The Witch-Bride of Achriman was originally a sorcereress of the Great Council. Faced with destruction at the hands of the legendary evil known in their language as Khad Shain, they arranged an alliance with Lord Achriman, Ruler of the Shadow Plane, but were deceived by him and overwhelmed by his dark powers. They first appear in Serious Sam 3: BFE as a boss, and then as regular enemies later in the game and in Serious Sam 4 and Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem.
Having been manipulated by Lord Achriman and made to work for their enemy against their will, they are known as "Witch-Brides of Achriman", and serve as troops in Mental's army as well as Lord Achriman's puppets. Witch-Brides are now trapped in an eternal semiotic limbo between the physical world and the Shadow Plane. They shift between limnial states, using their pyschokinetic abilities to attack their opponents.
Witch-Brides are not very common throughout the games they appear in. When they first appear, they serve as a boss. After the player kills the boss version, they will soon be encountered as regular enemies later in the levels, often to distract the player while they are busy attacking other enemies.
In Serious Sam 4, the Witch-Bride first appears as a miniboss in Gates of Hell and then later on scattered through the levels. She is about as common in this installment as she is in Serious Sam 3. When Witch-Brides are encountered, they either appear alone or in groups of two or three.
Behavior and skills
As Witch-Brides are trapped between both dimensions, the real world and the Shadow Plane, they have to shift between limnial states in order to use to cast their psychokinectic spells. Their spells allow them to warp space in order to protect themselves, hurl projectiles or crush their enemies. In order to use her spells, however, she has to temporarily shift into physical existence, which makes her momentarily vulnerable. Between attacks, a Witch-Bride will phase out of reality and teleport to a different location nearby. She can also use her tentacles to deflect incoming projectiles including bullets and explosives, which detonate harmlessly in front of her.
Her attacks vary depending on the game that is being played on. In Serious Sam 3: BFE. the Witch-Bride can use her powers from afar which does minor damage over a short period, or use them at close range to deliver a powerful ranged grab that will pick the player up and crush them, doing moderate damage and restricting aim speed. In Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope, her behavior is a lot different and she does not have invulnerability or block attacks. Instead, she will toss several projectiles at the player and teleport around more frequently. In Serious Sam 4, she can use her powers to throw debris at the player which deals a fair amount of damage.
Serious Sam 3: BFE
Despite their low-damage attacks, Witch-Brides are one of the most difficult enemies to kill in the game. Because they are only vulnerable as they are preparing an attack (which is visible by the glow effect that surrounds them changing from purple or invisible to a bright yellow, their tentacles will begin flailing quickly, and the crosshair starts to show her health), there is only a small window to inflict damage and force them to withdraw before they cause damage.
The player can interrupt her attack by either breaking line-of-sight or shooting her, causing enough damage for her to retreat, usually one rocket or A-24 Devastator round is enough. Because she will immediately defend herself and withdraw the player can only hit her once with an explosive before she disappears. When the player's crosshair changes colour from white to green/yellow/red when aiming at her, she is vulnerable.
Witch-Brides are best to be taken down with the SBC Cannon. When not having a cannon, the Devastator is the second best option.
The RAPTOR Sniper Rifle is also an effective option as only a few shots are needed to kill one. Ammunition for the sniper rifle is scarce though, so it is best used for quick elimination of Witch-Brides or as a last resort.
In addition, Witch-Brides teleport randomly around the battlefield and can appear without warning anywhere they can see the player. This makes it difficult to combat them if they are amongst other enemies and the player cannot pay enough attention to look out for them. On their own though, it is easy to combat this problem. Simply move into a corner or other area with restricted view to reduce the area the player has to watch. Witch-Brides have to teleport into open air and have line-of-sight to their target, so this way the player can reduce the area they can teleport to and can take quick action.
In most situations, Witch-Brides should be considered high-priority targets and killed as soon as possible, as they can easily distract the player and prevent them from attacking should they happen to encounter dangerous enemies such as Major Bio-mechanoids or Scrapjacks.
When paired with other enemies, the player should try to harm the Witch-Bride with a quick weapon like the M29 Infantry Assault Rifle long enough that it causes her to retreat, so that the player can focus on clearing out other enemies. When the other enemies have been eliminated, the player can finish off the Witch-Bride, if they haven't already.
Serious Sam 4
The Witch-Bride isn't as tough in this installment due to her lower health, along with her lack of telekinetic choking ability. She is also much easier to find as, when she teleports, she leaves a purple trail of black particles behind; follow the trail to find her when she appears.
As a last resort, the FRPCL and cannon can be used against her.
When paired with other enemies, Witch-Brides are a medium priority targets. Their attacks can be avoided but are dangerous when left unchecked.
Behind the scenes
An early Serious Sam 3 concept of the Witch-Bride looks somewhat different when compared to the one seen in later media. She has the Serious Sam 1Scythian Witch-Harpy's helmet and a more slender figure. It could be that the old Witch-Bride image was an edited Harpy.