Serious Sam 3: BFE is a fast-paced over-the-top first-person shooter developed by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital for the PC on November 22, 2011. The fourth official installment of the Serious Sam franchise, Serious Sam 3: BFE is a prequel to the original Serious Sam: The First Encounter (hence the subtitle BFE, "Before First Encounter"). The game is the first original game to run on the Serious Engine 3 series (also used to power Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter and Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter), and adds a new arsenal of weapons (including a sledgehammer, an assault rifle, and C-4 explosives), new enemies (including cloned soldiers firing modern weaponry), and new game mechanics (including sprinting, reloading weapons, aiming down the sight, kicking enemies, and performing execution moves).
Set in Egypt circa 2060 A.D. (as humanity have been uncovering artifacts of an ancient alien race called the Sirians), players control Sam "Serious" Stone (a member of the remains of the Earth Defense Force) as he battles the alien hordes of Mental (who have managed to wipe out most of humanity) while uncovering the secrets of ancient Sirian technology.
The game was later released for Mac (on April 23, 2012) and Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade on October 17, 2012). At the same time as the Xbox 360 release, the game received a paid DLC campaign (Jewels of the Nile), featuring three new missions, a new enemy (the Aludran Reptiloid), and a new weapon (the Axe).
Serious Sam 3 features the series-signature level design of pitting a heavily-armed player against hordes of enemies in large open spaces. The engine supports destructible environments and players/enemies can break certain walls and columns, making cover sometimes unreliable. For this reason and due to the overwhelming numbers of advancing enemies in the larger combat encounters, players are encouraged to stay on the move, running away from and dodging onslaughts of enemies while grabbing powerups strewn about the battlefield and shooting non-stop.
Many familiar enemies return, including the Beheaded Kamikaze, Kleer Skeleton, and Sirian Werebull, though they have all been given slight redesigns due to the much greater graphical fidelity of the new game engine. Most enemy AI is based on simple, predictable patterns (in multiple cases meaning "rush towards the player with reckless abandon"), which allows the player to quickly understand and react to the attacks of huge numbers of enemies with split-second timing.
Serious Sam 3 deliberately forgoes several popular game design elements of modern shooters in favor of preserving the trademark style of gameplay from earlier Serious Sam games. This means Sam's default movement speed is about as fast as an automobile driving on city streets, his sprint speed is comparable to highway driving speed, he can sprint indefinitely, he can carry every single weapon in the game at the same time, and he has absolutely no form of recharging health. Health, weapon, and ammo powerups are plentifully scattered around all levels (and glow colorfully for ease of identification); enemies often spawn into levels out of thin air (explained as "teleporting in reinforcements"), optional secret areas and items can be found hidden throughout the game (often rewarded for platforming finesse or exploration); various keys have to sometimes be collected to open locked doors; and aside from cutscenes (which can be skipped by pressing the shoot button), the game never takes control away from the player for an instant during gameplay.
Sam's arsenal and overall means of mayhem have grown since his last murderous adventure. Sam can now perform a variety of melee attacks, including wielding a sledgehammer that he can swing around in a 360 degree arc to kill any enemy in his immediate vicinity. Sam can perform context-sensitive melee attacks, which can be triggered within close proximity to certain enemies to kill them instantly, such as snapping the neck of an Arachnoid or tearing out the eyeball of a Gnaar (which can then be thrown as a projectile weapon at other enemies). Additionally, Sam can use the "Mutilator," which works like an energy lasso to ensnare one or more enemies and then rip them to shreds.
Sam's arsenal of guns is dominated by familiar mainstays such as the double barrel shotgun, rocket launcher, and cannon (that shoots cannon balls the size of buses). New guns include the Semiautomatic Pistol, which replaces the dual revolvers; the Assault Rifle, which replaces the Tommy Gun; throwable C-4 which serves a kind of ultra-powerful grenade; and the Devastator that combines the best of both the Grenade Launcher and the Sniper Rifle. Two weapons can only be found as secrets: the Lasergun and the Sniper Rifle. Some weapons feature an enhanced aiming mode: the Pistol has iron sights, the Assault Rifle has a red dot sight, and the Sniper Rifle has its familiar zoom.
Hands - Although players does not use their fists to punch enemies, they can grab certain enemies to perform an execution move that automatically kill those enemies. Depending on the enemy, the execution move can vary in length (leaving the player vulnerable for longer moves). For some enemies, the player will rip out a certain part of the enemy, holding onto it as a trophy that can be quickly dropped (with secondary fire) or thrown at enemies (with primary fire, which can deal minor damage). Scrapjack Rocketeers must be stunned (by taking a heavy amount of damage in short time) before they can be grabbed. While the player can grab enemies while his hands are out (using the primary attack button), he can also automatically perform execution moves by pressing a designated melee button while nearby a grabbable enemy. Both the "hands" weapon and the designated melee button are disabled in versus modes.
Sirian Mutilator Bracelet - An ancient artifact that serves both as a special key and a powerful electric lasso. Although it has infinite ammo capacity, it tends to overheat during use (in which it will be temporarily unusable). Lassos can wrap itself around both enemies (stalling them) and certain objects (such as large pillars). After a certain amount of time lassoed (depending on the target), the bracelet provides a powerful charge that breaks the victim (automatically killing the enemy). Larger enemies can tug at the lasso, pulling Sam towards them and breaking the process. (Multiple players can use their lassos to kill large enemies with a charge). The weapon itself is only found in Campaign mode and replaces the primary attack of the "hands" weapon (putting the grabbing functionality as the secondary attack).
- Sledgehammer - A large and very powerful sledgehammer with limited range and three separate attacks: a powerful downward swing (primary attack), a quick horizontal swipe (secondary attack), and a 360-degree spinning attack (the game's only tertiary attack, which is activated by the Reload button). Each attack range in attack power, attack speed, and attack proximity. In close proximity to hostiles (and in multiplayer), players will automatically raise their sledgehammers over their heads for quicker execution of their primary and secondary attacks. Late in the campaign, players lose their standard sledgehammer (with a wooden shaft) and find another one for the rest of the campaign (featuring a different skin).
- Axe - A large chopping axe and a replacement for the Sledgehammer in the Jewel of the Nile campaign. Functions exactly the same way.
- SPO38 Semiautomatic Pistol - Weapon Key: 2.
- 12-Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun - Weapon Key: 3.
- Double Barrel Coach Gun - Weapon Key: 3.
- M29 Infantry Assault Rifle - Weapon Key: 4.
- XM-214-A Minigun - Weapon Key: 4.
- XPML21 Rocket Launcher - Weapon Key: 5.
- XL2 Lasergun - Weapon Key: 6.
- C-4 Demolition Charge - Weapon Key: 6.
- RAPTOR Sniper Rifle - Weapon Key: 7.
- AS-24 Devastator - Weapon Key: 7.
- SBC Cannon - Weapon Key: 8.
Serious Sam 3 features a variety of game modes for both single-player and multi-player (for up to sixteen players):
Players can play through the game's main campaign and the DLC campaign (Jewels of the Nile), starting from any chapter unlocked (gaining a casual assortment of weapons from previous chapters) in any difficulty (ranging from the easy "Tourist" difficulty to "Mental", which is so difficult that it must be unlocked by completing the game on "Suicidal"). In single-player, players can also load from saved games (including autosaves).
Upon completing each chapter of the story, a final score is tallied for each player according to a variety of factors (including the time it took to complete the level, the amount of kills made, and the amount of secrets found). These scores are multiplied by the difficulty chosen (reduced/increased by any customizable options) and are used in online leaderboards for each level (regardless of difficulty).
In multiplayer, all players share the same score and games use one of three modes:
- Standard Co-Op - The game's standard arcade-based experience. Each player has only one extra life to spare, but all players gain an extra life by collecting Extra Life items or reaching score milestones.
- Classic Co-Op - A more casual, traditional co-operative experience. Servers can customize various aspects of the game (including infinite ammo, item pickup properties, friendly fire, and amount of extra lives each player has). Players do not gain extra lives (with the default setting having infinite lives), but may drain score for each death (10,000 points per death).
- Coin Co-Op - A more difficult arcade-based experience where all players share the same amount of extra lives (starting with three). This pool of extra lives is only gained by reaching score milestones or collecting Extra Life items. Players can not join in the middle of the game.
Score milestones for extra lives start at 25,000, and increases by a certain pattern (10, 25, 50, 100, etc.) until it ends at 50,000,000.
In Survival Mode, players are tasked with trying to survive as long as possible in an enclosed arena filled with weapons as endless waves of enemies attack from all sides. Each level gives their own unique arsenal to players (some of which are very restrictive, limiting the player to only the Sledgehammer or the Pistol) and each level has their own unique enemy placement.
Each level has their own online leaderboard (for both single-player and multi-player) for the amount of time the player has survived. Each level also has their own assortment of medals (Bronze, Silver, and Gold), which are awarded to players who reach certain time thresholds.
Players can not join in the middle of a Survival game. The game ends when all players are defeated.
The game shipped with two maps (Death Canyon and Deserted). In a later update, the game includes three additional maps: Medina Defender, Under Pressure, and Villa. Both Under Pressure and Villa require players to survive waves of smaller enemies with only the basic weapons (rather than Medina Defender, which leaves a large variety of weapons in front of them).
Versus modes encompass the game's competitive multiplayer mode. With the exceptions of Capture the Flag and the Beast Hunt modes, all modes share the same assortment of maps.
- Deathmatch - Standard game mode, in which players win by killing enemy players. Can be played in free-for-all or with two teams (red and blue).
- Last Man Standing - Similar to Deathmatch, but is played in short rounds. Players who die cannot respawn, and must wait for the next round to begin. Can be played in free-for-all (Last Man Standing) or with two teams (Last Team Standing).
- Instant Kill - Similar to free-for-all Deathmatch, but each player is only equipped with a Sniper Rifle (which kills enemies in one hit) with infinite ammo.
- My Burden - A heavy weight is randomly placed in the level, and players earn points by maintaining possession of it. Players who carry the weight can not sprint, and are a more important target for enemy players.
- Capture the Flag - Two teams (red and blue) score points by possessing the enemy team's flag and bringing it back to the friendly team's flag zone (while making sure the friendly team's flag stays at their flag zone). Players who wield the enemy flag can not sprint, and are a more important target for enemy players. Players can return their team's flag by running over it (or letting it remain unpossessed for a certain amount of time). Only one map is shipped for this game mode, a modified version of "Little Trouble".
- Beast Hunt - Players play through a single mission from Campaign mode and are given their own score. After the level is over, the player with the highest score wins. Also, for every 10,000 points, players can earn special "License to Kill" usages, in which they can kill another player for an additional 1,000 points (and leaves the victim unable to progress for a short amount of time). Can also be played in teams, where each team has their own score.
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP 32-bit
- Processor: Dual-core Intel or AMD at 2.0 GHz
- Memory: 1GB
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce 7800/7900/8600 series, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600 or 1800/X1900 series
- DirectX®: 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 4 GB
- Sound: DirectX9.0c compatible sound card
- OS: Windows 7 64-bit
- Processor: Quad-core Intel (i5/i7-series) or AMD (Phenom II) at 3.0 GHz
- Memory: 4GB
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce 480/580 GTX, ATI/AMD Radeon HD 5870/6970
- DirectX®: 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 4 GB
- Sound: DirectX9.0c compatible sound card