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Serious Sam: The First Encounter HD, a 2009 remake of a 2001 PC game developed by Croteam, is the first game in the Serious Series. There's a plot involving an alien overlord named Mental, but really, it's just an excuse to shoot large numbers of ridiculous enemies. The game pioneers the series trademark: dumping you in huge arenas with hordes of enemies, and then sending more enemies against you at once than many other games have total.

 

Individual-levels run on Tourist difficulty in 0:39:55:

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Level name Time Date Player
Hatshepsut 0:00:34 2012-06-02 'Freezard'
Sand Canyon 0:01:20 2012-06-02 'Freezard'
Tomb of Ramses III 0:01:32 2012-06-02 'Freezard'
Valley of the Kings 0:02:26 2012-06-02 'Freezard'
Moon Mountains 0:01:26 2012-04-20 'Freezard'
Oasis 0:02:06 2012-04-14 'Freezard'
Dunes 0:01:49 2012-06-03 'Freezard'
Suburbs 0:00:53 2012-04-14 'Freezard'
Sewers 0:01:00 2009-12-31 Mirko Brown
Metropolis 0:07:26 2012-04-25 'Freezard'
Alley of the Sphinxes 0:04:10 2012-06-03 'Freezard'
Karnak 0:05:24 2012-04-17 'Freezard'
Luxor 0:02:21 2012-06-03 'Freezard'
Sacred Yards 0:01:46 2012-04-20 'Freezard'
The Great Pyramid 0:05:42 2012-04-20 'Freezard'

Author's comments:

For information about tricks and a list of changes compared to the original game, visit the SDA Strategy Wiki.

This all started after having watched ShadowWraith's 49:15 non-HD run. Since I had recently been playing HD: TFE a lot I was wondering if I could improve his time with some new tricks, considering the run was a bit old. Eventually I got a sub-40 minute single-segment run which I also submitted, but at the same time I had been improving the IL times over at SSDQ significantly. I realized I was happier about those than my SS run, so I pulled it and submitted my IL runs instead. Although the IL table is a few seconds slower than my SS run, it includes both of the secret levels, which in reality makes it over 3 minutes faster. I want to thank Mirko Brown for completing the IL table with his impressive Sewers run - that level really is a lot more difficult to run than it looks.

Hatshepsut
A straightforward level, I don't see how you can improve this one.

Sand Canyon
I thought 1:21 was good, but then I got 1:20 while running single-segmented. It's a bit luck based because sometimes the three Kamikazes won't die in one shot due to different positioning. The Kleer boost pattern is the fastest possible, and the hopper fight was quick.

Tomb of Ramses III
The first trick involves getting a Gnaar to follow you and help you over a door. It can take some time before one decides to do so, but it's usually not a big problem. The second trick is more difficult, as I'm doing a series of jumps to quickly get up on the platform above. You don't see it, but the last jump is on a floating Gnaar. If I didn't have to wait for the Kleer to skip the final room, it would have been a 1:31, but I haven't found a consistent way of doing that part.

Valley of the Kings
The bull riding could have been better, but the boss fight went perfect. I'm getting the Gold ankh without pressing any buttons thanks to floating Gnaars, then I use one to not only get me out of the level, but also to float me to the ending part, which saves about 1:40.

Moon Mountains
This is simply a two second improvement to Cortez's run, which comes from the Kleer boost over the bridge. To get a good time here you have to hope for good Harpy boosts and pray that you'll hit the secret switch with a rocket.

Oasis
I have optimized the hopper room so much, yet it's still annoying due to the randomness in their jumping. Well, this fight went so well that I was surprised that I had killed them all, and so was shooting thin air for a second. I've only finished it quicker once before, but then I messed up the ending part, which actually is harder than it looks.

Dunes
Getting to the arena went pretty well, but can be done faster. The arena battle is all about killing the green Reptiloids as soon as possible. Normally you would use three rockets each to kill them, but the turbo laser trick used here is much faster. Optimally it would take one second to kill each Reptiloid so there's room for improvement.

Suburbs
Killing the first Minor Biomechanoid spawns a Kleer that can boost you through the whole level if lucky, as happened in this run. Falling down the well without hitting anything is actually extremely difficult; the developers added extra geometry to it in the HD game and the 'secret platform' is now gigantic just so won't be able to miss it. I think this might actually be the only time I managed to fall through cleanly.

Sewers
Out of nowhere, Freezard showed up and rampaged through the game. Luckily this run survived. The first tricky thing is getting out of the water, as fast as possible. While diving to the switch, you need to kill some of the fishes. Otherwise they will push you in every direction, but not in the direction you need. The biggest time saver in this level is the Kleer boost towards the wall, which goes down while approaching it. You get a bigger boost than in the non-HD version, so you can get through it before the wall blocks the entrance. While underwater you just need to go straight forward and try to get boosted into a fish, otherwise they will boost you in the wrong direction.

Metropolis
Killing the Adult Arachnoid spawns a Harpy that gladly helps me get out of the level. You can then use the same Harpy to boost you to the jump pad which saves a few seconds if you do it correctly. The only things that you need to do quickly in the arena battle are: killing the final Kamikaze, killing the final wave of Harpies, killing the Werebulls, killing the final wave of Kleers, as well as picking up the ammo packs to trigger the next waves. It was a good fight, although it can be improved by a few seconds with the turbo laser.

Alley of the Sphinxes
This is probably the most boring level to run due to the slow beginning. The first bull jump happened automagically which I have no complaints against, and then a very sweet Werebull transported me to the wall and let me over. I mistimed the first jump, but it only cost me a couple of seconds. The arena battle is basically about killing everything you see while placing out all four items, followed by a Lava Golem fight which sometimes causes trouble, but luckily not in this run.

Karnak
Getting the Werebull to follow you is really annoying, as it often gets stuck or just rushes straight forward, dumb as it is. The arena battle is much like in Metropolis - only a few things matter: killing the final Kamikaze, killing both Arachnoids, killing the final waves of Harpies, killing both Arachnoids, and finally killing three Major Biomechanoids. Since I'm timing the spawns to kill the enemies instantly with the Cannon, the hardest part is the Harpies, but overall it went really well.

Luxor
This level has had a series of improvements compared to the 3:53 run by Ewil. The biggest one came from getting on top of the roof by jumping on Harpies, which allows you to skip a few events, bringing down the time to 2:58. After I discovered the floating Gnaar tricks I realized it was possible to go out of bounds directly to the exit in the final area, skipping the final event entirely. This made it even more difficult though since you have to do another Harpy jump to jump down to a room and gather the Gnaars, then manipulate a Gnaar in the end to get you high up and then down through the unclipped wall. The good thing is that all the jumps went perfect in this run. The bad thing is I got no boosts by the Gnaars whatsoever, and the last Gnaar wasn't helpful in dropping me down to the exit (yes, you're right - most of the time he will try to kill you). Along with these skips, I'm also using a Kleer to get me to the statue which triggers the Harpies a few seconds faster.

Sacred Yards
First you will be boosted by Harpies, then by Fish when coming up the water. They were all pretty good. The button room is skipped by pressing one of the buttons in order to spawn some helpful Kleers and withdraw one of the metal bars from the door. I knock back a Kleer and then jump on him while he's charging to get onto the metal bars and over the door, which is one of the most difficult tricks in the game. After grabbing the first statue I stun another Kleer for some more boosting. Unfortunately I killed him by accident when I tried to lure him to boost me some more, but other than that it went pretty much perfect.

The Great Pyramid
Normally you have to endure a 10 minute long battle here, but you can escape it by killing all the Kleers until Werebulls appear and perform a double bull jump over the wall. It's actually pretty easy to do, and will give you a final time of ~9 minutes instead of 15. However, I found a way to get out already during the Kleer waves, which cuts off another 3 minutes. It involves running on Kleers to build up enough momentum to get boosted against the slope and over the wall. It's very random in how fast you get it, but I got it on the second try here - insanely fast. When out of the arena, you face yet another random part - bull boosting galore. Luckily I got some nice boosts in this run. Once you reach the pyramid, the health bar of the final boss will appear and there is a roughly 2 minutes and 10 seconds countdown until the door opens. Taking care of Ugh-Zan III himself is actually really easy. The only problem is that he will heal back up if you damage him too much, but I've never failed using the strategy shown here.

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