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The Most Irritating Enemies in Games

Updated on May 18, 2017
Anti-Valentine profile image

Anti-Valentine reviews PC games and writes about the video game industry. He also sells games and gets commissions through Amazon.


Appears in: Duke Nukem II

There are more than a few irritating guys in this game, but I have to say that the spider takes the cake. Then walk on the floors and ceilings and drop down on you when you least expect it. More than that, they cling to you and force you to shake back and forth until they jump off – failure to shake back and forth quick enough results in your health being sapped until eventually you die.

Even more irritating is the fact that more than one of them can latch on to you, and you can only shake off one at a time.

Runner up: Snake -- if it gets too close, it can swallow you, gradually draining your health, eventually killing you unless you manage to shoot your way out

Protozoid Slimers

Appears in: Duke Nukem 3D

These are obviously inspired by the facehuggers from the Alien movies. They tend to come in eggs, which if aren’t destroyed end up with these things hatching out of them. They too can go from floor to ceiling, and drop down on your face at the most inopportune time, so the entire screen goes green, and you can’t see anything else until you either kick them or shoot them off. They also love to hide in air vents to make the cramped journey that much more perilous for you, and are also known for surviving underwater too – in fact it’s not uncommon to find entire clusters of them by bodies of water where their supposed “daddies”, the octabrains hang out. You’ll also more often that not find babes that have been captures and cocooned in these locations too.

There's a theory out there that the protozoid slimer eventually evolves or grows up to be an octabrain, if Duke doesn't get to them first. Evidence to support this includes the fact that clusters of eggs which contain protozoid slimers are often guarded by octabrains, and that the slimers have as many legs, although undeveloped, as the octabrains (whose legs appear atrophied, at least in Duke Nukem 3D).

The slimers don't appear in DNF to my recollection, but the octabrains do, and there's an an octaking, a boss creature you'll encounter at least once in the game.

Runner up: Sentry Drones -- camouflaged flying robots that like to sneak up on you and explode on contact, dealing some minor to moderate damage. You can usually hear them make a noise when they spot you and the humming or droning noise they make, which gets louder as they get nearer. When there's a whole group of them, they can be devastating.



Appears in: Half-Life series

Headcrabs are nasty little critters. Once they get on to someone’s head, they basically begin to take over the hosts’ body, mutating it at the same time, until the host’s body becomes virtually unrecognisable thanks to the grotesque changes it goes through.

And if you think the headcrabs are nasty, the zombies they spawn are even worse. Scientists and military can be controlled by the things, although I think the security guards are somewhat immune due to their habit of wearing helmets. They can still be killed by their lunging attacks, but not turned as easily if at all. Some of the worst headcrab zombie variations is the Gonome, which is an evolved zombie of sorts, and very powerful.

They even have a boss creature of sorts that can be encountered on Xen, an alien planet.

In the sequel, Half-Life 2, headcrabs are used as a sort of biological weapon to achieve compliance from citizens living in City 17. They tend to arrive in rocket propelled canisters, and once deployed, will seek out any humans and assume control over them, turning them into little more than zombies.

There are more varieties of headcrabs here, and the zombies they spawn are different. Fast headcrabs are quick and harder to kill, and they generate the fast zombie, often encountered in Ravenholm -- these zombie types are much more agile than any other type of zombie, and can climb, jump long distances, and their ear piercing shrieks will haunt your nightmares. You can often hear them howling in the distance when they spot you, and they'll start panting as they run towards you, screaming and clawing at you.

Once reason they might be so much more agile is the fact that they don't have clothes or skin, just muscle and bone, and they are much lighter but deadlier.

The poison headcrab is capable of reducing a player's health to 1 if it make contact with them, and at that point, naturally death is imminent as one more hit from anything and you are dead. Their poison zombies are terrifying, making gasping sounds and hunched over, carrying a whole bunch of poison headcrabs with them, which they won't hesitate to throw at the player if spotted. It's not enough to kill the zombie though -- you have to kill all the poison headcrabs he's carrying as well.

There's also a zombine -- a regular headcrab that connects with a combine soldier -- they run up to you and blow themselves up with grenades, taking you with them. Perhaps this is some sort of last ditch attempt at ridding themselves of the parasite.

It is possible, as demonstrated by Dr. Isaac Kleiner, to de-beak headcrabs, making them more docile. They will still attempt to mount people, but can not assume control over the person, possibly due to the lack of biological function that enables them to bore through the skull of a person and into the their brain.

There is at least one mod out there that explores the idea that the combine in Half-Life 2 might have engineered a synthetic headcrab of sorts, instead of relying on the more organic one obtained from Xen. These ones have armour and are harder to kill, making their chances of survival higher. They tend to spawn superhuman version of zombies.

Runner up: Houndeye -- cute but deadly enemies that make a terrific noise when they engage in combat with you, sending out shockwaves to damage you. More than that, they tend to travel in packs, and the more of them there are, the more damage they collectively do to you.

Doom Pain Elemental 6" Plush
Doom Pain Elemental 6" Plush

Here's the extremely cuddly version of the Pain Elemental, spewer of Lost Souls.


Lost Souls

Appears in: Doom series

These are creatures that did not possess any of the marines on Phobos or Deimos, and as a result have no human host, so they fly around freely, and usually come in groups too. They are quite hard to shoot due to their small size and agility, and if they manage to rush you, they will bite and gore you with their flaming horns.

In Doom II, enemies known as Pain Elementals throw these at you, even in death, as they self-destruct, two or three lost souls will appear and attack you.

They were missing in Doom 3, replaced by a similar looking enemy, but came back as "The Forgotten" in Resurrection of Evil, and also appear in the latest Doom game.

Runner up: Cacodemon -- large, red creatures that fly around, often in groups, attacking you out of nowhere, shooting blue energy orbs at you. They can be a pain to deal with unless you have adequate firepower, and even then they seem to be able to maneuver around quite effectively, especially to avoid projectile based weapons like the rocket launcher.

Cliff Racers

Appears in: Morrowind

You’ll be travelling along, and all of a sudden a large bird like creature crossed with a pterodactyl will start attacking you. Given Morrowind’s rather dodgy combat system, you’ll probably take a swipe with your sword and miss a few times, even if you have 100 blade. You might eventually kill it after a few hits, and it's not uncommon for them to attack in groups. Cliff Racers make it near impossible to sleep or rest during travels, which is important to heal yourself and replenish stamina and magicka.

The best way is to avoid them entirely, but to do this you would either have to use a speed potion of sorts, combined with a water walking potion or enchanted amulet, so you can get away from them, or use a cheat code to increase your walking/running speed.

And for the love of god, don't rest or sleep out in the open -- this is a sure fire way to get a fierce wake up call when one of them starts pecking your face!

There is even a mod for Morrowind which gets rid of Cliff Racers entirely. Bless the person who made that.

Runner up: Scamps -- foul smelling, noisy, pale looking rodent like creatures that for their somewhat diminutive size do pack quite a wallop, as they can claw and shoulder barge you up close, and from afar, they can conjure up fireballs to throw at you. They are used as pranks on occasion by wizards looking to curse though who have stolen enchanted items from them.

Turd Minions

Appears in: Redneck Rampage

These little bastards that resemble strange alien monkeys love to hang around in the sewers and often throw faeces at you while yelling what sounds like "Poopie!" over and over. The noises they make is also irritating as hell, and almost nothing is as satisfying as blowing them to pieces with a well placed stick of dynamite. Any other weapon can prove to be ineffective against them.


Appears in: Wolfenstein 3D

I was going to go with dogs, or perhaps the mutants, but in the end it’s these guys in the white uniforms who are about the worst. They scare the crap out of you when they yell “Spion!” (Spy) at the top of their lungs, and they are much faster and more accurate shots than the regular guards and the SS troopers too.

They like to camp in nooks and crannies throughout the game, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting enemies. In mods like Brutal Wolfenstein 3D, which upgrade a lot of the gameplay of the original game. Some of them even carry MP 40 machine pistols instead of the regular Luger you're accustomed to seeing them with, and some even have grenades!

Runner up: Mutant -- supposedly former allied soldiers who now fight for the Nazis. They do twice as much damage as the officers or regular guards, and shoot by doing some some of little dance, triggering the weapons embedded in their chests.

Spear of Destiny even has an Übermutant boss, who has four arms, each wielding a knife, and has a chaingun grafted into his chest!


Appears in: Thief series (mainly Thief: The Dark Project and Thief II: The Metal Age)

These things come in three different flavours – the small yellowish looking ones which are quite hard to kill with anything other than a sword – even with a sword actually. Then there’s the big green spiders, which are bloody dangerous and not recommended to go up against up close – better to use a bow and arrow – preferably a fire arrow and torch the thing. Chaos spiders are big red spiders which can spit webs at you and fire purple energy bolts as well, almost similar to the arachnotrons from Doom II, except they appear to be wholly organic.

The thing that makes them deadly is they can be quite silent at times, although in other occasions they do make a recognisable hissing sound.

Runner up: Burricks - big, burping creatures that are often found in caves, crypts, and sometimes kept as pets by the nobility in the city. They tend to travel in packs, and their gaseous attacks can be quite damaging.


Appears in: System Shock 2

You can often recognise these buggers by the sounds they make, and their footsteps. They appear as kind of large purplish spider like creatures and come in different varieties, infant, adults, and the horrid invisible ones too, which you'll encounter later on in the game.

Once bitten, you’ll slowly lose health due to introduction of toxins into your system, so unless you have an implant which counters toxins, or a antitoxin hypo, you’re going to have a bad day.

Runner up: Swarm - eggs that contain what looks to be a flying variety of insect, and they'll keep stinging you, forcing you to run to avoid them They can't be killed by any means, but they do have a rather short life span, meaning they'll eventually die anyway.



Appears in: virtually every Alien game ever made

These enemies aren’t as irritating as they are dangerous. You’ll hear them crawling around from some distance, perhaps even hatch and emerge from their eggs, but get too close and they’ll pounce on you at a moment’s notice, and one hit from them in most games is enough as they begin to copulate with your face, beginning the next stage of evolution in the xenomorph life cycle, the chest burster - which you really don't want to be around for.

If you manage to injure them, they spray acid out of cuts on their bodies as a defence mechanism, something commons among all xenomorphs, and if any of it gets on you, even if you step in any of it, it'll eat through armor and flesh alike.

Game over man. Game over.

Hell Hands

Appears in: Blood series

These are straight out of Evil Dead 2 – detached hands that often like to hide in crawl spaces, closets, and the like that travel along the floor at an incredible speed, while chanting "I'll swallow your soul!" and make a beeline for your neck where they will attempt to choke the life out of you. You have to shake back and forth in order to loosen its grip, all the while your vision will start to fade as your face turns bright purple. This makes it imperative that you get rid of the hands first before progressing and tackling other enemies as your combat efficiency will drop to less than half in an instant.

In the sequel, Blood 2: The Chosen, the hell hands return, and when damaged, they even flip you off.

Runner up: Gargoyles - bone throwing demons that can turn into stone in order to surprise you, and like to fly above you making them hard to hit.



Appears in: Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2

Out of all the enemies in this game, I think these are about the worst I've encountered. Yes, others like the Tank or the Witch are more frightening and stronger, and the hunters scariers and the smokers -- well, they're kinda funny really, but I think the Boomer is the one I dread hearing when they are near.

You can hear them burping and making a lot of noise initially, and if they get too close, they cover you in Boomer bile (charming), which then attracts the hordes of zombies you've done so well to avoid thus far during the level. And on top of that, it temporarily blinds you so you can't even really see what's happening, just hear the zombies as they descend on you.

You have to make sure to take them out from a distance, because even if you do manage to take them down before they reach you, when they explode, if you're caught in the blast radius, you'll still get soaked and mauled by a bunch of zombies.

© 2017 Anti-Valentine


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    • Anti-Valentine profile imageAUTHOR


      21 months ago from My lair

      True. In fact I was going to put in some enemies from other games, but I realised their being annoying probably was due to controls.

      At least in a lot of these cases, getting free of them or taking them down doesn't rely on quick time events and instead involves using regular controls in a more intuitive manner.

    • CYong74 profile image

      Kuan Leong Yong 

      21 months ago from Singapore

      I notice these are older games. Which just means double the annoyance from the stiffer controls.


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