was released for PC (including Linux and Mac releases), Google Stadia (previously an exclusive of the console), and was later released on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The game 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.

The game is a prequel to Serious Sam 3: BFE, taking place in Europe during Mental's invasion. It features, once again, Sam mowing down thousands of enemies at the same time. The arsenal and gameplay mechanics from BFE have returned as well, so Sam is able to sprint and use iron sighting while mowing down the baddies. Vehicles have also made a return from Serious Sam II. A first for the series, the game also includes gadgets, items that can be found in secret areas and side quests and are able to be used at will.

On January 10th, 2022, Croteam and Russian developer Timelock Studio announced a standalone expansion for the game, titled Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, featuring brand new levels set in Russia. This expansion was released on January 25th, 2022.


See also

This game shows examples of

  • Action Bomb: The Beheaded Kamikaze, a running, decapitated soldier who explodes on contact with Sam, is one of the returning enemies.
  • Ambiguously Gay: One sidequest has Sam having to rescue Annabelle, a Southern Belle trapped in a bell tower. When you get there you find she has a companion, Aubrey, who is also a woman(who happens to be wearing a LGBTQ pride t-shirt). It's left ambiguous whether the two are lovers or just close friends.
  • Art Shift: Hellfire's appearance has changed considerably between Serious Sam 3 and Serious Sam 4, going from her original sort of punk skater girl look to more of a butch military appearance.
  • Attack Drone: One of the new enemies in the game is an army of hover-drones, some of which are ridden on by Octanian Troopers.
    • Sam is able to use one to help him, in the form of the Hacked Drone gadget.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Ugh-Zan VI, the game's Final Boss, is a towering behemoth, larger than even Ugh-Zan IV.
  • Artifact of Doom: What the "Holy Grail" actually turns out to be. Instead of a cup, the Ark of the Covenant contains a Magitek staff with a golden cobra coiled around it. The cobra comes alive and bites whoever holds the staff in their hand, giving them incredible power at the cost of losing your humanity.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: At the end of the game, after you kill Big Bad Achriman, General Brand betrays you and expresses his intent to join Mental's side and give him Earth, mutating himself into a 40-foot tall monster in the process. You might think he'll be the final boss, but Sam eats 40-foot tall monsters for breakfast, and sure enough a few levels later the skyscraper-sized Ugh-Zan (who Brand summoned in hopes of negotiating with Mental) casually swats Brand away like a bug, thoroughly unimpressed with him, and ends up being the final boss instead.
  • Badass Preacher: The priest Sam and the rest of the A.A.A. Team have to rendezvous with Rome turns out to a shotgun wielding warrior capable of fighting Mental's army.
  • Big Bad: Lord Achriman directs the invasion of Earth on Mental's behalf and takes an active role in stomping out any resistance.
    • Big Bad Wannabe: General Brand shows up after Sam kills Lord Achriman and not only kills Father Mikhail, but also betrays humanity and steals the Holy Grail to join forces with Mental and his army to become "the last human". However, when presenting a captured Sam as a gift to Ugh-Zan VI in the final level, he is flicked off by the colossal Ugh-Zan and later strapped to a nuke being fired at the portal Mental's army was using, ultimately accomplishing nothing.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: General Brand at first appears to be one of the heroes, despite his more pragmatic ways of trying to win the war. Later on, however, he's revealed to be a selfish, traitorous psychopath who sees his own men as tools to be used and disposed of for his own agenda, and he joins Mental's side in the hopes of becoming immortal.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Jones is the first member of Stone's squad to die, getting his entire torso bitten off by a Khnum boss.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Anthropolyps have captured humans whose brains have been scooped out and replaced with a colony of parasitic polyps (causing them to rather resemble the fungus zombies from The Last of Us), then equipped with forearm blades and sent out as more cannon fodder troops.
    • Octanians have raw, swollen-looking, pustle-covered skin. The database entries for them indicate they're infested with parasitic polyps.
    • The results of Brand's mutation from picking up the Artifact of Doom are not pretty. Bony spikes protrude out of his body, his skin visibly tears open from his increased muscle mass and his nose eventually falls off. He doesn't seem to be too bothered by it, though.
  • Bond One-Liner: In addition to the usual examples, this is parodied in a subplot in the game about the A.A.A. Team teaching the new recruit about the importance of One-Liners.
  • Career Not Taken: During the opening of the main campaign, Rodriguez, one of the main characters tells in a transmission what he could have been instead of a soldier.
    "Did I want to be a soldier? Fuck no. I coulda been a wrestler. Or a porn star. Or both."
  • Cephalothorax:
    • One of the new monsters is a Gnaar-like creature with its face in its thorax which can also shoot slime balls.
    • The Gnaar, running, punching monsters with their face on their thorax, also return.
  • Chainsaw Good: One of the new weapons in the game is a Homing Chainsaw Launcher, which can also be used as a traditional chainsaw.
  • Chicken Walker: The Biomechanoids, who walk in this fashion, are among the returning enemies.
  • Colossus Climb: At the end of the game, Sam snags a grappling hook and parachutes from an airdrop during The War Sequence, and uses them to climb up Ugh-Zan VI and weaken chunks of his armor.
  • Cutscene Boss: General Brand. Despite being one of the main villains in the game, you never actually get to fight him, and although he does get transformed into a mutant after wielding the Holy Grail, the closest to a "fight" with him is where he picks up Sam to bring him to Ugh-Zan VI, only to be quickly dismissed.
    • He's fought as the Final Boss of the Siberian Mayhem DLC, which apparently involves an alternate timeline from the main game that branches off shortly after Sam's escape from Brand's cargo plane.
  • Dem Bones: The Kleer Skeletons, running skeletons with a leap attack, are among the returning enemies from past games.
  • Dual Wielding: You can go guns akimbo with pretty much every weapon, with the only exception being the C4 as it is inherently a double handed weapon. Yes, you can dual wield Miniguns, Rocket Launchers, Knives, Cannons, or any combination of those.
  • Earthquake Machine: HAARP turns out to actually be an experimental weapon called "Project Rock'n'Roll". One level revolves around the the A.A.A. team setting up satellite beacons to aim it at Mount Vesuvius and erupt it, clearing the airspace above Rome of Octanian Raiders. Carter is thrilled by this revelation.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Sam's middle name is apparently "Herbert", though he states that he "had it surgically removed".
  • Enemy Chatter: Early on in the game, Sam can eavesdrop on an Octanian Commander giving a short speech to his troops. He also comes across two separate groups of Octanian soldiers in Siberian Mayhem, telling each other stories they heard about Sam and the local legend "Lady Death". While they all speak an alien language, NETRICSA translates it so you can read it in the subtitles.
  • Escort Mission: The first regular mission involves Sam protecting the life of New Meat Kenny, who is unable to fight back thanks to his gun breaking. Not really much of an issue though, since Kenny has the same Gameplay Ally Immortality as every other NPC that accompanies Sam.
  • Evil All Along: Brand, who betrays Sam and his team, and attempts to join Mental's legion.
  • Evil Brit: Lord Achriman speaks in an upper class British accent.
  • Expy Coexistence: A few of the new enemies are based on older enemies from previous Serious Sam games.
    • The Octanian Zealot enemy is very reminiscent to both Cucurbito The Pumpkin and the Porcine Berserker, in that it's a tall enemy that chases the player with a big melee weapon.
    • The Octanian Troopers are pretty much updated versions of the Cloned Soldiers, only they carry a different arsenal.
    • And finally, we have the Zubenhakrabian spiders, which are basically re-skins of the Antaresian Spiders.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lord Achriman is always polite and calm with the way he talks to Sam, however that does nothing hide what a genocidal and bloodthirsty Jerkass he is, especially since he's always patronizing at the same time.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Beheaded Firecrackers carry heads that breathe out fire.
  • Flame Spewer Obstacle: There is a hallway in the first level of Siberian Mayhem where pipes spew out flames at regular intervals.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The fact Hellfire, Quinn, Rodriguez, and Jones all appear in Serious Sam 3, to which 4 is a prequel, would suggest it's a given they'll all survive through to the end. However, Jones actually ends up being killed by a Khnum, with the implication the Jones who appears in 3 is his brother.
  • Foreshadowing: Charlie mentions how Mental often takes over planets by siding with the worst elements of that planet's society (in her case, a fanatical religious cult), and then helping them seize control of the planet and add it to his empire. This foreshadows that some humans, namely General Brand and his soldiers, will try to become Quislings and hand over Earth to Mental in exchange for power.
  • Freeze-Frame Introduction: All the named major characters, with the exception of bosses and enemies, are introduced with a freeze frame showing them doing something, plus a subtitle. The only exception is Brand in the main game.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Sam is accompanied by members of the A.A.A. team and various local resistance groups. None of them can be harmed by enemies, so you can focus solely on staying alive yourself.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Amongst the various vaguely sci-fi sounding enemy names is an enemy type simply called "Space Mummy", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The enemy's database entry laments that it was first encountered by Serious Sam, who therefore was allowed to name it.
  • Hidden Depths: Played for Laughs. In the cutscene before the first mission, Sam takes a potshot at The Da Vinci Code, saying it is devoid of literary merit. When asked about his favorite writer, he goes with Philip K. Dick. Hellfire has a surprised reaction.
    Hellfire: Wait, Sam reads books?
  • Hollywood Tactics: The EDF command's idea of operation aimed at shutting down the portal in Tunguska? Send a bunch of soldiers armed with assault rifles — with a only few tanks supporting them and no air support nor cruise missiles (or other long-range weaponry that even contemporary human military has in plentiful supply) — and make them charge straight on at it. No wonder Mental is winning this war, if EDF leaders are that inept.
  • How We Got Here: The first level of the game is a flash-forward toward the final level. The second level moves 92 hours earlier and the story officially starts.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Most of Sam's arsenal is colored red.
  • Meaningful Echo: "I lost my shoe" is a statement said by Kenny in lieu of a one-liner after he gets his first kill, leading to a lot of friendly ribbing over how to do a one-liner right. Sam later uses this as a one-liner himself right before finishing off Kenny's killer, Lord Achriman.
  • Mook Debut Cutscene:
    • The Sirian Werebull is introduced in the first level running from a corridor and preparing to steamroll Sam.
    • The Scrapjack is introduced in the main street giving the tough "step aside" treatment to a Possessed and screaming.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: One returning monster is the Alundran Reptiloid, a four-armed monster who shoots homing fireballs towards Sam.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Christmas song played at the end of "2020..." is a Christmas rock-themed version of the Grand Cathedral level theme from Serious Sam: The Second Encounter. Another, more rock-oriented remix of the same tune can be heard in the Gameplay trailer #2.
    • This also isn't the first Serious Sam game where you drive a combine harvester.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: A few of the trailers show the Beheaded Bomber enemies wearing orange shirts, even though in the final product, they actually wear green shirts like they did in the previous games.
  • New Game Plus: The 1.06 Christmas update for Siberian Mayhem added a New Game+ option after beating the game once. You have automatic access to all weapons, seven skill points to spend and every additional S.A.M. you find will give you a point to upgrade your weapon damage outright. As a trade-off, enemy spawns are both doubled and changed (have fun encountering an Octanian Sentry Tower in the very first level) and they do more damage. Every playthrough after this one will add even more modifiers.
  • New Meat: Kenny, a nerdy kid who joined the Earth Defence Force after having his university blown up by Mental's Hordes.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: During fights in When In Rome and Machina Ex Deus, Latin chanting is heard.
  • Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: In the first level, Sam remarks on a time he killed a Kleer with a nail clipper.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: One of the new enemies in the game is the Aurigan Haemovores, which are vampires, except they are also aliens who come from another planet.
  • Overly Long Gag: One of the secrets in "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" is a single one-health powerup in a corridor which, upon collection, spawns a Beheaded Rocketeer and another one-health powerup on the other side of the room. Picking up that spawns two one-health pickups and two Beheaded Rocketeers on the other side. Repeat this about eight more times to be greeted with Secret Big Rocket Man Pyrone.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The plot of the game revolves around a treasure hunt for the Holy Grail, hidden inside the Ark of the Covenant, which the EDF hopes to use as a weapon against Mental. This is then partially subverted when it's revealed that the grail was never inside the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Rocket Punch: The new FRPCL weapon, aka the Chainsaw Launcher, behaves like this.
  • Running Gag: One-liners are Serious Business. After Kenny whiffs a good opportunity for one during the second level, his line "I lost my shoe" becomes an additional Running Gag as Sam's crew educates him on how to do one-liners properly.
  • Satchel Charge: The C4 explosives, a bunch of tied-up explosives modelled after a Satchel charge using C4 explosives that are used against heavier enemies (such as the Khnum) and bosses (such as Lord Achriman and Ugh-Zan VI) and to clear obstacles up. Its activation is done via remote control after Sam throws a pack.
  • Scenery Porn: Environments are more vivid and detailed than in previous games thanks to the Serious Engine 4.
  • Secondary Fire: The game has many attachments unlockable through side quests that give weapons Secondary Fire attacks, which include, but aren't limited to, the Pump Action Shotgun receiving an underbarrel grenade launcher, the Rocket Launcher getting the ability to lock-on up to five rockets, and the Lasergun gaining a beam of death.
  • Serious Business: Sam's crew places heavy emphasis on one-liners, often making a competition out of them. Even Lord Achriman anticipates receiving them, though he has more disdain toward the concept.
  • Signed with a Kiss: After Ugh-Zan VI is killed, the cast still needs to close the Tunguska portal to stop Mental's Horde from swarming through. They send a nuke with a naked General Brand duct taped to it through the portal, but also decide to paint "From Earth With Love" complete with a kiss from Hellfire onto the nuke for good measure.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: Siberian Mayhem features boost pads that launch the player. Most prominently seen at the end of the first level, but they also make an appearance in the fourth level.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The new Octanian Zealot enemy behaves very reminiscent to both the pumpkin-headed Cucurbito enemy from The Second Encounter and the Porcine Berserker from Next Encounter.
    • Also the Octanian Troopers, who are replacements for the Cloned Soldiers from Serious Sam 3.
    • Likewise, we have the new Zubenhakrabian Spider enemies, which are more or less Captain Ersatz of the Antaresian Spiders which are also from Serious Sam 3.
  • A Taste of Power:
    • At the first flashback level (which also happens to be the first level of the game) the player controls a fully-loaded Sam, thus being able to use every weapon the game offers.
    • The second level of the game also gives the player the minigun, just in time for a boss fight. The player won't see the minigun again after that for quite a while.
  • Take That!: Sam does one to The Da Vinci Code, saying it has "no literary merit."
  • Token Heroic Orc: The French Resistance's informant in Mental's army turns out to be Charlie, a friendly Arachnoid who's apparently a regular citizen and not part of the religious dictatorship that rules their home planet and worships Mental.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Flaming Rocket-Propelled Chainsaw Launcher does Exactly What It Says on the Tin and is probably the most powerful non-powerup weapon in the game, being able to fell even the largest enemies in one hit, and sends its projectile to other enemies after killing its first target, making it an incredibly powerful option for dealing with Khnum or Aludran Reptiloids, but outside of its initial appearance location, ammo is extremely rare in other levels, and it's likely the player will only have that initial supply of 50 shots to last them through the rest of the game, making it a weapon for only the most desperate of scenarios.
  • The War Sequence:
    • The end of the E3 2018 teaser trailer shows Sam facing down a huge horde of monsters.
    • At several points during the Developer Update 1, Sam is shown facing hordes of enemies such as Kleer on a bridge. This is possible thanks to the Legion System, a new engine feature that allows the game to display countless numbers of enemies at the same time without straining the system. According to Graphics engineer Dean Sekulic, they're aiming to display over 10,000 enemies at the same time on the screen.
    • The first and last levels of the game (the first level being a flash-forward to the final level) feature a massive battle between a huge army of EDF soldiers and tanks and a huge army of Octanian troopers and Major Bio-Mechanoids charging at each other across an open battlefield.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: Sam is able to use one to his advantage in the form of the Black Hole gadget. It sucks up enemies in a large radius, killing them instantly. In effect, it's essentially an updated replacement for the classic Serious Bomb from Second Encounter and 2.
  • Vanity License Plate: There are several vehicles with the plate "CT 2409 SS4", referring to Croteam, the release date of this game, and the game itself.
  • You Nuke 'Em: The Mini-Nuke Launcher, a one-shot weapon.


Video Example(s):


From Earth With Love

In an entire series full of War Sequences, the final battle of Serious Sam 4 is probably the grandest in visuals.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheWarSequence

Media sources: