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Critical Annoyance

Red Warrior is about to die!
"Dammit, I know!"

(For the proper experience, run the "music" from this video while reading this page.)

Red Alert! Red Alert! Life Meter almost empty! Critical Existence Failure imminent! Heal Thyself and this warning will go away.

This warning is ubiquitous in games with a Life Meter. It can get so annoying that the player is less likely to play carefully when health runs low. On the other hand, when a game does avert it, and you end up dying because you didn't notice your health was low, you may start to miss it.

Some games use a Heartbeat Soundtrack as this sound.

It is partly Truth in Television, except in Real Life, signs can usually be much, much worse.


Examples:

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    Video Game Examples 
  • In Alice: Madness Returns, when you get low on health, cracks (starting out small, then eventually growing bigger and pulsing red as more roses are lost) form around the edge of the screen. The symbolism is clearly that the Looking Glass is beginning to shatter.
  • Pokémon:
    • Low health. In earlier games, it even screwed up the cries of the monster you were sending out, since the channels overlapped. Said alarm got integrated into a song in the Black and White Versions. In Pokémon X and Y, the beeping only plays for a second before stopping.
      • This one is particularly annoying for speedrunners, as the near-death sound speeds up battles in some games, and hence often the sound is active for most of the battles in the run.
    • Another such sound was the alert that played if one of your Pokémon was poisoned and you were walking around in the overworld. It's not so much an alert as it is a weird, machine gun-like sound (alternatively, a sound as though the game were glitching out). It even gave a visual distortion every couple of steps. This stopped happening outside of battle in Generation 5, like the low health noise.
  • Every single game of Kingdom Hearts has one which is loud and annoying to the point it could even break your concentration when fighting bosses among bosses or Bonus Bosses. And it continues until either you use Curaga or you die to the continue screen.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Each character has their own "We're screwed" line.
    • Tales of Vesperia does this too. Every character has a few unique "I'm screwed" lines to let you know they're at low health, as well as a line to let you know that Repede is at low health. He's a dog, he can't really say it himself.
    • Tales of the Abyss also has this, with quotes to let you know if you've been hit by a powerful attack or if you're near death. Oddly enough, one of Jade's low-health quotes is "looks like we're still okay," meaning he often says that after surviving an attack that has just killed everyone else. Although that's quite in character, actually. Bonus points if you have Anise in the party who will reply with "We are SO not okay".
  • JXQ, when he did an audio commentary of an The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time tool-assisted speedrun, mocked this trope by saying "You're almost dead! You're almost dead! You're almost dead!" in cadence with the sound effects.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (The Original NES game)
  • StarTropics
  • The 3D Super Mario Bros. games. Whenever Mario's health is critical, he begins breathing heavily when idle. Sunshine upped the ante by having him sound exhausted with half-hearted Woo's and Yeah's.
  • Both Yoshi's Island games have this in the form of the babies' shrill crying. And you only have to get hit once for this to happen. The cry was actually made more annoying during development because testers weren't as focused on recovering their baby as the devs thought they should be.
    • Strangely, for being an ape, Baby Donkey Kong in Yoshi's Island DS isn't that annoying at all. Baby Mario and Peach are still unbearable.
    • At least in the first game, there's also a loud beeping if your timer (basically your health meter) dips under ten seconds and Baby Mario's still not on your back. The timer's number turns red and significantly larger until it refills back up to ten again.
    • And in Yoshi's Story, the music would lose its rhythm and go off-key whenever your life-meter-flower lost all its petals. The flower would also turn blue and frown, and Yoshi would sit down and start panting while idle.
  • In the Paper Mario series, there's a repetitive "Bla-la-la! Bla-la-la!" that sounds off if Mario (or, in Thousand-Year Door, the current partner) lets his HP drop below 5. The pitch increases if his HP is allowed to hit 1. In the first two, this noise only occurs in combat, letting the only indication that Mario's health needs improving be a relatively quiet gasping when you let him stand still. (Outside of combat, the partners don't make noise when they're low, but they show visible signs of exhaustion.)
  • In Super Paper Mario, the first-level Critical Annoyance only starts when you're at or below 20% of your current max HP. So, at level 1 (10 HP), you have to drop to 2 HP for it to happen. No matter your level or max HP, second-level Critical Annoyance still happens at 1 HP left.
  • The Mario & Luigi series has no critical noise, but the Bros will have exhausted idle animations. In an instance of KO annoyance, if one brother hits zero HP, the other will have to dodge attacks while holding them.
  • Super Mario Galaxy has this for a low battery warning for the Wiimote. Over long play sessions, expect to hear that beeping sound and see that red battery meter incessantly.
  • The Metroid series, from the very beginning; once Samus's health hits about 30 points, her suit begins beeping dua-dua-dua-dua-dua-dua-dua-dua. Run out of health and it explodes.
    • Worse yet, in the Prime series, the Energy Low chime was accompanied by a big orange idiot light in Sam's HUD, as were all the Item Low indicators.
    • Or the escape from the Pirate frigate, where you have two alarms playing over each other: the vessel's emergency klaxon and your suit's "evacuate immediately" alarm.
    • Metroid: Other M scales this back to just having Samus pant heavily when at critical energy, audible through the Wiimote speaker.
    • It's been theorized that the low life sound may have actually saved Samus's life in Super Metroid. The overgrown Metroid hatchling recognizes and releases its "mother" only when she is at near-death health. Why? Perhaps because it recognized the sound her suit was making, which it had heard before when Ridley brought her to similarly low health before running off with it at the beginning of the game.
  • Both of the Half-Life games have the HEV suit announcing major or minor injuries and warning about "User death imminent" whenever you're under 25% or take massive damage from a fall. Very distracting, especially as it drones on for about 30 seconds in an emotionless monotone.
    • At least the first Half-Life allowed you to turn down or turn off the suit's "voice", and its expansion packs avoided the voice altogether, because their protagonists weren't wearing HEV suits. In Half-Life 2 the suit's voice was quieter and had fewer line prompts.
    • Used as a bit of Black Comedy by Freeman's Mind in an outtake where Gordon falls to his death. The previously muted voice activates and begins its warning speech in otherwise dead silence.

  • The Halo series:
    • In Halo: Combat Evolved, health and shields are separate meters, so you get separate sounds for low shield (alarm-like beeping sound) and low health (heart pounding).
    • The "low shield" warning in Halo 2. It's relatively quiet and short-lived. If you're under fire and it can't regenerate, you're probably going to die soon. If not, it goes away in a couple of seconds.
  • Gauntlet, when a player's health falls below 200: "Wizard Needs Food Badly." "Wizard is about to die." Dun-un. Dun-un.
  • Rune Factory beeps incessantly when your HP is really low. It only happens in areas where you'll die if your HP runs out (in the towns you'll just fall unconscious and lose time).
  • The earlier Kirby games have a quick beeping sound when you drop to one health point. The later ones use this when the health bar gets low. The beep only occurs once per "room", though; if you go through a door with your vitality still low, the beep plays again once the new room fades in.
    • Kirby Super Star has the same beep when your life bar falls to about 20% and Kirby starts flashing constantly (but silently), and taking any more damage after that will make a small copy of the health bar appear over his head for a moment.
  • In the early Amstrad CPC game Tubaruba, when your energy bar depleted enough, the constant background music became rather wonky and unsettling...
  • Fable I does this in an interesting way. Whenever your health/will is low, you'll get an audio warning from the Guildmaster: "Your health is low...do you have any potions? or food?" or "Hero, your will energy is low. Watch that." In the expansion pack, He's one of the people you can kill to open a portal to the final boss.
  • Although not in relation to a life meter, Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart Super Circuit had a warning beep if you were 5th place or lower (in Super it only played during the final lap) and would keep playing until the race ended or you moved up the ranks. Of course coming in 5th or lower costs you a life, so it does somewhat act like a low life warning.
  • The same goes for the original F-Zero, where you need to be above a particular rank as you cross the finish line, with the required rank getting higher with every lap (starting at 15 for the first lap and topping off at 3 for the final one). If you're at the minimum rank or lower, regardless of what lap you're on, a warning beep starts to play, and if you aren't at the minimum rank or higher as you cross the finish line, or if you fall to 20th place, you die.
    • In F-Zero X and GX, a similar klaxon sound is played when your energy is running low, and gets faster as your energy gets lower.
  • Wizards And Warriors would start playing cheerful music when your health got low.
  • A mod for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion used this in an interesting way. When your health dropped below 15 percent, the screen would start to blur. You could also set it so the blur started at 80 percent, but the magnitude was less noticable. It was called "Immersive Health Indication" in case anyone wants to use it.
  • When Sonic's about to drown, the music changes to another theme. The drowning music gets louder and more frantic as time goes on until either he dies or he gets a bubble. This is usually accompanied by numbers appearing over his head to indicate how much time he has left. 'Ding' noises are hears at intervals before this happens, which is useful because Sonic's Oxygen Meter isn't actually visible.
  • Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 made your controller vibrate at near-maximum intensity in heartbeat-like pulses when your health was critical. If you didn't have a health potion to stop the vibration, you were probably done for.
  • Star Fox 64 plays this every time you're hit with your shields low; a similar siren in the Solar stage tells you the same thing but continuously, under the logic that it's so goddamn hot that your shields decrease over time. The Solar alarm is of a lower pitch, volume, and speed than the "damaged while critical" alarm. This softer alarm will also continuously play anywhere your shields are low and you're not being shot to trigger the more frantic one.
  • Twisted Metal: Head On has a truly annoying siren that constantly loops when you're low on health. ...BooEEEP... "Health is low" ...BooEEEEP...
  • Call of Duty and later Rainbow Six games feature loud heart thumping and color filters over the whole screen (sometimes a red hue, sometimes black-and-white). If you find them annoying, it might have been intentional, as it somewhat averts Critical Existence Failure.
  • Mass Effect also uses the "world turns red, Heartbeat Soundtrack" model when the player character's health drops below a certain level. To make it even worse in the first game, you can't zoom in your aim while your health is below 15% or so. This means you're even more likely to die unless you burn a medigel or equip certain armor upgrades and wait to regenerate.
    • The Hammerhead in the sequel has a constant siren that goes off if it takes even minor damage.
    • Like Call of Duty above, that might have been intentional, as it also disallows you from zooming in your sights, making it even harder to shoot.
    • Shepard and the squad will occasionally call out some variant of "Shields are down!" to warn the player. It's not frequent enough to be annoying, but that also makes it unreliable. Your teammates may also take note when your health is very low.
    • In the first game, whenever the Mako tank loses its shields and starts taking health damage, your squadmates will yell phrases like "We're hit!" "Taking fire!" and "Hull compromised!" This gets very annoying in battles with tons of enemies that are constantly shooting you.
  • Very irritating in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, being the first game in the series to use the trope. Worse yet, being a stealth game, the difficulty of coming across potent healing items and the very tight limit on the number of items your character can take with them meant you probably had a valid reason for not healing. Even more annoyingly, the sketchy enemy detection system meant the best way of locating enemies was using headphones and the game's excellent 3D sound, meaning any aural interference could cost you the ability to find enemies. Absolutely fall-over-crying annoyingly, your less-important Stamina gauge also started beeping when it was a little low, and if both health and stamina were low the annoyance gets louder, shriller and much more rapid.
  • Possibly related (in that it doesn't have anything to do with health levels) is the noise of the police cars in the first Carmageddon. Once the game was completed you had the ability to drive any car in the game, including those you couldn't normally buy. The police cruiser and the six-wheeled personnel carrier were very effective vehicles, but they had the sound of their sirens embedded in that of their engine.
    • The second Carmageddon does the same thing with its police cruiser and (even more annoyingly) the boomcar. And it changed pitch depending on your speed. Bum... Bum... boom boom boom BA BA BA BA BA BA BRRRRRRRRAAAAA.
  • Front Mission: Gun Hazard is a lucky example - lucky in that you have an option to turn the thing off.
  • "Don't get caught! / Keep going! x meters till goal / till rival crosses finish" and the accompanying alarm from Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. Particularly embarrassing is if you're trailing so far behind that "Keep going!" doesn't even appear—you just get your opponent's distance to the finish.
  • Planet Puzzle League lets you choose from several different warning beeps.
  • The original Final Fantasy I has this annoying, screechy sound that plays when you walk around with a poisoned character.
    • Later Final Fantasy games replaced the horrible screeching with a sound akin to a heartbeat and by making the lead character flash red with every step.
  • Hellgate: London, complete with the screen changing to monochrome - and the occasional glitch that prevented it from reverting to colour after you healed up.
  • Galaxianł, an Arcade Game with a huge cabinet that players sit in, has loud klaxons and red lights go off inside the cabinet when the ship's shields drop below 20%. Made worse by the fact that there is no way to restore the ship's shields.
  • "Dammit!" / "We're not gonna make it!" / "Neku, do something!" / "Yo man, we in trouble!" from The World Ends with You.
    • This is generally fair, and since it's not continuous it's usually not that annoying.
    • Which is NOTHING compared to the blipping when it gets a bit worse.
  • In earlier Dance Dance Revolution titles, bringing your Life Meter down to critical levels causes some sort of "Danger!" screen to flash in the background. Dance Dance Revolution Extreme is particularly bad with this, with a terrifying clip of a shark jumping out at you.
  • "Check your position!" from Daytona USA.
    • "Watch that redline on the tach!" "Better keep an eye on your time!" "You're almost out of time!"
  • R2-D2 screaming in just about any Star Wars game he's in. Though in some games (such as Star Wars Trilogy Arcade), he does so when you die, rather than when your life runs low.
  • In Black & White, while your health status, as an immortal god, is rarely in question, your villagers refuse to let up on their whining: "Need more civic buildings!" "We must have homes." "Need more food..." You'd think they weren't grateful for a patron deity!
  • Psychonauts has a loud, irritating heartbeat noise when your Mental Health runs down. Given that Death Is a Slap on the Wrist it's enough to drive a player to suicide.
  • Aquaria has no sound alarm, but gradually covers the screen in a red haze as you get damaged. Plus, once your health is low enough, each hit causes the entire game to drop to slow motion for a second or two while Naija recoils in pain.
  • Armored Core games feature a vocal warning when your AP drops below 50%, (in For Answer this was changed to 70% and then again at 40%) with a constant warning alarm triggering if you are below 10% in any of the games. Since you cannot heal mid-mission in AC, then the alarm is usually a sign that you must accept your fate or else fight like a madman and then hear the end-mission dialogue over the continued drone of the alarm.
  • Fatal Frame games have the character panting heavily when low on health. In the first game at least, you would still hear the heavy breathing even when in the menu AND EVEN WHEN YOU SAVE.
  • Gaia Online's MMO zOMG! has two types. If your health runs low, your heart starts beating loudly. If your stamina runs low, your character starts panting heavily and gasping for breath. Not too bad, provided you can find a safe place (or helpful players) to rest and recover. However, it doesn't stop if you're dazed and waiting to be revived.
    • Now they do cease while dazed. But what hasn't changed is that even if you lower/mute the sound effects from the in-game options, it doesn't affect these two.
  • LittleBigPlanet: If you keep dying repeatedly and are down to one life left, the glowing ring on the Checkpoint turns red and an intermittent klaxon-type alarm sounds every five seconds.
    • Thankfully, this noise only plays if you're near a checkpoint with no lives left in it.
  • Thunder Force V and VI flash "DANGER" signs to alert you of otherwise-unpredictable hazards. Some players complain that it makes the game suckingly easy.
  • Averted in Gears of War, which can cause a lot of accidental deaths to Halo or Call of Duty players who are used to an audio warning to signal critical health. The only sound warning you that your health is low is the death scream of your character when he explodes messily into gibs. The game does have a visual warning, though
  • If you have only 1 health point left in, Adventure Island IV, you'll hear constant bleeping noise.
  • Super Monkey Ball has the announcer, who will yell at you to HURRY UP! when time is running low. Later games in the series also have a countdown to the time limit.
    • Later games? No, no, no, you've got it all wrong. They had that countdown SINCE THE BEGINNING. In the arcade game, no less.
      • Oh yeah, and in the arcade game, the robot-like voice in general...vocaloid? Whatever...that monotony for "Ready...go..." and the higher-pitched "Goal!", though that one is DEFINITELY less annoying. But that countdown...lower and lower pitched with each number...it's SCARY.
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII has the left edge of the screen turn yellow when Zack hits half HP, and then red when he's about to die. Fairly useful, really.
  • World of Warcraft: "Not enough rage." "I need more rage." Coming right up. Fortunately, these can be turned off, and have been by default since at least patch 3.0, although the UI interface sounds that replace them and can't be turned off without addons are almost as annoying.
    • "I'm out of range." "I'm too far away!" "I'm out of range!" Poor young mages who sit at a distance, casting spells while it yells at them...
      • Not nearly as annoying as trying to level as a Fire Mage. When Pyroblast, the mainstay pulling spell, had a 6s cast time. Pretty much necessary to nail that one from max range if you didn't want to be torn to shreds while soloing.
    • In seeming contradiction of the above, however, many addons add sound effects to the game to warn players of critical situations, including low health or mana and when they are about to be hit by a dangerous boss attack, among other things.
      • Such mods typically use a single alert sound when you drop below a certain threshold of mana or health, telling you to moderate your usage or use some form of recovery skill. The "I can't do that" sounds play only when you can't perform the action, but by that time it's often too late to do anything about it.
      • Some addons then fall right back into this trope when they spam a "Need Heal" message into the group channel. Many healers will intentionally not heal a group member who does that since it is so annoying tends to scroll actually useful messages off the chat window.
  • LEGO Rock Raiders has a heartbeat sound effect whenever the air supply runs low. And the obvious landslide warning.
  • Overlord had a loud heartbeat sound when Overlord reaches its last piece of health. It is quite annoying when there is no imminent danger and you're just waiting for health to regenerate.
  • Luigi's Mansion. When his health is low there is an annoying heartbeat sound, and whenever you press the A button Luigi cries out in agony.
  • Abuse: health low results in a constantly faster and louder heartbeat.
  • Destroy All Humans! had an annoying beeping sound once you lost your shield and were at risk of dying.
  • Just Cause annoyed you with a continuous heart-beat noise, along with all other sounds almost muted and a red screen to tell you that you had low health.
  • In some versions of Ultima IV (the Master System one, for example) the Avatar's every movement is accompanied by a high-pitched "clash" sound-effect if the party runs out of food, with the warning "Starving!!" spamming the text window. Fair enough considering the perilous HP loss that accompanies periods of starvation, but it does mean a very noisy immediate future while you trek to the nearest Moongate or food-producing town, or more likely, just wander incessantly until your whole party is dead and Lord British rescues you from the void.
  • The Operation Wolf Light Gun Game had this as well as your health ran down. It would also flash helpful messages if your ammo was low, too.
  • Tyrian features a positively ear-splitting klaxon that sounds when your ship is low on armor and gets faster the lower your ship's armor is.
  • Utterly averted in Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth which has no heads-up display whatsoever. The only indication you get that you're injured is limping and Jack's gasps of pain, and the only sign that you're dying is that the screen gets grayer and grayer until you die.
  • FTLFasterThanLight has a stupidly annoying alarm sound when a crewman is about to die. Of course, on many occasions it's actually going to help a player who is otherwise overwhelmed and wouldn't have noticed until the crewman died.
  • Silent Hill 2 does not feature a life metre as such, instead showing your screenshot in the Pause menu becoming hazier and changing colour. However, in-game, once you start taking damage, your controller starts to vibrate in the manner of a heartbeat. And it speeds up and gets stronger as you become increasingly injured. And your own heartbeat climbs in sync with it.
  • In Persona 3, Fuuka goes ape-shit whenever a character is low on health or has a status ailment. Ditto Rise in Persona 4.
    • Ditto Teddie: "YOSUKE'S IN DANGER! CHIE-CHAN'S IN DANGER! YUKI-CHAN'S IN DANGER!!!"
  • From Ray Crisis: ENCROACHMENT OVER 90%.
  • In the Katamari Damacy games, there's a somewhat irritating siren every time you have less than 30 seconds left. It's not like you can increase your time, so rather than telling you to refill your meter or something, it just lets you know the level is about to end, even after the King let you know 30 seconds earlier, covering up the entire screen. The proximity alarm that goes off whenever you're near a moving object can also wear thin.
  • Most of the Wing Commander games have an obnoxiously loud Eject warning that appears when the game calculates that the next hit is likely to destroy your fighter. This cannot be turned off, although fortunately it goes away after your Deflector Shields have regenerated a bit... assuming your shield subsystem isn't too badly damaged, that is.
    • Wing Commander 1 also has alternate music that plays during combat when the player's fighter is badly damaged. The different ports call it either "You're Severely Damaged," "Floundering," or "Time to Eject." It's a repetitive, discordant Psycho Strings melody, as the SNES version demonstrates.
  • The NES Rambo game would make the screen flash red constantly to show the player low on health. This got annoying very fast. It was even worse if you inputted the invincibility code, because it basically triggered the low health flash all the frigging time. The only reason that didn't become famous for triggering epileptic fits (particularly since flashing red is the most likely way to do it) is because of The Problem with Licensed Games.
  • In the arcade version of 1943, warning beeps will sound when the player is low on health. In the NES edition, the music is replaced with a rather high-pitched tune when this happens.
  • Never play No More Heroes with less than 25% battery life in your Wiimote, no matter how much playtime that would normally get you in other games. Seriously, don't.
  • In Win Back, the music speeds up and intensifies when your health gets low.
  • The Oregon Trail: The infamous "DUN DUN" music when someone is sick or injured.
  • Red Faction II has a "blip blip blip" sound when you're out of health kits and your health is low.
  • Time Crisis: "DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!" Better duck to avoid losing a life! There's also the obligatory beep when the timer is running low.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the glowing lines on the Demi-Fiend's body turn red when his HP becomes low.
    • Although this is hardly annoying, and is rather helpful.
  • While Unreal Tournament doesn't have an aural indication, your health indicator will start flashing if you have less than 50 health.
  • The first Burnout has three tiers of music for each track: a relatively calm BGM, a more intense theme once the timer starts to run down, and a countdown theme whenever you have less than 10 seconds left.
    • The third game, Takedown, has a few across it's various modes: Burning Lap audibly ticks down the last five seconds before a medal target, Elimination has a constant beep if you're in last place, and Road Rage has a critical damage indicator if you're one crash away from being knocked out.
  • Magic Sword: Heroic Fantasy sounds a loud klaxon over and over when the player character's lifebar gets critically low.
  • The Falcon series of flight simulators has the audio "Altitude. Altitude. Altitude. Altitude." warning ad nauseum when you're flying with gear up below a certain... yeah. There's also "Pull up. Pull up. Pull up. Pull up." over and over again if you're headed for the ground. This is apparently based on Real Life, and fighter pilots refer to the nice female you're-going-to-die voice as Bitchin' Betty.
  • In Baroque, The lower your health and vitality are, the faster and louder the protagonist's heart beat is.
  • The ring of light in the center of an Xbox 360 controller becomes this when it's low on battery power. Its threshold for "low battery" is a bit high too, so you end up seeing this ALL THE GODDAMN TIME.
    • To elaborate on how high the controllers threshold is, when you hit the Xbox Guide button, if you look in the upper-left corner of the pop-up, you will see the battery indicator, which maxes out at four bars. The Guide button starts flashing at TWO.
  • F/A-18 Hornet/Precision Strike Fighter: "Altitude! Altitude!" ad nauseam when you're flying too low, and the beeping sound when an enemy missile is headed towards you. And "Bingo! Bingo!" when fuel is running low.
  • Rock Band actually has the note highway pulse a clear red whenever either you or a draining crowd meter is in the dangerous red section of the crowd meter (or the bottom 1/4 of it). This red is clearly visible even during solos, and is not synchronized with the music.
    • The pulsing of the overdrive meter right next to the strike bar on the note highways is actually a useful, non-irritating reminder to make use of it (and it is snyced with the music). The highway-obstructing "TILT TO SAVE BAND MEMBER" notice? Annoying as hell. Fortunately, the drummer will probably complete fills on reflex and won't have to worry about the notice too many times (save when someone fails out DURING a drummer's fill, causing the fill to become useless due to a bug)
  • Friday the 13th for the NES has the Jason Alarm when a kid or counselor is under attack by Jason, and you only have a short time to save them. Once a counselor is killed, they're perma-dead.
  • Trauma Center usually ups the volume of the heart monitor once vitals fall below a certain point, and your assistant will also warn you. Gets a bit ridiculous in Trauma Team's First Response missions, where you might hear Maria say "Damn! Vitals don't look good!" something like five or six times in succession as you switch between patients.
    • Gets even more ridiculous on harder difficulty levels (where vitals drop quicker) - if the drain is fast enough, you might hear the assistant complaining multiple times in a matter of seconds as you approach 25 health and stab in the stabilizer.
  • In Transformers: War for Cybertron, getting low on health triggers an Interface Screw where red warning text (in alien script) starts popping up, the corners of the screen begin to turn fuzzy and the audio becomes muted. Fortunately, all you have to do to rectify this is wait outside the line of fire for your health bar to regenerate.
  • The "beebeebeebeep" sound in Janitor Joe when oxygen/time is running out.
  • Marathon plays a smoke alarm-sounding beep when you are running low on oxygen.
  • Both Left 4 Dead games have this when your health is in the red. Your survivor will constantly complain every minute or so that they are hurting or are about to die. Yes Ellis, you're gonna die, but I don't got anything to heal you with so shut up and kill zombies.
    • Your vision also turns grey if you've been incapacitated too many times and are low on health. You'll also hear a heartbeat among all the complaining coming from your character.
  • Casual Internet games like those Yahoo ones which are time-based will yell out a very piercing repetitive noise when time is running out, guaranteeing you'll panic and lose the game.
  • The Mega Man Battle Network games have an annoying near-death alarm.
  • Repton 3 bleeps and flashes the screen when the timer has less than 15 seconds left. One level has a 16-second time limit; your time is replenished each time you take a time capsule, so you get around three minutes to complete the level, but the beeping and flashing will be going on nearly the whole time.
  • Gerda from Comic Jumper . "You have less than 25% Health, Captain! Stop sucking!"
  • In Battlefield: Bad Company 2, when a team was close to losing a conquest game then loud Red Alert klaxons would sound endlessly. Most annoying when a team managed to turn the tide just before losing and had to listen to the klaxons droning on and on even if they were doing well.
    • Recent patches have fixed this. Getting to the "losing" point sounds the klaxons three times...and then never again.
    • Battlefield 2 will have a pounding heartbeat become audible to members of the losing team just before a round ends.
      • Other games in the series also have alarms and flashing lights go off in aircraft, tanks, and APC's when they take critical damage and are about to explode.
  • In the Lamakan Desert in Golden Sun: The Broken Seal, you have a dehydration meter you have to watch. If the meter fills up, you get sunstroke and suffer massive damage. This wouldn't be so bad, if your party members would just shut up about being hot every few steps.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy has a near death alarm. The character also flashes red, and their HP count turns red as well.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, the screen flashes red when a character is low in health.
    • That changes once players get to the point in the game where every enemy can put party members in the red with one hit.
  • Steel Battalion has a few little alerts when you take damage, along with screen-shake and all that. When you start getting really low, more and more lights and alarms will start going off, and when you're about to go boom EVERYTHING is flashing, klaxons are screeching, panels are exploding, etc. All of this is horrible to play through, especially when you just know you're one good shot away from taking out the last enemy mech... It's also VITAL, because you'll know just when to hit the big old eject button. Otherwise you die, and the game erases your save.
  • BioShock: Whenever your health gets low, a Scare Chord plays along with a fast heartbeat. It doesn't last long, though.
  • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas don't have this in the traditional sense; rather, when your head is crippled, your vision will go fuzzy, accompanied by a loud ringing noise. It's meant to simulate a concussion, and while it's no big deal in 3 or New Vegas' Casual Mode, on NV's Hardcore Mode, it can rapidly become incredibly aggravating if you're in the wastes and poorly supplied. They also have the loud Heartbeat Soundtrack when health is low.
  • EVE Online will pull this on you if your ship's defenses are repeatedly going up and down the alert threshold (which by default is low for shields and armor, and the instant your Structure takes damage). Expect a Jump Scare if your defenses get perforated while you're watching a movie in the back.
  • Rift has an Interface Screw with a Heartbeat Soundtrack.
  • Rise of the Triad has an audio alert, which decreases in volume after the first alarm.
  • The Syphon Filter series has the interface flash red and the words HEAD SHOT appear when a sniper is targeting your head.
  • The Russian sci-fi flight simulation game Echelon intro has a plane being badly damaged and crashing. It tells the pilot about every little problem before he dies.
  • Some of the Dragon Quest games use a red filter.
  • The Journey Man Project: "BEEP BEEP BEEP. Energy level 50 %... Energy Level Critical". :Flatline:. In the Mars Maze, the music slows down as your oxygen depletes, and is replaced by a Heartbeat Soundtrack at critical levels.
  • The Gameboy game Ninja Gaiden Shadow not only has an annoying beeping sound to warn you when you're on your last unit of health, but the entire status display starts flashing in the most obnoxiously distracting way.
  • Raptor: Call of the Shadows had a very grating alarm that would play once hull energy reached around 15%, even if the player finished the level and bought the Phase Shields (therefore no real danger). It is understandable given that normally each subsequent hit would permanently take away one of your weapons, but did it really have to be a continuous and loud sound effect?
  • 'Tamagotchi' Would shut down all interaction with the handheld device whenever the battery got low and would flash a low battery symbol constantly until it the battery either ran completely out or was replaced(apparently to avoid save data loss/corruption) however these alerts (which were impossible to bypass without one of the above solutions) were known to last for days to weeks on end, making users wonder how low the battery could've possibly been.
  • Most Ace Combat games have a few. Most of obvious is the warning you get when you are about to crash into the ground ("Warning, pull up!"). Also, the warning sound of a missile tailing you (which grows more intense as the missile gets nearer) can be this if you are already low on health or play on a Harder Than Hard difficulty where a single hit spells Game Over.
    • The worst offender of this by far was the first game: Get hit by so much a pebble? "ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! ALERT, BODY DAMAGE! etc..." every time your plane is damaged.
  • Bangai-O has a low-pitched alarm sounding off when your health is in the red, which goes faster if it's lower. Between the game's difficulty level and lax standards for continuing, you can be expected to hear it a lot.
  • Dragon Age II has a high-pitched continuous whine of violins that starts when your total party health is around 50%. If only one character is standing, it's all you hear.
  • From the Landing series:
    • In Midnight Landing, if you are not in control of your current altitude? (BEEP BEEP) "DECREASE ALTITUDE! EMERGENCY, DECREASE ALTITTUDE!" / "EMERGENCY! PULL UP! PULL UP!" Because the game takes place at night with only the engine ambient sounds and the occasional spoken radio communication punctuating the silence, and the game comes in a deluxe cabinet that is dark inside (although most likely you're playing on an emulator instead), these warnings can easily come off as a Jump Scare.
      • If your horizontal alignment is off, the ATC admonishes you for it:
        "This is control tower. Midnight Air Flight 1, watch your landing path, over!"
        "This is control tower. Midnight Air Flight 1, you are out of your landing path, please correct your course immediately!"
        "Uhhhh...this is control tower. Midnight Air Flight 1, push that button for re-approach and circle the airport and try landing again."
    • Top Landing's "emergency" voiceovers aren't as loud, but now they're repetitive. Expect to hear "EMERGENCY, LEFT TURN, LEFT TURN. EMERGENCY, RIGHT TURN, RIGHT TURN." for the duration of later stages.
  • GunNail has an alarm go off when all of your shields are gone (with the next hit being a Game Over). Made worse by the score multipliter, which increases as you lose more shield. This means a high scoring run will consist of hearing the alarm for 98% of the game.
  • Having an empty Hero Gauge (at which point your characters start taking life-threatening damage) in Resonance of Fate will cause the music to change to the bassy, frantic track "Danger Danger" and make the characters switch from flashy, stylish Gun Fu to actually holding their weapons properly and emptying the magazine shot by shot, taking time to line up each. Since you're one empty health bar away from Game Over at that point, it's really effective at building tension.
  • Vanquish has the screen blur and pulse red with frantic heartbeats.
  • HarmoKnight will have a flute play a low pitched "Toot!" sound constantly when you have one Hit Point left. This can, and will knock you off-beat.
  • In Resident Evil 5, if Chris or Sheva is knocked into Dying status, the screen briefly flashes with a photo negative filter, followed by blurred vision for the player controlling that character.
  • Mystery Quest for the Nintendo Entertainment System beeps constantly when the player character runs low on health.
  • From Team Fortress 2: "Alert! Our last Control Point is being captured!" and all variants thereof.
    • The "Last Control Point" one is especially bad, since in 5-point Control maps, the last point (which is always just outside the defending players' spawn) usually can be solo-capped in only a few scant seconds. So if someone isn't already getting them off of it by the time the alert sounds, it's probably too late anyway.
  • Wonder Boy In Monster Land has a rather irritating "bleep bleep balaleep bleep bleep"(arcade version) or "woowoowoowooweet"(SMS version) low health alarm.
  • Copy Kitty awesomely subverts this. The HP Warning isn't a sound, it's an extra instrument laid over the music. It's proven popular among players, to the point where it was added as an option in the Sound Test menu, and shows up in two songs in the Variable Mix OST.
  • MechWarrior Living Legends has several. Incoming missiles with a detected lock cause a vehicle's klaxon to repeatedly beep as long as the missiles are still in the air. In aerospace, this can be deadly as missiles never give up until they run out of fuel - forcing a critical damaged aircraft to either die by Anti-Air fire while dodging the missiles, or retreat ASAP and die from the missiles exploding their engine - all while the BEEP BEEP BEEP... BEEP BEEP BEEP is playing. Several tanks also engage a klaxon when their rear armor has been heavily damaged (exposing their engine) or their internal structure is critically damaged, though it's generally drowned out by the deafening autocannons mounted on many tanks.
    • MechWarrior 3 has a constant heat warning klaxon when the heat gets respectively high enough.
    • MechWarrior Online subverts this when at critical damage, a warning tone will play for several moments but otherwise stays quiet, the blinking red light in the cockpit and the red "CRITICAL DAMAGE" displayed on your HUD stays until you win/die though.
  • In Mr. Driller, an alarm sounds and the player character begins to gasp for air once their tank falls below 30%. At 5%, the alarm speeds up and the tank percentage appears above the character's head.
  • When playing beatmania IIDX on a Life Meter that causes a Game Over if emptied outnote , the gauge and its corresponding numerical gauge display will begin to flash when it drops below 30%. It flashes faster the lower it gets. On Hazard mode, where one combo break results in immediate failure, the gauge flashes at all times.
  • Shadowgate is an adventure game where Death Is a Slap on the Wrist and occurs with shocking frequency. Even looking at the wrong object can kill you. The only death that really matters is failing to find enough torches, because they burn on a real-time timer and serve as the de facto failure state of the game. The music that warns you that your torch is running out is horrifying.
  • Happens in the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time trilogy, especially with the first Sands of Time game, where enemies hurt you and reduce your health gauge. When it gets down to a sliver of health left, the gauge makes a flashing glow and a loud, high-pitched hum, indicating that you need a drink of water from the fountains, and fast!
  • Subverted awesomely in Copy Kitty. The HP Warning isn't a "sound" per se, it's an additional instrument layered over the soundtrack. It's proven quite popular among players, to the point where it was added as an option in the Sound Test menu, and shows up twice in the OST.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
Anime
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within does something similar. When General Hein is firing the Kill Sat, he brushes off the increasingly insistent computer's warnings that he's overheating the system with louder and more annoyed iterations of "I know!!". Bad idea.

Advertising
  • Spoofed in a TV commercial for Centraal Beheer, a.k.a. the Apeldoorn insurance company. A man who works in an ambulance is used to the beeping sound of the life support equipment, and responds to it by defibrillating the patient. Eventually, his team gets a brand new ambulance. During its first real pickup, they have to back out of a street... causing the car to emit a beeping sound because it is going in reverse...

Film
  • * Lampshaded in Iron Man when the suit's AI keeps reminding Tony Stark how low he is getting on energy.
    Stark: "I KNOW! Just leave it on the screen!"
    • Then, like most video game players, he proceeds to completely ignore it (not like he had much choice anyway).

Live-Action TV
  • Possible Trope Maker, at least in Japanese media: The toku series Ultraman, with the title hero's signature warning light with accompanying beep whenever he's running out of energy.
  • In the Rome: Total War-based game show Time Commanders, the team was warned of imminent victory or defeat by a blaring siren, flashing lights and a voice announcing "Victory Imminent" or "Defeat Imminent". This text would also appear flashing across the screen the team was using to direct the battle. Now, if the message was "Victory Imminent", this would be the show's Most Wonderful Sound - but having "Defeat Imminent" blasted all over their efforts turned more than one team into a catatonic mess.

Microsoft Windows
  • Windows XP loves this with its stupid little speech boxes. "Low disk space? On my C: drive?"
  • Vista, on the other hand, constantly reminds you that your user account control is disabled. Even if you did it yourself. Years earlier.
  • Windows 7 has a feature that automatically disables the Aero theme if you're running demanding applications, such as games. When it does so, it of course 'helpfully' pops up a focus-stealing notification window to let you know. The window does include a "don't do that, and in fact never do that ever again" button, but it doesn't appear to work properly, even if you click that it's going to do it again the next time you run the application.

Real Life
  • Plain old pain can be this. A paper cut is hardly a critical injury, but it causes your body to scream at you about how it's been damaged, and most everyone knows what it's like to have a random cramp pop up in a limb, the back, or elsewhere just as you're trying to do something important or get a job over with. What's actually worse though is having congenital analgesia, a rare condition where you can't feel any kind of pain at all. People with it are very prone to self-injury and permanent disfiguration, such as by biting off portions of their tongues, suffering horrible burns because they can't feel hot objects, or being unable to notice muscle strains, bone fractures, and infections.
  • Smoke detectors go off at any sign of smoke, even if it's something harmless like burnt food or a lit match. The sounds are are very high pitched and annoying, but they are that way so that you can wake up should a fire break out while you sleep. However, if the alarm always goes off because of something harmless, most people will decide to just take out the battery to shut it up, which is always a fatal mistake when a real fire breaks out.
    • Smoke alarms also make a loud, high-pitched chirp repeatedly when the battery is low.
    • Studies showed that the sound most likely to wake a sleeping child was the sound of a parent's voice ordering them to wake up. So some retailers sell alarm clocks and smoke detectors that allow you to record a message.
  • Babies crying is at a frequency designed to get attention. There's a reason the Yoshi's Island screaming is so annoying. The evolutionary reason is that babies that made these cries were far more likely to survive than ones who failed to get their caregivers' attention. The reason why nails on a blackboard is so irritating is that it's close in frequency to a baby's cry.
  • Cars that not only turn on a "Low Fuel" idiot light when you get down to your last gallon/5 liters or last estimated 50 miles/100 kilometers driving distance, but ding at you every thirty seconds and/or flash annoying messages across the in-dash electronics cluster. If the car has an onboard navigation system, it may get in on the act too, "helpfully" shutting off the audio system and showing you a route to the nearest gas station.
    • Then there's the proximity sensor on some cars. Like a crit warning klaxon, they're meant to warn you of danger (such as the risk of reversing into a mailbox). Also like said klaxons, they are so goddamn annoying that you usually end up more careless than usual, since you're more eager to shut them the hell up than you are to avoid scraping your rear bumper.
    • And when you're due for an oil change - regardless of what maintenance schedule the manufacturer actually recommends. Cars haven't needed a change every 3 months/3,000 miles for years, but tell that to the alarm programmers.
    • Also, the horn. Might seem mundane... but go to Mexico City, and try listening to ten thousand car horns honking at the same time... because someone stopped at a red light, which is a bad thing because LOCAL CUSTOM SAYS YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO JUMP IT.
    • A few new cars now also have the annoying ding when you don't put your seat belt on. (And they can tell when there's a passenger in the passenger seat, too.)
    • And also to warn when you reach a higher speed. Might be useful to prevent tickets inside city limits, but not so much when you're on a freeway, that allows and even enforces going fast.
    • Some Chrysler models from The Eighties take Critical Annoyance to the next level with the Electronic Voice Alert option. Most owners just disconnected it since it was more of a nuisance than anything else. [1]
    • The VW Passat has an audible alert for low windshield washer fluid. This is supposed to only sound once per journey, but the sensor is overly sensitive to sloshing inside the reservoir. If it's much less than half full you can expect to hear the alert every time you go around a corner.
    • All of these are turned Up to Eleven when the warning systems are malfunctioning, causing warning chimes to go off every fifteen seconds, with no way to make them stop. This has driven people to sell otherwise perfectly working luxury cars.
    • The Honda Civic 2004's brake wear indicator is specifically designed to mimic the sound of fingernails on a blackboard in order to get you to take it to the workshop and implore the service people to fix your brakes and get rid of that stupid noise.
  • More Truth In Television: The "low battery" sound on cell phones, particularly stupid when you realize it runs down the battery quicker.
    • At least one phone will make low battery beeps when the phone is supposed to be on silent.
    • The constantly flashing LEDs of some Bluetooth devices can be irritating, too.
    • Not just cell phones. APC back-up power sources do that when running on battery, too - a very loud BEEP-BEEP-BEEP every minute or so. Good thing this can be turned off.
    • The Jabra Freeway Bluetooth Speaker interrupts 2 way conversation completely to say "low battery" once a minute.
    • Also on cell phones, most just ring once when a message arrives. Others will keep on playing the "new message!" sound in regular intervals until you read the thing.
  • Subverted in Real Life: often in hospitals, you'll hear important-looking equipment make dangerous sounding noises that mean nothing, or are the result of glitches. The staff know this, but it can worry the visitors who are used to beeping noises on medical dramas ALWAYS meaning someone is about to die.
  • The messaging program ICQ had a flower icon that showed if you were logged in (green) or not (red). A later update turned it yellow if you were logged in, but couldn't connect to the server. That's nice, but it also popped up a message that explained this fact, even though this should be obvious already. This function could not be turned off. Worse, the popup always stole focus so you'd read it, which means that you'd lose focus from the game or other program you were using at the time... which had a tendency to crash the program. In other words, your game just crashed seconds away from a save point because of a pointless message informing you of something you couldn't do anything about, and didn't care much about most of the time anyway. Not many people use ICQ nowadays.


Life MeterVideo Game Interface ElementsMultiple Life Bars
Acoustic LicenseSensory IndexHearing Voices
Boss Arena IdiocyImageSource/Web ComicsDestructive Saviour

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