We’ve all run into them: those monsters that make us want to pitch a controller through the wall. Maybe it’s an annoying laugh they emit after they dump you into a bottomless pit for the thirtieth time. Maybe it’s an unavoidable attack that deals an obscene amount of damage. Or maybe it’s just some downright psychic precognition. Whatever form it takes, these enemies are downright ANNOYING! This list is to celebrate some of the worst of those foes who are responsible for all those snapped CDs, teeth-mark-pocked controllers and TVs with holes in them. Note that this list does not cover annoying bosses; that’s for another day.

In spite of a very gentle difficulty curve, the Sonic series actually has a few really annoying enemies and traps. The Spike-Pit-Of-Unnecessarily-Slow-Super-Sonic-Death from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and the notorious Barrel of Doom from Sonic 3 both deserve mentions here, but are ultimately disqualified from the list for not being enemies. Instead, we open with Toxomister, a rather vexing enemy from the series’ last 2D Genesis entry. An enemy from the Lava Reef Zone, Toxomister, at first glance, appears non-threatening; it’s really just a metal pole with an eye on the top of it. Unfortunately, it has the ability to spit out a toxic cloud that Sonic or his friends can easily run into in a moment of high speed absent-mindedness. But this cloud doesn’t kill you! No, that would be far too simple and unannoying... Instead, it slowly (VERY slowly) drains your rings, one at a time. In addition, it greatly decreases your running speed and jumping height, making continuing the level almost impossible. The only way to get rid of the cloud is to die, wait until it has drained 100 rings from your health, or kill the Toxomister that poisoned you (easier said than done since, while under the toxic cloud’s effects, you cannot jump high enough to hit the jerk’s weak point). While not really all that dangerous, Toxomister is certainly very annoying and he gets #10 on the list.

Fire Emblem, a Nintendo SRPG series recently imported to Western shores, is not a game series for the careless. The AI is relentlessly unforgiving of any mistakes you make and if you lose a character, they are gone forever. Dead. Permanently. This means that even seasoned veterans of the game will be extremely careful with many of their units, as a carelessly placed mage could easily fall victim to a rampaging enemy berserker and even your best character is not immune to an unlucky critical hit from a swordsmaster. But the dubious distinction of “most annoying enemy” of the series has to go to the thieves. These diabolical sneaks suddenly appear at the worst possible time and head straight for any treasure chests on the map (said chests are usually packed with REALLY nice items). As soon as they pilfer the chest’s contents, they will take their leave of the battle and run off the map, taking their loot with them. If you’re already hard pressed fending off the enemy, these bandits will push your blood pressure through the roof as you realise you have no units in position to stop their pillaging and sending a cavalry unit over that direction in the forlorn hope of catching them before they escape could spell disaster, either for your battle lines or for the cavalry unit in question. Once again, not very dangerous, but REALLY annoying!

Wallmasters are one of the oldest Zelda enemies around. Their debut was in the very last room of the first dungeon of the original Legend of Zelda game. They first appeared as a set of disembodied hands that drifted out of the walls and tried to grab Link and drag him back into said walls, returning him to the dungeon’s first room. The Wallmasters (and their distant cousins, the not-nearly-as-annoying Floormasters) returned for subsequent Zelda games, now making their abode on the ceilings of various dungeons. In spite of their new home, their role remains unchanged: grab Link and spit him back to the very beginning of the dungeon, forcing him to take a sizable detour and retrace his steps back to wherever he was. In long dungeons, this is already enough to set your teeth on edge, but with the 3D Zeldas the Wallmasters have expanded their repertoire to include scaring the living crap out of unwitting gamers. The only warning one gets of an imminent Wallmaster attack is a dull, growling roar and a growing shadow appearing underneath Link; if the player doesn’t immediately dodge or switch into a first person view to try and spot the beast, a giant, gnarled, discoloured hand will drop from the ceiling, giving the player a mild heart attack and heartlessly sending them back to the dungeon’s entrance. Wallmasters: scaring the crap out of little kids and generally being annoying since 1987.

The first entry on this list that’s actually dangerous, the A-wing was a nasty little foe and the hardest rebel starfighter you could come up against in the original TIE Fighter (sans expansion packs). For those not well-versed on their Star Wars lore, the A-wing is a Rebel interceptor, a fast, dagger-like ship armed with laser cannons and concussion missiles and with engines unmatched by anything in the Empire’s basic arsenal. In TIE Fighter, these little monsters were blindingly fast and incredibly manoeuvrable, capable of outrunning and outflying every player ship until the TIE Advanced found its way into the storyline. This incredible speed, combined with its compact chassis, made the A-wing incredibly hard to destroy. Even the anti-starfighter concussion missiles, usually a guaranteed kill, were useless against the A-wings, which would nimbly evade the missiles until they self-destructed. Not only were the A-wings difficult to kill, they were also dangerous, as the concussion missiles THEY packed could shred your unshielded TIE faster than you can say, “I’m your father!”

The highest selling game-series of the Star Wars franchise also introduced one of its most annoying enemies: the Bothan Spy. The Battlefront games are massive-scale FPSes, featuring combat between you and your several-hundred strong allies vs. the several-hundred strong enemies. You truly are a drop in the bucket in this game, which is probably the only reason why the Bothans are as aggravating as they are. The computer-controlled Bothan Spies are annoying in several ways: first off, they can turn invisible. If you look closely, you can still see their distorted outline, but most players will be too busy firing an endless stream of shots into the tough-as-nails Wookiees bearing down on them to notice such a subtle hint. When the Bothans get close, they unleash their second nasty surprise: the disintegrator. The small, but incredibly potent gun they carry can drain your health in under a second, turning you from one of the Emperor’s Finest into a pile of dust in the blink of an eye. Usually the first sign an Imperial player gets of a Bothan attack is the whooshing sound of their weapon going off, followed by a red flash of the screen as they abruptly get reduced to their constituent atoms. In light of this new fact I can confidently say that however many Bothans died to bring news of the second Death Star to the Rebellion, they deserved it!

Odin Sphere is a criminally underrated 2D sidescroller for the PS2. It features an amazing soundtrack, drop-dead gorgeous visuals and a surprisingly intense difficulty. By far the most annoying enemy of Odin Sphere’s cast was the Green Slime, a relentless and aggravating creature found in the back allies of Titania. See, in order to clear a stage in Odin Sphere, all enemies must be defeated. This includes these little green nuisances. “So what?” you say, “Just kill them and get on with it.” Only one problem: the mini-menaces are immune to all physical attacks. This means you either have to make use of your (extremely limited) magic attacks or have the foresight to stock up on napalm beforehand. And napalm isn’t exactly the easiest material to create. Oh, and if you exit the dungeon to go top up your napalm reserves? You have to do the whole thing again from the very beginning and kill all those green slimes over again. VERY, very annoying!

The Malboro is not only one of the most annoying enemies in the Final Fantasy series, it’s also one of the ugliest. Debuting in Final Fantasy 2, the Malboro looks like a fanged, toothy maw surrounded by tentacles and sitting atop a set of plant roots. What makes the Malboro so feared and so utterly aggravating is its signature attack: Bad Breath. This spell, in most Final Fantasy games, inflicts nearly every negative status effect in the game on every active member of your party. Poison, dark, berserk, sleep, confused... you name it, Bad Breath causes it. This can easily wipe out your party if you’re not prepared. Not only very annoying, but very dangerous to boot.

I was trying to narrow this down to one enemy, but in the end it simply proved to be too arduous of a task. Nearly every enemy in the last levels of Phantasy Star Online is aggravating enough to make the list, so I decided to put them all in one entry to save space. Megid is PSO’s instant death spell and, unless you seriously boost your dark-element defence, it will kill you nearly every time it hits. What makes this worse is nearly every enemy in the last level or two of Episode I and II is packing some variant of the Megid spell and they don’t hesitate to use it. There’s the Ob Lily, with its ability to paralyze its prey before delivering the death blow, the Gran Sorcerer, which can teleport around the room to avoid being hit, the Mericarol and its various cousins who use an area Megid to kill anything near them, the Deldepth who race around the room invincible before popping up to briefly fire off a Megid, the Del Lilly, an even more ferocious version of the Ob Lily, and, of course, the lethal Ill Gill, a reaper who can root you in place, leaving you unable to dodge your impending doom. I could literally fill this list with PSO enemies if I wanted to, as even non-Megid enemies like the Delbiter and the Sinows are worth a mention. If you ever get up to the highest level of Ultimate difficulty in this game, be prepared for a lot of pain and swearing.

A true game for the masochistic, Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts is one of the most difficult games in existence. The unforgiving and relentless difficulty is something you’d expect out of a ROM hack, not an actual published title. But even in this sadistic game, there is an enemy that outshines all others in terms of danger and sheer annoyance factor. That enemy is the Red Reamer, also known as the Red Arremer Ace, Firebrand and the Red Devil. Regardless of what you want to call him, he is truly a force to be reckoned with. When you first come across the Red Reamer, he sits quietly asleep on a ledge in front of you, looking almost peaceful. However, when you get close or try to attack him, he immediately springs to life and leaps out of the way of your attacks. He is close to invulnerable, as he is able to dodge nearly every attack with almost perfect accuracy. If you don’t have the homing arrows or gold armour, he is nearly impossible to take down. The Red Reamer is not quite perfect and if you aim a shot just above his head, he will sometimes fly into it, but his near unbeatable clairvoyance makes him the game’s most annoying (and deadly) enemy bar none. Interestingly enough, the Red Reamer moved on from his role as the mascot of the Ghosts n’ Goblins series and went on to star in his own series, entitled Gargoyle’s Quest. His abnormal precognitive abilities did not join him in this new role, but he will still be forever remembered as “that annoying flying red thing that always kills me on the last level!”

Anyone reading this list who has ever had the misfortune of playing a single player game of Sonic Shuffle is wincing right now. Sonic Shuffle was an interesting experiment on Sega’s ill-fated Dreamcast; often cited as Sega’s version of Mario Party, it used the board game/item collection mechanic, but used cards instead of dice, with each player being dealt a hand of cards they could use to move across the board and battle enemies. This allowed you to more strategically determine your path to the objectives. However, if you didn’t have the card you needed, you could take one of your opponents’ cards instead, which tended to be more of a crapshoot, but would occasionally pay off. Unfortunately, the single player game was plagued by the worst case of psychic AI I have ever seen in over twenty years of playing video games. Although you could not see the computer’s cards, it could see yours and would constantly have the computer characters steal your best cards or the exact one they needed. If there was a “random” spinner to determine who suffered a bad effect or who got to teleport with who, the spinner would ALWAYS land on you, even if you weren’t in the lead. The computer players would go out of their way to make your life miserable and your game as difficult as they possibly could. The whole thing was so completely unfair and teeth-grindingly annoying, it defies belief. If you ever want an exercise in self-restraint, play this game on single player without using mid-game saves and try to win. Also, have some friends nearby to restrain you during your ensuing attempt to throw the Dreamcast out the nearest window.

This is a sample of some of the most annoying enemies gaming has to offer. This list is by no means exclusive and there are certainly more enemies worth mentioning, such as the Like Likes from Zelda or the Teddy Bears from Clockwork Knight. The one nice point to have an annoying enemy is that they are almost as satisfying to beat as a real player-character and sometimes even more so. Hope you enjoyed the list!

List by darkknight109 (01/06/2009)

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