Video games struggling for creativity will invent unlikely obstacles.
If a level in a Platformer takes place on a mountain, it may be unrealistic that you'd run into sequential lava pits, but it's at least logical in that you want to avoid their obvious skin-boiling danger (though you'll be okay if you just don't touch it).
But in some games, you can be injured by the strangest and most mundane of things. All manner of inanimate objects seem primed and ready to hurt you, especially if the setting doesn't allow for more extravagant opponents. Stumbling onto a flying soccer ball hurts just as much as being run over by a car. In some cases, just to really hammer the point home that the game's creators are true bastards, your character will be a One-Hit-Point Wonder, and the slightest injury will make you explode into a fountain of blood.
You can usually blame Collision Damage for this.
And heaven help you if the place is inhabited. Nearly every living thing in the area suddenly gets a taste for your tender flesh, even if they're normally skittish herbivores. This may be a modern take on the older version of this trope: in old adventure stories, if the hero goes camping or even just for a walk through the forest, he can expect to be attacked by bears, stalked by wolves, jumped by mountain lions, infected by poison ivy, torn apart by thorns and so on. Mosquitoes will be strangely uninterested in him. (This is... not exactly how it works in Real Life.)
Is nothing safe? Walls? The sun? The moon? The boundary of the screen?
While a common trope in the Nintendo Hard generation of games, this has more to do with old-style games than difficulty. Many older games were platform games, where the objective is primarily to get from the beginning of the level to the end. Memory was at a premium, so pretty much anything added to the game needed a purpose. And in a platformer, most things should be either power ups or obstacles, things that make it a challenge (and thus fun) to get from Point A to Point B. Adventure Game designers, especially those at Sierra, also delighted in finding new and interesting ways to kill the player character; with no quantified attributes, such a game's hero could only survive or not survive.
Some games that normally avoid this will design a deliberately ludicrous yet highly dangerous enemy/obstacle for comedic value. A Platform Hell game will often take this trope to ludicrous places for comedy. See also Malevolent Architecture and Death World.
Compare: Animals Hate Him; Super-Persistent Predator; Books That Bite; and Death Course.
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Video Game Examples:
Most of Ecco the Dolphin 's foes are logical for a dolphin — sharks and jellyfish for the most part. The angry crabs and giant water spiders are a bit weird, but the Prehistoria levels take it to the extreme with trilobites and giant seahorses who shoot their young at you.
Enemies in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 had the rather alarming tendency to forget who they were fighting and come after you. This is even worse when demons and demon hunters become best of friends for the amount of time it takes to kill your character.
Legend of the Mystical Ninja, in addition to having ordinary citizens of peaceful, feudal Japanese towns trying to kill you, has a particularly mean enemy: deer. The deer deal out a ridiculous amount of damage, they bound around very quickly and haphazardly so they're difficult to dodge, and worst of all, you lose health if you hurt them. Because you're beating up on deer, you jerk.
Well this is bound to be a lovely resurrection party... Oh Christ, it's one of those guys with a whip again. He'll probably whip all the party guests to death, snuff out our candles, and steal our food.
The more recent, Metroidvania style games have begun explaining it by having them all be demons or ghosts. They're still absurdly aggressive for their jobs, though.
The enemies of the SNES game of The Wizard of Oz include birds, stalactitish lemons, cactus cats, plants on unicycles, chattery teeth, hands of grandfather clocks, walking chairs, blobs, flying blue elephants, dripping water, bouncing pumpkins, and buzzsaws. Plus rats.
Strangely, in NES Rambo game, the entire wildlife hates Rambo. That includes Giant Spider, tigers, flamingos, flies and birds.
Aquaria advertises over 175 unique creatures to discover. This is a list of the ones that are harmless: small fish, some (but not all) eels, a couple species of jellyfish, macaws, and monkeys. Everything else hates you, and wishes to feast upon your delicious, juicy corpse.
There's only a handful of creatures in the Monster Hunter series that don't try to kill you on sight, and all of the ones that do make the players their sole targets once they've noticed them, disregarding each other's presence and defying common sense for the sake of the attacking them. The little knee-high Jaggi, for instance, consider dealing with you a much higher priority then not getting accidentally trampled, roasted, or subjected to some other manner of pain by whatever enormous monster you're fighting with (And they pretty much always will).
Actually justified in Metroid: Fusion by the lifeforms on the BSL Research Station. Normally most of them would be peaceful creatures, but they've all been taken over by the X-Parasites and Samus Aran's body happens to contain the DNA of their natural enemy: the titular metroids. They can tell and they want her dead.
Paperboy is infamous for having everything from runaway lawnmowers to breakdancers to the Grim friggin' Reaper running around the middle of the street for no discernible reason other than to mess with the eponymous deliverer.
That's probably why his exploits made the front page of the newspaper every day. In fact, one theory that's been floated is that the eponymous delivery person is, in fact, dead, and the delivery route is his personal purgatory. Only by delivering the paper and surviving every day for a week is he able to escape.
Brain Dead 13. Everything. From the leaves in the hedge maze, to the fire in the stove, to the bookworms in the library.
Home Alone 2 for the NES and SNES was ridiculous. Not only did every random stranger in the hotel try to get you, but so did vacuum cleaners, luggage, and mop buckets (both the moving mop and the inanimate bucket).
The first one was even worse in that regard.
The Infogrames staff must have played this game before coding Tintin in Tibet. In the hotel level alone, you could get Collision Damage (and lose one of your four hit points) from waiters carrying a platter, maids vacuuming the floor, luggage carelessly knocked over by said maids, and little dogs that don't bite. Oh, and the timer too.
The Jurassic Park game on the Sega Genesis. Cute little lizards who take half your health, climbing ropes who are vertical poison ivies, Pteronodon carrying you back to the top at the cost of half your health... Also goes with Nintendo Hard.
The Sega Genesis X-Men game first level started in a jungle. And in this jungle, getting a lance thrown at you did damage, getting carried off by a Giant Flyer did damage... and having a dragonfly buzz past you did damage. The hell?
Bomberman runs with this trope in every game since the beginning. The Big Bad's mooks, bugs, statues, rocks, fish, robots, floor tiles, your own bombs, items, and standard stage hazards. It really gets ridiculous though, with butterflies, snowflakes, penguins, clowns, Funny Animal mice holding balloons, panda/umbrella... things, snowmen, trees, and even wandering clouds who pour down raindrops. No matter how cute and innocuous it looks, if it doesn't hatch from a giant egg, it will kill you (or yourkangaroo/dinosaur) on contact.
Bosses, of course, jack this Up to Eleven ranging from typical dragons, giant robots, and vehicles to sphinx with rockets in its shoulders, a crystalline ice spider, a giant electrical catfish, and a crazy dominatrix Cat Girl.
Time Gal. That girl has no allies whatsoever. It seems that every era she gets transported to only serves the purpose of pitting her against something or another.
In Drol, enemies include hopping scorpions, flying turkeys, a witch doctor, flying weapons and vacuum cleaners. It's supposed to take place in a Dream Land.
Taken to its logical extreme in advergamePepsi Man, where even the product the game is advertising is trying to kill you.
There's also various trucks with their back ends open to dump things onto the road for you to avoid. Seems like an accident, until you notice that if you get knocked down and take too long to get back up, some trucks will actually stop and wait for you.
Aladdin for the Sega Master System has his magic carpet ride with Jasmine as a level. Even here, the poor guy can't catch a break, with birds, thunderclouds, majestic horses, and falling cherries waiting to thwart his every move.
Take the second Laura Bow game. It would kill the title character by means of an automobile that appeared out of nowhere if she stepped off the pavement onto a seemingly empty road. You were apparently supposed to look at the road first to confirm that no cars were approaching, but the same would happen even if you did that and the game told you it was all clear. (It expected you to look both ways before crossing the road. Just looking once wasn't enough, in one of Sierra's more... pedantic puzzles. Luckily, you can get everywhere by taxi, and just skip the stupidity.) Another scene would kill you if you wandered into a dark passage without a light. Somehow, a woman in her early twenties would be swarmed and overpowered by quite ordinary bats — unless she had a light to scare them with.
Not all that many games make players try to kill off their characters in every possible way, even fewer have them enjoy it. The latter include the farcical Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry series, where even the narrator is basically a Deadpan Snarker. A fan website has cataloged 67 distinct ways to die in Space Quest V alone. In Space Quest III, trying to pick up a simple piece of metal scrap one room away from the start of the game would result in Roger cutting himself, severing an artery, and dying of blood loss within seconds. Total play time to first death in that situation could be as little as 20 seconds.
The game even warns you by showing a little robot with a broom picking up the dust pile of the last loser and ditching it out the back of the bar. If you go behind the bar, there's a huge dust pile composed of all the people who lost recently.
In one area of Space Quest II the more observant player could notice a square of outlined grass in the terrain. If you attempted the command "look at trap" the narrator would promptly berate you for your overly suspicious approach to the game. The noted area was, of course, a pit complete with spikes.
Space Quest IV introduces the "Smell" and "Taste" icons to the game interface, which have no plot relevance whatsoever; not once in the entire game will you ever need to smell or taste anything in order to progress. Instead, they exist almost exclusively for the purpose of killing yourself in hilarious ways. Such as being dumb enough to try "tasting" a pool of bubbling green acid.
A related and frustrating example, also from Space Quest IV was the "unstable ordinance". You gain points for picking it up from a wrecked tank, indicating that this is the "correct" move. However, if you're still carrying it a minute later, it explodes during a scripted event and the game mocks you for not apparently understanding the significance of the word "unstable". This would logically indicate it's the "incorrect" move and players would not touch it on subsequent play-throughs. In reality, the "correct" way to handle it is to pick it up, but then immediately put it back, netting you a small gain in points that you otherwise have no way to make up and get 100% completion, Guide Dang It!.
Hilariously, the flag that caused the unstable ordnance to kill you was only for one very specific event. If you pick up the unstable ordnance after that event, it will never blow up and never kill you, which is strange considering the bumps and bruises Roger receives later in the game are much worse than the bump that causes the ordinance to blow up in the first place.
Leisure Suit Larry, which should be a nonviolent mature game, has so many ways to kill your character. Especially the second game: there's at least five ways to die at the hands of KGB agents, four ways to die from the "helicopter girls", three separate ways to die from "Mama Bimbo", two lethal chefs, and a guy named Carlos, who, thanks to U.S. foreign aid, has many extra bullets that he enjoys firing for amusement - on you. Throw in many unwinnable situations, and you are in for a very frustrating game.
Leisure Suit Larry 2 is designed in such a way that you have to die. For example, at one point of the game, you have to take a hair pin out of a plate of food. However, the only way to know of the hair pin is to choke from it. Also, in a later point of the game, the KGB agents even say: "Caught again!" Why do they even bother?
Furthermore, at some point you gain points for picking up spinach dip for no good reason. Later, you end up starving in a lifeboat, and will automatically eat the spinach dip, thus dying from salmonella poisoning. The "solution" to this "puzzle" is to throw away the dip after picking it up. The dip serves no purpose. None. You can completely ignore it, or you can take it and eat it before it goes bad. However, this will cost you points. To get the maximum points from the dip, you have to take it and throw it away after the lifeboat you're in hits the water. Guide Dang It, all right.
The Police Quest series is just plain atrocious. Sonny Bonds, a trained police homicide detective, would be killed by a speeding car if he tried crossing the street without pushing the walk button on a nearby streetlight first.
Even more bizarre is the paradox contained in the sequence in the first game in the series, in which Bonds had to go on patrol in a squad car. If you followed proper procedure and inspected each wheel of the vehicle by walking around it before driving off, there would be nothing wrong with it. If you failed to do so, one wheel would without fail be faulty and you would soon suffer a flat tire, which prematurely ended the game even though Bonds was not injured at all.
In the third game, a mere loony can kill you with a single swing of his fist. And you are not allowed to shoot him (or you lose).
Also in the third game, if you pull someone over while driving, then get out of your car to talk to the person, walking around the car in the wrong direction will get you killed.
Even Police Quest is trumped by Codename: ICEMAN, where you play an elite multi-skilled spy. Every single thing in the game goes wrong unless you explicitly check it. The guard that asks for your ID gives you the wrong ID back, leading to a dead end unless you bother to check. Machines break down with no warning unless you explicitly oiled them in the last chapter, even though that's the technician's job. And you die for no reason if you walk away from a cardiac arrest victim, because it would be heartless not to give her CPR, which is nigh impossible without reading the manual.
The character of the adventure/RPG hybrid Quest for Glory series has hit points, so a majority of hazards are not immediately fatal. Still, there's a number of situations that result in an immediate game over. In the first game of the series: If you attempt to pick up any item in the hermit's lair, he'll teleport you into a waterfall, drowning you; if you attempt to pick any lock during the day, the hero will refuse, saying that it isn't safe and that he ought to wait until dark... except for the door of the guardhouse, which you can attempt to pick in broad daylight and in front of the sheriff, leading in your immediate arrest; also, if you attempt to pick any single lock one too many times in a row (at night), you "make too much noise" and get arrested without any chance of escape; using a lockpick on yourself will make the hero pick his nose with it, resulting in brain hemorrhage and death unless your skill is high enough (quite easy to do in the VGA version; in the EGA version, you at least had to type PICK NOSE, making it a fine Easter Egg); you need to say a password to enter the witch's hut, but if you say it too close to the hut, it'll descend on you, crushing you to death; ordering (and drinking) Dragon's Breath in the tavern also results in your death. Not to mention several unwinnable situations.
Also, in the thieves' guild, if you walk in front of the chief as he throws knives at a dartboard, one will hit you in the chest and you die. Also, the three stooges, the antwerp-tripwire, getting danced to death by the faeries, damaging the sacred tree, just about anything involving Baba Yaga, failing to solve the final bandit puzzle, etc.
King's Quest and its sequels had their fair share of ludicrous character deaths. For one, the minute you start the first game, if you move too close to the castle moat, you will fall in and die. You will also inexplicably get killed by a sliding rock if you push it from the wrong angle. That's right, pushing a rock away causes it to fall on you.
AGD Interactive also proved that they could do it too if they really tried in their Fan Remake (entire reworking, more like) of King's Quest II: Romancing The Throne. There is one location containing six fairly innocent-looking rocks around the base of a larger one. Examining any but one of these, however, will cause it to explode and kill you.
On the first screen of the Land of the Dead in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow, there are two zombies that can come over and touch you to death in fewer seconds than the immediately preceding cutscene lasts.
Nothing in Leisure Suit Larry 5 can kill you. Nothing. Even if you try to electrocute yourself with a wall outlet. There is also exactly oneunwinnable situation in the game due to a bug.
LucasArts, the other major publisher of adventure games, was kinder and gentler than Sierra, and its games were more cartoonish. Character death was possible in its more realistic games, but it would take blatantly stupid actions. In general, LucasArts believed that players should not be punished for experimenting with their games, seeing as most of the time puzzle solutions in adventure games in general had a tendency to be on the obscure side. This policy was adopted by LucasArts during the development of The Secret of Monkey Island, but dying was still frequent in their earlier titles such as Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders.
Death was rare but possible in the Full Throttle adventure game. Each time Ben was killed, the game would automatically backtrack to the point where the fatal mistake was made, allowing you to try it again — with Ben saying quickly over the black screen, "Lemme try that again". This is because, similar to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (see below), the game is being told in flashback by Ben (the opening monologue makes this clear).
Death only becomes possible in Full Throttle in the endgame, when it's made blatantly clear that you're in a life-or-death chase sequence.
The Monkey Island games, for example, averted this trope. Nothing could kill its hero, Guybrush Threepwood (well, almost nothing), or even do permanent harm. Not even getting repeatedly punched sky-high by the Big Bad.
The only way to die in The Secret of Monkey Island is a major Easter Egg by its rarity alone: After Guybrush gets thrown into the bay by Sheriff Shinetop, simply wait ten minutes (which is how long Guybrush can hold his breath) until he drowns.
The same game has another sequence where Guybrush can walk off a cliff. A Sierra-style death screen comes up, followed moments later by Guybrush bouncing back onto the cliff's edge, with two words of explanation: "Rubber Tree".
Guybrush could also die in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge if you took too long escaping the Death Trap in LeChuck's lair, but since the game was told in flashback form, Elaine (to whom Guybrush was telling the story) would point out that Guybrush couldn't have died if he was here talking to her, and Guybrush backtracks his story. In the easy mode play, it's impossible for Guybrush to die, and the Death Trap is solved automatically (via an alternative bodily fluid).
In The Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush has to fake his death to progress in the game, prompting one character to comment "Funny, I didn't think you could die in LucasArts adventure games." He fakes said death (at a later point in the game he states that he simply went into a temporary coma) by usage of combining medicine and alcohol, an act that he lampshades by noting that if he wasn't a "lovably inept cartoon character with the potential for a few more sequels", he more than likely would have been killed by doing this. You can see the whole event here.
In Escape from Monkey Island, the one possibility of death is a brief time-traveling episode in a swamp. Future Guybrush would tell present Guybrush things and give him things in a specific order, and if that order was not replicated exactly by the player (when the player controls future Guybrush), a time vortex would open and swallow everything. (And that doesn't really end the game — you get another try to do the sequence right. For shocks, you can also try shooting your alter ego with the gun he had handed you...)
Guybrush: Wow, I guess it's true that gun owners are nine times more likely to shoot themselves.
Another possibility of a Game Over in Escape is that he can stay underwater, but after 8 minutes on the first dive, Guybrush says, "I'm running low on air." If kept under water for another 2 minutes, he decides to head back up to the surface. It is on the second dive that if he stays underwater for ten minutes, he will drown, with no second chances this time.
And Tales of Monkey Island shows the only time in the Monkey Island series that Guybrush's death by the Big Bad's Cutlass of Kaflu at the end of Chapter 4 (and repeated disposessions of his corpse while on Flotsam in Chapter 5) is not a Game Over or an Easter egg, but rather story-related in order to continue on with the progress of the game.
Wonderfully inverted in The Neverhood, where there was only one way in the whole game to die: jumping into a big pit with a sign over it that said "Do not jump in this pit. You will die." It was even lampshaded in the manual, where it explained that there was only one way to die in the game, and that it was well signposted.
The Infocom text adventure Bureaucracy, written by Douglas Adams, has you dealing with a series of what would normally be minor, petty annoyances. However, these annoyances raise your character's blood pressure, and if your blood pressure goes up too high, you die of a brain aneurysm.
Interactive Fiction games are notorious for everything being able to kill you in some way. One of the funniest is in Zork II, where you couldn't figure out what to do with a bucket and in frustration typed "KICK THE BUCKET". The game was happy to oblige.
Lampshaded a bit in Zork 1 if you eat a garlic clove: "What the heck. You won't make any friends this way, but nobody around here is too friendly anyhow. Gulp!" Surprise! Guess who can't fend off a vampire bat later in the game!
In Spelunker you can die because you're in mid-air: just fall from any height higher than your character is and you die. This means you can lose all three of the lives you start with and get a Game Over less than three seconds after starting the game.
Would you believe this can even happen in a racing game? In Split Second, traps and explosives, called Power Plays, are littered around the track to take out your opponents with. But no matter how much stuff goes boom in a normal race, this is nothing compared to Detonator mode — one lap around the track, practically every single Power Play triggering. Pass by something, and the probability that it will explode, collapse, break loose, slide in front of you, and generally screw you is 90%.
First Person Shooter
While not exactly everything trying to kill you, all of the killable characters in the PC game Vivisector: Beast Inside — whether they're humans or Half Human Hybrids — attack you the moment you first load up the game, even after you switch from the former's side to the latter. There's an attempt at handwaving, dealing with some flimsy excuse of the humans not authorizing your presence in the game's setting and the hybrids being programmed to see humans as the enemy, but really, it's just an attempt to bring in Fake Difficulty to the game.
Similarly, Shadow the Hedgehog has both good and evil enemies, and they'll all attack Shadow regardless of his Karma Meter (except when they're busy fighting each other!)
Another example of this sort of thing can be found in Far Cry 2. Ostensibly you are a mercenary working for one side in a civil war in Africa. They try to handwave it in game by claiming you're a disposable asset that nobody knows about. In reality even when working a mission for one side you will be attacked by both sides. Constantly.
In Return to Castle Wolfenstein, when you stumble on a fight between zombies and Germans, both sides immediately forget each other and make a beeline for you. During WW2 the US Army and the Wehrmacht were not on the best possible terms, but they might make a temporary alliance against the undead.
Rule of thumb in Dragon's Lair: If it's animated and you see a white flash, that entity will most likely be your cause of death if you don't press the right button or direction in time.
Light Gun Game
The 80s light gun arcade game Who Dunit requires you to not only guide a detective through a mansion, but protect him from things like pimps throwing their hats at him, and beach balls bouncing all over the place. Because anything that touches him will instantly skeletonize him, his soul drifting away. Yes, even the beach balls.
Another Exidy light gun game, Crossbow, is pretty bad about this one as well; the Heroic Fantasy warriors you're defending will go up in flames if anything touches them, even if the implement of their destruction was a coconut thrown by a monkey. But hey, it beats getting turned into a skeleton by a beach ball.
Pretty much every object in the games on the Action 52 multicart is trying to kill you. Elton John kills you (Non Human). Money kills you (Streemerz). File cabinets kill you (French Baker). The floor kills you (Meong). Pasta kills you (Alfredo, only playable via some emulators). Bowling balls kill you (Hambo). Dildos kill you (Thrusters). You'll wish that the game would self destruct and kill you in real life.
Star Evil is pure evil with the way it puts your ship two inches from a cinderblock at the start. And the stage boss moves like a DUI driver (according to mpn1990's Unlicensed Garbage show on YouTube).
Invoked by the title screen in Dweep, which shows deadly lasers, bombs, wrenches, carrots etc. all launching towards the carefree Dweep. Also counts as Title Screens Always Lie—half of this stuff isn't even in the game, and most of the rest is harmless.
"Crimbo" 2010 introduced exciting new enemies, such as the Tedious Spreadsheet, the Hideous Slideshow and the Water Cooler. Oh yes, and there were elves climbing out of the toilets, too.
This is pretty much the entire plot of zOMG, which features enemies called "the Animated".
Not to mention the cute pink balls of fluff that can kill you with one hit.
The MUD Aardwolf takes this trope to utterly ludicrous levels, as some magically enchanted areas have A Wizard Did It (literally) related creatures, from the traditional walking broom to irritated neck-ties, nightstands, gardening equipment, cabinets, violent cacti, and man-eating pot pies. D&D wishes it had gotten this crazy with mimics and evil sorcerer aides. To make matters worse (read: funnier), a generic NPC creator was used in the construction of this MUD. So it's not uncommon to see people walking around with Boots skinned from A Lampshade or A Helm skinned from A Shovel.
World of Warcraft seems to have this in spades. You'll realize this as you count up the hours you spend running away from increasingly violent and aggressive deer, flowers, and moths - on top of the demons, dragons, and old gods (aka Faceless Ones), of course.
Platform Hell games use and abuse this trope mercilessly. NEVER trust anything on the screen; if it exists, it will probably try to kill you, no matter how illogical its lethality may seem.
The ur-example of the Cinematic Platformer, Another World, is all about this. Poisonous black slugs, alien lion monsters, numerous alien troopers armed with insta-kill Death Rays, tentacle monsters with mouths embedded in the rock, falling rocks... Pretty much the ONLY thing not trying to kill you is your alien buddy.
MANOS is an homage to all of the cheesy games you remember from your childhood! Remember how every film and cartoon had it’s own platform game adaptation? How concepts in the film were made completely nonsensical for the case of gameplay? When every man, woman, child, animal and inanimate object were out to kill Marty McFly, Freddy Krueger filled the streets with bats, ghosts and frankenstein monsters and Darth Vader would casually transform into a scorpion? MANOS will take you back to the fantastically absurd movie adaptations of the past!
The Genesis game Greendog turned this into the plot: the eponymous character had been cursed by an amulet that made all animals attack him on sight.
Super Mario Bros.: One instance you're stomping flying Bloopers, another has you running from unkillable Chinese vampires, the next has you being stalked by candle fires, and then you find yourself chased by an angry sun. Yes... even the sun wants to kill you. Is the princess really worth braving all that?!
The NES platform game Monster Party had some pretty out-there enemies. Disembodied legs stuck in the ground and walking pants are just two examples. Then there's the bosses, which include a giant bubble-spitting pitcher plant, a giant snake with Medusa hair that throws tsuchinoko (a type of semi-mythical snake famous in Japanese cryptozoology; Dunsparce is a tsuchinoko) at you, and a giant fried shrimp which eventually morphs into an onion ring, then a kebab.
Let's not forget the rock n' roll player who'd make you "Face the music!", The giant cat who threw killer kittens at you, drops of blood that'd mysteriously hurts you in Stage 2... on the other hand, there was also that dead spider that said "Sorry, I'm Dead" in Stage 1 and those zombie dancers who you'd beat only if you didn't attack them and watched them dance.
The freeware game I Wanna Be the Guy uses this to and past the limit, featuring killer spikes, applesgiant cherriesDelicious Fruit that can also fall up and the moon as the most common killers in the game. Add to that ripped-off enemies from 8-bit games, several innocuous-looking objects suddenly dropping lethally on your character (including a star, thunderbolts, a glass of wine thrown by the Symphony of the Night Dracula during a cutscene and a killer pop-up), a Tetris segment where you must avoid being squashed by the blocks, a floor of spikes that suddenly develops wheels and chases you and even a killer save point just before the final boss to get a hair-tearing frustration masterpiece.
As one comment on the YouTube video for the Game Over music states, "If one could harness the pure hatred and frustration induced by this song, the world would never want for energy again."
Contrary to popular belief, not everything is trying to kill you. The air is relatively safe. Also, there are numerous squares of very benign ground. Everything else will kill you.
Incidentally, at one point the only way to survive a certain jump is to land in a pool of water. Making it one of the rare games where the water DOESN'T kill you (particularly odd given that that would have been one of the deaths that made sense in real life if it had killed you).
Nearly everything in the video game movieWarlock could harm you, including water dripping from the ceiling and otherwise harmless birds if they fly into you. Even worse, there's one stationary hazard, a thorn vine trap, that will damage you even if you cheated and used a Game Genie to give your character unlimited life and/or gave you unlimited Mercy Invincibility. Then again, you could also be killed with those cheats on through Super Drowning Skills and staying immersed in lava.
While a relatively friendly game, the Banjo-Kazooie series is jam-packed with all manner of inanimate objects that come to life, sprout cartoonish eyeballs, and try to kill you. The Freezeezy Peak level in Banjo-Kazooie features the Sir Slush enemies, giant, immobile laughing snowmen who are positioned all over the damn place and will endlessly barrage you with snowballs until you kill them, in addition to the Chinks, which are giant ice cubes with eyes that are near invisible before they spring to life and come spinning after you. Also annoying are the Boom Boxes in Rusty Bucket Bay, crates of TNT that chase you and explode, which are accompanied by bouncing life preservers. This is taken to even more ridiculous heights in the sequel, Banjo-Tooie, where you're frequently pitted against bouncing shovels, coin-spitting slot machines, flowers, various nuts and bolts, oil drums that release suffocating gas (which also has eyes and chases you), more crates of TNT, and so on. This even spreads into some of the bosses, such as Old King Coal, a massive, animate lump of carbon; Mr. Patch, a skyscraper-sized, dinosaur-shaped inflatable toy that coughs up exploding beachballs; Weldar, an enormous welding torch; and Terry, a giant pterodactyl that spits out "Mucoids", which are giant blobs of green snot with eyes that try to kill you.
And then there is Conkers Bad Fur Day... featuring The Great Mighty Poo (An opera-singing animated cesspool that has you collect kernels of corn for it, and in gratitude, tries to kill you).
Believe it or not, Barbie Super Model falls under this trope terribly. Any and everything that hits you takes away life—people, beach balls, low-flying birds, frisbees, snowballs, clods of dirt, and the list goes on...
The Barbie game for the NES is even worse: pizzas, jellyfish (complete with creepy music), clothing, water spouts, kites, tennis balls, skates, soda...
Sunday Funday puts you up against plumbers, disco dancers, businessmen, joggers, big-headed women wearing pearl necklaces... All of them want you dead for the terrible crime of going to Sunday School. This game was a 'Christianized' retool of an earlier title, Menace Beach. All they did was change the storyline ('rescue your girlfriend' is now 'get to Sunday School') and the sprites (from somewhat more acceptably threatening ninjas, evil clowns etc. to more innocuous yet equally threatening enemies).
Beautifully inverted in indie game Karoshi. Absolutely nothing is trying to kill you, and some things will even prevent your death. Unfortunately, the point of the game is to die...
In Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu, besides encountering goons, you'll encounter and beat the life out of a wide variety of enemies including, but not limited to tigers, crab under a rice bowl, river kappas, gameras, Surprise Fish, and so on. Animated Buddha statue too!
The Monty Mole series makes it difficult to tell which objects won't kill you. The ones that will include but are not limited to:
Hairspray bottles, angry faces and flying bricks in Wanted: Monty Mole.
Innocent little penguins, origami birds, rolling barrels, and ceiling tiles even after they've fallen in Impossamole.
The Tiny Toon Adventures NES game should qualify for this. During the game, Buster and his companions repeatedly get killed by rats, crabs, fish, pirates, hedgehogs, owls, squirrels, bees, dogs, cats, Sweetie Bird (isn't she supposed to be one of the good guys?!), slime, pails, footballs, eyeballs, pens, coins, and of course, Goddamned Bats.
In Pizza Pop, everything, including cats, dogs, construction workers, ghosts, and jack 'o lanterns are trying to kill the pizza deliverer.
Terramex contains, among others: acid rain, dragons, snakes that pop up from the very rocks... and your character is a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
In Kid Niki Radical Ninja, enemies ranged from ninjas flying on kites to fire-breathing frogs. The third game had flying banana peels, flowers which shoot at you, statues shaking their private parts at you, hairy plant legs and so on.
Back to the Future II and III. Enemies include giant snails, fish, mutant frogs, birds, bouncing balls, dinosaurs, bullet-shooting clouds, pipe monsters, ghosts, walking trashcans and in certain areas, books, test tubes, teddy bears, heart symbols, graduation hats, and screwdrivers. The list goes on.
The NES Hook game has obviously pirates. However, besides these, you also have Giant Spiders, Bedsheet Ghosts, levitating yogas, bees, giant acorns, penguins, dragons, innocent-looking fish, dynamite sticks on balloons, boulders out of nowhere and parrots for whatever reason.
The SNES Home Improvement game had pretty interesting things attacking you ranging from ants and dinosaurs to mechs.
This Let's Play video of freeware game Syobon Action does a good job explicating this trope. On stage 2, the player is killed by an "invisible cloud". He was underground at the time.
Word to the wise: Don't trust anything in this game, from the floor to the ceiling to message boxes to bonus items to clouds in the background!
Just like Michael from Achievement Hunter put it...
Michael: The fucking cloud killed me?! GODDAMMIT!!
In the original Blues Brothers film, many things were after the protagonists. However, in its NES game, there were also alligators, spikes, spikeballs, mutant slugs, giant spiders and much more.
Earnest Evans has the protagonist fighting windworms, skeletons flailing their pickaxes, ribcages, dagger-throwing scorpions, bats, spiders, things that are hard to identify, lava with fireballs and so on. And that's just normal enemies.
In Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde NES game, almost everyone in the town is after doctor Jekyll. Ladies charge at him, kids shoot their slingshots at him, the whole wildlife hates him, guys in top hats drop live bombs next to him, gravedigger dishes dirt at him, singers drop notes at him and so on. Night stages also have strange monsters attacking Mr Hyde.
Zool. Due to most of the levels being a Wackyland of some sort, many of the enemies you face are just weird. Examples include jelly, musical instruments, furit and vegetables, carpenter tools, toys, carnival food, and desert plants.
In Dust Force, the dirt has turned many things against janitors like residents of the area, books, trash cans, wildlife and other things.
The indie game Limbo is this in spades. The worst part about it is you are an ordinary boy. You can run, jump, and push things, but you have no weapons, and no way to defend yourself from an insanely hostile environment that seems to exist solely to kill you. And kill you it does.
In Mitsume ga Tooru, enemies ranging from spiders to skeletons throw bandages, which act as a sort of Kryptonite Factor in the game. There are birds, snakes, bats, pillar statues, rocks and more.
Monty Python's Flying Circus has many bad things trying to kill Mr Gumby, including but not limited to dead parrots, Vikings on unicycles, pillow-tossing members of the Spanish Inquisition, piggy banks, vicious gangs of "Keep Left" signs and bouncing black spots.
The web game City Jumper has stationary obstacles that you have to jump over. What makes it difficult is that there are so many landmarks and other features that you come across, and every single one of them kills you. You can be killed by trees, crabs, and even clouds. An example of this trope where it's easy for these objects to kill you when they're not actually trying.
Rayman is no stranger to this, coming to a head in the Band Land levels of the original game where the level geometry itself has disgruntled, bloodshot eyes attached to the platforms that periodically shoot lightning at you.
Wario Land has a few examples of this (as mentioned on Our Monsters Are Weird), but the ultimate 'huh' example of an insane boss design just has to be Cuckoo Condor. It's a flying, psychotic, laser shooting cuckoo clock! Which is the boss of a world based on industry and factories.
Alphaman has various typically-tame woodland critters as enemies and children's cartoon characters as major bosses. (Gumby will kick your ass.)
NetHack features an almost infinite number of ways to die. The SLASHEM variant is even more unforgiving.
In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, all Pokemon in the dungeons are hostile and will kill you on sight (not counting the ones you're quested to rescue, also if you count the Kecleon Shopkeepers if you steal from them); despite this being a parallel universe where Pokemon are just as sentient as humans, Pokemon are territorial assholes who like to pick fights for no reason (actually, the reason for this is lampshaded in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity)
Role Playing Game
In Drakkhen, sometimes the stars would randomly turn into crazy monsters which would fly down and kill you very quickly.
In the original Neverwinter Nights, the way the faction system was set up some modules created with the toolset would have everything in an area turn hostile as soon as you attack one thing.
In the SNES RPG EarthBound, all manner of unlikely enemies are out to kill the party, in keeping with the absurd tone of the game. These include dogs, crows, mice, bears, cups of hot coffee, robots, trees that explode, fire hydrants, abstract art, trash cans, dinosaurs, oversized single-celled organisms, and the infamous New-Age Retro Hippie.
The game sort of jokes about this: there's an NPC who claims she got badly wounded by a mouse. It's a legit warning: Rowdy Mice have a high chance of dealing SMAAAASH!! attacks.
Cavemen, street signs, seedlings, little UFOs, mushrooms, zombies, and even a circus tent want to crush you.
Also features killer puddles of puke, gas pumps, mysterious tomato-looking things, drunk guys, old ladies, caterpillars, hieroglyphs, moles, nooses...
And this is just EarthBound. The entire Mother series includes as enemies: MORE exploding trees, ghost amour, potato bugs, walking bushes, a doll, a LAMP, giant robots, more mushrooms, more zombies, men's room signs, and to top it off, a walking statue with an obscene amount of HP.
Pokémon, not referring to the various monsters, but rather the trainers who use them. While you're walking along, expect to be interrupted and thrust into battle with Engineers, Guitarists, Teachers, Burglars (who aren't trying to mug you), Scientists, Cosplayers, and more. Much, much more.
Schoolboys, Gentlemen, Fishermen, Swimmers, Sailors, Jugglers, Dancers, Small Children... in fact, when Generation 4 introduced babies as NPCs, more than one player approached the strollers with caution, expecting a battle to begin. It hasn't happened... yet.
The Immortal had many, many ways to kill you, all of them creatively animated, sudden and well-hidden (some can be viewed here). The most pathetic? Approaching a down ladder from the wrong side.
AdventureQuest, the online Flash RPG, has odd monsters like giant Salt Shakers, Doom Cola Machines, and Candy Golems. Speaking of, the horror that is the Am-Bush. It is a bush. That ambushes you. Nobody seems to be entirely clear on why.
Persona 3 and Persona 4 have enemies that are called Shadows. While that sounds reasonable, take into account that their appearances include tables, gloves, scales, castles, and even one boss that is a giant heart. The sad part is that these enemies are actually threats and can easily kill you if you are not prepared.
Dragon Quest VIII features enemies like living handbells, bags of money, and, in the game's penultimate boss fight, a homicidal, sentient castle.
Dragon Quest VII had it even worse, with the aforementioned bags of money (a staple monster for the series), a giant rose bush, books, pots, wells, eggplants, anteaters, columns, clowns, a moose, clouds, Aladdin-style lamps, Easter Island heads, starfish, snails, penguins, Don Quixote robots, and wine bottles.
Similar to those two examples above, Hell House from Final Fantasy VII. It's a small house... that sprouts a head, arms and legs and tries to crush Cloud and co. Oh, and it fires out nukes as an attack.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga has the killer soda creature called the Chuckolator, which is exactly what it sounds like. It has a shield and sword, and is healed by bad jokes. There's also a yo-yo wielding Hammer Bro species.
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has the Piranha Planets, which are killer planets with astronaut piranha plants. And the Handfakes, killer hands made of tar holding pictures of enemies that they attack Mario and Luigi with.
Super Mario RPG has a wedding cake as a boss at one point. You fight the chefs that made the cake and they flee when the cake comes to life. The cake's signature attack is Standstorm, which attacks the whole party and causes Fear, cutting your defense in half. The hard part was you can't kill it traditionally at first. You have to "blow" out the candles by attacking and it relights one candle when its turn comes up. It's oly after you get rid of the top layers that you can attack the bottom layer normally and when you do beat it, Booster comes in and swallows the cake whole.Mario and his crew then just move on as if nothing happened...
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has among other things, a murderous water fountain, a robot killer rubbish bin, living treasure chests, killer trees, Goombas eating lollipops, Bowser's memories of Mario and Luigi and all of Bowser's giant opponents. And said giant opponents happen to be a flying castle (which you have to beat up), a tower shaped like a man with a goofy head, a train that turns into a hill and a Humongous Mecha Peach's Castle that has a black hole gun!
And in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, you have a watering can robot, the spirit of the McGuffin you're trying to find turned giant drill robot, a living volcano (which tries to ram the heroes), a robot made of buildings that becomes a flying hammer and such interesting enemies as dog walkers, squid shooting urns, another living rubbish bin and ? blocks! You know, those blocks Mario and Luigi hit? Well, apparently there are evil equivalents called Dark Blocks now.
This is pretty much the premise of the RPG Maker game hfygs. Talk to the chicken? You inexplicably turn into another character and get skewered by the "anti-transformation chicken". Look at the letterbox? You send a letter bomb to God, who immediately smites you to death. Talk to the kindly old man? He devours you. And to top it all off, the final boss is The Almight Charset.
While trekking across the desert in Secret of Evermore, the player will be actively pursued by tumbleweeds trying to do him harm.
Shoot Em Up
The very premise of Gun Nac is that normally docile animals and even inanimate objects mysteriously come alive and start attacking... everything! Of course, it's up to our hero to find the cause of this madness.
The 1984 Commodore64 game Revenge Of The Mutant Camels by Jeff Minter had a truly bizarre selection of enemies, including British telephone boxes, Polo mints, peace signs, goats, exploding sheep, skiing kangaroos, guys sitting on flying toilets, the jet from Attack Of The Mutant Camels, Minter himself and ZX Spectrums.
In Cloud Master, enemies include rocks, assorted animals, the odd mahjong tile, and waves of gyoza, shumai and ramen bowls.
720 Degrees: Police on scooters, bodybuilders, lugers, breakdancers, frisbee throwers, recumbent bikers, cars, other skateboarders, and rollerblading skeletons are all out to slow you down and inhibit your escape from the killer bees that appear when the timer runs out.
Video Games based on The Bible
Bible Adventures has 3 separate games but each with their own assassins.
In Noah's Ark, rocks appear randomly and some of the animals you have to pick up try to fight back until you manage to lift them over your head.
In Baby Moses, you have giant spiders, birds and men throwing bricks at you.
In David and Goliath, scorpions and squirrels throwing oversized acorns at you make an appearance.
Bible Buffet: the food is trying to kill you. Walking vegetables, eggs that blow themselves up, snowmen, ice creams, french fries and your other average food stuff. Plus test tubes and kitchenware.
Super 3D Noah's Ark, it's animals who are after you. Mostly goats.
Sunday Funday has old women, bullies who change skin color when hit, plumbers, something throwing stuff out of window and sewer holes, walking fire hydrants, sewer frogs and so on.
In Konami's Noah's Ark, the entire wildlife except the selected 7 animals whom you must rescue don't greet you well. The animals include giant snails, spiders, giant frogs, penguins, fish, jellyfish, birds, scorpions, giant Asteroids Monster lizards, kangaroos, ostriches and dolphins. A lot of them can shoot projectiles at you.
Other enemies are weirder like water plugs, deadly ice cubes, flying tigers, squares that fall from the sky, volcanic debris and mummies. Some hazards too like spikeballs and cacti that is deadly on touch.
There are also indigenous people like Native Americans, Romans, Aborigines, Inuits (who are surprisingly on Antarctica), Incas and Japanese. Some who use magic against you.
As for the bosses, the stage end boss is a water plug. For chapter bosses, in order, there is a giant sea bass, a giant spider hanging from the sky, a South American-styled sun god symbol, giant lobster, killer snowman, giant hornet and Satan.
Wide Open Sandbox
In Super Scribblenauts, you can litteraly make anything want to kill you by adding an adjective like "angry" or "evil" when spawning it. You can get killed by something like an angry pancake or an evil bathtub. They're not very dangerous but they will display an "angry" emotion and try to jump at you and do their best to harm you.
Atari's Middle Earth is an alien Lost World filled with feral beasts, bloodthirsty dinosaurs, giant apes, and strange monsters, all fighting each other while volcanoes erupt all around.
Dungeons & Dragons was all over this trope like chaotic evil jam on toast that hungers for your brains. The old MonsterManuals are full of seemingly innocuous objects that are actually monsters waiting to eat you. Examples include the Roper (a stalagmite that sprouts a mouth and tentacles), the Piercer (a stalactite that falls on you in an attempt to stab you), the Cloaker (looks like an old cloak but is actually a levitating manta-ray-like thing), along with its undead equivalent the Sheet Ghoul, the Mimic (can look like any innocuous object but canonically resembles a treasure chest), the Green Slime (a corrosive amoeboid mass that looks like typical dungeon muck), the Crystal Ooze (a corrosive amoeboid blob that lurks invisibly in pools of water), the Shrieker (a giant mushroom that screams when you approach it; it isn't trying to kill you but the curious monsters investigating the screaming might), the Bowler (sentient mobile boulder), the Galeb Duhr (sentient spellcasting boulder with legs), not to mention the three different monsters (Caryatid Column, Gargoyle, and Stone Golem) that can all be summed up as "stone statue that comes to life and tries to kill you."
And let's not forget the Doomy RoomOf Doom: the Lurker (looks like a cave ceiling), the Trapper (looks like a cave floor), the Stunjelly (looks like the wall), and the Gelatinous Cube (perfectly square transparent ooze, so the space inside the room can kill you!)
And the Greater Mimic, which can imitate larger objects, like a room. The Lurker, Trapper, and Stunjelly in one.
And the great and mighty House Hunter Mimic, which is a house that reproduces by budding, with its offspring being sheds, outhouses, and of course, Dread Gazeboes.
Later editions seem to have moved away from this trope, but most of the old monsters have become icons of the game, and continue to be reprinted from one edition to the next. Furthermore, in Third Edition D&D, there are rules for animated objects as monsters, allowing for dungeon masters to easily turn anything within line-of-sight into something that will try to kill you. Furthermore, players noted housecats could easily kill a 1st level commoner in a single turn.
Fourth Edition generally averts this with higher hit point totals overall and a relative lack of instant-kill effects, although one could come away from looking at all the stat blocks in the Monster Manuals with the impression that it's still true because the "fluff" sections often come up a bit short, suggesting that everything in there from angels to zombies immediately wants to kill the player characters upon meeting them. That's more a case of chicken-or-the-egg syndrome, though — the Monster Manuals are supposed to be primarily books of ready-made combat stats for when the DM needs those, how to handle peaceful interaction regardless of whether the creature you're talking to has the power to explode for extra damage upon dying is more the concern of the Player's Handbooks and Dungeon Master's Guides.
Many other planes of existence fit this as well. The Plane of Negative Energy drains your life force, and if it kills you there's no way to resurrect you because your body will crumble to dust, which then vanishes. The Plane of Positive Energy feels wonderful, until you discover that if your hit points (which constantly increase there) reaches double your normal maximum, you explode. Then there's the Plane of Elemental Fire, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The Planes of Elemental Water, Earth, and Air are similar for the other elements, making it difficult to find a place you can just survive for a few minutes without life supporting magic in most Planes. The places where these six planes meet form Para- and Quasi-Elemental Planes, which typically combine the most lethal aspects of each of their parent Planes. Going into the Outer Planes (which more or less correspond to possible Afterlife destinations), there are entire dimensions filled with hideous monsters that want nothing more than to chew on your soul for all eternity (and there are no less than seven of these Planes), even more so than they want to kill the denizens of the other similar Planes. There's an entire plane of pure chaos, where only a strong mind can allow you to impose a small bubble of order around yourself to survive in. Even the relatively benign residents of some of the Planes may attack you if you have a different alignment, or if you violate some obscure rule of behavior that you have no way of knowing about.
Dark Sun is a strong contender for the most kill-happy of all D&D campaign ever published. Players are advised to have three characters, because death is so expected in the settings. The game starts with your characters at level 3, instead of 1— simply living a life in this hellhole qualifies as adventuring. As for the punchline: few other campaign settings can net you the honor of being brutally murdered by psionic vermins.
This is arguably the primary appeal of Paranoia, as much of the dark humor comes from the endlessly creative ways the players and the GM can kill the Troubleshooters. Between untested R&D weaponry, malfunctioning robots, traitors everywhere, and the ever-omnipresent maniacal Friend Computer, it's easier to count the things that aren't trying to kill you. If the clones are not risking death buying a can of Bouncy Bubble Beverage, the GM's a wuss.
In Kagetsu Tohya, the sort-of sequel to Tsukihime, you can get eaten by a magical leopard that springs out of Arcueid's underwear drawer and lectures you. Even Shiki is baffled and unbelieving of this one. There are random bizarre deaths like this strewn all over.
In the faux-videogame webcomicKid Radd, the eponymous hero sprite is damaged by apples and bazookas (and by touching Bogey). And he's damaged the same amount by each one. This is a major plot point.
Even the geological chemistry of Oz is trying to kill you. Proof. Midnight Oil sang about the workers who had to suffer for it.
About the only things that aren't dangerous or poisonous are some of the sheep (which aren't native to Australia). And maybe wallabies. The following things will kill you: common spiders, the most common snakes, ticks, crocodiles, sharks, jellyfish, stonefish; we have a seashell that will go for you and deliver a very painful, fast death. Even (male) platypus are poisonous.
Platypodes aren't merely venomous, they have probably the most terrifying venom in nature. The other animals on this list will just kill you, the Platypus isn't that humane. Its venom attacks the victim's pain receptors, cranking them Up to Eleven and ripping off the knob. It causes pain so horrible that even the highest non-lethal dose of morphine isn't enough. To stop the pain, doctors actually have to physically sever the nerve from the affected area to the brain because that's the only thing powerful enough.
Except that, if a spider spins a web (as in a traditional, picturebook cobweb), it won't kill you normally, just make you wish it had.
A wallaby could still probably break a few of your ribs by kicking you, and that's pretty bad as broken ribs can lead to punctured lungs or a punctured heart.
It's not quite as silly as it sounds - wombats are regularly preyed upon by dingos, and escape by letting the dingos chase them to their burrows, waiting for the dingo to force its snout over the wombat's back, and then kicking upward with enough force to crack the dingo's skull. And, as burrowing animals, they have huge, sharp claws.
We all know kangaroos hop around on their hind legs — well, those hind legs are strong enough to disembowel a person with a single kick. Breaking the old stereotype that island faunas are wimpy, kangaroos have proven themselves quite able to compete with other animals on the mainland. So don't diss the 'roo, mate!
The Australian fierce snake (named for its home, the Fierce Desert, not for its temperament, which is actually non-aggressive) is considered the most poisonous snake in the world.
In fact, the top nine poisonous snakes in the world are all from Australia.
According to the Made of Explodium page, eucalyptus trees have a rather amusing tendency to, well, explode, given the proper stressors. Truly a gamer's continent.
Eucalypts also produce dry, waxy leaves and loose bark that fuel the frequent and highly dangerous bushfires, and have a tendency to lose branches in high winds, or just after said fires. Add in the fact that eucalypt branches are often 1-2 metres in length, and all grow from the top foot or so of trunk, and you can see that even the trees are trying to kill you.
Also, falling gum tree limbs (known as widowmakers) have caused serious property damage and deaths. And they fall with no warning. Feel like taking a nap under a gum tree during a hot day? It might be the last thing you do...
The good news is that Drop Bears are just scare stories for the tourists. The bad news is that the trees the bears live in do, in fact, drop lethal objects on you anyway.
And that's just the stuff on land, they also have - apart from the sharks and saltwater crocodiles - blue ringed octopus, box jellyfish, cone snails, stingrays, etc.
You know your country is scary when even the snails can kill. The aptly named Triton (not the car) is one of the few predators that will kill and eat "crown of thorns" starfish.
That is one of the reasons why Steve Irwin was considered one of the best Real Lifebadasses. "Now watch as I approach the kangaroo's babies, if I'm not careful the mama will rip off my arm and start beating me with it!!" Nothing he says is worth anything less then two exclamation points.
In other countries, Steve Irwin is remembered as a great man, one of the most out-spoken animal rights activists of all time. Australians on the other hand view him as a crazy person... since they actually understand how dangerous the things he did to educate the rest of the world were.
There's also the fact that in Australia everyone has an uncle who can do those things (although they almost invariably are smart enough to refrain from doing them). Steve Irwin happened to be able to build an international television career out of doing things that are, in any objective sense, completely idiotic.
The odd thing is, Steve Irwin was killed by an animal which is normally non-lethal: the stingray. The only reason he died was because he had the sheer misfortune to be stabbed directly in the heart.
Emus are basically really big Velociraptor with a beak. Be glad that you do not meet their dietary needs. Cassowaries, too — which are like emus but actively aggressive towards humans. They were actually used as the models for the Velociraptor in Jurassic Park.
Adding to the horror - a cassowary is basically an emu with warpaint and an axe attached to its head.
If you think that's bad, Australia was even more of a Death World back in the Pleistocene, when humans first arrived. Carnivorous buzz-saw toothed kangaroos? Check. Monitor-lizards the size of a city bus? Check. Climbing warm-blooded saw-toothed crocodiles? Check. Gigantic killer pseudo-python? Check. Marsupial lion with sickle thumbs? Check. The Demon Duckof Doom! (I'm not joking, scientists actually call it that). Oh yeah, it's there. Ninjemys, a gigantic horned turtle built like a panzer tank (and yes, the name means exactly what you think it means and it was named after that), check.
This also highlights the fact that, by a huge margin, the most lethal animal in Australia is... US. Humans wiped out all the above creatures with nothing more sophisticated than precisely shaped pieces of stone and wood.
Any child growing up in Australia learns (unless the parents are trying to kill the kid) a long list of things that can kill you, practically by heart. It's a long list, and just to make sure at least one state teaches it in primary schools.
Is it "everything"? That's not that hard to memorize.
Koalas. If you try to hug a wild one, they will be happy to "hug" you back with razor sharp claws that are designed to be habitats for nasty shit, making them natural experts of biological warfare. Have you ever heard one growl at you? The cute little bears marsupials sound like giant ogres!
On top of that, most of them have chlamydia,note And no, you don't have to root them to catch it from them. so, in a way, they kill your future children, too.
Out of all these critters, the only ones that really cramp your style are the jellyfish. Sharks? Pfft, there's like three left. Spiders? Don't go picking up random bits of rusty iron. Snakes? Make a lot of noise whilst walking through undergrowth, wear tough shoes, etc. Stonefish/cone shells? Don't walk barefoot on reefs. Drop bears? Don't hang around underneath gum trees. But jellyfish? "Oh, I'm sorry if you wanted to go for a swim at that otherwise harmless sandy beach when it's 42 degrees. We'll just be floating around by our thousands, invisible and potentially fatal."
Not to mention the Irukandji. The worst of the box jellyfish (an infamous class of jellyfish), they will actively seek out prey rather than drift along in the current, are the size of a fingernail, are transparent, can swim through anti-jellyfish safety nets on beaches and pack a horrifically painful sting which has 'a sense of impending doom' listed as a symptom on That Other Wiki.
Sure the little guys are scary, but on the other side of the scale, Australia is also home to a southern-hemisphere relative of the Lion's Mane jellyfish◊. Yes, that is a jellyfish that can grow up to 120 feet long, 8 feet across, and whose stingers remain dangerous even after detached. While there hasn't really been a recorded case of a person being eaten by one of these, isn't it nice to know that there are species of jellyfish actually capable of devouring you whole? Oh yea, and sometimes they swarm. Sleep well!
Let's not also forget the Chironex Fleckeri, another specie of box jellyfish unique to Australia. Their venom is often said to be the most deadly in the world, and if The Other Wiki is to be believed, a single specimen holds enough of it to kill 60 adult humans.
They may not be dangerous to humans, but the only known variety of sea squirt that snares prey like a Venus fly-trap rather than passively filtering water lives just off Australia.
Look at the rest of the list. Not dangerous to humans? Don't count on it.
And because this list isn't long enough, the Blue-Ringed Octopus. The venom causes total paralysis of everything, including involuntary muscle movement - like say, breathing. Or your heart beating. And you're conscious every second of it - assuming you are going to live much longer, which is debatable because you're paralyzed, look dead and, well... just pray your buddy (you DO have one with you, right...?) can recognize the effects of blue ringed octopus venom, otherwise say hi to a very unpleasant death!
There is no antidote for the blue-ringed octopus's venom — in no small part because the horrifying concoction is hard to formulate an antivenom for, being a mix of several different horrifically lethal chemical substances, tetradotoxin in primis. The treatment is to start CPR immediately and keep going, no matter what, until medical help arrives; the victim is then placed on life support until their body can flush out the venom naturally.
And you know what the big Irony is? While it may or may not be the only venomous octopus species in the world, blue-rings are definitely the only ones that are lethal to humans. That's right folks, there is only one type of octopus that can kill you, and it lives in Australia.
And if the venom isn't scary enough, keep in mind that the blue-ringed octopus, like the rest of its order, is super intelligent; just imagine the cephalopod version of the Zodiac Killer armed with a powerful neurotoxin and a body of pure nerves and muscle that can fit through any crack or crevasse. Fortunately, once more like other octopi, they're of the "will only attack when provoked" variety, but obviously it's still not something you want to mess with.
And let's not forget the Great Australian Bight. For non-locals, that's a region of South Australia where the ground beneath your feet is brittle and conceals deep abysses leading to underground caverns filled with seawater, which will happily drown you if the fall doesn't splat you first. That's right: in Australia, even the ground wants to kill you.
Slightly more north is the Nullarbor Plain. Imagine the biggest desert you can think of. Now imagine it bigger. Now imagine red. Now add the typical Australian NT climate heat of 48-50 degrees Celsius.note 118-122 degrees Fahrenheit Now imagine having gone out there looking for gold which is relatively easy to find beneath the sand. Not only does the ground want to kill you, it tempts you into a trap to make it easier on itself.
To elucidate a little further, it's not just NT ground that can kill you (although honestly, living in Alice Springs is almost a death wish, and you only live in Darwin if you have a love affair with bipolar weather and cyclones), but nearly all ground everywhere that can kill you. Apart from some of the most perilous mountain ranges anywhere (with sharp drops, deceptive rock formations, crumbling earth, nexus of underground caves which you won't find your way out of without a very experienced guide, and narrow winding paths that you only can travel with immense preparation (and these are mountain ranges with absolutely tiny mountains compared to the rest of the world, just look up the Flinder's Ranges)), you have wide vast expanses of ridiculously dry desert in Western Australia that you will die in if you don't have someone who knows how to find the water hidden deep beneath the ground, a coastline with so many abrupt cliffs that if you're not careful you can drive right off, and marsh land and estuaries in NSW and Queensland that will either suck you into their swampy extremes, or leave you wandering lost for days in sand dunes. Even the bushes will try to poison you and paralyse you! ... Oh god, why do I live here again?
Continuing on from even the ground trying to kill you, everyone growing up in Darwin knows not to dig during the wet season with any cuts or injuries. The bacteria, Melioidosis, more commonly known as Nightcliff Gardener's Disease, lives deep in the soil, but comes to the surface when it rains. It has a nearly 90% mortality rate when untreated, and there's no known vaccine.
Here's a fun fact: remember that patient in season five of House who was willing to take hostages to get a diagnosis? This was the stuff that was killing him. Even on House, Melioidosis is extreme.
You also have to remember that pretty much any time Cracked mentions Australia, it must, and absolutely must, be restated that dingoes eat human babies.
The plants can also kill you. The Stinging Tree is aptly named; all shrubs and trees of this genus have very fine hairs which will end up in your body if you walk too close (also, said hairs SHED, so too close is probably within a 5km radius). These stingers are poisonous, and they have been known to kill horses, dogs and, yes, people. With great efficiency. Even if it doesn't kill you, the hairs - and subsequently the pain, because it's the Stinging Tree for a reason - tend to last several years; the hairs are too fine to remove, and they don't break down in your body.
If trees killing you weren't bad enough, the grass trying to kill you would be. Triodia (aka Spinifex) is a grass tipped with hard silicate arrowheads that break off in your skin.
It is ironic when one considers that despite the high number of dangers Australia actually has a very low death rate from bites and stings, due to a combination of its people being well-educated about the dangers, advanced medical care being accessible to a majority of the population, and many of its potentially dangerous animals being unaggressive and/or restricted to remote areas where they rarely encounter people.
The stats speak for themselves. The take-home lesson - no worries.
In the surrounding areas of the A.C.T (Australian Capital Territory), there is a road to a lovely beach town in NSW (Batemans Bay) called the Clyde. Along this road, there is a tourist attraction known as Pooh Bear's corner. Back in WWII, this fun little visiting spot (now filled with plush toys of its namesake) was filled with explosives. Back then, the Clyde was the only route in or out of Canberra and was meant to halt invading Japanese soldiers by either blowing them up or cutting off the road at an important point. So in Australia, even the most innocent of places could've killed you.
Australia is not just an active killer, it's also passive-aggressive as all hell. There's been no crustal overturn in most of the continent since around the time of the first dinosaurs, so the soils tend overwhelmingly to be thin and nutrient-poor, and in many places — especially in the southwest — tens of millions of years of accumulated salt spray make the ground inhospitable to vegetation not evolved to cope with it. Europeans moved to this place and set about establishing European-style agriculture. Australia blinked and chuckled grimly at that, though it's true those rabbit things are annoying.
When Australia was discovered in 1622 by English sailors (about 20 years after the Dutch found it and left it well enough alone) they made the fatal mistake of believing Australia was more hospitable than it was- they landed in the middle of the wet season but because it was so hot, arid and barren they thought that it was the peak of the dry season and that the climate would become more bearable after a few months. After colonizing they found out that this wasn't the case.
Just to prove the government has a sense of humour - snakes are protected species in most areas, it's illegal to kill them. Snakes do not reciprocate this policy. Fortunately for gardeners, the natural enemy of the snake, the shovel, is often close by.
But, there is one inversion. Most native Australian bees either have no stingers or stingers too small to penetrate human skin. Australia has a most ironic sense of humor.
It gets even crazier in that all of this is pretty much scientifically JUSTIFIED. Because Australia is so isolated from other landmasses, all the organisms living here are basically in an extreme evolutionary lensman arms race to be more deadly and poisonous and venomous than their competitors. Particularly due to the aforementioned poor soil - not enough food growing, and no way to go elsewhere for more? KILL EVERYTHING THAT COMPETES.
Please note that this technically means that Australia is the only place in the world where the animals view humans as "competition" as opposed to "predators"
Check out Aussies with Artillery for more info about the Australian Army and what they did/could do. Fortunately, Australians have only ever gone to war for three reasons: 1. the British called them; 2. the Japanese landed a battalion a little too close to home (in Indonesia); or 3. The USA let them tag along. So don't do any of those and the Army won't do a thing. Most of the time they're running around dealing with disasters at home.
A bit of Fridge Horror for at least one invading species in Australia: The Cane Toad. These toads not only thrive in Australia, they're actively taking over due to the poison they secrete which can kill the native predators with ease. The horror comes in on how the Toad, if it can survive Australia's extremes... HASN'T taken over the rest of the world yet?!
The predators of the South American jungle had a tolerance for its poison and kept its numbers low. Australian farmers gave it a paradise where nothing would eat it, thinking it would protect crops; it did not. No one duplicated that mistake.
Oh, and Australia used to own half of New Guinea. 8,000-foot razorback mountains, lush malarial jungles and so many rivers and ravines that the smallest tribes are cut off from each other (half the languages spoken on the entire planet are in New Guinea) and often used to be cannibalistic to survive. The area is so trackless that some highland tribes weren't discovered until planes flew over them in the 1930s. Next to, maybe, Afghanistan, it is the worst place in the world to fight a war — and the Japanese, Australians and Americans spent three years trying. During the Kokoda campaign alone, the Japanese starved on their way over the Owen-Stanley mountains, the Americans who marched over Ghost Mountain cut out the seat of their pants because of the diarrhea, and the Australian 18th Brigade took 96% casualties, mostly from exhaustion and disease.
Africa. The largest collection of large predators on a single continent, poisonous snakes like the Black Mamba? Even prey animals like the Cape Buffalo will seek out and kill you. Rhinos are known for charging without provocation and despite being an herbivore the hippopotamus bites so many people into pieces the Egyptians associated them with the evil god Set. It has the only species of driver ant regularly known to eat human beings but going smaller, the continent is really known for its parasites and diseases, though some of them are close to being wiped out as people have been smartening up to them over the centuries.
A disturbingly wide range of the plant life on Earth will kill or maim you if you touch or attempt to eat it. We eat things like shallots, onions, and garlic, but most of their relatives are dangerously toxic even to us (and we've got tough livers from our nearly-completely herbivorous ancestors). Every part of the tomato and potato plants except the parts we eat are dangerously toxic. Many people enjoy the leaf stalks of the rhubarb plant, but the leaves themselves can be lethal, and they have relatives that are dangerous to even touch. An Asian relative of the wild carrot, giant hogweed, is spreading across North America, and it has sap that, if it touches your skin, makes sunlight cause second- and third-degree burns. Have fun mowing the lawn.
Fuel-air bombs. When one goes off, it spreads a fine aerosol of fuel droplets into the air, this mixture then leaks into every crevice and confined space (incl bunkers, caves etc). Then it is ignited into a consuming, blazing inferno. Thus the air itself kills you (and when it fails to ignite, the fuel used can be so toxic that you die a horrible, slower death by chemical weapon instead)
Utah. Want some water from our largest lake? Yeah, it's four times saltier than the ocean. Located right next to a desert where the ground is made of salt. Have fun getting to California!
The Mormons didn't choose to settle there, either. They had been trying to get to California, but Utah has one more little surprise: The slope out of the valley the above lake is in turns out to be just slightly too steep for the wagons the Mormons had to be gotten back out of it.
Arizona. At first glance, it doesn't look nearly as bad as Australia; its desert areas has an abundance of vegetation (as opposed to the stereotype of deserts being barren) while its forested areas look outright inviting. Not bad at all right? Wrong. Let's start with the desert. Okay, you can easily die of sunstroke or frostbite (you heard right), as the desert is either really hot or really cold depending on the season. However, that's just for starters. Beside the climate, the desert is home to an abundance of species that could keep with Australian types; the obvious ones are the rattlesnakes, coyotes (which can travel in packs of dozens by the way), cougars, jaguars (yes, really), and spiders (anything from tarantulas to black widows to brown recluses), but there's also the likes of the peccary (think the Sonoran's take on a wild boar), tarantula hawk (talk about Names to Run Away From Really Fast) and gila monster (one of two known venomous lizards, so named for their temperament) to name a few. Alongside, the combination of abundant vegetation and dry air can easily cause massive wild fires that are near impossible to put out (no thanks to the limited water supply); even a blown out match is enough to ignite one (which has happened more than once). And that's not discounting the vegetation itself; while the plantsnote which range from the stereotypical cacti to prickly pears and other types with large abundances of thorns aren't venomous like in Australia, they're lethal in their own myriad of ways. First, they can easily catch hold of loose clothing and effectively trap anyone against them (which means if you don't have a knife or easy-to-rip-or-takeoff clothing, then you're stuck, period); even a slight brush can often lead to ensnarement. Alongside that, said plants may or may not be home to one of the local animals listed above, as snakes, spiders and insects like to use them for shelter.
Large patches of a devious little cactus called the teddy-bear cholla litter the Sonoran Desert. From a distance, they look as cute and fuzzy as the name implies, but get too near and you'll find that those fuzzy looking spines mean business. Entire segments of the plant will break away so it can cling to your leg like a gigantic cocklebur, making large areas completely impassable.
And then there's the forest areas in northern Arizona, which nearly takes the trope Up to Eleven. You read about the climate above, right? Well, it can be just as hot or cold in the north, and water is just as limited; unless you're near a (man-made) lake, death by dehydration is just as likely to occur as in the Sonoran. And just like the aforementioned, the air tends to be very dry, which can easily cause forest fires (from so much as an excessively hot day). And finally, there's always the local wildlife, which pretty much includes everything listed above, only now with addition of bears alongside additional types of wildcats and arthropods. In short, if you want to go on a nature hike, best pack heavy firepower (preferably something in the rifle range) and lots and lots and lots of water.
South Florida. When your home is near by one of the biggest swamps/marshes in the world where many kinds of deadly reptiles live either naturally or not, you kind of have a problem. Also, we have our very own Venom One team.
Also, on occasion, the ground tries to eat you, with one particularly unlucky man having a sinkhole open up in his own bedroom while staying with his brother. There's a section referred to as "Sinkhole Alley" due to the prevalence of this event there. Only in Florida...
This problem is exacerbated by the fact that most of the Florida peninsula is composed of a large, deep bed of limestone which is riddled with water-filled caves, and the limestone and the caves extend well into the ocean. Tides mix fresh and saltwater in the caves, which tends to dissolve limestone into the consistency of soft cheese before washing it away entirely. This can quickly convert an apparently stable region into a maze of sinkholes of unpredictable size and depth. (Places where this occurred during the last ice age, when sea level was much lower, can be seen in otherwise shallow water as the famous Blue Holes.)