Follow TV Tropes


Sound-Coded for Your Convenience

Go To

In video games, hearing often provides more information than in Real Life, up to the point that different objects become sound-coded.

Not to be confused with Signature Sound Effect. However, if you do hear something's Signature Sound Effect in the game then you know the thing itself is nearby, so there is some level of overlap.

Compare Variable Mix (the music adapts to the ongoing events in the game). See also Color-Coded for Your Convenience for the visual variant. When a character can tell something or someone from sound cues, then it's Recognizable by Sound.


    open/close all folders 

  • In most shooters (and action RPGs), enemies are sound-coded. They produce an easy recognizable array of sounds when idle, another array on spotting you and preparing for attack, third array on losing sight of you and so on.
  • Gamer lore tells of a man who once taught himself to use sound cues to beat people at an early boxing game despite being blind.
    • Similarly, the documentary about Ben Underwood, a boy who learned to use human echolocation due to being blinded at age 3, showed several scenes where he was playing one of the Game Boy Advance incarnations of Pokémon. One wonders how he remotely accomplished this due to the lack of a sufficient audio library, and if it was just a setup shot to wow viewers.
      • While he probably couldn't beat the game without help, due to all plot-relevant information being given in text, the battles have more than enough sound effects for playing without sight to be possible (see Pokemon's entry).
    • Electronic Gaming Monthly once had an article on a man who was legally blind (he could only see different brightnesses of light) and still played wrestling games. He would download FAQs, have his computer read them out so he knew the controls, and then use audio cues to locate his opponents in-game.
  • This is actually Truth in Television for FPS games, by the way; different makes and calibres of firearm can sound very different; telling an M16 from an AK47 is easy, telling an M16A4 from an M4A1 is difficult but possible with practice. The distinctive "ping!" made by an M1 Garand ejecting the stripper clip it was loaded with is also partially true, but only when it hit something solid like a wall or road surface and only at very close proximity. Nowadays soldiers are often trained to call out something like "Loading!" or "Stoppage!" so that their squadmates know they haven't stopped firing because they've been hit, which also shouldn't make a huge difference outside of knife-fighting range.
  • Elements are generally sound-coded. Buzzing is electricity, crackling is fire, harsh crackling is ice, bubbling is often poison. 'Woomph' noises can be indicative of lava flows, particularly in platformers.

    Action Adventure 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, you'd hear a distinctive ringing noise whenever a "soldier" enemy noticed your presence. Holding out your sword and walking into walls let you "tap" them, and bombable walls would make a low, hollow sound to let you know. The "secret revealed!" jingle is practically iconic.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: "This compass has a new feature: a tone will tell you if a key is hidden in a room when you enter!"
    • From The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time onwards, the music changes whenever an enemy approaches. In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess this is taken an extra step—the "enemy" music ends differently depending on whether you kill all enemies in the room or simply move out of their range.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks the music will change if you are spotted by a phantom, and won't fade away until you make it to a safe zone and they stop looking for you.
    • Spirit Tracks's tunnels are usually simple enough to go through. One three separate occasions, however, a rocktite spawns behind you, with the music going from this to this as it gets closer. And it's sometimes invulnerable to cannon fire, you have to shoot the Exploding Barrels when it's next to them.
    • Maiamais in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds make small squeaking noises. Some are hidden in trees or under rocks or tiles, making this trope the only means of indicating that they are nearby.
  • La-Mulana has shell horn which, when picked up, announces when a puzzle is completed. As important is the little "trap" sound, which usually means running away.
  • In the game of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, you could pretty much just rely on the sound effects to see when you were about to be blasted by a fire crab or eaten by a giant orange snail. Despite the way it sounds, these are the sorts of noises that haunt one's dreams when very young.

    Adventure Games 
  • In the old point and click game Pyramid: Challenge of the Pharaoh's Dream, you have to find a blind astronomer in a maze of papyrus reeds while avoiding a crocodile. You know you've gone down the right path when astronomer's cries for help get louder.
  • Jolly Rover has a puzzle where you have to listen to chanting coming from several cave mouths and have to pick the longest/fullest one. Thankfully, subtitles help.
  • In Myst, there is a device that emits a different sound based on the direction it is pointing. If you memorize these sounds, you can later use them to navigate a maze in a different Age. Otherwise, or if you're deaf, you'll have to do the maze the old-fashioned way: try every path.
  • In the bizarre adventure game, Total Distortion, guitar battles go back and forth with this trope, depending on difficulty. Low difficulty adds colors to each note, while high difficulty requires playing entirely by ear.

    Fighting Games 
  • Any Fighting Game in general usually has characters announcing their attacks as well as an announcer who calls the match. Some of them also have the announcers yelling out the Idiosyncratic Combo Levels so you know when a combo is finished.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom:
    • Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has certain actions announced so it's easier to know what's going on: calling in an assist will have the announcer yell "Crossover!" as well as the character calling the assist saying something along the lines of "I need help!". The character doing the assist will announce they're leaving once they're done with the attack. Pushblocking will have the announcer yell "Advancing guard!" Initiating an Air Combo will have the announcer yell "Air Combo!", a team aerial combo will have him yell "Team Aerial Combo!" and if it is countered he'll instead yell "Team Aerial Counter!". Finishing the combo has him react to it with something like "Uncanny!" or "Viewtiful!" depending on the number of hits. Performing a Snap Back has a little snapping sound and if successful has the announcer yell "Snap Back!" and knocking an enemy team member out will have the announcer yell "Down!" in addition to the cries of the downed opponent. The announcer also yells out your Hyper Combo gauge level if you fill a bar, and yells "Maximum!" upon reaching 5 stocks. There's also a flashing sound when a hyper combo's initiated and the much more terrifying sound of what seems to be a greek chorus gasping when a Level 3 Hyper Combo is performed, as it is that much more dangerous.
    • Certain characters also have distinct sounds. Phoenix Wright carries over several sound effects from his own game, such as the distinctive sound of evidence being added to court record which is helpful as it lets you know exactly when to cancel his evidence searching move so he's less of a sitting duck.
    • Earlier games in the series had distinctive "X!" or "Infinity!" announcements right before a character performs a combo, with the former being used for X-Men characters and the latter for general Marvel characters.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • There's the distinctive "Ping!" sound of the Home-Run Bat and certain moves if they hit a sweet spot, indicating powerful attacks, the crackling sound of someone's shield breaking, the crowd cheering for a character that does well and the announcer popping in to announce that a player has been knocked out of the game if there's more than two players.
    • Olimar's Pikmin have a distinct dying sound which is helpful if you want to know if you need to pick more. This then becomes a Subverted Trope as it sounds very similar to Ness' PK Flash, so you can get confused.
  • The Street Fighter series has a distinct high pitched sound for when a character gets stunned, letting you know they're open to any attack at that point.
  • Attacks made with sharp or bladed weapons often have a slashing noise to accompany them instead of the regular thumping ones.

    First Person Shooter 
  • In just about every First Person Shooter gives grenades a distinct sound when they are thrown because frankly it's just not fun to die from a grenade silently rolled into your cover spot from behind. Sometimes it's a ticking noise, sometimes it's a loud pinging sound when they hit a surface (which can be particularly unrealistic, though acceptable, when it always makes the same metal-on-metal ping sound even if it lands in dirt), and a visual cue is often also added such as a light on the grenade (Half-Life 2) or an indicator on your HUD that you're within a grenade's blast radius (Call of Duty).
  • The enemies in BioShock usually make plenty of noise to let you know they're around. The Splicers will talk or sing to themselves, breaking into mad ranting when they actually catch sight of you and the Big Daddies make whale-like moans and ground-shuddering footsteps while the Little Sisters talk happily to them. With time, you can even learn to distinguish between Splicer-types by the sounds they make with their weapons (melee-types scrape their weapons against the ground, gun-types compulsively snap their pistol cylinders open and shut, Spider Splicers produce a metallic noise with their climbing hooks and so on). The security drones also make helpful buzzing noises as they fly around.
  • In Block N Load, if you don't have the area radar'd, dig-tool sounds are the best clue you have that someone is digging a tunnel into your base. Most heroes have a distinctive sound for their tool, so you can gauge the level of threat that's about to show up. Also, spawn quotes are a handy indicator that an enemy respawn pad is nearby, and some heroes' noises can help you find an enemy who's trying to hide.
  • The tink-tink of a bouncing grenade is very clear and audible in Call of Duty 4, even when thrown on dirt or grass. This makes it useful to know when someone is flinging a grenade your way, as you can hear the sound before the grenade warning icon appears. This practice was continued with World At War, Modern Warfare 2, and Black Ops.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade confirms when you got a kill with its infamous "boink" sound. This was useful to know, since it was sometimes difficult to tell if your bombardment was killing anything, as well as being a fun part of the Renegade experience.
  • In Counter-Strike, sound plays a very important role. With good headphones and good practice, one can nearly pinpoint where non-walking enemies are, and each weapon has a distinct reloading, firing, and unholstering sound.
  • Crysis has an interesting variation; the nanosuit's various states are all sound-coded in addition to color-coded, and while the sounds for strength and speed modes are close, if not identical, they're a dead giveaway that the suit isn't in armor mode. The cloaking noise is very distinct on its own. These sounds don't matter much in singleplayer, since the player, friendlies and a small number of bad guys who are usually within plain sight are the only ones in nanosuits. In multiplayer, however, everyone is wearing a nanosuit, and the sounds can be telling of what a player on the opposing team hiding behind cover may be planning or even give them away if they change modes too close to you.
  • Most guns in Day of Defeat have their own sound, giving you some clue to what class of enemy you're facing. In particular, the Garand rifle used by the Allies makes a very distinctive ping! sound when it ejects an empty clip - a handy clue to the other side that the soldier is out of ammo.
  • Deep Rock Galactic:
    • The ambient sound of air moving through a cave become more intense when you're near a dirt wall between cave sections or there's a passage on the other side of a wall.
    • Chirpy, electronic beeps mean there's a lost helmet or the batteries to a cargo crate nearby, which means you're in for some bonus loot! Once you pick them up and carry them, the batteries also beep faster the closer you are to the crate they unlock.
    • Wells of Liquid Morkite regularly emit puffs of blue flame with a "whoosh" sound you can hear even if the well itself is out of sight behind a cave wall or up on a ledge.
    • Broken-down mini-MULEs in Salvage missions emit regular beeps to help you locate them if they're up on a ledge or in a pit out of sight. The legs you have to retrieve and attach to them also beep louder and faster the closer you get to a mini-MULE, and slower and softer if you go the wrong direction.
    • Large minerals like Jadiz, Compressed Gold, Bittergems, and the Aquarqs gathered in Point Extraction missions all emit a humming sound that grows louder as you mine into the cave wall towards it.
    • The various Glyphids all give distinct cries to let you know what's coming even if you can't see it yet, from the high-pitched screeches of Glyphid Grunts, to the gurgling croaks of an acid-spraying Menace, to the sinister, throaty chuckles of a Bulk Detonator. This makes the regular Glyphid Exploders all the more dangerous because the only audio cue they give is a high-pitched hissing a second before they detonate, which is a terrible thing to hear from right behind you, but may give you just enough time to sprint out of the immediate blast radius.
  • Descent had its distinctive "clang" for damaging a player's shields. Descent III went with a softer, less distinctive "pop", which was not popular among fans.
    • All enemy robots also have their distinctive sound, although some of them are (intentionally) hard to hear. Notable are the ticking sound (of the super mech with homing missiles, meaning you need to get cover NOW), the weird screech of the Omega (which tends to fly straight at you and self-destruct) and particularly the whiny screech of the vulcan driller (to which you should condition yourself to immediately fire a homing missile at it).
  • This dates back quite a bit. Both Doom and Wolfenstein 3-D have recognizable sounds for enemies. From the growls of the zombiemen, to the hisses of the imps, and the veritably pants-filling roar of Barons of Hell, every single monster (well, aside from the zombies, who all have similar noises) has its own unique alert sound. Zombies and imps will produce relatively human-like cries of pain upon being damaged, while all other hellspawn will just monotonously moan.
    • "Schutzstaffel." Your pants will fill if you hear this and you can't see the SS trooper, as damage is surprisingly realistic, and a sustained MP-40 spray to your back is not something you want to experience.
    • It also proves very useful in Wolfenstein 3D when differentiating between solid walls and secret passages that are immovable for some reason - the sound can be a little off-putting if you don't expect it.
  • The End Times: Vermintide uses a number of audio cues:
    • The sound of a war-horn (or ringing bells in the sequel) indicates a wave of Clanrats or Skavenslaves is approaching.
    • A patrol of Stormvermin can be heard grunting "Hee! Yah!" when they get close.
    • The sound of clanking and hoarse breathing indicates a Poison Wind Globadier is near.
    • While Gutter Runners can be spotted by their faintly glowing Warpstone claws, they can also be heard faintly whispering to themselves.
    • The rattling of bones is the sign a Packmaster is close.
    • The Ratling Gunner can be detected by the rattle of his Ratling gun's barrel spinning up, while a Skaven muttering the word "Burn!" is the sign of a Warpfire Thrower team.
    • The Rat Ogre has a distinctive Mighty Roar that it lets out when it gets close to the heroes.
    • The Sack Rat can be heard muttering "Mine, mine!" when it gets close.
  • FEAR has its soldiers chatter to each other on radios, a la Half-Life. Even though the plot says that they're all being controlled psychically.
  • In Half-Life, where enemies loved to suddenly teleport to prescripted areas, the idle sounds of these enemies were played in these areas even before they started to teleport. And the teleporting itself was done with one fixed sound.
  • In Half-Life 2, with its close captioning ability, distinguishing enemies becomes much easier. 'Barnacle pull', you know, 'Headcrab alert', 'Combine: chatter' and, of course, '*moan*'.
    • Half-Life 2 also had a very noticeable sound warning for the poisonous headcrabs: a very loud cry that sounded like a cross between a dolphin and a rattlesnake. Since these enemies could temporarily reduce your health and make you a One-Hit-Point Wonder, this could be extremely helpful... if the aforementioned sound and the effect that their attacks caused weren't nightmare fuel.
      • The developers mentioned that playtesters tended to drop everything to focus on where that sound was coming from and kill it.
    • Different types of zombies also make different noises; compare the normal zombie moans with the watery, throaty rasping of the Poison Zombie or the Fast Zombie's very bunched-up panting.
  • Halo has your opponent's shields go down with a distinct "pop."
  • Left 4 Dead
    • The game has some very distinct noises for its special zombies. Boomers sound like someone drowning and/or vomiting, Smokers cough and hack like a...smoker, Hunters have a very distinct growl and screech, Witches will sob and whimper, Spitters squeal softly to themselves, Jockeys laugh like madmen, Chargers have a nasal growl like a wild boar or rhinoceros, and idle Tanks sound like an angry man snarling and huffing.
    • The four survivors also have distinctive voices, so you know exactly who is doing what when they shout something out. Every kind of special infected also has its own short musical cues, including the distinct tune of a horde swarm.
  • MAG has a characteristic sound when you inflict a headshot.
  • Due to the general lagginess of online multiplayer, competitive shooter games tend to have some sort of noise to confirm that you've managed to land a blow against an opponent. One of the first examples was Quake III: Arena, with its clown nose-like "honk."
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy
    • In the main games of this subseries, all the hidden powerups make a distinctive humming sound that is often the the player's first clue that there's something to find in the area. The sound's volume and stereo positioning can help narrow down its location.
    • The Metroids themselves make an odd chittering sound before they attack Samus. (They didn't do this in the 2D games, but then you didn't have to worry about one sneaking up behind you and catching you unaware!)
  • In Overwatch, the voice line when a character uses their ultimate ability differs depending whether they are on your team or the enemy's team.
  • In Paladins, there are tons of sound cues in the game. There are the distinct sounds of each champions' weapon and abilities, the Ultimate callouts that can be heard from anywhere on the map, the jingling tune when your Regenerating Health activates, and the chime that plays when your Ultimate is ready.
  • Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad: The soundtrack, specific for Russian and German sides, is supposed to change to be more somber when your team is losing, and more grand while your team is winning!
  • In Serious Sam, suicide bomb soldiers emit a continuous "aaaaarrrgh" scream when they're coming at you, allowing you to tell where they're coming from, especially if they're behind you. The distinctive whine of chainsaws tips one off to the presence of the chainsaw-wielding pumpkin-men. Pretty much every enemy makes their distinctive sounds, often from Stock Sound Effects.
    • Hilariously, you can sometimes find them idle. They mutter little "argh?"s to themselves.
  • Both the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro 2033 series of games use a high pitched buzzing to indicate the use of telepathic powers.
  • In Team Fortress 2, almost every weapon in the game also has their own distinct sounds to let you more easily identify what your enemy has in his hands. If you're a Spy, this can lead to you blowing your cover if you're not careful.
    • There's many. MANY voice and sound effects here that can help or impede you (which all players can hear regardless of team)...
      • Sentries regularly give little electronic beeps, so you can hear them before you turn a blind corner and blunder into their firing arc.
      • A high-pitched, mechanical whirring? There's a Heavy nearby with his minigun revved up and ready to shred you. This makes his Tomislav variant weapon dangerous because it doesn't make a sound when it's readied.
      • "MEDIC!" - While this DOES alert your teammates to heal you, it also alerts enemies that there's a wounded target nearby...
      • "SPY SAPPIN MAH SENTRY!" - Either your Engie needs help, or it's time to rush in and finish the job
      • "OM NOM NOM" - Kill the Heavy before his sandvich can heal him!
      • Hear a bugle? A Soldier has just deployed an area-of-effect attack/defense/self-healing buff and he's coming your way. The two teams have team-specific bugle noises, so you can tell which side is using it, and thus whether you should be running toward or away from the Soldier.
      • The Dead Ringer has a loud, distinct decloaking noise to make up for its fake-death ability.
      • Fitting the trope more, it's possible to ferret out hiding opponents from footsteps, weapon reloads, and grunts of pain (such as fall damage or the effect of the Shiv)
      • The normally-ambient game also plays a specific musical sting that plays for dominations/revenges, and the "zooming" sound it makes as it shows the freezecam.
      • Normally if someone dies from a critical strike such as a headshot or backstab, they scream loudly and dramatically, which will alert their teammates. A couple of Spy knives come with a guaranteed silent kill (which also hides the death from the HUD kill feed), so the only thing worse than hearing your Medic's death scream is not hearing him at all. Still, they aren't completely silent: both still produces the sound of the knife sticking in and body hitting the ground, and the Spy-cicle also has a quiet but very distinct crinkling sound from freezing its victim's corpses.
    • As of the Pyromania update, you can put on a set of goggles that allow you to visit "Pyroland", changing all of your sound effects to become Lighter and Softer. This will probably screw up your performance.
  • In TRON 2.0, items, NPCs, and other things all have distinctive sounds. Corrupted Programs talk in insane, distorted voices, ICPs rattle off computer procedures while searching for threats, and charge when they see you, and DataWraiths don't speak at all, but make creepy warped clicking noises instead. Similarly, Build Note items have a steady hum, which helps when they're hidden; hovering finder robots make a droning noise while moving, and Optimizers can be heard making a crunching sound while sliding along surfaces.

    Hack And Slash 
  • In Diablo II
    • Most of the monsters make some periodic noise. Fallen chatter, insect-types chitter, zombies moan, skeletons shuffle, etc.
    • Further, every type of item that Randomly Drops has its own sound effect. They're pretty easy to distinguish even among similar types (i.e. a ring sounds quite different than an amulet, a spear or polearm sounds different than a javelin, etc.)
    • Also, chests, stashes and barrels make a very distinct noise when the player springs a Booby Trap. It is one of the most memorable sounds in the game and a good reason not to play muted.
  • Path of Exile has different sounds for different item types like in Diablo. Additionally, custom loot filters let you add conditional drop sounds; this can be used to immediately notify you when a particularly valuable item appears.
  • God Hand has this to an extent. Draw aggro from offscreen enemies and you'll hear them yell (popular phrases include "You're not Alexander!" and "Damn!"); the louder the yell, the closer they are. In addition, should an enemy become a demon, not only does the color scheme change, you hear a very distinctive hissing roar. This combines with Musical Spoiler as well, as demons have their own music.
  • No More Heroes, as a standard Beat 'em Up, doesn't really need complex audio cues (though different sets of mooks have different cries). What it does matter with are the Lovikov Balls; powerups found hidden throughout Santa Destroy that make a distinct humming sound when they're nearby. Also, you'll know when Speed Buster's Wave-Motion Gun is about to fire - she yells something at you. Usually it's "Fuck you!" Useful if you're in the wrong direction to see its charge-up glare.
  • Killer7: Every enemy laughs when they spawn. This is useful because they're normally invisible until you press a button to scan for them.
  • Some enemies in Gauntlet Legends carry explosive barrels on their back and will rush you from offscreen when they get the chance. Fortunately they always let out an unearthly roar when they do and you'll usually have a couple seconds before impact.

    Massively Multiplayer Online Games 
  • World of Warcraft both uses and subverts this one. Many creatures will make a noise when they begin an attack (wolves and yeti's growl, snakes and spiders hiss, and who can forget the blood curdling MRGRGLRLGL of the Murlocs) but human enemies will not make a noise prior to the noise of their blade hitting your body. This can be particularly alarming with spellcasters, as you suddenly have five ice bolts hitting you when you thought there was only one guard attacking you. Even more nerve-wracking are the Fel Reavers, which make a loud and frightening sound even when they aren't attacking.
    • Not quite true. Even the humanoids (including humans) have a aggro noise, usually an exaggerated 'huh!' in the case of the human males. It's probably easier to pick out if you play a rogue, because that noise is the first indication that your stealth isn't working.
    • Speaking of rogues.. every Glass Cannon caster dreads the the stealthing sound, because it usually means you're about to get backstabbed. Experienced rogues can Mind Screw their opponent by intentionally walking to the edge of the caster's field of vision, triggering that sound.
    • This is done to the point that an experienced player knows, at the moment of aggro, what type of monster they've aggroed, what type of spell they are casting (if any), and even (in the case of many humanoids) the gender of their opponent.
    • There are a handful of monsters that don't make a sound. They scare the heck outta whoever they aggro onto.
      • And then there are the ones that everyone avoids specifically because of the aggro sound. Outland screaming spiders anyone?
  • Final Fantasy XI does this, and has similar sounds for when most monsters aggro... an exception is the undead Fomors and Shades, which are pretty much enemy versions of PCs. You never hear them coming until it's too late. Being undead, it adds to the creepy factor. Final Fantasy XIV also uses a sound effect for when you aggro enemies and the same sound effect is also used if another party member uses an ability on you such as healing spells.
  • Some missions in City of Heroes require the player to locate a certain number of items on the mission map, to investigate, confiscate, or destroy. These items are usually identifiable both by a glowing visual effect and by a distinctive sound... but since they are often hidden in out-of-the-way spots and occasionally lack the visual effect, the sound effect is generally the easiest way to locate them, resulting in the odd experience of listening for crates of drugs.
    • Individual powers often have their own sound effect patterns, and experienced players can identify Hasten or Moment Of Glory without even looking for the screen. Kinetics sound effects are, likewise, highly identifiable.
  • In Runescape, sound is the best way to play the penguin hide and seek minigame. Most players have the background noises muted nearly all the time, but the squeak-squeak noise the penguins make is too distinctive to pass up.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has a distinctive noise when you're around a datacron, causing experienced players to pause, look around and then wonder how they're supposed to get up there.
  • Pretty much every item and ability in Dota 2 has a distinctive sound effect associated with using it.

    Platform Game 
  • Psychonauts includes a money-finding item which is sound and vibration coded for your convenience.
    • It's also color coded. Go to first person view to refine the direction even more.
    • You can also rapidly tap F. The meter will go up more the closer you are.
  • Cash and some other quest-related items in Conker's Bad Fur Day will literally call out to the player ("Hey! Money over here!"). Same with for the Jinjos hollering to be rescued in the Banjo-Kazooie series. Both games were made by Rare.
  • Eversion marks where you can everse by mixing the music of the target world into the music of the current world.
    • This is actually where the concept of the game seemingly started. It was created based off of a note in H.P. Lovecraft's notebook of story ideas: "sounds - possibly musical - heard in the night from other worlds or realms of being."
  • Viewtiful Joe brings us Fire Leo (and his robotic spinoffs). The easiest way (by far) to beat him is to dodge his claw attacks. Thank you, Skull Symbols! In Ultra V-rated or when using Captain Blue, though, the only way to tell if he's swinging high or low is to listen to how he grunts. The robots have a different two grunts.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time features an ethereal, "watery" sound whenever there's a health upgrade nearby. There is also a labyrinth/door puzzle at the end that can only be solved using sound cues.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Apes hidden in barrels will give off noise to alert the player that they are nearby.
  • LittleBigPlanet: Collecting new Prize Bubbles, as in the ones that still have a prize in them. For example, Music Items have an opera lady singing, Sound Objects have a horn honking, and Stickers make a splat sound.
  • Green Stars in Super Mario Galaxy 2 make a distinct twinkling noise when you're near them.

    Puzzle Game 
  • In the Tetris: The Grand Master series, each piece has a distinct sound effect that plays whenever it is the next piece that will spawn. This becomes especially useful at higher speeds, when pieces lock sooner leaving you with less time to concentrate and glance up at the top of the screen. Additionally, whenever you are close to a level that will significantly impact the game's speed, the music will cut out and go silent until you reach that level.
    • In addition, at the end of each section, you can't advance to the next section until you clear a line, so Tetris: The Grand Master 3 added a bell that sounds at the end of the section so you know to clear a line ASAP without having to look over at the level counter.
  • In the arcade version of Klax, each colour of tile produced their own unique sound effect as they tumbled down the play area. For example, green tiles produced a woodblock sound, yellows a cowbell sound and oranges a low "splat" sound.
  • In Puyo Puyo Champions, characters speak the current chain number when they pop Puyo, only using their "spell" lines on the last segment of a sufficiently large chain. This lets you know if you can safely continue to build or if you need to launch your counterattack now, instead of having to learn each character's spell names or count how many times they shouted their final spell once they reach 9 chains.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Real-Time Strategy usually have this as a standard feature: Each type of unit has a distinctive voice and quotes for when it's selected or given an order. In older games, they were often more generic (e.g. the original Command & Conquer, where almost all infantry units shared the same voice set); in more recent titles it's become standard for specific units to have very different voice sets and to include different cues for moving, attacking, and specific abilities. The interface itself will also usually have an announcement if enemy units attack yours or invade your base.
    • The Warcraft and Starcraft series are notorious for also having "Pissed" quotes, which come in if the player clicks on a single unit several times in a row.
  • Starcraft and Starcraft II also have a unique, distinctive sound effect for every fighting unit when it attacks.
    • Starcraft II features unique "attacked" messages for each unit, so you can tell if the enemy is hitting your base or workers, or merely engaging your army.
  • In Dune II, the music changes when something is happening (wormsign, base under attack etc), along with the announcer woman's voice saying "Wormsign" "our base is under attack".
  • This is standard in all the Command & Conquer series games, with the most powerful units especially making distinctive noises when moving and firing. In Red Alert 2 and 3 the sound of Kirovs flying towards your base is very noticeable and frightening, and some units announce their presence to all players once their construction has been completed.
  • Though more of a tactical game than a strategy one, you can quickly identify dangerous units in MechCommander thanks to the distinctive sounds of the weapons they carry. Hear the soft little clunk of a single SRM launcher, the clicky growl of a small caliber autocannon, or the muted trill of a laser? Light weapons, nothing too bad. You can afford to deal with that particular threat in due time. Hear the hellish roar of a Thunder LRM launcher, the deafening boom of a 200-mm autocannon, or the banshee-screech of a PPC? Yes, now you have a problem and know here to focus. Some BattleMechs give themselves away with their sound effects—for instance, hearing a dozen LRM launchers at once but no lasers? That's a Catapult. Hear those same LRM launchers, but now you also hear laser beams? You've been engaged by a much more dangerous Vulture, and need to act accordingly.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Several rhythm games such as REFLEC BEAT, Tone Sphere, and Love Live! School idol festival have hit sounds that are triggered by hitting notes. You can tell if your timing is off enough to only get partial credit on a note if the sound effect is in a different pitch from its "perfect" variation.

  • Ancient Domains of Mystery works the same way as in NetHack (see above), plus the player can go deaf voluntarily. There is even an encounter when not being deaf severely impairs your chance of survival.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, there are different sound effects for attacks depending on what elemental type they are and how much damage they do.
  • DRL: Every enemy type has its distinct sound, and with the use of stereo sound, the player can tell that the demon is close to the left or far to the right, and the use of this sound is essential for survival. It is not a perfect tool, however, since some enemies of the same type share their sounds. And it's quite a difference to walk into the face of a former human armed with a basic pistol and a elite former commando that can melt your face off with one shot.
  • NetHack doesn't let its lack of sound stop it from using this trope in the form of textual notices such as, "You hear someone cursing shoplifters.", "You hear crashing rock.", or even "You hear the roaring of an angry bear!". The source code includes hints that it'll soon be possible to go deaf.

    Role Playing Game 
  • In Gothic, humanoid weapon-wielding enemies invariably draw sword upon noticing you. Of course, this comes with a distinct metal sound. Animals produce some kind of roar or howl prior to attack. No creature can attack you unnoticed if you listen carefully.
    • Except for one. The Shadowbeast looks something like a giant black wolf-lion, sleeps in caves, and upon noticing the player will silently get up and sneak up on him. Generally, the first thing an inexperienced player knows about Shadowbeasts is being suddenly eaten from behind.
  • In Hellgate: London, there is a kind of Leaper who produce one and the only specific roar when launching the leap. Upon hearing this, it quickly becomes a player's reflex to step aside to avoid the leap. Even if previously he had no idea that a Leaper was around.
  • Ghouls in Fallout 3 always let out a hiss before charging at you. Super Mutants also tend to shout out taunts before attacking as well.
    • All enemies in F3 make noises, although in the case of Yao Guai and deathclaws, you'll hear their heavy footsteps first. If you can actually hear their breathing noises, then you're already dead.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, ED-E plays a ringtone-like musical ditty when it detects enemies nearby.
    • In Fallout 4, the bombs carried by Super Mutant Suiciders beep when they are alerted and charging towards you. Also, mini-nukes launched from the Fat Man now have a Bomb Whistle sound; if you happen to be on the receiving end, you can only duck, cover, and kiss your ass goodbye.
  • You can tell in an instant whether interplanetary travel in the first Knights of the Old Republic will have a random encounter, as the preceding cutscenes have entirely different music.
  • The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall isn't particularly difficult if you know how to prepare for what you hear. A rumbling squeak? Spider: Free Action to avoid paralysis. A shriek? Skeleton: blunt weapons work best. A raspy shriek? Vampire Ancient: Spell Reflection or Spell Absorption. A dark laugh? Daedra Lord: run like hell in the other direction.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura's flawed combat system does not pause when an enemy spots you, so you have to listen for the combat music to cue you in with its distinctive strings intro.
  • Knights in the Nightmare has this out the freaking wazoo, almost to Annoying Video Game Helper levels. Pretty much everything that happens on screen is commented on by the knights ("The sword attached. The duelist activated. Enemy attack!"), and given the pace of the action, this becomes a constant stream of commentary.
  • Pokémon has three sound effects to tell if a move has little (1/2 or less normal damage) effect, normal effect, or great (2x or more normal damage) effect. This only applies to the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors calculation. It doesn't factor in critical hits, so you can still get the "thud" sound, but do regular damage.
    • The above-mentioned example of Ben Underwood, blind since age 3 and still being able to play Pokémon games, is actually not too far-fetched. Each Pokémon has a unique cry when sent out (save for a few from the first generation that share cries due to sound limitations). Sufficiently experienced players can recognize the most common Pokémon by only their cry. Presumably, he learned to play once a sighted friend explained what the sound effects mean.
    • There's also a particular disconcerting beeping noise that lets the player know when their active Pokémon in battle have a low amount of Hit Points remaining.
    • The be-doop-be-doop-be-doop-boop sound made by the healing machines in Pokemon Centres is sufficiently symbolic of the action that if an NPC says 'Let me have a look at your team members for a second' and you hear that sound, you know that they just healed your Pokemon for you.
  • Baldur's Gate: The snarls of Kobolds and Gnolls can be heard before they get within visual range.
  • Super Mario RPG has an item called the "signal ring" which, when equipped, will play a sound cue to let you know there is an invisible treasure somewhere in the room. Since it does not tell you where it is located, some of the rooms can be quite large, and at least one treasure can only be found at a particular time (you must jump off a Toad's head, and he will only be in the right place once), this can be maddening. Experienced players will no doubt have memories of jumping madly around the room every time they hear the telltale noise.
  • In Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, every type of enemy has different sound effects, that get louder the closer to the enemy you are. Particularly noticeable because there is no background music except in special circumstances. Also applies to cats, though they are not enemies. Hitting an enemy and doing damage yields a different sound effect than hitting and not doing damage, each enemy attack has a different sound effect, and there will be a sound effect if you're facing something you can interact with, like a door you can go through or an item you can pick up.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • There's a very distinct audio cue for knowing there's a dragon nearby. You'll be running through the wilderness or through an open town and there will be a sort of echo off in the distance, sounding as if it was carried in on the wind. Or just that straight up roar, rush of wind and dramatic battle music.
    • It's also usually pretty easy to tell what kind of enemy any particular dungeon will hold in store for you just by listening at the entrance. Frostbite spiders make a distinct shuffling noise as they scurry around. The smaller albino spiders make a crinkly, creeping noise. Skeletons creak back and forth like they need oil. Draugr make short, sharp, grunty growly sounds. And bandits and other people tend to talk to each other and themselves, at least until they notice you.
  • Monster Hunter sure loves its sound effects.
    • The most iconic is the Scare Chord upon being sighted by a Large Monster, very helpful if the monster is offscreen or you wouldn't know it's after you. The music can also help you narrow down what monster noticed you...unless the monster is a Khezu, who has a distinct lack of BGM.
    • When gathering items, you have a thud if you get an item that you can't carry because you have too much of something, a distinctive sound for an item you CAN carry, and a fanfare if the item is an ancient/rust shard which allow you to get very rare and powerful weapons, useful if you're just mashing the button to gather and aren't paying attention to what you get.
    • Thuds also sound if certain buffs are applied or wear off, though it's hard to notice in a heat of battle (though a sign usually also pops up).
    • Weapons make a distinctive clank when deflected due to not being sharp enough. While the deflecting is very noticeable (your hunter reels back from the recoil) it's useful when performing an attack that technically still deflects but doesn't play the animation. Especially if you decide to tone down the blood effect in the settings so you don't notice the lack of blood. You also get a cracking sound when using impact damage on a monster's head, and a very audible snap when a body part breaks.
    • Traps give off a beeping signal once successfully set. No use to the one who set the trap but VERY useful when in multi-player and the other players don't necessarily know a trap is being set.
    • Sharpening gives a distinct scraping sound followed by a "Ping!" which, again, while useless to the one doing the sharpening, lets a teammate in multi-player know you're sharpening and are basically a sitting duck. Some players may thank you if you kick them as soon as the ping sounds, as it cancels the rest of the animation and allows them to get back in the battle faster.
    • In multi-player rooms, if someone who accepted a posted quest is ready, a bell will ring. A horn will sound when the players depart.
    • When a monster gets stuck in a shock trap or is paralyzed, a distinct crackling sound is heard.
    • If a monster's music stops playing, you can assume it left the area. If you still hear the monster itself, then it's dead or asleep.
    • The Greatsword can charge its attacks. If a technique is used to use a fully charged attack quickly, you'll hear a different sound.
    • In Monster Hunter 3 (Tri), your shakalaka companions cheer when they carve/gather an item, make a distinct rattling noise when they're about to perform a dance and another distinct rattling noise when the dance is underway.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, you can often hear hidden enemies before they attack you, allowing you time to set up traps. Characters with high enough skill in Survival can also give you a verbal warning that there are stealthed enemies nearby.
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning makes a humming noise when something magical is nearby, which can help you locate lorestones and chests that need to be dispelled.

    Shoot 'Em Up 
  • Geometry Wars has this as well - each enemy type has a distinct noise when it first spawns.
  • The Touhou games after Perfect Cherry Blossom have the players shots make a distinct sound if the boss they're attacking is about to deplete their life bar. You can also use the normal sound effect of your shots hitting the boss to tell when you need to reposition without having to look away from your sprite. Very helpful in a Bullet Hell game.
    • Likewise, some patterns make a distinct sound effect for different kinds of shots. If, say, there's a slow moving shot that aims at your current position you can start to dodge it long before its trajectory is visible.

    Stealth-Based Game 
  • The Metal Gear series has the distinct "!" sound that lets you know when you've been spotted. Also in the game, your radio-based support mentions you can track the enemies by their sound if you have surround sound. If you don't have surround sound, they say it's perfectly alright to have cheap speakers, and it doesn't make you any less of a man.
  • Thief: The Dark Project had unusually complex sound code for its day. While hardware hadn't progressed to the point where the game supported a surround sound setup, the fact that creatures (with feet) made different sounds moving over different flooring types made it possible to track the location of somebody you couldn't see. This had a lot to do with making a first-person stealth game feasible and thus the success of the series.

    Survival Horror 
  • Enemy Zero had invisible monsters and a detector that sound-coded their position.
  • In Silent Hill one through three, the PC was given a portable radio. It emitted static noise when there were monsters nearby. And since the outdoor area of Silent Hill is covered in dense fog and the indoor areas are frequently very dark (God bless the flashlight), the noise was a much very welcomed forewarning. One of the non-enemy radio sounds (high pitched squealing, supposedly signals the increasing evil presence) is featured in one of the the first game's tracks ("Over") on the soundtrack. This track also includes the sound of the drawbridge motor.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4: It's easy to know when you've killed everything because the music stops. You can also tell what kind of enemy lies ahead of you because of their distinctive music.
    • The old-school Resident Evil games put this to good use. The camera angles rarely let you see what was ahead, so you have to listen for the tell-tale sounds of zombie moans and monster footsteps to know what you are in for.
  • Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem had sound-coding to distinguish between different kinds of monsters, and the Bonethief enemies made a distinctive sound when hit/killed. This sound-coding did not distinguish between enemy alignment, however—a Chattur'gha zombie and a Mantorok zombie make the same hitting-raw-meat-with-a-hammer sound, which can be annoying your first time in an area because some alignments are easier to kill than others.
  • Haunting Ground uses this, although it's more Sound Coded For Your Terror. When an enemy is near the music stops and your AI dog will start to growl. However, what you don't know is what direction they will come from, which can lead to your opening a door only to find the psychopath behind it.
  • Pre-existing Encounters and Scripted Events aside, the random ghosts from the Fatal Frame series sometimes announce their presence by having their background music start up before they show up on-screen. It helps that all of the ghosts have their own individual songs so that you know what's coming. Then there's the Carpenters from the third game. The same song is used for all of them, despite there being three different kinds of Carpenters (the weaponless Man in White, the Man in White that has the spear, and the Engraved Man).
  • One of the best strategies in Five Nights at Freddy's is to listen for the animatronics' distinctive sounds: Freddy's laughter warns you he's on the move, soft groaning noises mean Bonnie or Chica is in the room with you and will kill you as soon as you lower your monitor, et cetera. This becomes even more crucial in the second game, when you can hear scraping when an animatronic is in one of the vents, radio static when the Mangle is clinging to the ceiling, and Balloon Boy's cheerful "Hi!" when he moves.
  • Radiation Island: Enemies, anomalies, and the day/night cycle all have distinctive sounds. It's not long before you discover which sounds indicate Oh, Crap! moments.
  • Subnautica's creatures all make lots of noise, and have unique, distinctive calls. Learning which creature makes what sound is crucial, as it will allow you to tell whether there's a pod of Reefbacks nearby just saying hello, or that you've entered a Reaper Leviathan's territory and need to rethink your life choices. On the topic of Reapers, their echoing screams are a form of echolocation — if you can hear them, they can "see" you and will slowly but surely home in on your position.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • In Gears of War Multiplayer matches one learns to listen for the distinctive clanking of COG armor or the wheezing of Locust breath.
    • Gears also has your squadmates call out the names of MiniBosses ("Seeder!"; "Berserker!") as soon as you encounter them. Most of the time the soldier assigned to this task is Captain Obvious. As well, a distinctive sound effects happens after you've killed the last enemy in the area, letting you know you can scavenge around or move on freely.
  • In Crackdown, the agility orbs and hidden orbs a player must find will all emit a faint humming sound if you are near one, this is especially useful in finding the hidden orbs because, well, they're generally hidden from sight pretty well. The noise they make will also get louder as you find more orbs, making it easier to find the last ones.
  • Max Payne Since you don't have a map or radar to look at, most enemies that are around corners or behind doors will be in convsation, cough, whistle, whatever to alert you to their presence. Also they generally yell something when throwing grenades or the spot one.
  • In Mass Effect 3, there are distinctive sounds for when your projectiles are landing on armored plating (no damage until destroyed) or armor (meaning the target's shields are down). Not to mention the shriek of a Banshee or the growl of a Brute entering the battlefield. Or the Reaper Horn that alerts you to the fact that the Reapers have located you in the Galaxy Map.
  • Most likely invoked in Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard features mooks that announce their every move in a verbose way that cannot be misinterpreted by the player.
    "I am moving left!"
    "I am out of ammunition!"
  • In Splatoon, every weapon type has a different sound (although some have very similar sounds, like the Squiffers and the Bamboozlers). When played in surround sound or with headphones, the game also plays sounds coming from other participants in their specific direction, so an observant player can react accordingly. Every action a player makes also has a unique sound effect, such as shooting when out of ink or when their special weapon is ready for use, so they can be fully aware of their status without needing to look at the HUD.

    Tower Defense 
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Some of the zombies have a sound cue before they enter the screen, such as Dolphin Riders, Balloons, Diggers, Pogos, Jack-in-the-Box. This lets you know that you're about to fight one, as they can be very dangerous to an unprepared player. This is even more important in Invisghoul, in which the zombies are all invisible and this is the only way you can know they're coming.
  • Every single Mook you face in Mini Robot Wars makes a sound cue before entering the screen, giving the player time to prepare for the next threat. Cyclers make a motorbike sound, Submarines make a sonar, the Reaper gives off an Evil Laugh. If you hear the sound of heavy metal objects clashing, get ready to face a Giant!

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • When an attack does damage in Fire Emblem, it normally makes a sort of squishy "metal striking flesh" sound. When a blow is fatal, a more severe version is played, with additional sound effects for critical hits. An attack that does no damage is simply a clank. The level up fanfare (and ensuing chiming sounds as your stats go up) is even more recognizable than in most other RPGs, as you hear much more frequently.
  • In Advance Wars, treads, wheels, aircraft, copters, and foot soldiers make different sounds when moving, making Fog of War slightly more bearable in that you can actually roughly estimate what kind of forces await you in the impeding darkness.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown and its DLC Enemy Within there are sound cues to tell you what enemies are on the map. Most recognizable are screeching calls of Chryssalids and booming footsteps of Sectopods. In the DLC, Meld Canister sound also becomes more 'frantic' as its timer approaches zero.

    Visual Novel 
  • In the Ace Attorney series, an incorrect objection will usually keep the same background music going. A correct one will usually halt the music so as to wind you up for whatever revelation comes next -— but it does shave off slow seconds if you’re Save Scumming through a difficult juncture. They sometimes avert this, tripping up players.
    • The games also play a distinctive sound when evidence is added to the court record. This carried over to Phoenix' appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, see the fighting game section.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Red Dead Redemption, a snarl is often the only warning you'll get of an incoming cougar attack. Not that said warning will do you any good.
  • inFAMOUS has Dead Drops, collectible audio logs that give some background details concerning the shadowy organization called the First Sons. The drops are found inside small satellite dishes scattered around the city. Though the player has a radar function, the satellites also give off a mechanical hum, like a printing machine.
  • In Minecraft, nearly every enemy makes its own distinct idle sounds. Zombies groan, skeletons clunk, spiders skitter and hiss, ghasts... uh, impersonate the sound designer's cat, and so on. The only exception is creepers, who, as their name suggests, are stealth-based and do not make any sound at all. Flowing water and lava also make sounds indicating that they are near.
  • Many of Terraria's enemies have unique audio cues, such as the growl of the zombies or skeletons, or the unsettling fleshy growls of enemies in the Crimson. Probably the most infamous, however, is the shuffling sound of an underground worm that speeds up as it zeroes in on you, causing many an early-game player to panic when just trying to mine.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn utilizes this to great effect so that the players knows when enemies are about to attack from off-screen.