The Serious Samathon

I used to do seasonal review series, y’know. Two years ago, I wrapped the final Platformebruary and moved on, resigned to simply not having the time to pursue big series anymore. But time might not be such a barrier to entry if the will is strong. That’s certainly the case for our hero here…

Welcome to The Serious Samathon, my return to the art of review series! Inspired by the cracking good time that is Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, I’ve resolved to Timelock myself all the way back to the heady days of The First Encounter and review the entire Serious Sam franchise. Now, that certainly includes all the mainline games in the saga of Sam, but I’m also going to be taking a look at the small horde of spinoff games featuring Mr. Stone himself. And, if time and tenacity allow, I’ll even peek at the additional releases of The First and Second Encounters, such as Fusion and Revolutions.

Now, long-time readers may be asking themselves, “Where is he going to get the time to do all of this?” The answer is that I’m going to take as much time as I want! Unlike the review series of old, which were confined to a single month, The Serious Samathon will progress as fast as I do through the games. I’ll be beating each of these titles in my own time, which may mean spans of weeks or even months between entries in this review series. I’m pretty sure I can commit to wrapping this one by the end of 2022, so get comfy if you’re waiting for a review of Serious Sam 4.

I also intend to focus my reviews on the quality of the games relative to each other, since the main Serious Sam games don’t change too much in their core experiences from entry to entry. We’ll be starting with Siberian Mayhem since I just finished it, but from there we’ll be flung back to The First Encounter (HD version for review purposes) and moving forward in rough series release order. The spinoffs will be dotted in between the main games as well, to provide a little variety to the gonzo gibbing experience.

Got it? Great. Don your shades and your best pair of backpedaling sneakers, ’cause it’s time to get serious!

The Main Event

  1. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem
  2. Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter
  3. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter
  4. Serious Sam 2
  5. Serious Sam Double D XXL
  6. Serious Sam: The Random Encounter
  7. Serious Sam 3: BFE
  8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter – Legend of the Beast
  9. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile
  10. Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour
  11. Serious Sam 4
  12. Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack!
  13. Serious Sam: Tormental


  1. Serious Sam Classic: The First Encounter
  2. Serious Sam Classic: The Second Encounter
  3. Serious Sam Fusion 2017
  4. Serious Sam Classics: Revolution

Hey, we did it! We survived kleer, kamikazes, bad expansions, the ugly milshooter phase, and we did it all in less than five months! But how does that leave all these games to stack up to each other? I’ll break it down for you right here. First, let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the meh, in no particular order:

Seriously Good

I’m happy to report that, by and large, the Serious Sam series is a good one. The highlights are certainly the original Encounters, and for me, I think 4 and Siberian Mayhem are right behind them in their efforts to return the franchise to its glory days. Most of the spin-off games are also worth a look, which was a pleasant surprise. Also, if you’re trying to figure out what version of the older games to play, go with Fusion 2017. You’ll be glad you did.

Seriously Okay

There are a couple games in the series that aren’t really bad, but you definitely wouldn’t miss them if you skipped them. Serious Sam 2 has always been a contentious one, and after replaying it in full, it’s hard to give much of a recommendation. Same with Jewel of the Nile, if only because it’s attached to the mess that is SS3. And the Classic version of TSE is just a bit unnecessary, along with the fan-made Revolution.

Seriously Bad

Bad Serious Sam games are blessedly few and far between, but unfortunately there was a middle period in the series that I very much was not a fan of. SS3 is a boring, muddy mess, only saved from being the worst in the main line by the inexplicable disaster that is Legend of the Beast. Random Encounter is also a decent concept executed terribly, which means you can save yourself the trouble of trying it yourself.

As a little bonus (and since this can be a bit of a confusing series to break into), let’s do one final rundown of rankings, best to worst, for both the main and spin-off Serious Sam games. If you need definitive recommendations, here you go:

Serious Sam, from best to worst

  1. Serious Sam Fusion 2017
  2. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter
  3. Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter
  4. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem
  5. Serious Sam 4
  6. Serious Sam Classic: The Second Encounter
  7. Serious Sam Classic: The First Encounter
  8. Serious Sam 2
  9. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile
  10. Serious Sam Classics: Revolution
  11. Serious Sam 3: BFE
  12. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter – Legend of the Beast

Serious Spin-offs, from best to worst

  1. Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour
  2. Serious Sam Double D XXL
  3. Serious Sam: Tormental
  4. Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack!
  5. Serious Sam: The Random Encounter

So, there you have it. I set out to try my hand at a new review series, and it seriously went better and quicker than I expected. I credit the Serious Samathon with restoring a lot of the enthusiasm I once had for reviewing, and I’m looking ahead to more review series in the future. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through one of the more ridiculous FPS franchises in gaming, because I’ve certainly enjoyed doing it. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you sooner than you might think for another series!