Every veteran gamer knows what it's like: You're jumping across a series of platforms ... and then you spot that little bird roosted on solid ground on the other side. There's a pretty good chance that the bird will completely spook and defend its terrain the moment you try to cross the last gap. Although your HP would be hardly worse off for what damage it can inflict, the main threat is that the aforementioned knockback. If you are really lucky, you may land back on the platform and get another chance to try again. But far more likely, you'll get knocked off these ledges entirely, usually leading to:
- You fall into a Bottomless Pit, Spikes of Doom, or anything else that costs you a life.
- You fall down a Non-lethal Bottomless Pit, or down to the bottom of the area and must climb all the way back up to try again.
These guys can also come in the form of an Airborne Mook, flying right into you and knocking you backwards into the pit when you jump over it.
Of course, if you have some kind of ranged attack at your disposal you may be able to dispatch the creature and make this jump in safety. Otherwise, you'll have to settle for striking it down in midair, and carefully time your attack to hit it before it can inflict its Collision Damage.
Some games may double the challenge by putting these enemies in Gusty Glade.
Very common in the arcade and 8 bit era, due to needing to keep the quarters pumping, and console games following that mold. 16 bit games began to phase them out, though they are still present in games.
Compare to Instakill Mook (which this trope can be if the pitfall is fatal).
- Named for the Goddamned Bats in Castlevania, which are prone to this. Other examples are crows and the Medusa heads.
- The fission Metroids in Metroid Prime end up like this, as the area you find them in requires a lot of platform climbing. Plus they are quite powerful and difficult to kill without Power Bombs (which you must stand still to use), and if you do kill them they respawn. Fortunately, Fission Metroids stay still for several seconds to divide. Unfortunately, they're invulnerable for that time, and afterwards there are twice as many Metroids chasing you. Whether stunning them and running is worth it is a personal decision.
- From the original Metroid, there are Wavers, a fast, slender, irregularly-moving annoyance with the ability to interrupt Samus' jump by knocking her into an uncontrolled fall if they collide with her in midair. Given that most of them show up in areas with irregularly placed platforms over lava, their irritation factor is understandably high. The Ice Beam and the Screw Attack go a long way towards mitigating their threat and are extremely cathartic besides.
- Xenogears manages to introduce the trope to the role-playing genre. When a random battle is triggered, there is about a one second lag between the trigger and the actual transition to the battle. During this time, you can still move around, but thanks to a bug, you lose the ability to jump, which frequently leads to you falling down several levels and forcing you to backtrack, thus making Ledge Bats out of invisible random encounters. A large reason why Babel Tower is That One Level.
- The birds in the NES Ninja Gaiden games, and just about every other enemy in the heavy platforming areas.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Starting with Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and then with the 3D games, there are a few enemies like this. Zelda II in particular gives us the aptly-named Aches (a variant of the more common Keese), which are a deadly nuisance around pits, but at least easy to kill. Moas, on the other hand, marry the worst traits of Ledge Bats and Demonic Spiders by having an unpredictable flight pattern and much higher attack and defense, and they're all over the place during the final trek to the Great Palace.
- Moldorm (the boss of the Tower of Hera) in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has the additional challenge of knocking you back to a lower floor if it hits you or you hit it in the wrong spot in addition to the damage it would do you normally (you'll have to climb a lot of stairs to get back to the fight, and the boss will of course heal during this).
- This boss reappears in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, on a smaller platform. The Evil Eagle in the seventh dungeon also works like this, flapping its wings to blow you off the tower. If you fall off, the Eagle gets all of his health back before you climb back up, but you don't.
- Oracle of Seasons has one like this, too.
- In Majora's Mask, the last Death Armos you fight in the Stone Tower Temple (which unlocks the chest you need to Hookshot to in order to reach the boss) is positioned on a narrow ledge and usually knocks you into the abyss when you try and jump to it.
- The Mega Man series loves these. Almost every level has at least one platforming section with flyers that knock you into the Bottomless Pit below.
- Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 9 have respawning drones that slowly home in on the player. They especially like to hang out around the infamous pop-in-and-out Temporary Platforms.
- Bright Man's stage in Mega Man 4 has a moving platform section with ledge bats that also serve as the area's only sources of lighting, so you'll either have to put up with them or not see the platforms' tracks.
- A fun variety are enemies who will jump out of Bottomless Pits, stall, and fall back in. If you are moving at top speed you will jump into one and recoil into the pit. Go play Mega Man 10 and start Commando Man's stage. They're all over the place.
- Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity makes this worse and gives us many varieties of the Up'n'Down.
- This perfectly describes the behavior of "Big Cluckers", birds which pop out of holes in the wall to knock you off ledges in the final level. The designers even included a progressively more difficult gauntlet of ledges guarded by these. Earlier levels have Chompas, green (or, in one level, skeletal) fanged monsters that pop out of grates, but not with the same frustrating skill level as those cluckers.
- In the second game, there are clamp monsters that snap out of the wall when you pass near their hole. They usually only appear when you're grip-climbing across a crack, and getting hit guarantees falling.
- Many La-Mulana enemies, from bats to birds to Surprise Fish to Invisible Monsters, can and will push you off platforms, make you fall down ladders and ruin your jumps. Perhaps the worst single example is a certain Mini-Boss/Unique Enemy in the Confusion Gate which is called a bird but moves and looks like a giant bat and whose room is almost entirely made of narrow ledges. The remake notably has the Scriptures item, which renders the player completely invincible to bats (including the knockback!).
- Freeware platformer Ninja Senki has ghosts on Sections 1 & 2: they get killed in one hit, but often appear in groups, spawn right when you're about to jump and are omnipresent when you're trying to navigate Temporary Platform. Then, Sections 5 & 6 feature demon heads: these have doubled health and they fly in circles around you, passing through physical objects and coming back if they miss you the first time.
- A secret mission in Devil May Cry 4. You have to traverse disappearing platforms without falling, while under attack from several flying enemies at once who are exceptionally difficult to finish off quickly. And yes, practically ANY hit will knock you off.note
- The pink Koindozers from Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, mooks who all carry large shields with which to ram you off cliffs. The good news is, they only appear in one level in the game. The bad news is, they're all over That One Level. You can't kill them, just avoid them (and it gets pretty difficult to time your jumps properly so that you land safely on top of their shield rather than right in front of it at perfect bulldozering range), suggest that the good people at Rare do something physically and anatomically impossible with their mothers, and never play the level again. According to one walkthrough:
Dixie's helicopter spin is invaluable in this level. If you lose her, you might as well save yourself the trouble and simply commit suicide.
- I Wanna Be the Guy has the Medusa heads from Castlevania (which temporarily turn you to stone and knock you backwards), as well as the Cheep Cheeps in the Road to Guy's Castle (which push you around randomly, usually off the cart and to your eventual death), as well as the aforementioned Ninja Gaiden birds in the Ghosts and Goblins section, which try to push you around into spikes or falling tombstones. It's worth noting that these are the only enemies in the game that don't kill you with one hit.
- Several mooks in the Metropolis Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 function as this.
- Almost every long stretch of running and boosting or blind jumps in Dimps-developed Sonic games ends in you running into a badnik.
- Bug! features a few of these, especially one area in Splot where you had to jump from small platforms platforms with enemies on them.
- The Oddworld 2D platforming series makes a habit of placing insta-kill bats near ledges, either to tell you to find another path or to take a leap of faith. And the game doesn't even tell you that these bats are deadly. Then again, everything kills Abe in 1 hit anyway.
- Airborne enemies in Journey to Silius typically appear in areas with bottomless pits.
- Terraria: Nearly every enemy in the underworld can act like this if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Every jump quest in MapleStory is chock full of these.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - The Game features hordes of flying bats and Medusa Heads which fill the exact same niche.
- They Bleed Pixels has the flying octopodes. They attack by dashing a third of the way across the screen; they usually hover far out of reach while they get ready to attack you.
- In Iji, some Komato Skysmashers (flying turrets) do this, especially on the left side of the last level.
- The bats of Spelunky can disrupt your jumps and result in your injury/death.
- Almost all enemies and bosses in Wario Land 2 and 3 are like this, because Wario cannot physically die via collision damage, bottomless pits or just about anything else. So instead, the game puts enemies around ledges and places you need to carefully jump across, and then them knocking you back simply wastes time instead of causing damage. In Wario Land 4 these exist too (despite you having a health bar), with examples like the robo birds in factory-themed levels and the stationary head things that shoot spikes in Pinball Zone. Oh, and from 2 onwards, Frozen Wario is pretty much entirely based around this annoyance, since it's used to send Wario flying back off ledges uncontrollably until he hits a wall or obstacle.
- The underground stage in Tiny Barbarian DX has bats that fly along at regular intervals to make life uncomfortable for the player.
- Shovel Knight has rockets in the Clockwork Tower level which use the same movement pattern as Medusa Heads and only appear on screens where the ground has been replaced with either a pit or spikes.
- Frankenstein's Monster on the Atari 2600 has every enemy knock the player back, but never kill them... it's the water that's lethal, so of course they have spiders that mess with your jump and send you into the water.