Serious Sam: The Second Encounter is a First-Person Shooter video game developed by Croteam and published by Gathering of Developers in February 5, 2002 for PC. It is a stand-alone expansion pack to the first game, and the second installment in the Serious Sam series.
After the events of Serious Sam: The First Encounter, Sam finds himself en route to Sirius when he collides with a "Croteam Crate-Bus" and crash-lands in Mayan-era Mexico. This time, Sam must battle across Mexico, Babylon and medieval Europe, where he will face bosses such as a wind deity, a cyborg giant larva and Mental's summoner before finding a second backup ship.
The gameplay remains the same as TFE: Sam must face hordes upon hordes of enemies with a varied weaponry. The weapon roster from TFE returns; the game also introduces some new toys of destruction for Sam: the Flamethrower, the Chainsaw, the Sniper Rifle and the rare (but valious and very destructive) Serious Bomb. The enemy roster also returns with many additions, such as a Dual Wielding frog, a multi-armed fire monster... And a chainsaw-wielding gardener with a pumpkin on his head.
In addition to all of the above, the game features a Hold the Line gamemode called "Endless", where the objective is to stay alive for as long as possible.
Like TFE, TSE was also subjected to the HD treatment with the release of Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter in April 2010, distributed through Steam and published by Devolver Digital. This remake is mostly similar to the original, with a few noticeable exceptions such as Harpies not being able to carry Beheaded Kamikazes and the Gravity Room being replaced with a room full of moving platforms. It also features 16-player coop and the usual fanfare such as achievements and leaderboards. And if that wasn't enough, it received two additional pieces of Downloadable Content, a story expansion called Legend of the Beast and a multiplayer addon called Serious 8 which adds some skins from Serious Sam 3: BFE and a playable version of TFE's Final Boss.
It was also subjected to the VR treatment in 2017 with the release of Serious Sam VR: The Second Encounter, for PC.
Followed by Serious Sam II.
This game shows examples ofnote
- A Head at Each End: Lampshaded upon seeing a statue of such a creature:Sam: Hmm, they always say two heads are better than one, but how does it fart?
- Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The game starts with a cutscene where the ship Sam found at the end of The First Encounter in space, barely making it out of Earth's atmosphere before a bus made out of crates carrying caricatures of Croteam crashes into it and forces it back down. In the HD remakes, this cutscene was removed, leaving almost no explanation for why the ship Sam was taking into space is now on fire and half-embedded into a cliff in ancient Mexico.
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The 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 cut-scene was later added back in Fusion 2017.
- Adaptation Name Change: One of the multiplayer characters is a cowboy who was named FastFinger Freddy in the original version. For unknown reasons, the HD version changed his name to Wild Wyatt.
- Adapted Out: The classic versions had a robot named Stainless Steve and a unique looking alien named Beheaded Ben in the multiplayer mode, with some Zorgs named Skinless Stan, Commander Cliff, Karate Ken and Vegetable Vaughn being added in this game. All of them have been excluded in the HD version, even though the former two were included in the HD version of The First Encounter.
- Alien Sky: The first few levels are supposed to take place in Mexico, on our Earth, in the Mayan age. However, as you near the end of this set, the sky goes completely dark, and a bit later on the night-time sky is blue-purple and... is that a nebula? Cool and beautiful but quite bizarre.
- Anti-Christmas Song: The level "Land of the Damned" has Jingle Bells as its song (regardless of when you play the game), and when the action heats up, it turns into a rock version with an assortment of sound effects from the game mixed in (various guns firing and monsters dying). If you rip the music out of the game, you can hear that the sound effects are actually part of the music and are not added by the game.
- Arbitrary Gun Power: This is a gameplay mechanic for the Sniper Rifle. Its NETRICSA info for that game makes mention of a pressure-venting system to minimize risk to the user by slowing down the bullet if it detects that it's not fired from a stable stance - what this means is, if you use the scope and fire you'll get a shot that's as powerful as two rockets hitting the target, while if you fire it from the hip, the same bullets will become significantly weaker, closer to a single shotgun blast. Later games switched to making the bullets deal the same damage regardless, instead making you noticeably less accurate if doing so without the scope.
- A-Team Firing: The Sniper Rifle won't hit unless the player zooms.
- In the HD remake, it instead deals less than a fourth of its full damage without the scope - this is handwaved as the gun being able to detect if the user has it in a proper aiming position and somehow slowing down the bullet if not so the recoil doesn't rip his arm off.
- Author Avatar: The secret "fanboy" monsters in the secret levels and the intro are caricatures of Croteam developers.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: Boss battles are accompanied by upbeat music with loud guitars.
- Bag of Spilling: Sam has to gather up all the weapons no less than three times, each between every region switch.
- Big Shadow, Little Creature: One of the secrets has a demon shadow on the spiral staircase room in The Pit. The caster of the shadow is a very tiny variation of one of the enemies.
- Blackout Basement: A few rooms. One, found in Tower of Babel, has the player fire at a switch to keep the room lit.
- Border Patrol: The game makes you slowly lose health and burn in the sun if you go too far out of open area levels.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The entire plot 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.
- Brick Joke: Two involving Time Travel. One of the phone booth conversations takes place between yourself in two different levels, and another takes places between you in this game and you near the end of II.
- Cartoon Bomb: The Serious Bomb is a black sphere with a wick but with a Serious Sam logo on it.
- Chainsaw Good: The Chainsaw, which becomes the de facto melee weapon for Sam. Useful against Gnaars and Marsh Hoppers, Harpies and even Kleer Skeletons due to its significant range. If necessary, it can work as a shield against the Alundran Reptiloids' green fireballs while revved up.
- Charged Attack: The Grenade Launcher and SBC Cannon, which affects the velocity of the launched projectile. The Cannon does more damage when charged.
- Chunky Salsa Rule: Enemy cannons are capable of doing that.
- Crate Expectations: 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 this game.
- Destructible Projectiles:
- Missiles both from Sam and from monsters can be shot down.
- Homing attacks like the Alundran Reptiloids' fireballs can also be destroyed, but non-guided ones tend to be immune to counter-fire.
- Disc-One Nuke:
- The Rocket Launcher, which is found at the very start, in a lake.
- The Flamethrower and Sniper Rifle can also be found at the start of each chapter.
- 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.
- A secret rocket festival in a 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.
- Downloadable Content: HD has two DLC packs, a story expansion called Legend of the Beast ambiented in Egypt akin to TFE, and a multiplayer addon called Serious 8.
- Dual Wielding:
- Sam can dual wield his pistols, should he find a second one.
- In the VR version he can dual wield any weapon as well as mix-and-match.
- Emergency Weapon: The melee Knife and P-Lah Chainsaw and the ranged Schofields, which can be dual wielded if Sam finds another.
- Hailfire Peaks: The "Land of the Damned" stage. 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.
- Hard Mode Perks: In the Classic title, you can carry twice as much ammo in Serious mode.
- "Instant Death" Radius: 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. 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.
- Instakill Mook: A direct from the Static or Rotating Cannon enemies that appear in the final three levels can kill Sam in a single shot. Not so much in the HD and Fusion versions though, as their damage has been considerably reduced. They can still deal a lot of damage though, so they remain priority targets.
- Invincibility Power-Up: The invulnerability powerup.
- Invisible Wall: There are invisible teleporters or jump pads which would lead back to area or nothing at all.
- 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.
- Leap of Faith: The palace of Courtyards of Gilgamesh level had a Leap Of Faith room.Sam: Those Babylonians were totally crazy!
- Lethal Lava Land: Half of the penultimate stage.
- Lone Wolf Boss: Kukulkan, who is explicitly not a minion of Mental's, even attacking the minions that spawn in, and is just fighting Sam to test him.
- Look Ma, I Am on TV!: Upon getting the Chainsaw for the first time:"Look ma, I'm a lumberjack!"
- Magitek: The Shofields that Sam wields are "technomagically" enhanced to have unlimited ammo. The Cannon is also a "technomagical" weapon.
- Marathon Level: "Grand Cathedral", "The City of the Gods", "Ziggurat", "Courtyards of Gilgamesh" and "Tower of Babel" take at hour or more to complete when playing casually. Par time also reflects that with Grand Cathedral having par time of 80 minutes.
- Mayincatec: The Mexican levels take place in a region looking like ancient Peru.
- Missing Secret: Due to a few broken triggers, some secrets don't exist, but the secret counter still indicates like they're there.
- Mook Maker: Mordekai the Summoner, who has this as his only offensive ability.
- No-Gear Level: After completing each chapter, you'll have only basic weapons remaining.
- No Scope: Disencouraged with the Sniper Rifle. Firing it while unscoped its power-per-shot is greatly reduced, and in the HD release the shot will also 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.
- One Bullet Clips: The revolvers, though they can't be manually reloaded.
- Quad Damage: The Serious Damage powerup. It quadruples the damage for a short amount of time.
- Rage Against the Author: 100% Completion of at least one stage requires you to murder caricatures of the Croteam staff, at least in the original games.
- 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.
- Retro Upgrade: In addition to the Cannon, it's stated that the M1928 Tommy Gun were yanked out of mothballs and refitted to the more modern 5.56 to fight against Mental's hordes.
- Schmuck Bait: 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...
- Sentry Gun: There are stationary Cannon turrets. Some rotate and some don't.
- Shared Life-Meter: One instance has Sam getting locked in a small arena and a massive amount of Kleer are hurled at him, using a boss life meter to gauge the player's progress.
- Sizable Snowflakes: Very large snowflakes fall in the classic version of Land of the Damned (from partly cloudy sky).
- Sprint Shoes: Picking up winged shoes allows Sam to move faster for a short period of time.
- Start To Crate: Parodied 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.Sam: I HATE CRATES!
- Unique Enemy:
- In one part of "The City of the Gods", there are a few Sirian Werebulls with cannons mounted on them, giving them a very dangerous ranged attack. These Werebulls are never seen again after this.
- Male Gnaars, after being a very common enemy in TFE, are much rarer this time around, with only a few flying ones appearing in "Tower of Babel".
- Updated Re-release: So far the game was subjected to the HD (in order to show the capabilities of the Serious Engine 3), VR (as a free-movement alternative to The Last Hope) and Fusion treatment (which not only shows the capabilities of the Serious Engine 4, but also unifies it with Serious Sam: The First Encounter in a single game).
- Video Game Flame Throwers Suck: For once, averted. Very much on the "Flame" side. The Flamethrower deals a ton of continuous damage and passes through enemies, allowing you to easily ignite entire hordes if you get them bunched up.
- You All Look Familiar: Lampshaded in one of the first levels, where the Pumpkinhead enemy shows up twice in a row.
- Sam: Hey, didn't I kick your ass two rooms back?