Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Working Title: Split Goddamned Bats: From YKTTW

Jim W: Can we split out the classic console games from everything else? My hunch is that 80-90 percent of the "examples" of this trope are really just examples of Nintendo Hard. For example, Castlevania's bats and medusas, and the enemies that attack during jumps over bottomless pits (e.g., from games like Ghosts and Goblins). IMO, this trope (assuming there even is a valid trope here) is being applied too broadly and should instead be confined to video game enemies that are surprisingly difficult and frustrating:
  • in games where this is not otherwise the norm. Games that constantly invite controller-smashing are usually examples of Nintendo Hard, not Demonic Spiders.
  • because of how they are designed. Distinguish poor monster design from poor level design and poor game balance. Lava pits and one-hit-kill death traps are controller smashing annoyances, but they aren't enemies. And enemies that knock or distract you into them aren't Demonic Spiders.
  • especially where this difficulty boost comes from cheapness or by accident

To be honest, I think this article should be canned.

Duckluck: So, uh someone want to explain the name?

DieHard: Spiders in real life are small, mostly harmless creatures that will just skitter away if you approach them. Despite what fiction would have you believe, venomous spiders are very rare and almost all of their poisons can be counteracted within a few hours at least (if not just flat out ignored). Still, people have a fear of them that goes beyond their logical threat status. Hence, a Demonic Spider is that same small, skittish, usually non-venomous spider... but actually justifies the fear that they cause as they inexplicably kill you with ease.

L: I'd have preferred something like "That One Enemy", myself.

DieHard: The general consensus in the YKTTW was that it should have a non-derivative name. I was originally just going to call it Goddamned(something).

Mark Z: This article is a worse train wreck than the first ten minutes of Unbreakable. The problem it exists to solve was trivial, the solution to the problem was inept and arbitrary, the name is ridiculous, the trope definition is vague and self-contradictory, the examples are mostly irrelevant, and the text is a mess (thanks in part to a trigger-happy search-and-replace). I propose we delete the whole thing.

DieHard: It's really hard to write actual good articles when about the only input you can get is just shooting down ideas, next to nobody can even be bothered to vote for a name, and the whole thing is just treated as Somebody Else's Problem. I disagree that the name is any worse than Goddamned Bats, which just comes across as basically just being an arbitrary name derived from the first enemy the writer thought of (but hey: can't please everybody). The article is necessary on the basis that excessively long articles are frowned upon (the scroll bar of Firefox was at the smallest size with the old Goddamned Bats article) and the general consensus that distinct tropes should be split off from a long article when possible instead of just having Goddamned Bats A Through F or whatever.

I think the article is fine outside of the name (honestly, I had a lot of difficulty and little input when trying to come up with one and it certainly wasn't looking like any consensus would have ever been reached) and how some of the examples look a bit odd from the move (I spent a lot more time than is really apparent redoing a lot of descriptions, but I haven't played many of the games that the vaguer examples were talking about and had to tread a fine line between what fits the article title and what would be excessive meddling of other people's words), but I'll ask the forums to decide the overall fate. If we can decide on a name that makes everybody happy, hey, that would be awesome. In the mean time, I encourage people to edit every other aspect of the article to improve its quality and to post their thoughts in the forthcoming thread. This is a collaborative website, after all.

And here is the topic.

Spectrum: I felt that this article was too full of whining over monsters that the editor in question has a grudge against, so I added the clause about "Complaining About Games That Are Hard".

Someguy: I tried to remove a redundant example in the list... But I got an error message. When I checked this page, I found out that a lot of the entry was somehow deleted in the process! I tried to restore the page, but whenever I try to register my edits, all I get is an error message. The bandwitch here is horrible.

Mman: Who keeps removing the shotgun enemies in shooters one? I'd probably have a harder time listing exceptions.

Dausuul: Cleaned up the wording some to emphasize that Demonic Spiders are unfair, not just hard. Also made some tweaks to the Diablo II entries (fetish shamans do not resurrect each other, although there is one boss shaman who can resurrect his minion shamans; and the imps of Act V are annoying as hell but not particularly lethal, putting them more properly in Goddamned Bats territory).

Qit el-Remel: Removed the bit about opposite-faction players in WoW, as it's both off-topic and arguably inaccurate.

SenatorJ: Anyone else think Deathclaws from Fallout 3 don't really belong here? They hit hard and can close distance quickly, but that's about it. They don't really have any special attacks. If you have built yourself a Dart Gun, they're relatively tame: hitting them with a dart is easy to do with any character type, and one hit anywhere on them reduces their speed and eliminates their ability to jump. At that point they're basically unable to hit you (unless you're a melee character, I suppose).

Arcane Azmadi: We REALLY need to go through this article in depth and weed out all the examples that just don't fit at all. A lot don't even meet the criteria of "hard enemies", let alone Demonic Spiders, they're just enemies that somewhat annoy people. For example, Ticks and Trites in Doom 3. They're slow and die in 2 pistol shots, you can mow them down with the machine gun, what's the problem? Sure they're creepy, but just being literal Demonic Spiders doesn't mean they have a place in the article.

Erzengel: "product of poor (or, perhaps, malicious) playtesting..." Oi, don't blame us. We in Quality Assurance get just as frustrated with demonic spiders as you do, except imagine being forced to make sure they work right, 8 to 16 hours a day, 5 to 7 days a week, for 6 or more months. Also keep in mind, there are some demonic spiders that you never get to see, or many of those you DID see were toned WAY THE *BOOP* DOWN, that we had to deal with. "Godlike reflexes" doesn't even begin to cover some of the demonic spiders you've never had to deal with. But playtesters don't have a say in the final product, it's all up to the devs. And devs can be known to be, what is termed in the software industry as, "User Hostile".

Now that that's off my chest.

In Hitman: Blood Money there are other hitmen who try to kill you, who appear to be innocents until they get you into a secluded spot. After they become active, you have about a second before the game engages a cutscene that instantly kills you. The only way to defeat them is with precognition, namely the "save game time travel" variety of precognition. Would that count as a "demonic spider"?

Dr Lombriz: On the Toe Jam and Earl, someone wrote as an example (sigh) "Two words: Lawnmower Man." I propose it should be explained or deleted.

Spectrum: I have pruned the Diablo (I and II) examples. Notably, Oblivion Knights and Succubi do not count as Demonic Spiders because they are clearly supposed to be among the most dangerous monsters in the game.

Tom: I want to remove the Left 4 Dead entry but I want to know if I'm the only one who feels there's absolutely NOTHING unfair about Boss Infected in L4D. They have their own theme musics that warn you about them, they don't really have any unfair mechanics and they're nowhere near frustrating. I think that L4D entry strays into Complaining About Games That Are Hard.

Anyone else agree?

Chef033: I agree. Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2's special infected are, if you ask me, shining examples of good gameplay balance even in versus mode. They may have their moments, like when an AI-controlled charger on expert difficulty decides to exploit his melee resistance and punch you to death instead of actually using his charge, but on the whole they're a well-balanced bunch of bosses. Valve spent a lot of time tweaking the gameplay mechanics of each special infected to make them threatening without making them fall into this trope, and it shows.

Tipz: rewrote intro for clarity. I feel the new intro is clearer and less confusing. In case anyone's outraged at the edits, or in case you just want to see the old intro, i've pasted it here in its entirety:

The players hate them, loathe them, and scream in fury each time they see them. They're the Demonic Spiders. A product of poor (or, perhaps, malicious) playtesting, these are the enemies which defeat you over and over again because they're just so damn cheap. Tactics are rendered ineffective as they swarm you, home in on you with erratic patterns, leave you helpless, and just slaughter you using completely unfair tactics.

All Demonic Spiders are Goddamned Bats, but not all Goddamned Bats are Demonic Spiders. The defining trait of a Demonic Spider is that it kills you in a way that you cannot reasonably avoid without a) precognition, b) godlike reflexes, c) Save Scumming or d) being The One and worst of all, e) luck. And even having one or all of those traits won't save you from some of these things.

Any and all of the traits of the Bats apply, plus one or more of the following:

But most importantly, they kill you in ways that make you want to smash stuff. Controllers are broken, TVs are smashed, colonies are dropped. These are the monsters that are their own brand of Nightmare Fuel.

Please refrain from adding entries for monsters that are merely tough to beat. This is supposed to be about monsters that kill you unfairly, not degenerate into Complaining About Games That Are Hard.

If it's a boss monster, it's probably That One Boss.

If it's tough because it's actually made to be tough, you have the Boss in Mook Clothing.

Amperschwa: I hope you don't mind this plug but I'd like to know why Komato Beasts from Iji aren't on the Demonic Spiders page yet.