After remaining a mystery to players in the decade following its initial release, a deeply buried secret within Serious Sam‘s “Sacred Yards” level was recently revealed after a Croteam fan-turned-employee sought out company CEO Roman Ribaric for closure.
Sacred Yards, a secret level normally filled to the brim with dangerous creatures, can be completed quickly and without encountering a single enemy, if players follow the precise steps outlined in the walkthrough video above.
Ribaric, who worked as the design lead for the original Serious Sam, explained that the secret originated when an in-progress level needed touching up toward the end of development.
“Davor Hunski and Davor Tomicic, who were level designers at that time, handed me that level, so I can figure out what is to be done, where to go and to create gameplay,” Ribaric told Kotaku. “They did warn me that with its simplistic layout, they were not 100% confident it was good enough to have it in the final game. I did a quick look and, yes, layout was pretty basic, a T-shaped level with no specific areas or landmarks. But I told them I don’t like throwing things out and I would see what I can do to – at least have it as a secret level.”
By performing specific movements, shooting environmental objects, and picking up items in a precise sequence, players can open up the exit to Sacred Yards almost immediately, skipping the level’s minutes-long firefights with the dozens of enemy creatures that normally spawn.
The secret was initially found via a glitch that involved rocket-jumping into an invisible teleporter. By backtracking at a certain point, however, players can reveal a bounce pad that propels them into the teleporter, as Serious Sam‘s designers originally intended.
By following these newly discovered steps, players can also access the secret in the upgraded Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter. The glitched workaround found in Serious Sam‘s original 2001 release was not possible to recreate in Serious Sam HD, leading fans to believe that the level skip was an accident, rather than an intended secret.