Serious Sam: The First Encounter

aka: Krutoj Sam: Pervaja Krov', Serious Sam Classic: The First Encounter, Serious Sam: 1st Encounter, Serious Sam: O Primeiro Confronto, Serious Sam: Pierwsze Starcie, Serious Sam: Premier contact
Moby ID: 3512
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Description official descriptions

When aliens ruled by the evil Mental attack Earth, it is up to Sam "Serious" Stone, one of the toughest guys on Earth, to time-travel back to Ancient Egypt in order to change history by defeating Mental back in the ancient times. The First Encounter tells about the first part of Sam's voyage through Egypt.

Serious Sam: The First Encounter is a high-adrenaline first-person shooter heavily focused on frantic arcade-style single player action. The game goes "back to roots" of the first-person shooter genre; it does not feature intricate story, character interaction or the need for careful tactics which were becoming common in the FPS's of its time, instead concentrating on epic battles where the player, armed with powerful weaponry, takes on tens or even hundreds of enemies at once.

Sam travels through deserts, Egyptian temples, palaces and cities, killing countless enemies and occasionally stopping to solve a more or less easy puzzle. There are many weapons to be found; they are all classic FPP armaments - shotguns, chainguns, rocket launchers etc., up to the most powerful weapon: a cannon which shoots devastating cannonballs. There are also many pick-ups, of course, containing ammo, health and armor.

The enemies come in many varieties - headless suicide bombers, giant bio-mechanical creatures that shoot missiles, scorpions with chainguns, bulls that charge at Sam, etc. There are also a couple of powerful bosses.

Sam has a mini-computer which contains basic info about the levels he's travelling through, weapons he collects and enemies he kills.

Spellings

  • Serious Sam: המפגש הראשון - Hebrew spelling
  • Крутой Сэм: Первая Кровь - Russian spelling
  • シリアスサム ファーストエンカウンター - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

195 People (76 developers, 119 thanks) · View all

Programming
2D Art
3D Art
Game Design
Level Design
Music
Sound
CEO
Serious Sam Voice by
Moral Boost by
amp11lib library by
Additional Programming
Additional Moral Boost
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 43 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 98 ratings with 9 reviews)

Contains ludicrous amounts of action that will liquify your brain.

The Good
Serious Sam is a return to the mind-numbing fast-action shooter solidified by Doom. In a nutshell:

  • You have many weapons of mass destruction
  • You have many mindless enemies that exist solely to kill you
  • You have fast framerates and crisp control that you can command at a thought's notice

It's an homage to Doom, but Croteam has added their own twisted spin on the types of enemies. One of the more grotesque enemies would be what I like to call "the walking maw" -- a running torso with no head and a huge, gaping, teeth-filled mouth embedded in the chest. But easily the most, ah, disturbing enemy has to be the suicide bombers. Headless men that run at you with a bomb in each hand, stopping for nothing and noone, and screaming the entire time (yes, even though they have no head). You haven't felt terror until you've heard a faint noise... that gets louder... that slowly graduates into a yell and by that time you're frantically spinning around trying to figure out what the hell is coming at you.

There were some times in Serious Sam where the action got so thick I literally started laughing out loud at how utterly ludicrous the situation became. 60+ galloping skeletal creatures that can run faster than you, all headed your way? 10+ werebulls all heading at you like a runaway derailed train? It's friggin' nuts! And also some of the most fun I've had in recent months playing an action game.

You'd think that a game like this wouldn't have any story or plot, but I was surprised to see that the authors of the game had more than a passing interest in ancient egyptian locales, history, and mythology. As such, a passable (if completely false) plot exists tying all the locales and (simple) puzzles together based on ancient egyptian history.

Finally, the graphical engine (the real reason Serious Sam was created was initially just as a technology demo for the engine) is superb. The engine is capable of a lot of things that you don't normally think about until you see them demonstrated, such as support for many different objects onscreen, huge wide open areas where you can see for miles in all directions (there is absolutely no fogging or pop-up that I could see), portals that really work, and nicely-implemented effects (lens flares, reflections/water, etc.) where appropriate.

The Bad
As much as the graphical engine kicked ass, I experienced some severe rendering anomolies at times that were fairly annoying, such as flashing polygons. If the game weren't so fun, I might have stopped playing entirely because of it. Note that I am in the minority -- I haven't heard of any other major graphics glitches from other players.

I also experienced an odd mouse button delay -- if I didn't hold the mouse button down for at least 50ms, it didn't register. In other words, I couldn't "tap" shots off; I had to really press the button down. I don't get this kind of behavior in any of my other games, so it was definitely Serious Sam-related.

Some situations (especially near the end) cross the line from "ludicrous fun" to "impossible situation". If you play on any of the harder settings, there is simply no way to win the game, I am convinced. I would love to see an AI bot try it.

Finally, there are some annoying situations you can get into when you need to kill all onscreen enemies to advance to the next section, but you can't find one of them because they've fallen into a pool and can't get out, or they're hidden, or stuck, or you just haven't wandered into the area where they're waiting for you yet.

The Bottom Line
This game is the action-game antithesis of Counter-Strike -- no strategy at all. Just blast everything and keep running! It's the old-school modern-day oxymoron of 1st-person shooters.

And since its retail price is only $20, why not pick it up?

Windows · by Trixter (8962) · 2001

Serious Sam is here to stay!

The Good
Well, first off, there is LUDICROUS amount of action. You'll know what I'm talking about when you're standing in a field with enemies faster and more powerful than you are coming towards you from all sides. Yeehaw! Secondly, I enjoyed the refreshing Doom-like feel of the game. Even if a situation looks impossible, you will find a way out of it. Finally, the game is full of humor and secrets. Speaking of secrets, they're the best damn secrets in any game. They COMPLETELY step away from the game, and ANYTHING can happen in a secret area. Oh, yeah, and the graphics engine is absolutely gorgeous! Do yourself a favor and walk up to a wall. IT JUST DOESN'T PIXELATE!! NOT ONE BIT!!

The Bad
Parts of the game, especially towards the end, are EXTREMELY difficult. Some areas limit you on health and ammo for a while. Finally, you get annoyed when, for the 45th time in a level, you walk into a wide-open area with some really powerful item in the middle. Before you know it, the world around you is exploding, scratching, and, er, laser-ing. In my opinion, once per level is enough! UGH!

The Bottom Line
A serious FPS with a soaring fun factor!

Windows · by Archagon (108) · 2002

Baby's first Quake mod

The Good
The guns are varied and satisfying, the graphics look really good.

The Bad
Serious Sam feels like something a ten-year-old would make right after downloading a Quake level editor. It consists of simplistic, very linear levels and almost constantly throws wave after wave of enemies at the player without any design concept or actual sense of progression. Even though some enemies are actually interesting to fight when they're first introduced, they become utterly tedious as you fight them again and again in almost identical circumstances. The entire experience becomes simply tiring already in its first half.

Croteam probably meant to create something that would reject the more complex gameplay mechanics of newer action games at the turn of the century and return to the '90s classics. The thing is, games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, and Unreal are not just pure mindless violence. Intricate level design is an essential part of their identity, absolutely crucial to how engaging they are - something the Serious Sam developers seem to have completely forgotten.

The Bottom Line
Serious Sam is a tiring and tedious FPS focused on endless enemy spam. 3/10 (officially Worse Than Daikatana)

Windows · by Pegarange (216) · 2023

[ View all 9 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Croteam vedder (70018) Oct 29, 2018

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Serious Sam appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Demo

Some of the most famous Serious Sam players (who even appear in the game's credits) got the complete game only several months after its release, and constantly played the same demo level while others had the full version.

Development

The first Serious Sam demo was a technology demo for the Serious Engine by Croteam, not a demo for a game in particular. The folks at the Old Man Murray website praised the game so much that eventually the guys at the Gathering of Developers got wind of it and sponsored a complete, full game based around the demo.

Music

The final level music (before the boss) is a strange heavy metal remix of the famous Phantom of the Opera opening theme.

References

Sam's red sneakers may be a reference to Sonic the Hedgehog - the speed power-up that pictures them with wings all but cinches it.

Technology

Serious Sam was the first game to implement ATI's TrueForm graphics technology.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2002 (Issue #213) – Best Enemies of the Year (for the headless soldiers)
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – Best Value Priced Game of the Year
    • 2001 – Best End Boss of the Year

Information also contributed by El-ad Amir, NeoMoose, Ola Sverre Bauge and Tomer Gabel

Analytics

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Related Games

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
Released 2002 on Windows
Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter
Released 2009 on Windows, 2010 on Xbox 360
Serious Sam HD
Released 2010 on Windows, 2011 on Xbox 360
Serious Sam: Gold
Released 2003 on Windows
Serious Sam
Released 2004 on Game Boy Advance
Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter
Released 2010 on Windows, Xbox 360
Serious Sam Classics: Revolution
Released 2014 on Windows
Serious Sam: Double D
Released 2011 on Windows, 2013 on Xbox 360

Related Sites +

  • Seriously Warped!
    Home of the highly acclaimed Warped Deathmatch MOD for Serious Sam. The team is also creating the multiplayer modes for Serious Sam: The Second Encounter.
  • Seriously!
    A well-populated forum and excellent tutorials regarding writing maps, mods and scripts to Serious Sam.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 3512
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Cromaa.

Additional contributors: Ray Soderlund, El-ad Amir, Unicorn Lynx, NeoMoose, tarmo888, tbuteler, Foxhack, lights out party, COBRA-COBRETTI, Crawly, Stratege, vicrabb, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added April 3, 2001. Last modified January 19, 2024.