Most Video Games use one or two sound effects to punctuate the inflicting of damage against an enemy. And then there's a special sound effect used to warn that an attack has been repelled, blocked, or otherwise failed to affect the target. This is a case of Sound-Coded for Your Convenience (as a clue to stop wasting your attacks), and may involve Arcade Sounds.
The Sound of No Damage is largely associated with projectile weapons (think of that "bullet ricochet" sound from any Old West film, for example), but can also occur with melee weapons — expect to hear this a lot when facing the Shield-Bearing Mook or if testing whether an element of the environment (like that cracked wall or oil barrel) really is or is not destructible.
This is common in Platform Games and Shoot Em Ups, and a high-pitched, metallic or hollow "ping" is the most popular sound effect used, but a blunt "thud" is also fairly common, and some games may opt for a deliberately humorous sound effect to mock the attacker. For Fighting Games, a similar "thud" sound may occur, although in their case it's more often a Sound of Scratch Damage.
Often, this sound effect will also be accompanied by a special visual effect, such as the projectile visibly deflecting from the target, or (for melee attacks) a special recoil animation as the attacker's strike bounces harmlessly off. Other accompanying clues may include the absence of a Flash of Pain, or a "Guard" or "No Effect" message in place of normal damage numbers.
If not described otherwise, most examples are simply a simple "ping" sound with no accompanying visual effect.
Video Game Examples
- ActRaiser and SoulBlazer share the same metallic sound, which in ActRaiser is also used when the people seal a monster lair.
- The Adventures of Rad Gravity uses a ping sound.
- Space Shooter Arrow Flash for the Genesis\Mega Drive had this for bosses when hitting an indestructible spot or hitting the boss as it was arriving.
- In Baldur's Gate and Dragon Age games, attacks that are nullified through enemy immunity (or damage reduction) don't produce special sounds but prompt the party members to loudly comment that their attacks have no effect.
- Bionic Commando: "Ka-dunk" with the projectile ricocheting.
- Blade & Soul: Upon using certain abilities, players are granted resistance frames, making a metallic clank sound and leaving a faded afterimage of themselves when struck, but remaining completely unharmed, as seen here.
- In the Bloons Tower Defense series, lead and frozen bloons are immune to sharp objects, though some upgrades provide ways around this. When hit by attacks they're immune to, lead bloons make a loud metallic "tink!" sound and frozen bloons make a different and much quieter "tink!" sound.
- Bug normally makes comedic sounding hit effects every time he stings an enemy. Against the Invincible Minor Minions small beetles that Queen Cadavra sends out, a bouncy "twang" sound effect is heard instead.
- Castlevania games have a snapping or metallic sound for this.
- Cave Story plays a metallic ping sound, different graphical effect and the obvious lack of damage numbers. The same applies to Swim, Ikachan! and Guxt.
- Crystalis plays a ping sound if an attack does no damage either due to your attack power being too low or by the enemy being immune to your sword's element.
- And if you significantly Level Grind this can apply to you from some weaker enemies as well.
- The sound of a successful life-saving parry in Dark Souls is often cited by players as a Most Wonderful Sound.
- Descent has a soft buzzing sound if you try to open a locked door, or if you try to damage a player or a boss robot with a weapon it's immune to.
- In Distorted Travesty it's a thud instead of a ding.
- The Dragon Quest games play three short descending beeps when an attack does no damage. Interestingly, the beeps are slightly higher pitched when a player character fails to damage an enemy, as opposed to when an enemy fails to damage a player character. And for some reason the attack is described as "Miss!" regardless of whether the attack failed to cause damage due to actually missing, or if it simply didn't do enough damage to overcome the target's defense...
- The Elder Scrolls series typically uses alternate noise to indicate that your attack did no damage, usually the sound of weapons clashing futilely or a whoosh of air. Later games also featured a special sound for blocking with a shield (Morrowind randomized the chance of shield use based on the Block skill; Oblivion allowed it to be user-controlled).
- In Fairune, if you try to attack an enemy that's above your recommended level (deals 3 or more damage to you), you'll hear a high-pitched "plink" sound and bounce right off it.
- Final Fantasy:
- In Final Fantasy Adventure, a long, loud, high-pitched CALALAAAANK! plays whenever an enemy takes no damage from an attack. A weak wall and treasure chests will make the same noise when struck by most weapons.
- Final Fantasy XIV has a dull "dink" sound if you attack an enemy that's invincible, which also has "INVULNERABLE" pop up every time you hit it. Some enemies will also have another type of invincibility where normal damage sounds play, but you won't do any actual damage.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics, attacks that are evaded outright have a whoosh sound (and the Unsound Effect "Miss!" if it was the unit's innate evasion that caused the attack to miss or "Guarded" if it was blocked by the reaction ability Blade Grasp), while melee attacks that are blocked or parried have a metallic "ting!" sound (and the Unsound Effect "Guarded").
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles plays a DING sound along with popping up a bright pink circle whenever hitting an enemy with magic it's immune to. Shielding an enemy attack as a Clavat or Lilty would cause a dull clunk instead.
- Features prominently in nearly all Fire Emblem games:
- In the Game Boy Advance games, any attack that does no damage will make a high-pitched ping sound. Even magical attacks like Fire and Thunder. Even when the person getting attacked isn't wearing armor.
- In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the Sound of No Damage associated with Dual Guard (attack deflected by a supporting ally) makes a "ting-tang" sound, followed by a remark from the ally. Again, even magic attacks.
- Grandia II has this during the few Hopeless Boss Fights, when any attack produces just a metallic clanking sound without dealing any damage.
- GemCraft plays a metallic clink if an attack on an enemy is nullified by Damage Reduction.
- The Kingdom Hearts series of games feature a rubbery bounce sound when an attack has no effect, accompanied by a ripple where the enemy was struck. Countering an enemy's physical attack with one of your own or guarding causes a high "ching" sound.
- La-Mulana: Uses a hollow ping sound + projectile ricocheting off.
- The Legend of Zelda used a metallic "ching" sound for Link's shield deflecting attacks, as well as enemies getting hit in armored areas. Projectiles such as spears or rocks bounce off Link's shield before disappearing.
- The Zelda series also uses it in another way; bomb-able walls make a different sound when you strike them, making it a good way to check for hidden areas (in fact it's the only way to find completely hidden ones at all, since you're unlikely to spam bombs everywhere).
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link has that weird "ooee" sound.
- Maze Of Galious: Hollow ping sound + projectile ricocheting off.
- Mega Man (Classic): A metallic "ping" sound effect, plus the projectile ricocheting away (which still counts towards your three-shots-at-a-time limit). In the Mega Man X series, the sound effect is clearly more metallic, and some projectiles (like charged Buster shots) have special 'dissolving' animations instead of merely bouncing off.
- If you attack the floating bugs in Metroid with something other than the Ice Beam, you will hear a "clang" sound. Oddly enough, this exact same sound is also found in the obscure Rare NES game Digger T. Rock, when you poke your shovel against solid stone walls.
- Metroid II: Return of Samus: A clanking sound plays if your missile, beam, or bomb hits something without damaging it. Also, if you try and Screw Attack a Metroid, you get a grinding sound as you and it bounce off each other.
- In Metroid Fusion, attacking enemies with an attack that's too weak to deal any damage results in a "beep" noise.
- Monster carapaces in Monster Hunter turn back any weapons under a certain sharpness level, which is gradually decreased by hitting the monster, depending on where it's located. When this happens, your attack will bounce off with a loud "thunk!" sound.
- In the first No More Heroes, a steel-like "clonk" sound will happen when you hit a boss while they are performing an unstoppable attack. Even if they are only flesh and clothing. Generally averted in the sequel, where the bosses do more actual guarding and move-canceling.
- Ōkami and Ōkamiden: A metallic clang accompanied by two kanji (translating as "useless") any time your attack was ineffective — do note that the appearance of the kanji is the more important part.
- When a character is standing within an allied Baptiste's Immortality Field, they cannot be damaged below 20% of their HP. Any shots that would have reduced the hero below that threshold produce a negative-sounding buzz to let the shooter know that they're not doing any damage.
- When Sigma absorbs energy with his Kinetic Grasp, converting it into shields, the shooter hears a negative-sounding buzz to let them know that they're only helping Sigma rather than damaging him.
- A soft "clink" in the Paper Mario games, like a small object falling into a tin cup, is heard when an enemy fails to damage Mario with their attack (or vice versa). It's visually accompanied by a harmless yellow star graphic instead of the large white star and damage numbers.
- This happens in RuneScape, actually, and it's really disorienting sometimes. Even if your enemy is constantly hitting zeroes on you, there's still a sound effect of stuff scraping off your armor (if you are wearing armor, that is).
- In Solar Jetman, shooting at a Weak Turret Gun while its shield is up will produce a "plink" sound while your bullets bounce off it.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) uses that "T'hhhhhhhh!" Stock Sound Effect in conjunction with a hexagonal sprite to indicate when you hit a robot in its shield.
- Strangely, in Spiral Knights, what few enemies have invulnerability (mostly bosses, Mecha Knight shields, and spawning Zombies), it makes a purple spark effect accompanied by a very short "pop" sound similar to crystal shattering.
- Spyro the Dragon can't use his charge attack on large enemies and you'll hear a thud if you try it.
- Team Fortress 2:
- Ubercharged Medic/Whatever pairs will "tink" when hit, showing that they don't take damage;
- Scouts under the effect of Bonk! "whoosh" and a Written Sound Effect (MISS!) appears over their heads;
- In Mann vs. Machine, if you've bought any kind of damage resistance, you'll hear a metallic sound (in addition to the usual "taking damage" noises) to indicate that said resistance has kicked in;
- There's also the opposite effect, the Sound of Taking More Damage; there's even two variants, the mini-crit effect (from being covered in Jarate or hit with a Buff-Banner-charged attack), and the full-crit effect (from random crits and being charged with the Kritzkrieg).
- Tomb Raider has the sound of bullets ricocheting if your weapons hits an enemy that can't be harmed by guns, along with the bullet sparks.
- The Touhou Fighting Game spin-offs use a "thud"-type of sound and display some sort of magical shield depending on character if an attack was blocked.
- Urbanoids: Failing to deal damage due to the enemy having high-level armor makes a ding sound, rather than an explosion sound.
- World of Warcraft uses "bonk" for blocking an attack (which actually doesn't stop all damage, but does significantly reduce it), "swoosh" for missing or dodging, and "clang" for parrying.
Non-video game examples
- In American Football, a field goal attempt hitting a goalpost makes a distinctive sound, usually rendered as "doink," signalling that the attempt has failed.
- In the Doom Comic, the Doomguy's Night Train goes *bonk* when it hits the Cyber Demon.
- This gets discussed in Game Grumps as they play Mega Man 7, with them coming up with the term "tinky" to describe an enemy with an abundance of "tink"s (Mega Man 7's Sound of No Damage).
- Lampshaded in Kid Radd comic 197.
Fool! My traps are protected with an indestructible alloy! I shall laugh as your pathetic attacks bounce off with a cutesy "clink" sound! Mwa ha and ha!
- A few examples can be found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- And in The Avengers when Loki tries mind control by touching his staff to the center of Tony's chest, producing a soft "clink"-noise as it hits the arc reactor keeping Tony alive.
- In Avengers: Endgame, when 2014!Thanos snaps the fingers of his new infinity gauntlet, intending to destroy all life in the universe, it makes a dull, metallic "CLANK", signifying that it didn't work, because Tony Stark swiped the infinity stones from it during their brief brawl, as opposed to the ominous boom it made in the previous film.
- In both Iron Man films, whenever Tony Stark gets tossed, punched, or shot at with his suit on, it makes a loud, metallic "ding" sound. Several instances of this happen during his fight with Rhodes in the second movie.
- In one of the WW2 novels by Sven Hassel, a tank crew has a moment of Oh, Crap! when they hear the hammer-blow of a round hitting their turret. They realize it is a near miss when it leaves an observable glowing red line on the inside face, as it scrapes against the side of the turret and is deflected away.