Goddamned Bats

aka: Damned Bats

"Every first-person game seems to have these tiny little enemies that hop at your face, are hard to hit and, worst of all, are unsatisfying to kill."
David Wong, Cracked.com

They probably ain't gonna kill you like them Demonic Spiders over there, but they're certainly going to harass you and slow you down, making it easier for something else to kill you.

Almost every video game has them. These are the enemies that are just a speed bump, even if they are not outright dangerous. They're not difficult to defeat, but because of the frequency with which they appear, they can become a significant hindrance to the player, and they usually don't give you enough of a reward to make fighting them truly worth it, either. Even the explosion made by killing them is paltry compared to other enemies.

They're the goddamn bats, man.

A key trait is that they generally don't pose too large of a threat on their own; they're more annoying than deadly. When an enemy starts posing an actual threat, then it's a case of Demonic Spiders and, in extreme cases, the Boss in Mook Clothing.

Note that this designation applies to any type of non-threatening enemy whose purpose is to stall and harass the player. Goddamned Bats are common in Platformers, where they enjoy disturbing precision jumping.

They don't have to be bats. The best definition of the Goddamned Bats trope is that they are not only common enemies that will swamp you, and they are not only disgustingly easy to kill on their own, but they are also unsatisfying to fight - they take no skill to defeat, in RPGs they don't provide much (if any) experience or gold when beaten, and they aren't even particularly interesting as enemies, and are sometimes flat-out annoying. A famous example of this are the Zubats in the Pokemon series.

Other following factors can contribute to a game having Goddamned Bats:

Occasionally, Goddamned Bats can be a result of the setting; for example, a water level can inadvertently graft Goddamned Bats characteristics onto any enemy if the game has poor movement controls.

See Goddamned Boss for bosses with these characteristics. Compare The Usual Adversaries. For literal bats that God has damned, see Bat out of Hell.

    Non-Video Game 
Anime and Manga
  • One Piece has Gecko Moria whose main method of 'attack' is to hide behind a cloud of regenerating shadow bats as hard as bricks and run away when his opponent's not looking. Cue the protagonist spending the entire fight wandering around the forest looking for his enemy.
  • The White Zetsu from Naruto are this in straight-up battle, due to their main skills being infiltration and assassination.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • There's a scene in the Play By Post game What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf? in which the protagonist opens the door to the attic...and is swarmed by bats. The other characters, all children, laugh at him for it. The protagonist is understandably miffed since everything up to that point has been trying to kill him.
  • In Spriggs: a Halo 3 Machinima, Lt. Hammer considers the Grey Suits to be this.
    Hammer: They breed you morons like rodents, don't they?
  • The "Fel-dogs" of Tales from My D&D Campaign. They have a bit of DR that nobody's weapons seem to get around, Fast Heal, and most obnoxiously of all, they inflict 1d6 negative energy backlash damage every time you hit them in melee. Not all that hard to kill, but each fight eats a bit of the party's healing resources due to their attacks and backlash damage.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd is the Trope Namer, and he absolutely hates these, and has had many long rants against them in the many Nintendo Hard games he reviews. Bats being the most common offender, but other similar annoyances (like the Medusa heads in Castlevania) get lambasted for all the reasons on this page as well. But with a lot of fucks, shits, and descriptions of fecal matter.

  • The flocks of birds in both the book and film of Lord of the Rings. Specifically the crebain, used by Saruman as his eyes and ears to track down the Fellowship in the high mountains. In both portrayals, Aragorn realises the danger of the flocking crows and has the fellowship stamp out fires and go to cover. (In the film, the crebain detect the fellowship and give Saruman the information he needs to turn the mountain passes against them).

Live-Action TV
  • Piranhas became this in an episode of River Monsters, in which Jeremy constantly caught piranhas, when he wasn't just having his bait stolen.
  • In Community, the hippies act as this when the group plays an important video game created by Pierce's elitist father.

Western Animation
  • A Tom Slick cartoon had Tom in Transylvanian race and he quips "Oh, rats! Bats!" upon beeing attacked by the winged creatures.
  • Scooby-Doo and his teenage buddies are constantly beseiged by bats. In "Decoy For A Dognapper," Shaggy and Velma are flailing away trying to avoid a flock of bats and Shaggy quips that they'd call that dance "the Batusi!"
  • The Danger Mouse episode "Duckula Meets Frankenstoat" has Dr. Frankenstoat having created a machine that will make a flock of bats—a flock of cricket bats with vampire wings.

Alternative Title(s):

Goddamn Bats, Damned Bats