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SERIOUS SAM: The First Encounter
SERIOUS SAM: The First Encounter REVIEW
Date Played Sept 2010

It should be noted that the version of Serious Sam that I played is Serious Sam, The First Encounter Special Edition. This limited the game to 7 levels out of the 15 available on the full game. For some reason I was always hesitant to buy this game, but finding it in the bargain bin for $1.99 goes a long way to overcoming any hesitation and 7 levels is enough to form an opinion.

The style of this game reminded me very much of Quake. The controls are very easy, simple and fast. Health, ammo and weapons are lying around and picked up by simply moving over them (a feature I always appreciate.) There are also secret areas for additional weapons and power-ups. There's a secret level in this edition called Moon Mountains so be sure not to miss it. There is also another secret level later call Sacred Yards.

The story, although slightly more fleshed out in Serious Sam, has some similarities to Quake. The year is 2104 and deadly monsters have teleported in from a different dimension and are attacking the colonized galaxy. Earth and humankind are now in danger of extinction and Serious Sam is sent back in time through the power of an ancient artifact called Time Lock. In order to change the events leading to this attack, he must first find some answers in the ancient cities of Memphis and Thebes.


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With this Egyptian theme, the game environments have all the associated grandiose temples, buildings and landscapes. The graphical maps are very well done if somewhat sparse, but the 3D engine allows for some impressive effects including the great number of enemies that can be rendered simultaneously. I also understand that a HD version of the game can be purchased if you prefer this to the classic. There is the usual compliment of weapons common to shooters; knife, pistols, shotguns and rocket launchers as well as a laser gun. The occasional humorous comment from Sam when he is about to face dire trouble is very amusing. Sam has a small computer implanted in his skull that allows him to analyze new situations and it also keeps track of your statistics for each level.

I played this game on normal and it was quite difficult as it teleports enemies in and throws mobs of them at you. The sheer variety that you have to deal with at the same time makes it very challenging, especially since it's fond of locking doors behind you. One level locks you in a room with about 300 creatures and you must kill all of them to advance. I've never liked that kind of situation in a game where numerous uses of quicksave might be your only option as you run out of health and ammo to boot. Most of the enemies in this game move faster than Sam, which is all right if you can keep your distance and kill them before they get too close. In a locked room this is near to impossible. Fortunately, this tactic was only used once, at least in the Limited Edition.

I'm a little undecided as to whether I'll buy the full game, not because it's not very good for its type, but it's basically one level after another of doing the same thing. There's no denying that this game is popular and received high reviews, but you should know what type of game this is before purchasing it. If one killing spree after another is your thing then Serious Sam is probably one of the best and most challenging around. This game can also be modded for those who are interested in that aspect.

The original Gold Edition is a special release featuring The First Encounter, The Second Encounter and a fan-made level called Dark Island. Watch that you don't get confused with the later HD releases. There is some information for both the original and the HD versions in the links. The upcoming Serious Sam 3 BFE will be a prequel in time to this one.

UPDATE Aug 2015: As the classic trailer is just so bad and not really representative of the game, I've included the HD trailer instead. Availability is mostly the HD version. The system specs are also for the HD version.

Serious Sam Classics Revolution is a unified version of The First and Second Encounter Classic games and is in Early Access. It uses an updated Serious Engine 1. Previous owners of these games on Steam received a free copy of Revolution when it was released.

In 2011, Croteam and Devolver Digital announced "Serious Sam Indie Series" which put the license into the hands of noted Indie developers and tasked them with making a Serious game in their own style. This resulted in the following titles; Serious Sam Double D, Serious Sam Kamikaze (mobile), and Serious Sam The Random Encounter.
Game Issues Experienced
A rare experience these days, but issue free,

Development Note
Established in 1993, Croteam is an independent developer located in Croatia. They are most known for the Serious Sam series and most recently, The Talos Principle released in 2014. Serious Sam was originally developed as a demonstrator of their Serious Engine designed to cope with very large view images and massive numbers of models. The latest iteration is Serious Engine 4.

Both Serious Sam The First Encounter and Serious Sam The Second Encounter received HD updates and were released in 2009 and 2010 through Steam. The word Classic was added to the older versions of the games to distinguish between the original and the HD remakes. In 2011, the DLC called Fusion merged the two HD games together and was free to anyone who owned both games. A third game called Serious Sam 2 was first released for PC in 2005 and re-released in 2012, and Serious Sam BFE (Before First Encounter) in 2011.

Although work had started on Serious Sam 4, during development the creation of a new mechanic ended up leading the studio down a different path, which resulted in The Talos Principle, a completely different type of game. However Serious Sam 4 is apparently now back on track.
Visit Basics for an overview on what every PC gamer should know for their own protection. Install deals on how to install your games and mods, Tech Talk explains the fundamentals of system requirements, and Features lists more games on review. GameClients gives a short bio on the most trusted distributors and their DRM status for purchasing and downloading games, and Home has a short commentary and a sneak preview of the next review.
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DOWNLOAD SERIOUS SAM HD The First Encounter NOW
Many digital distributors also offer "Online" CD keys that can be added to your Steam Library
Other games in series: Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, Serious Sam 2, Serious Sam 3 BFE
Serious Sam 4 in development. There are also several Indie spin-offs officially sanctioned by Croteam.
GAME INFORMATION
  • Genre: First-person Shooter
  • Developer(s): Croteam
  • Publisher(s): Gathering of Developers/Devolver
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox & 360, Linux
  • Release: Mar 2001, HD Nov 2009
  • Mode(s): Single-player, Multiplayer
  • Media: Download, CD
  • DLC Available: No
  • OS: Windows XP SP1
  • CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3GHz or AMD Athlon 64 3500+
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Hard Drive: 1GB free space
  • Video: nVidia GeForce 7600, ATI Radeon X1600
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c
  • Shader Model: 3
  • Input for PC: Keyboard & Mouse, Controller
  • DRM: Steam (Gog DRM free)
AROUND THE WEB
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Official Modding Tools
To indicate what kind of performance you may get, compare your specs to the system this game was played on. You can also try  Can You Run It
  • Version: CD v 1.05
  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • CPU: Athlon 64x2 4200+ 2200MHz
  • Ram: 4GB
  • Disk Drive: DVD/CD
  • Video: ATI Radeon 4830
  • Shader Model: 4.1
  • DirectX: 9.0c
  • Input: Keyboard & Mouse
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