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Invisible Monsters

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"I don't believe it. They were too cheap to hire villains!"
Joel Robinson on invisible enemies, Mystery Science Theater 3000

You can't see them, but they can probably hurt you.

Many invisible enemies are just variants of ordinary monsters. Or their true forms are never revealed at all. In Video Games, these tend to be Stealthy Mooks and frequently overlap with Goddamn Bats or Demonic Spiders. Sometimes, they become visible when doing specific things, like attacking, dying or moving.

In other media, especially Television, an Invisible Monster is used to save budgets for more outlandish monsters. Often, they are accompanied by creepy noises or music that alerts the Audience to their presence. Done poorly they can be laughable, done right, terrifying.

Not to be confused with the Palahniuk book.

See the Super-Trope, Invisibility, or the sister trope Invisibility with Drawbacks. Take note that Nothing Is Scarier, which is why this can work at all. This is also Truth in Television in a sense, as many "monsters" are microscopic, such as bacteria and viruses, and are invisible to the naked eye.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, we learn that an invisible Gadget Drone was what nearly killed Nanoha during the Snow Means Death incident after another one of them stabs Vita through her chest during the final mission.
  • Bleach: The Hollows could not be seen by anyone who could not see dead people. This lead to the first few episodes having these...things chasing people that nobody could see. Only the footprints and scenery destruction following them. Even those who can see dead people have trouble seeing them; you need to have a lot of dead person energy built up. Even Ichigo couldn't see them until the start of the series, and he had trouble telling the dead from the living when he was younger.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: The "Power" card is depicted as this. Until Sakura challenges it to a battle, it is only seen by the craters it leaves behind.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, the Stand Limp Bizkit revives the user right after death as an Invisible Zombie. It also resurrects nearby corpses (such as a recently-dead crocodile) that relentlessly attack living things in search for brains.
    • Most Stands are this to non-Stand users. As a rule, Stands cannot be seen by normal people and cannot be harmed by anything other than other Stands. The Stand users, being mostly normal people (or animals) aside from their abilities, can usually be seen and harmed just as usual, however.

  • Bill Cosby recalled how his father tried to keep him in bed while dad and mom went out by warning him there were snakes all around his bed waiting to bite him if he crept out.
    Bill: I don't see any snakes!
    Dad: They're invisible!

    Comic Books 
  • Beasts of Burden: "Hunters and Gatherers" sees the gang taking on a huge reptilian monster that can turn itself invisible.

    Fan Works 
  • Lampshaded during an argument between Mad Scientist Dr Zarkendorf and the alien monster D'Ork in Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space over whose Evil Plans have failed more miserably. Apparently Zarkendorf invented a potion to turn D'Ork into an invisible terror in "Attack of the No-Budget Special Effect," which worked except that D'Ork couldn't see a thing because "the light passed through my entire body—including my retinas!"

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Blade Master: Not seen (but present) , since visible monsters would've strained the budget.
  • Forbidden Planet: The “Monster from the Id” could only be seen when caught in the ship’s forcefield, and outlined in their laser fire.
  • Jurassic World: The Indominus Rex can alter its skin color to become effectively invisible.
  • Predator. The titular alien hunter uses a Visible Invisibility cloaking device, which is a cool special effect and obviously not a budget-saving shortcut. It also has a rather embarrassing weakness of water.
  • Captain Sinbad has the title character face an invisible monster that leaves dinosaur-like tracks in the ground (that form from an explosion as its feet land). Considering all of the Special Effects Failure monsters that appear, it's rather startling.
  • Supergirl: The Girl of Steel fights an invisible demon summoned by her enemy Selena.
  • Invisible Invaders, of course. Invisibility is the main weapon of the extraterrestials and big part of the plot consists in finding how to make them visible to the humans.
  • Fiend Without a Face: The titular creatures are invisible for most of the film, until they absorb enough radiation to become visible.

  • Evolution: 500 million years in the future, a species of amphibians has a chance to produce a mutant that replaces most of the body's biochemicals with transparent substances, making it almost invisible and extremely difficult to detect, looking like little more than big bags of water sitting in the desert of New Pangaea.
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Dufflepuds are a subversion. They only seem to be enemies at first, but just want Lucy to undo the spell that made them invisible.
  • Bridge of Birds: The Hand That No One Sees.
  • Ssalia and the Dragons of Avienot: The unseen, via Invisibility Cloak, as Ssalia discovers. They can be seen by people close to death and their fellow unseen, however.
  • The Lost World (1995): The dinosaur Carnotaurus sastrei have chameleon- or cuttlefish-like color-changing abilities which render them virtually invisible. Even the tyrannosaurs and velociraptors don't go anywhere near their territory. Except during the day, when there's too much ambient light for their camouflage to be convincing.
  • Paradox Trilogy: The Eldritch Abominations called phantoms are invisible due to being composed of pure psychic energy.
  • Sorcery!: The third book in the quadrilogy has Snattacats, giant felines inhabiting the Forest of Snatta which can turn invisible by closing their eyes.
  • "The terror" in The Thought-Monster.
  • In Updraft, a major threat to the citizens of the city are skymouths, flying creatures which are completely invisible except for the mouth they open to eat you with. Naturally, they're hard to defend against, and the protagonist's ability to repel them is why the Singers are so keen to force her join up.
  • In Loyal Enemies, the second generation of Mix-and-Match Critters bred by the villains ends up dubbed "manglers" by the villagers they attack. It is an invisible wolf-werewolf hybrid bred to be vicious, insanely fast and resilent and docile in the presence of their masters. They also multiply by killing, twenty dead people per one new mangler, meaning one mangler can attack a village and out come five of them.
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Hollowghasts, peculiars who were turned into horrific monsters in a botched attempt to control time. They're totally invisible all the way up until they attack, at which point it's typically too late to avoid them. The main character is special because he shares his grandfather's peculiarity (power) to be able to see through the things' invisibility, thereby allowing him to actively hunt them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Batman (1966) had such an episode in its cheap 3rd season and it took the concept even further in the climatic fight when the heroes kill the lights to even the odds fighting against multiple invisible enemies and the fight concludes in total darkness.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Visians of planet Mira in "The Daleks' Master Plan" are this played straight.
    • The Spiridons in "Planet of the Daleks", whose powers of invisibility the Daleks are attempting to learn and imitate.
    • "The Face of Evil" plays with it. When some of these start chasing the Doctor and Leela, the Doctor deduces that the creatures can't be following them by sight, since light would just pass through their eyes if they even had them. He uses the vibrations of an alarm clock to distract them.
    • "Midnight": The entity is seen only by its possession of other characters. Some people do see a shadow approaching the bus before its attack, but not the audience.
    • "Vincent and the Doctor": The Krafayis can only be seen by Mad Artist Vincent and in the Doctor's special species-detecting mirror, and is otherwise invisible.
  • Mirror Monsters in Kamen Rider Ryuki (and its American adaptation Kamen Rider Dragon Knight) can only be seen by those who've been to the mirror world; to everyone else, they're this.
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker featured two Eldritch Abominations portrayed this way.
  • Much like the Batman example, M.A.N.T.I.S. sees its hero and his allies fighting an invisible T-Rex due to budget reasons. Unlike the Batman example, this didn't end well for Miles and his love interest, Leora.
  • Parodied in Red Dwarf, with a B movie titled 'Attack of the Giant, Savage, Completely Invisible Aliens'', which consists of Bad Bad Actors pointing at the sky and saying "It's the giant, savage, completely invisible aliens!"
  • Stargate SG-1 has featured the Re'tu, big spider aliens which are invisible because they are "180 degrees out of phase from normal space-time". Fortunately, it doesn't take long to come up with a special kind of "flashlight" that can make them visible (which comes in very handy against later invisible foes in the series).
  • Supernatural:
    • Hellhounds are invisible to everyone but their target. They can also be seen with glasses that were burned by holy fire.
    • One fun subversion was the monster in "Party on, Garth" that was invisible to anyone who was sober.
      Garth: Right. So... Whoa. Monster you got to be drunk to see. Cool! Also... hard to fight.
  • The Ultra Series have quite a bunch of these, including Neronga from the original Ultraman, Sartan and Eldertordoise from Return of Ultraman, Miegon from Ultraman Taro, Mechagiras from Ultraman 80, amongst others. Maquette Miclas from Ultraman Mebius can do this as well, but only through using remodified data of Neronga and Eldertordoise from previous shows in the series.
  • An Episode of The X-Files featured the angry spirits of animals being abused by a circus manifesting as physical, but invisible, phantasms: one fellow got mauled to death by an invisible tiger, on-camera, both out- and in- universe.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the episode "Darmok", Picard is abducted by an alien whose translated language comes out as gibberish to a planet where an intermittently visible creature is stalking them. He figures out what the alien wanted, (to create a Fire-Forged Friends scenario, much like their mythological Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra), but too late to save him.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Fraggle Rock: The Invisible Garboil, from "Gobo's Discovery".

  • The title creature in the Quiet, Please (1947) episode "The Thing on the Fourble Board". It's very heavy, like it's made of rock, but completely invisible. The narrator only confirms its presence by dousing it in red paint.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Perhaps the invisible monster is the Invisible Stalker ("pictured" above), an Air elemental which is, well. Its illustration in the 2nd edition Monstrous Manual has two artists credited and is, of course, a blank. They once released a miniature for the Invisible Stalker — which was just a base with no figure on it.
    • Also Hellcats, also known as Bezekiras. They're lionlike feline monsters from Hell that are invisible in the light, but appear as a glowing silhouette in darkness.
    • The Phantom Fungus is a mushroom monster that's naturally invisible for as long as it's alive. One sourcebook mentions that they're sometimes used as guard creatures, in which case they're usually trained to clack their teeth on cue.
  • Deathwatch makes mention of an unknown Tyranid organism kept imprisoned within the Deathwatch fortress. It was caught in a stasis field, freezing it in time, but other than the fact that the trap was activated, the Deathwatch are incapable of detecting whatever is in there. It cannot be seen, or heard, with even their most sophisticated equipment.

  • Peer Gynt has the great Boyg, a mysterious unseen creature that Peer encounters on his way back from the troll kingdom. It blocks Peer's way at every turn and tells him to "go roundabout." Peer finds that he can't fight his way through it.

    Video Games 
  • Deadly Rooms of Death has spiders that camouflage like Hollywood Chameleons. Unless you activate a vision token or turn on puzzle mode, you can only see them when they move, or you get close.
  • Tecmo Super Bowl for NES had a glitchy password which removed the opposing team from view... as well as the field. The Gameboy version at least had the decency to keep the field.
  • In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, one of the most frightening areas is a basement flooded knee-deep with dark water. Shortly after entering the water, there is a splashing sound in the darkness ahead and then you only hear and see the splashing footsteps of something charging right at you. As long as you keep climbing on the crates that are littered through the area, you are quite safe, but as soon as you step into the water or drop something into it, the invisible creature comes charging again.
    • In a later section, you enter a mostly drained cistern which has walkways that lie above the water. Many players never enter the water at all out of fear that there could be another of those creature in it. There normally isn't, but when you take too long in the room, the game adds one, even if you have stepped into the water safely before.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ganon is invisible until you can shoot him with the Silver Arrows, except for a very brief period after you strike him with your sword. The only way to figure out where he is is by extrapolating from the start location of the fireballs he shoots.
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has invisible ghosts (Moas) in the abandoned town. They can only be seen after you get the Cross in the penultimate dungeon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Ganon also pulls this off in the final battle. Even worse, he's utterly invincible while doing so. Good thing he doesn't try to destroy the lanterns in the room that can reveal his location when lit.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening has a group of invisible enemies directly outside the room with the item that makes them visible. Said item is intended for a few other (non-battle) purposes.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has the invisible hand monsters (in Shadow and Spirit Temples) as well as invisible Skulltulas (in the hidden passage under the boulder near the tree in Jabu Jabu's area that leads to a Gold Skulltula). There is also an invisible one hinted at by a "Danger above!" sign in Kakariko's Bottom of the Well section.
    • This mod of Ocarina based on the beta has invisible Redeads. That presumably rise up from the ground. Sweet dreams.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has invisible Skulltulas, which you can run into before you get the Lens of Truth. You can still use the Camera Lock-On to find them. You just can't see whether they're about to attack you.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has many invisible monsters, though they can be seen with Wolf Link's senses:
      • There are zombie rats detectable only when you see Midna fidgeting.
      • The Imp Poes are completely invisible in the day, while at night you can see their floating lantern.
      • The Arbiter's Grounds miniboss is a giant ghost who at first manifests as a giant floating sword, turns visible when attacked, and fades back to visibility.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has a boss like this — but you can see yourself through the monster's perspective in the second screen, and judge its rough location.
  • There are a number of enemies in the Metroid Prime Trilogy that require the use of other visors to track. You usually run into at least one before you get the visor.
    • Metroid Prime:
      • The Cloaked Drone guarding the Power Bombs is invisible to all of the available visors, but its stealth is ruined by muzzle flash. It also can't be scanned or locked onto. However, if you have the optional charged power-up for the Wave Beam, the Wavebuster, prepare for a short fight as not only does the Wavebuster auto-target enemies without need for lock-on, the Cloaked Drone is weak to the Wave Beam and its derivatives. And, if you've been Sequence Breaking, it actually can be seen with the X-Ray Visor, which shows that The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard and allowing it to periodically put up a shield.
      • The Chozo Ghosts are invisible when not attacking. You need to use the X-Ray visor to see them.
      • The Omega Pirate makes itself invisible when it's recharging. You need to use the X-Ray visor to see it. But just in case you weren't paying attention to the boss's recharging health bar, visible Beam Troopers show up as a distraction...
      • The second form of the Metroid Prime itself occasionally makes itself invisible to the visor you're using.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption:
      • The Steamlord miniboss is invisible most of the time until he has to revive his flunkies. It's possible to fight the last one of those after getting the X-Ray Visor, which makes the fight a lot shorter.
      • Enemies using hypermode short out the X-Ray Visor, making those fights very annoying on the highest difficulty (where any enemy that can go into hypermode most likely will do so immediately).
  • The assassins in Half-Life turn invisible when they move if you play on the Hard Difficulty Level.
  • The Bloodsuckers in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., humanoid monsters with a mass of tentacles for a mouth, can turn invisible, to add to the fact that they can move fast and take a lot of hits from the stronger rifles.
  • Doom: Specters are almost-invisible versions of the pink Demons, and are practically invisible in dark areas.
  • Duke Nukem 3D: This effect occurs through the use of palette-swapping and translucency of monsters in the level editor.
  • The title monsters of TimeSplitters are mostly invisible, except when they're being shot.
  • Appeared in the original Metal Gear, and again in Metal Gear Solid: Four ordinary grunts, all wearing active camo, in a small room.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Spy has this attribute. Cannot attack while invisible, though.
    • The Assassin in Dark Messiah (multiplayer). 'Can' attack when invisible (breaking the invisiblity), however, the invisibility itself is more of a cloak meant to assist in stealth - walking in bright-lit open areas around sharp-eyed players will get the Assassin spotted.
  • Perfect Dark has a weapon that gives the mooks a cloaking device.
  • The Jedi Knight games have the Force Power "Mind Trick" which in multiplayer renders the players invisible.
  • PO'ed have white, orb-like floating alien monsters who can turn invisible to sneak upon your player. However they tend to make gurgling noises constantly, and needs to make themselves visible before attacking.
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones have these- though in Warrior Within they're just invisible versions of the normal ninja enemies.
  • Second Extinction have one of the dilophosaurus enemies who has Hollywood Chameleon abilities, turning invisible before revealing itself to ambush humans.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee also has the cloaking device. As a few comic strips have noted, in Smash, if they can't see you, you can't see you either. This generally results in such mishaps as falling off the edge of the map. But to be fair, when you move or attack, you have a Invisibility Flicker, so you aren't blind.
  • The Sorcerers in Gauntlet, distinguished by their purple robes, wink in and out of existence as they charge towards you. The Super Sorcerers in Gauntlet II are able to use this ability tactically, appearing at the edge of the screen, firing at you, and then disappearing.
  • inFAMOUS has some enemies in the third island that can cloak themselves - the flying grenadier machines, and the shotgun conduits.
  • Castlevania
    • Bitterflies in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which phase in and out of visibility in large, seemingly empty rooms.
    • Strangely avoided in the sequel Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, where there is an Invisible Man enemy, but they actually start out wearing a hat and trenchcoat, so you know where they are. Once they sense you, however, they take off said hat and trenchcoat and really are invisible (barely visible via a few intentionally misplaced pixels here and there). However, it's rare that they'll be able to do much while truly invisible; they don't take that many hits to destroy.
    • Both of the above enemies are back in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.
    • Nemesis and Alastor in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow are invisible enemies with visible weapons. Nemesis's soul grants Soma the ability to turn invisible. There's also the Sky Fish, which isn't invisible— it's that weird shooting star thing you see in certain rooms. Betcha didn't know THAT was a monster!
  • Corridor 7: Alien Invasion has the demon-like Eniram aliens, who can turn invisible before revealing themselves to ambush you. Although they tend to make a lot of noises even when invisible, allowing you to locate them.
  • Resident Evil
    • The GameCube remake of Resident Evil features a challenge mode in which all of the monsters are invisible. Prepare to die repeatedly.
    • Resident Evil 4 features an enemy located in an Absurdly-Spacious Sewer called the "Novistador". These enemies are invisible until they die, and their bodies become visible.
    • Resident Evil: Revelations features the Farfarello enemies which are invisible versions of the Hunter enemies from previous games. Consider that the hunters were already a threat without being invisible, and that Farfarellos only attack in groups...yeah, you better pray that you don't get swarmed by them and caught in a hit/stun lock, and that you have enough ammo left over, because you're probably gonna die otherwise, even with them being weakened somewhat compared to the Hunters from previous games.
  • The Evil Within features Haunted after a few chapters that are invisible, although they can be seen temporarily when injured. Sebastian has to pay attention to the environment, looking out for ripples in puddles or objects being mysteriously bumped, to notice their presence.
  • There is a type of invisible robo-coptor in Mega Man ZX Advent. Siarnaq's/Model P's radar can see them though, and shoot them. They also do an Invisibility Flicker when they shoot.
  • There is a variation of this in World of Warcraft. If you visit the Kodo Graveyard, there are visible vultures that are hostile and will attack you, but if you visit the graveyard while dead in spirit form, you will notice friendly Kodo Spirits scattered around.
    • There are also level 50 invisible ghosts in one area of Duskwood. A zone for characters at about half that level. Prepare to die if you hit one by accident.
      • In the same vein there are level 5 ghosts in the courtyard outside of Undercity. These are much less a threat as by the time you hit the zone you're already level 5 and you don't have any spells that would hit them at this level anyways. Both of these can be seen with spells or potions that detect invisibility.
    • Interestingly, both spirit form and invisibility follow a pattern where if two entities have it, they can still see eachother. In some dungeons, the Mage's Invisibility spell was useful to spot monsters who were invisible for that exact reason.
  • Warcraft III:
    • While there is an ability to attack without breaking invisibility (called, appropriately enough, Ghost), the only unit that has it in the standard game is the Undead Shade, who doesn't have an attack. Unlike Starcraft, there's no "warping" to indicate that there's a moving unit, but the unit's projectiles do appear.
    • Shadowmeld is an ability shared by Night Elf women and human bandits, which grants invisiblity at night when not moving.
    • At maximum level, the Spirit Wolves summoned by the Far Seer are invisible even when moving, revealed when they attack.
  • NetHack takes this to the extreme. In addition to having two types of enemies that are permanently invisible, it contains methods that allow pretty much any creature in the game to become invisible.
    • Potions/wands of invisibility make living things (not items) permanently invisible. If a monster sees one on the ground, it will pick it up and use it. To top it off, these are considered "defensive items" and pretty much every monster has a chance to receive one at spawn time.
    • Cloaks of invisibility. Monsters that can wear armor will pick them up and don them.
    • Every sufficiently high-level spellcasting monster can cast an invisibility spell on themselves. Every sufficiently high-level spellcasting monster usually does the moment they see you.
  • Final Fantasy
    • In Final Fantasy VII , if you hit the 'ghost' monster, it turned invisible. You could still target it, but you would almost certainly miss. Not so in reverse.
    • Final Fantasy VI has an invisible Optional Boss on a small island. It is lost forever when the world explodes. Enemies also become invisible when they have the Vanish status effect, although they can still be targeted. This doesn't happen when your characters have the effect.
    • Final Fantasy XII has a baker's dozen or so of monsters who like to shake things up by being invisible.
  • The Halo series has plenty of invisible enemies using active camouflage:
    • In the original Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, any weapons that glows still remains visible even if held by someone cloaked. One of the funnier moments in Combat Evolved was watching Too Dumb to Live invisible Elites charge you with massive glowing energy swords fully visible in their hands, completely negating the point of the invisibility (especially since they had zero energy shields). This received much mocking in several flash videos.
    • However, stealth-capable enemies got more powerful in subsequent games; Halo 2's Mausoleum Multi-Mook Melee has invisible Ultra Elites, and by the time you get to Halo 4, you're fighting invisible Zealots holding invisible one-hit-kill swords.
    • In multiplayer, you might run into an enemy player using an active camo Power-Up. Of course, you can do the same thing yourself.
  • Mega Man Legends has rather nasty variant in one specific dungeon; Sharukurusus, normally, are fast-moving, hard-hitting robots that chase you down relentlessly upon sighting you and attack with a nasty spinning drill-claw attack. Now imagine taking that and giving it a cloaking device so you can only see it JUST BEFORE IT SLAMS INTO YOU. What makes it worse is that you can still hear their footsteps, so you can hear them charging at you beforehand, but won't know where they'll be attacking from until they're right on your ass. Thankfully, though, you don't have to fight them and can easily avoid them by staying on the higher ledges of the room they're in.
    • Unless you're going for the chests, in which case one Reaverbot will ambush you just as you exit the alcove.
  • Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, one of Apogee's old games, had invisible robots that would shove you backwards if you bumped into them. You could barely make out their outline, and if you jumped on them enough, they would become visible. Walking through them from behind would also hurt you.
  • The first three Avernum games have black shades and guardians. The black shades are also Enemy Summoners.
  • Two versions exists in La-Mulana: One that moves so fast that you have to stop time to see it, and one that merely requires that you get an item to see them... after going through roughly 10 screens taking random hits from them.
  • The boss of Chapter 3 in Super Paper Mario is a nerdy chameleon who turns invisible and invincible and runs around the room. However, he has to drop his invisibility to attack you.
  • In Rogue, there are the Phantoms, which can only be seen if you're wearing a 'see invisible' ring.
  • Baldur's Gate loves this trope. Most wizards will use some variant of Invisibility (usually Mislead) thieves love stocking up on Potions of Invisibility (especially nasty are the "Rune Assassins" featured in one quest, that have a very nasty backstab and a near-unlimited amount of potions...) Throne of Bhaal ups the ante further, introducing a dragon that turns invisible, and who cannot be detected unless you use a particular sequence of spells. Ouch.
  • Kirby Super Star had Chameleo Arm, which tended to be invisible...and tended to fire balls of paint which the protagonist could get the Paint ability from to reveal and damage him with.
  • StarCraft's Dark Templar are invisible, and capable of hacking your average infantry unit into two hunks.
    • Invisibility is a somewhat important unit attribute, in fact, as stealth units cannot be directly targeted for attack. When fighting a Terran or Protoss player one should always have detector units handy or else be left helpless. Zerg units can't move while invisible but they can burrow to set up ambushes.
  • Dawn of War games use a similar system to the aforementioned Dark Templars to represent infiltrated units. In the classic and Winter Assault expansion, this was generally limited by disabling the unit's ability to attack. That is, until Dark Crusade, which enabled attacking while infiltrated without revealing the unit. This was balanced by different races' detecting units and abilities, but it didn't diminish the cheapness of using massed infiltrators. Unlike the other factions, the Necrons don't have a dedicated stealth unit... because one artifact makes every Necron unit in a wide area around the Necron Lord (including the Lord, vehicles and buildings) invisible. Dawn of War II fixed this by making infiltrators reveal themselves if they attack, or if they get within arm's reach of any enemy unit. This is with the exception of the super-infiltrated Cyrus, who can use his incredibly destructive array of explosives and specialist ammunition without breaking Infiltration, but will be otherwise be revealed just like any other infiltrated unit.
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery's Invisible Stalker is...Exactly What It Says on the Tin. If you eat the corpse of an invisible stalker, there's a chance that YOU can become intrinsically invisible. Like NetHack it also has spellcasting monsters who will turn themselves invisible.
  • Assault Retribution have a giant, invisible monster in the third stage that needs to be fought thrice in said stage. You can detect it by observing it's projectiles' directions, since these are visible, and it flicker a bit once you scored a hit - for a few seconds you see that it's some kind of bipedal alien slug-creature before it becomes invisible again.
  • EverQuest 1 used invisible monsters primarily as Underground Monkeys. Among the more notable in the early days were the Enchanter pets and the shadowed men. In both cases the characters were invisible but the weapons they carried were not.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts has the Stealth Sneak, first as a Boss Battle, then as a palette-swapped version reappearing later on in the Hades Cup. The icing on the cake is one of the latter seeds, consisting of not one but two Stealth Sneaks to carve up. These are called Sneak Armies in Final Mix. Mind you, locking onto and hitting one is not affected by whether they are visible or not. They can be detected by sight alone if you look very carefully. Their camouflage produces a "heat ripple" effect, though this is easier to see during the boss fight than during the seed match.
    • Final Mix also has the Stealth Soldier, which has true invisibility and can only be made visible briefly by freezing them with Stop or for a little longer by landing a combo finisher. While you can lock onto them while they're invisible, they'll shake your lock off after a short time. They also hit like a train and can sometimes appear in pairs.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep also gives us the boss from the Secret Episode. For the entire first part of the fight, the only parts of it you can see are its glowing red eyes and, when it attacks you, its claws.
  • Silent Hill:
    • Silent Hill: Origins has invisible monsters in Cedar Grove Sanitarium. The only way to tell where they are is by the metal harness floating in midair, and the eerie person-shaped shadow they somehow cast. Oh, and by killing you in the dark.
    • Silent Hill 2 has a single invisible demon in Toluca Prison. However, since it's trapped in a cell you can't open and can only be "seen" by James jerking his gun toward it when you're close enough, a lot of players fly straight by it without even noticing the first couple of playthroughs. It can be heard, saying something that could be anything from "ritual" backwards to "I buried Paul", but strange noises are so commonplace in Silent Hill that you don't make that link until you kill it and hear the absence of the sound.
    • The original game has nearly-invisible Larval Stalkers, which can't actually hurt you, and later, the Shadow Children, which can.
  • Catacomb Apocalypse has invisible monsters (that look kind of like a cross between a red cartoon pig and one of the demons from the same game series). Unfortunately the creators of the game seem to have been rather intimidated by the thought of turning the awesome power of invisibility against the player, so the monsters blink into visibility all the time, move fairly slowly and can't take that much damage, and don't shoot, making them if anything easier than normal opponents.
  • Diablo has the genuinely creepy The Unseen, which do come visible when they attack, but before that could fill the entire room without you knowing it. Fortunately, they can still be hurt while invisible, so it became standard procedure for adventurers, when opening a new door, to spray the room with arrows, just in case. If you hear a "splorch" sound, keep firing. Due to a bug in the level generation routine, they do not respect the safe zone around the entrance. So when you just arrived in the level and you are gathering your bearings, casting Mana Shield, checking item durability, etc., they could be right behind you, getting closer. And if this is multiplayer mode, your gear is now on the floor next to a sea of enemies right at the stairs.
  • Diablo III has the Deceivers, serpents who become invisible as soon as they notice you and then crowd around you before they attack. Unlike the previous example, they can't be hit while doing this, so you have to wait to be surrounded.
  • Chapter 10 of Eternal Darkness features a telekinetically vampiric creature who turns invisible when he's not attacking anyone or getting healed at a shrine. Mercifully, you can use a spell to reveal him. That spell is less useful in the final chapter, when it can reveal only some of the invisible Trappers in a room. Good thing they can be Helpful Mooks.
  • Plants vs. Zombies has the mini-game "Invisi-Ghoul". ALL The zombies are invisible. The only TWO ways to detect them is to 1. use an ice-shroom to cause ice to appear around their feet or 2. the audio cues they make when they appear. Oh, and the Zomboni that runs over your plants in one shot? Yep, it's fought in this minigame.
  • Flying-Neo from Alien Soldier is an alien zombie dragon helicopter. Once its health gets to a quarter, it turns completely invisible other than the silhouette of its legs against the ground when it flies low. Or when the lightning in the background strikes.
  • Do-it-yourself variation can be (not) seen in Daggerfall. This game allows players to create their own spells - so it is possible to create custom-made Invisibility spell for casting not on yourself, but on your opponent. Thus player can make opposing monsters invisible - complete with tell-tale blood flying when they are hit.
  • Fort Caractacus in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is stalked by invisible animals thanks to the local wizard casting an invisibility spell over a very wide area surrounding the tower. Depending on your level, these can be anything from rats to bears. Vampires, including the Player Character should they become one, can also turn themselves invisible temporarily by using Embrace of Shadows.
  • A handful of creatures in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim make use of the Invisibility spell, usually to cover their retreat when they're critically injured or hopelessly outmatched by their opponent(s). Spriggans and high-level vampires are the most notorious examples. Their invisibility isn't a direct threat because it has a fairly short duration and breaks the moment they attack. What makes it annyoing is their habit to heal themselves and/or recover lots of magicka while cloaked, so when they finally do show up again for another go at your Player Character, they're often back at full strength from near-death. Thankfully, this type of invisibility is far from perfect, allowing observant players to keep track of the target and hunt it down before it can retaliate.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey every monster is invisible. Fortunately you soon get a program downloaded into your power suit that allows you to detect, confront, and communicate with the demons. However, until you've killed them at least once, every non-boss monster will be rendered as a blob of static that you can't analyze.
  • The Fallout 3 addon "Operation: Anchorage" includes Chinese snipers, who start off cloaked as though using a Stealth Boy power-up. Until they become visible, the player can't target them with the auto-aiming Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System (VATS). And to add to the tension, both this and the proximity compass on the HUD identify them as friendlies, until you walk past them just enough to get a critical potshot.
  • Nightkin in Fallout: New Vegas, an Underground Monkey version of Super Mutants, have the same effect, which is much more difficult to see while climbing Black Mountain at night. Even worse are nightstalkers, mutant coyote-rattlesnake hybrids that can also cloak. It's nearly impossible to make out the tell-tale visual distortion in their dark cave, especially since they're so small and quick, but you can hear their faint rattling and hissing as they approach, sometimes in packs.
  • Fallout 4 makes deathclaws even worse by introducing the chameleon variant. The new assaultron robot can also cloak and some boss enemies in the main story make use of Stealth Boys.
  • The turn-based RPG Odium features, near the end of the game, a group of invisible monsters which are visible only when they move. You have to remember where they stopped so that you can shoot them (explosive weapons come in handy, as they cover a wide radius). Or you can just look at your character's movement range and check which squares are mysteriously inaccessible...
  • The V38 Phantom TIE fighters in Star Wars: Rebel Assault II.
  • Anything that has stealth in The Lord of the Rings Online will appear invisible until the player is nearby and facing it. By then it may already be too late, especially if the player is a ranged class.
  • In Mario Adventure, ghosts are invisible when you are looking at them. Thankfully they still don't move during this time.
  • Mouth Sweet has the Bugs, who you have to listen closely for to dispatch, lest they suddenly kill you.
  • One of the most frustrating missions in Jak II: Renegade involve slaying 30 invisible Metal Heads in Haven Forest. They come in two flavours: humanoids with guns instead of hands which shoot at you from afar and keep moving all the time and big, bulky crabs with machine guns that drop their camouflage when they first spot and proceed to blast you away. The first kind make a brief return in Jak 3, although only in one quest.
  • The aptly named Unseen Terror from Enchanter.
  • One level of Pathways into Darkness is populated by Wraiths, who can only be seen with infra-red goggles. To trip you up, there's also a Banshee in the level, who can't be seen while you have the goggles equipped.
  • The F.E.A.R. series has the nearly-invisible Replica Assassins. The non-canon expansion packs feature the just-as-invisible Shades, supernatural versions of the Assassins that are apparently controlled by Alma. While the Assassins' cloak tends to spark brightly and fail if they're hit (the only way you'll be able to see them coming), the Shade is more subtle but more consistently easy to pinpoint, as they whisper and growl constantly and their red eyes shine in the dark.
  • One level in Demon's Souls has invisible enemies that you probably won't even know are there until they stab you in the back, which is likely to kill you outright.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity had one of these in the Frozen Reaches, which served as a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere as well.
  • The Hidden: Source: 8 troopers vs. 1 invisible guy with a knife. The titular Hidden has Predator-type invisibility, but, unlike him, is entirely waterproof.
  • In Wizard of Wor, Garwors and Thorwors could turn invisible at times, though they would still appear on the radar screen.
  • Certain enemies in Bubble Tanks 3 have the ability to use stealth, which turns them invisible. Bubble Tanks Tower Defence has the Stealth enemy, which is invisible to the player. When damaged, their invisibility wears off for a short time.
  • Mini Robot Wars: The Mole is able to dig underground unseen, while the Ghost is able to fly past your units unseen. While the player can see them, the minirobots will not unless you have a radar or surveillance robot platform.
  • Monster Hunter (PC) has fast-moving, invisible Blob Monster mooks which serves as Demonic Spiders-type enemies the players need to face.
  • Nintendo Land has the Luigi's Ghost Mansion multiplayer game, which is an interesting inversion where one player actually gets to play as the invisible monster. The person playing as the ghost uses the game pad and is invisible to the other players, who are trying to shine their flashlights on him.
  • Dungeon Crawl: Similar to fellow Roguelike NetHack above, Crawl features permanently invisible monsters as well as an Invisibility spell and wand that will be liberally employed by any monster with access to them. Enemies you can't see get considerable bonuses in combat and can easily corner you without warning, but this is balanced somewhat by the common Scroll of Fog marking the tile they're on with a "strange disturbance" to aim spells or ranged weapons at.
  • Borderlands 2: Stalkers. Better have a good shock weapon handy, as there's a reason they're called "Invisibl Assholes" in-game. There's also the Hyperion Infiltrator, a cloaking-enabled shotgun-toting ambush unit. These, too, can be revealed by depleting their shields. Canonically, Handsome Jack blatantly nicked this idea from Dahl's Lost Legion Scouts in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, who operate in a similar fashion.
  • The aliens in Enemy Zero are completely invisible; your only way of detecting their presence is with the use of a device Laura plugs into her ear, causing nearby movement to be gauged via tones which change in pitch and tempo depending on the aliens' proximity to you, and whether they are in front, beside, or behind her. Oh, and encountering one is also a One-Hit Kill, and your only weapon against them carries very limited charges at a time.
  • Ghost Hacker has the Ghost, which has a stealth ability that makes them nearly invisible and prevents almost all your towers from detecting them. Thankfully, the Scanner tower destroys their stealth.
  • Descent likes this one. Invisible enemies go from being rare to semi-common in the latter half of the game. This is one of the reasons you have a Spreadfire Cannon. Early on, they often show up in brightly lit areas so you can just barely see their outline, but later they start showing up in dimly-lit areas.
  • Priscilla in Dark Souls can make herself invisible during the battle. Unfortunately for her, you can still track her by her footprints in the snow.
  • Dark Souls II:
    • The human enemies in the Shaded Woods all appear as barely-visible white outlines, and, to make things worse, their primary hunting grounds are under perpetual heavy fog. You cannot lock onto them and there is no way to undo their invisibility, except for a certain DLC item (which you are practically guaranteed to not have access to until long after you've cleared the area).
    • Darklurker can pull Priscilla's trick, and since he spends the whole battle floating above the ground, he doesn't leave any prints. You can still lock on to him while he's invisible.
    • The King's Pet Aava in the Crown of the Ivory King DLC, however, is always invisible until you get an item that lets you See the Invisible. There are also several human enemies that are similarly invisible.
  • Dark Souls III: Sister Friede pulls a similar trick to Priscilla, as part of her being a walking Call-Back to that boss. She can briefly turn invisible, jump to another location, and then attack you around ten seconds later. Her invisibility is undone if you get close to her, however, and you can still track her position by sound and by the puffs of snow she kicks up when jumping.
  • In Faria, invisible enemies make Random Encounters annoying and towers treacherous long before you get the Magic Glasses that let you see them.
  • A few Badniks in the Sonic the Hedgehog series tend to be this... then they appear and you can Spin Dash them.
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons has some sort of invisible yeti creature. The effect is rather wasted on it due to its dumb and stompy nature.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Many of the Portrait Ghosts are invisible unless Luigi is looking away from them. Two rooms also have invisible Grabber ghosts. One of them has a giant mirror on the wall, and the Grabbers' reflections are visible, while the other has a projector, and the players has to track the Grabbers by their shadows on the screen.
  • The Lazy Paw Gang on A Hat in Time are invisible unless they're attacking. They will usually steal a few pons but if you are unlucky they may steal your hat, locking you out of all your hat based powers until you kill the thief and retrieve it.
  • Anti-Idle: The Game has the Invisible X, which is a late-game enemy (though not a very strong one) and, as the name suggests, completely invisible aside for its health bar.
  • Chuck Norris Superkicks: The Ninjas in the monastery gradually become invisible for more and more time, until they only appear to throw a shuriken your way.
  • Legacy of the Wizard: Meyna's zone of the dungeon is full of unseen monsters.
  • ToeJam & Earl: The Boogey-Man Earthling encountered on later levels, who is completely invisible when standing still and just a faint outline when he's tiptoeing around the field. More than a few players have seen a big chunk of their life disappear when trying to avoid another Earthling only to walk straight into this obnoxious scare master.
  • Meritous: As the official game page says:
    The ethereal monocle allows you to see enemies you couldn't normally see. You can see enemies through walls and even invisible enemies with this artifact.

    Web Original 
  • Cor's tickle monsters are invisible and amorphous. They wear gloves when they want to be seen. Lots and lots of gloves.
  • The SCP Foundation has a few examples of these.
    • SCP-178 is a pair of 3D glasses which allow the user to see strange, creepy bipedal creatures surrounding them. Any attempt to directly interact with these monsters (aside from just quietly cowering in fear) will provoke them into brutally mauling that person to death.
    • SCP-870 is a species of bizarre creatures that can only be seen by people with schizophrenia, and they can take a wide variety of nightmarish forms such as "an alligator with spider legs and three eyes", "a man made out of smoke", "a giant ant with a human face", among others. The worst part is that it's strongly implied at the end that even schizophrenics can only see small glimpses of these creatures, implying that they're possibly interdimensional Eldritch Abominations that we can't properly visualize. What's worse? They tend to live in densely populated areas, stalking humans for long periods of time before eating them.
    • SCP-966 is a species of skeletal-looking humanoid creatures that hunt humans by depriving them of sleep, and can only be seen in the 700-900 nm wavelengths of light, meaning they're only visible in the ultra-violet. Inflicting second- or third-degree burns renders them visible, however.

    Web Videos 
  • In the short SCP fan film SCP: Overlord, the Mobile Task Force find a camera that enables them to see various invisible beings (which the cultists have turned themselves into). At the end of the movie, the team escapes from the house, only for the soldier holding the camera to realise they're surrounded by a giant, invisible Eldritch Abomination whose tentacles are coming out of the Bottomless Pits they found earlier.

    Western Animation 
  • Freakazoid!: Parodied to hell and back with Invisibo, who is invisible pharaoh who can only be seen via his scepter. However, when we first see him, his scepter is being held by string, prompting a We Interrupt This Program to declare the Network is embarrassed by this and gives the show extra money to make it believable.
  • Galtar and the Golden Lance: In "Shadowhaunt", the heroes get trapped in a castle where the invisible monster stalks them, they are able to see it by pouring tar on it making easier for Galtar to hit it.
  • Jonny Quest: One episode is titled "The Invisible Monster". At least, it's invisible until the heroes cover it with paint, allowing them to see it—and then destroy it.
  • Steven Universe: "Island Adventure" has a invisible Gem monster. Being covered in mud showed what it looks like.
  • The Trap Door: The creature that comes out from the trapdoor in "Gourmet's Delight" is invisible, and can only be tracked by its footprints until Berk splats food all over it and thus renders it visible.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Invisible Monster


Folded Boos

In The Origami King, Boos turn invisible to make it more difficult to line up your attack.

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Main / InvisibleMonsters

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