"Hey baby, was your daddy a pilot? Because you are...really freakin' ugly!"
Sam Stone to a Witch-Harpy after seeing its real face.[src]
 

The Scythian Witch-Harpy is a flying enemy that appears in the Serious Sam series.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Scythian Witch-Harpy is a female clone of a long-extinct Scythian race. They have been trained by Mental to attack opposing forces in close combat and casting spells.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

A Witch-Harpy in Serious Sam 3: BFE revealing its true face.

The Scythian Witch-Harpy's appearance varies greatly between games:

  • In Serious Sam 1, Serious Sam HD and Serious Sam VR, the Scythian Witch-Harpy appears as a metal bikini-wearing humanoid woman with feathered wings, clawed hands, and taloned feet.
  • In Serious Sam 3: BFE, the Harpy has a much different design; The qualities of the Harpy are to attract primate-like species as prey, such as humans. At first glance, the Harpy appears as a topless woman with wings. However, this is a facade; the real, monstrous face is hidden behind the woman face, and the breasts are actually fake because the Ornithodira subgroup they belong to lack mammary glands in their breasts. She now lacks arms and hands, sporting only wings and talon-tipped legs. These changes are not found on the Harpy that appears in the past, suggesting that either the Harpy was radically altered by Mental in the present or this is a different species entirely. They also make different sounds to that of their Serious Sam 1 counterparts.
  • In Serious Sam 4, the Witch-Harpy appears to be a mix of its Serious Sam 1 and Serious Sam 3 counterparts, lacking arms and having only wings, but has horns that bears a resemblance to the ones on the head of the Serious Sam 3 Harpy. Her breasts are covered with a metallic material, and she doesn't have a fake face like before.

Occurrence[edit | edit source]

A Witch-Harpy perched on top of a building in Serious Sam 3.

In the games that they appear in, Harpies are often placed far away and in medium to large groups. Their main purpose is to distract the player when they are busy dealing with enemies on the ground. They can become more of a nuisance when they get closer to the player to swipe in with their melee attack.

In Serious Sam: The First Encounter, Harpies begin appearing on Temple of Hatshepsut, where many of them appear after destroying the palm tree where the Super Health is. They become slightly common later on, sometimes in secrets, and in large hordes in Metropolis. In Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, they appear from the first level onwards and become more common throughout the game.

In Serious Sam 3: BFE, Harpies are much less common, appearing only in Under the Iron Cloud and at the end of The Lost Temples of Nubia in medium-sized groups. They are much more common in Jewel of the Nile, especially in the second and third levels. In the Serious Sam Fusion version of Serious Sam 3: BFE, small groups of Harpies appear in The Guardian of Time.

Behavior and skills[edit | edit source]

The Witch-Harpy has been trained by Mental in close combat and casting magic spells. They have two attacks: at medium to far range, the Witch-Harpy will fire a projectile at the player. These projectiles travel in the direction they are fired, and do not home in on the player. These projectiles are easy to avoid, so long as the player is strafing constantly. At close range, the Witch-Harpy will whack the player with its feet. Their melee attack deals a lot more damage than their projectiles.

The Serious Sam 3 version of the Harpy has more complex AI than in the previous games. When they are first encountered, they can be seen sitting on top of buildings. If a Harpy is attacked, any Harpies nearby will come to her aid and attack the player. They also tend to keep their distance compared to Serious Sam 1, but they will still try to use their melee attack when they get the chance. Their hitbox is also slightly off-center, often causing them to get stuck.

In Serious Sam 1, if a Harpy is shot in the wings enough times, she will fall to the ground and continue attacking, then fly back up a few minutes later.

Tactics[edit | edit source]

General[edit | edit source]

  • The Harpy's projectile and melee attack can be dodged by strafing at an angle. Strafing at an angle is better than simply strafing in one direction because it prevents a Harpy from charging at the player from a direction they can't look at.
    • When paired with other enemies, Harpies are a medium-threat at close range and low-priority threat at long range. Their projectiles are very easy to dodge, and they usually spawn so far away that it'll take a while before they get close for a melee attack, even though they are fast. However, if they are close, they should be eliminated quickly because their melee attack is much more powerful than their projectiles are. Also, since they are airborne enemies, aiming upwards can distract the player from more dangerous ground-based enemies. They should be taken out whenever the player gets a chance or when they get too close.

Serious Sam 1[edit | edit source]

  • Alone or in small groups, Harpies are easy to take down. Dual Schofield .45s can kill a Harpy with one magazine, while one scoped RAPTOR Sniper Rifle shot can kill one. Close-range Harpies can be killed with either the 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun or Double Barrel Coach Gun. The Military Knife and P-LAH Chainsaw can be more useful as the knife kills a harpy with a single hit and chainsaw stuns the group of harpies.
  • Large groups can easily be dispatched with the Thompson submachine gun. Its accuracy is perfect, and its rate of fire is high enough to cause significant damage without wasting too much ammo.
  • Very large swarms can be rounded up by circle strafing. Firing a single grenade or rocket in the middle of a dense swarm will kill quite a few Harpies and damage several others.
  • A grounded Harpy can be quite dangerous because of her quick speed and her small size, which makes it difficult to discern her from hoards of stronger enemies. If the player spots a Harpy falling to the ground, they should try to kill her before she can get close to them.
  • In The Second Encounter, large groups of Harpies can easily be taken out with the XOP Flamethrower. The flame damage plus continuous fire will kill them quickly due to their low health.

Serious Sam 3: BFE[edit | edit source]

  • The M29 Infantry Assault Rifle is an excellent weapon against Harpies. It has perfect accuracy when looking down the iron sights, letting the player hit the Harpy no matter where she is. It also has a good rate of fire, letting the player quickly tear through a Harpy. However, when using the assault rifle, note that the Harpy recoils downward and back when shot, so the player should make sure to slightly move the gun downward when they first hit the Harpy so that they don't waste a few bullets.
  • The XM214-A Minigun is an effective weapon for killing Harpies, due to its high rate of fire and damage.
  • Harpies charging at the player can be dispatched with the Double Barrel Coach Gun in one hit if most of the pellets connect. This is handy when the player is being attacked by Harpies at close range, no matter how many there are.
  • The Sledgehammer and Axe can kill a Harpy in one hit. To hit them reliably, it is recommended to move towards them. Trying to hit them while sidestepping is very difficult.
  • The AS-24 Devastator and XPML21 Rocket Launcher work well against groups of Harpies. One rocket will kill a Harpy and damage the others. A follow-up rocket can kill two or more because of the damage from the first rocket.
  • The Sirian Mutilator works well against groups of Harpies that are close.
  • C-4 is even more effective at throwing one in the middle of a dense swarm, as it can kill several of them.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

  • The Scythian Witch-Harpy had a very different model in Test 1. It is lower-poly and has a completely different skin. It appears that the beta model's animations weren't properly synced to her speed.
  • In Test 2, the Harpy used the final model but the Test 1 animations.
  • Later promo art shows the final Harpy, but with a different helmet and/or face.
  • The Harpy had a stronger counterpart, the Dragonman, in early versions of the game. It can be seen in early screenshots and its code is included with the SDK.

Related achievements[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter[edit | edit source]

Bird hunter.jpg Bird Hunter
Kill 100 Harpies with the Sniper rifle.

Serious Sam Fusion[edit | edit source]

Bird Hunter.jpg Bird Hunter
Kill 20 Harpies with the Sniper rifle.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Despite being able to use projectiles, the Harpy's AI makes her lean toward getting in close and using her melee attack.
  • In Serious Sam 1, Serious Sam 3, Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope and Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE, Harpies fall to the ground when they are killed by gunfire or with the knife. In Serious Sam HD and Serious Sam VR, they are gibbed regardless of how they are killed.
  • In Serious Sam 3, the Scythian Witch-Harpy's breasts have a very noticeable jiggle when moving, both in the sky and on the ground.
  • The Serious Sam 3 Harpy's projectile shares the same model as the one fired by the Serious Sam HD Witch-Harpy.
  • The Serious Sam 3 version of the Harpy has an odd hitbox that is centered below her feet. This is fixed in Serious Sam Fusion.
  • Harpies are mentioned by NETRICSA in Serious Sam's Bogus Detour, despite not appearing in the game.
  • The Harpy's name is based on the Scythians, nomadic peoples who inhabitated the Pontic steppe about 2000 years ago.
  • The Witch-Harpy is a reference to the Harpy, a creature that is half-bird and half-woman from Greek and Roman mythologies.
  • NETRICSA says that the Harpy in Serious Sam 3: BFE is related to reptiles, whereas in Serious Sam 1 they are mammals. This could imply that they are a different species than the ones encountered in earlier games.
  • Sam's quote after he kills a Witch-Harpy in Serious Sam 3 is a reference to When Doves Cry by Prince.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Artwork[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam 1[edit | edit source]

Pre-release[edit | edit source]

Retail[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam: The Random Encounter[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam 3: BFE[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam 4[edit | edit source]

List of appearances[edit | edit source]

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