The Scythian Witch-Harpy is a female clone of a long-extinct Scythian race that was created by Mental. They have been trained in close combat and give the ability to cast combat spells at their targets.
First introduced in Serious Sam 1, Witch-Harpies are seen in many Serious Sam games throughout the franchise.
The origin of the Scythian Witch-Harpy is the subject of controversy in the scientific community, with some maintaining that it is actualy a creature belonging to the clade Ornithodira that evolved on Earth in the far past, while others classify it as an exo-mammal and theorize it may have evolved on Sirius. Their oversexualized appearance is mere mimicry, intended to attract and confuse less intelligent primates so they may be dispatched by the creature’s razor-sharp claws.
Harpies are quite common enemies when they appear, and are often positioned far away and in medium to large groups. Their main purpose is to distract the target while they are busy dealing with enemies on the ground. They can become a nuisance when they get close to the target in order to swipe them with their claws.
In Serious Sam: The First Encounter, Harpies are first seen in Oasis, but can appear earlier in Temple of Hatshepsut and Sand Canyon in secrets. In Dunes, a massive horde of Harpies will appear after the player picks up a secret health near some palm trees. In Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, Harpies are slightly more common than before. The first Witch-Harpies are seen in Sierra de Chiapas, after NETRICSA tells the player to shoot them down with the newly acquired RAPTOR Sniper Rifle.
In Serious Sam 3: BFE, Harpies are very rare, mostly appearing in Under the Iron Cloud and are not seen much after that. They do, however, appear in much larger numbers in the Jewel of the Nile levels.
Behavior and skills
The Witch-Harpy has been trained by Mental in both 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 track the player. These projectiles are easy to avoid, so long as the player is strafing constantly. When the Harpy is within close enough range of the player, they will swoop down and perform a powerful kick with their claws.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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 A-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.
Serious Sam 4
- Just like with every other game they appear in, their melee attacks and projectiles can be dodged by strafing sideways.
- If the player has enough ammo to spare, the FRPCL is the ultimate anti-Harpy weapon. As the chainsaw projectiles fired from the weapon are extremely effective against most enemies in the game, one or two chainsaws are enough to slice up groups of Harpies almost instantly.
- The assault rifle, Devastator, rocket launcher and sniper rifle remain great weapons to use against medium to large-sized groups of Harpies.
- If the player has acquired the homing rocket upgrade for the rocket launcher, this makes it even more versatile and allow the player to lock onto and take down multiple Harpies at once.
- As groups of Harpies are much larger than before, rapid-fire weapons such as the lasergun and minigun should be used to quickly take them down.
Behind the scenes
- 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 Serious Sam 1. It can be seen in early screenshots and its code is included with the SDK.
Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter
|Kill 100 Harpies with the Sniper rifle.|
Serious Sam VR: The Second Encounter
|Kill 20 Harpies with the Sniper rifle.|
Serious Sam Fusion
|Kill 20 Harpies with the Sniper rifle.|
- 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 HD and Serious Sam 3, if a player dies to a Harpy in co-op, an on-screen obituary message reading "A Scythian Harpy got [player name] spellbound." will appear.
- If the Harpy used her melee attack to kill a player, the message will instead read "[player name] was beaten by a Scythian Harpy."
- 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 refers to a find of a gold figurine depicting a similar creature discovered by Dr. Hermann Stein at the Scythian tumulus of Kul-Oba.
- 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 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.
Serious Sam 1
Serious Sam: The Random Encounter
Serious Sam 3: BFE
Serious Sam 4
List of appearances
- Serious Sam: The First Encounter (First appearance)
- Serious Sam (Palm OS) (non-canonical appearance)
- Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
- Serious Sam: Xbox (non-canonical appearance)
- Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter
- Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter
- Serious Sam: The Random Encounter (non-canonical appearance)
- Serious Sam 3: BFE
- Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter
- Serious Sam VR: The Second Encounter
- Serious Sam's Bogus Detour (Mentioned only) (non-canonical appearance)
- Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope
- Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE
- Serious Sam Classics: Revolution (non-canonical appearance)
- Serious Sam 4
- Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem