Serious Sam: The Second Encounter is much like its predecessor, The First Encounter; all of the enemies and weapons from the previous game are in it. The major differences are the new levels, enemies and weapons in the game.
TSE introduces four new weapons, the XOP Flamethrower, the P-Lah Chainsaw, the RAPTOR Sniper Rifle and the Serious Bomb. These weapons are designed to fill gaps in the player's arsenal that existed in The First Encounter, such as how the sniper rifle is used to give the player long-range firepower, the flamethrower is for dealing with hordes of medium-power enemies, such as the Kleer Skeleton, the chainsaw is meant for slicing through hordes of weak enemies, like the Marsh Hopper and the Serious Bomb is meant to serve as a last-ditch weapon for those that are trapped in a battle and need a way out.
New enemies have been introduced, mostly to give the player more of a challenge, especially if they're used to the enemies in TFE. There's the Zorg Mercenary and Zorg Commander, skinless, lizard-like creatures armed with a laser gun who's function varies, depending on the enemy type, the Zumb'ul, a short and fat alien that dual-wields plasma rocket launchers, Cucurbito the Pumpkin, a huge human holding a chainsaw with a pumpkin for a head, and the Fiendian Reptiloid Demon, a demon-like creature that tosses a powerful and fast fireball that can home in on a target to an extent. Some other enemies, have received upgrades, such as how the Scythian Witch-Harpy is able to hold a Beheaded Kamikaze and drop him onto the battlefield.
It also introduces several new environments, such as Mesoamereica, Babylon and Medieval Poland. These areas feature new traps, not seen in Ancient Egypt, such as bouncy walls, walls with spikes on them, and a tunnel that allows the player to walk on walls. Every time the player enters a new time period, they are stripped of their weapons except the Schofield .45 and Military Knife, as to make it more of a challenge.
Level design is the same as TFE, but there is more of an emphasis on traps and gimmick rooms. Secrets are still common and contain the same goodies and jokes they did in TFE.
Multiplayer, both online and off, is the same as TFE, but new player models have been added. A special multiplayer-only mod named Seriously Warped was bundled with the game, but recent versions (the Good Old Games and Steam versions) require some file editing for it to be activated.
The engine is very similar to the version used in TFE, but a few upgrades have been done. These add some special effects. However, there are enough differences between the two revisions of Serious Engine 1 that it is impossible to run a TFE level in TSE without crashing or major bugs.
After the end of The First Encounter, Sam is traveling through space in the USS Centerpiece when something happens to it, causing it to crash into South American mountains (the original TSE shows that a crate bus piloted by Croteam Bigheads crashed into it by accident, but this cut-scene was removed in the HD version, making it unknown if this is still canon). The ship lands in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. However, Sam is not trapped; NETRICSA discovers a backup spaceship that the Sirians placed on Earth just in case something happened to the USS Centerpiece. Portals through different time areas have been placed throughout different time periods across Earth in order to lead to the backup spaceship; a rocket. However, it seems that Mental is aware of the crash and sends more of his horde against Sam.
Sam starts his travels through Mesoamerica in order to find the key that leads to the Mesoamerica's portal. After fighting through a few temples, Sam discovers the key; the Crystal Skull. With this in hand, he heads to the capital city while fighting more of Mental's horde. After a travel through the capital city and the challenging “trials” underneath the city, Sam finally manages to get to the teleport. However, it is guarded by the Aztec wind god, Kukulkán, who doesn't recognize Sam and fights him in order for Sam to prove his worth in using the teleporter. Mental's forces attempt to intervene, but Sam manages to best Kukulkán in battle, allowing Sam access to the teleporter.
The teleport sends Sam to Babylon, where he must find the teleporter there. Much like in Mesoamerica, Sam fights through temples and villages to find it. After discovery, NETRICSA discovers a very likely location for the teleport; the Tower of Babel. After gaining access by finding the three Tablets of Wisdom scattered in various yards, Sam discovers that the area is guarded by one of Mental's minions.
Sam appears in medieval Poland, near a large castle that contains a book which has the location of the key to activate the backup spaceship, the Holy Grail. Of course, Sam is attacked by Mental's horde, who strike with more force than they did before. After reaching the heart of the castle, he finds the book, which leads him to a village on a snowy mountain, which has a lava-filled cave hidden below. Inside the cave is a teleport that leads him to the Ice Castle.
Sam travels to the Grand Cathedral, the location of the backup spaceship and the Holy Grail. Mental is unable to destroy the Holy Grail because him and his forces are considered “unholy” by it, so instead he moved it to The Grand Cathedral as a temporary measure. Sam managed to fight through the Corridors of Death and reach the Cathedral. Before he can enter the Cathedral, Mordekai the Summoner appears, who was guarding the Grail with his dark magic. After a difficult fight, Sam manages to defeat him and gain access to the Holy Grail, which is located in the Cathedral. He then calls Mental to “confess his sins”, which was actually to make fun of how he managed to demolish Mental's enemies to Mental. Sam then activated the backup spaceship, heads to his original destination, Sirius and its trade routes, while the Bigheads cheer him on.
Development on TSE appears to have been started by at least May 2001, as model files for the Sniper Rifle, Flamethrower, Napalm, and modified Serious Sam model found in the “Mission pack” folder in the model section of the TSE SDK. It was officially announced on September 2nd, 2001, and preview screenshots went out later that month.
On February 2002, The Second Encounter was officially released to much fanfare. While it didn't win as many rewards as its predecessor did, it was a huge success.
In April 2010, an HD remake of TSE was released. It featured the same HD weapon and enemy models that the HD version of The First Encounter had, but also added HD versions of TSE-exclusive content, such as enemies and weapons. However, because of engine problems, the strange gravity room in the original game (in The Pit) was replaced with constantly moving platforms that rotated around the gravity room. Otherwise, it is the same as the original TSE.
Behind the scenesEdit
- The sniper rifle, flamethrower and Cucurbito the Pumpkin were originally designed for The First Encounter, as their model data files can be found in the TFE SDK. It seems that the sniper rifle, flamethrower and Napalm were one of the first things added to TSE, as a folder named “MissionPack” can be found in the TSE SDK, which has model data for those items that was last modified in May 2001, about 10 months before TSE came out.
- The First Encounter HUD appears to be been used in early screenshots, but was replaced by the final one before the game came out.