Weak enemies that exist primarily to annoy the player character. They probably aren't gonna kill you, 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.
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 swarm you, and they are not only pathetically easy to kill on their own, but they take no skill to defeat, in RPGs they don't provide much (if any) experience or gold when beaten, and are sometimes flat-out annoying. A famous example of this is Zubat in the Pokemon series which were found in nearly every cave in the first 4 generations and liked to inflict various Standard Status Effects on the player before going down.
Other following factors can contribute to making an enemy a Goddamned Bat:
- Player having relatively large health bar, reducing the enemies' relative threat (and thus the need to exterminate them quickly) — even if it's just Scratch Damage, enduring repeated hits adds up.
- Ledge Bats in platform games, which exist to exploit knockback and send the character off the nearest cliff.
- The enemy respawns quickly and/or in large numbers.
- If the player has a weapon with limited attack range or can't shoot vertically or diagonally, making it difficult to engage the bats especially if they fly out of reach.
- The enemy is very fast, small, moves erratically, or otherwise hard to hit.
- The enemy can steal players' items.
- They are unlikely to drop useful items, or never do.
- In defense-based games, the enemy has the ability to spawn or sneak past your front lines.
- Being able to easily inflict a Status Ailment that forces you to waste curative items, backtrack to a healer, or just deal with it out until it wears off.
The Trope Namer is, well, actual video game bats. Bats in video games tend to have many the aforementioned traits; very common in caves and other dark areas yet are individually easy to defeat, their small size and fast movement makes them difficult to hit in real-time games (and turn-based games reflect this by giving them high evade rates), and since they fly the player is usually unable to hit them with melee attacks.
- Adventure Game
- Beat 'em Up
- Collectible Card Game
- Driving Game
- Fighting Game
- First-Person Shooter
- Third-Person Shooter
- Interactive Fiction
- Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game
- Platform Game
- Puzzle Game
- Real-Time Strategy
- Role-Playing Game
- Shoot 'em Up
- Simulation Game
- Stealth-Based Game
- Survival Horror
- Tabletop Games
- Turn-Based Strategy
- 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.
- This trope is more or less the plot of Goblin Slayer: Goblins are the weakest monsters in this world, and mainly appear in quests meant for rookies. With the size and strength (and, apparently, the brain) of a child, they would be no problem for new, inexperienced adventurers at all... if there weren't so damn many of them! Problem is, these beasts multiply like crazy, and being able to kill them with one or two hits doesn't help much if every fallen goblin is replaced by two others. That's why the titular Goblin Slayer seeks to kill every single goblin he can find.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, John and George are attacked by a swarm of robotic bats. The narrative even refers to them as goddamned bats.
- Homestuck has imps, which become Bosses in Mooks Clothing after Jade prototypes her kernelsprite.
- In Moon Crest 24, Morchego regurgitates bat-like creatures to attack Daniel.
- AdventureDennis is attacked by bats at least once per level/chapter.
- 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 The 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).
- 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.
- 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.