Editor: Bracken Lee-Rudolph
We’ve all encountered them – The enemy that seems to have been designed specifically to ruin your day, the enemy with the vendetta against all player characters that is either painfully tough to defeat or consistently takes a decent portion of your health. Specifically with non-boss characters, these are present in nearly every action/adventure, first-person shooter or role-playing title and can often prove very frustrating to deal with. The following list contains 12 enemies that I found particularly infuriating when I encountered them in various games, and why they were such a pain to deal with.
Thresher Maws – Mass Effect
The original Mass Effect did something I found highly entertaining in letting you explore uncharted planets in your Mako (basically, a space-age APC). This was fun as there were several anomalies on these planets to find which often gave you rarer loot or side mission items; however, every so often, there would be an area littered with bodies and debris from vehicles. By the time you realised where you were, it would be too late, and you would be stuck in a battle with a Thresher Maw, a creature dwelling underground which surfaces only to feed. These were painful to fight, because they tended to retreat underground when sustaining damage, and if they emerged where your Mako was, it was a one hit kill. While they weren’t impossible to beat, once you knew their pattern, they were often surprising enemies to encounter, because they could potentially emerge anywhere on a map.
Satyrs – God Of War III
God of War III was an impressive title all round, it had incredible bosses, entertaining combat and some great enemy grunt units – including one that makes my list, the Satyrs. These goat-hoofed enemies were incredibly agile, hit in quick succession and had 2 unblockable, if predictable attacks in addition to their normal attacks which inflicted substantial damage. What is worse is that they usually came in pairs, so you would be dealing with two very strong, agile and effective enemies, and trying to keep up with them became a frustrating task. Thankfully, their locations remained constant in the campaign, meaning that the player could plan for the grueling fight that lay ahead of them.
Grimgoblins – Dragon’s Dogma
Dragon’s Dogma was widely praised for its combat and the character’s ability to effectively climb and fight larger enemies. However, there were smaller enemies which demanded the Arisen’s attention, and goblins were one of them. Throughout the title, goblins were pretty weak enemies that the Arisen could one-hit kill at a high enough level and hobgoblins were their slightly stronger counterparts. However, after the fight with Grigori, the main dragon, all the enemies either changed or became substantially stronger, and this applied to goblins too. Subsequently named Grimgoblins, these enemies which were previously an insignificant foe became strong enough to inflict some serious damage on the Arisen, and were still pacy enough to give the player some trouble keeping up. While they were certainly by no means the strongest enemies in the title, they were certainly one of the most painful.
Cazadores – Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas was filled with irradiated monsters whose skins were often tough enough to deflect your bullets, knives and explosives, but usually they had their weaknesses too. Deathclaws, the titles toughest enemies, could be attacked from range in most cases, as they spawned in very few areas and Super Mutants and Nightkin were rare and were susceptible to sneak attacks, but Cazadores, loosely based on Tarantula Hawk Wasps, were very fast, very aware and very common. In addition to this, their sting is poisonous, meaning their attacks drain health long after they have been defeated, unless you have Antivenom. The poisonous sting also means that if you play on Hardcore mode, Cazadores are something you will often want to avoid as companions die rather than get knocked unconscious, and you cannot administer Antivenom to NPCs.
Komodo Dragons – Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 was a critically acclaimed title, and rightly so, with fantastic visuals, intriguing first-person shooter gameplay with some platforming elements and a massive environment to explore, but if there was one gripe that I had with the title, it was that the wildlife was often massively overpowered. Bears took full SMG clips to kill, tigers survived several shots with high caliber sniper rifles and fishing with grenades was often the best way to clear shark-infested waters. Komodo Dragons, however, were very hard to spot in the long grass that covered most of the Rook Islands, and are usually first identified by their distinctive hissing sound and the light patter of their footsteps on the ground. In addition to their low visibility, they are fairly quick, and can keep up with a player who is not sprinting, and will take several bullets before they die. Thankfully, their skins are generally quite valuable and are used in many crafting situations for ammo pouches, wallets and weapon holsters.
Droidekas – Star Wars Franchise (Numerous Appearances)
Droidekas, or Destroyer Droids appear numerous times in the canonical Star Wars timeline during the Trade Blockade on Naboo, the Clone Wars, and the fall of the Old Republic. Their iconic rounded design has them with 2 dual-blaster limbs, tripod leg design and a folding design which allows them to fold into a wheel-type shape and traverse battlefields faster than on their clumsy, if stable legs. What really made them frustrating foes, besides their devastating firepower, was their ability to emit a round self-encompassing shield when in standing form, this allowed them to lay down barrages of fire on their enemies unimpeded by cover items. Possibly at their most effective in Star Wars Battlefront 2, where the class was unlockable after a certain amount of kills in a round, Droidekas often took numerous soldiers to kill, as they deflected laser shots, rebuffed explosions and even had a limited effectiveness against the weapons of hero characters, like Jedi lightsabers. Fortunately, their shields had limited capacity, and without them they were easy targets, but their firepower, mixed with their impressive fortitude, made them a devastating opponent.
Wormhole Threshers – Borderlands 2
As you may be able to tell, I am not a big fan of enemies that spawn from the ground in random areas and attack me, and Borderlands 2 managed to compound this hatred even further with Wormhole Threshers. Threshers in Borderlands 2 are fairly common and come in various shapes, sizes and forms, possessing different abilities. The Wormhole Thresher’s ability is spawn a wormhole on its anatomy which pulls you in. As it pulls you in, spikes on its neck are revealed, and these do constant and debilitating damage to your character if the Thresher is not dealt with quickly. In addition to the damage done, these enemies show up in several quest locations, specifically the time-based quest, “Arms Dealing”, where they proved frustrating if escaped or killed within reasonable time. As with all Borderlands enemies, there is a chance of loot being dropped, but at times even this is not enough to put up with the Wormhole Thresher’s frustrating abilities.
Ravagers – Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect’s second mention in this list comes courtesy of the series-long protagonists, the Reapers. The Reapers were well known for their tendency to repurpose other species bodies into hybrid organic and synthetic husks used for their infantry units. Ravagers were the transformed husks of the elusive Rachni race, which you had the option to save or destroy in Mass Effect 1, although Reaper technology can account for either eventuality. These veritable walking tanks take a background role as compared to the heavy hitting brutes and biotic-infused Banshees, but they prove equally as effective in combat, as their Reaper-mounted artillery allows them to attack Shepard and co. from longer ranges and hit them hard. In addition to this, they have discoloured sacs filled with Swarmers on their body (indoctrinated Rachni workers), who will be released if these sacs are shot. These Swarmers are largely insignificant units, but if ignored will damage Shepard’s shields and injure or kill him in kamikaze-style attacks. Both Swarmers and Ravagers make an appearance for the Reaper faction in Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer, and continue to be a pain to the player there.
Juggernauts – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Spec Ops)
Juggernauts were an enemy that were exclusive to Modern Warfare 2’s Spec Ops mode, a series of challenging levels designed to offer extra play time for players finished with the campaign and bored of or uninterested in the multiplayer, and later made an appearance in Modern Warfare 3’s Spec Ops mode, and as a scorestreak in Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer. What made Modern Warfare 2’s versions such a pain though, was that they were heavily armoured, often carrying LMGs, and were difficult to damage without a gun that fired .50 ammunition, which were almost exclusively heavy sniper rifles. Even then, they could take 10 or more shots while staying up, all while liberally spraying bullets in your direction. Of course, they were not your only enemies and normal characters would continue to attack you while you were under fire from these Juggernauts, and although they were rarely as deadly as the heavily armoured behemoths who would charge you down, even when entrenched behind cover.
Revenant – Dragon Age: Origins
Revenants were rare enemies in BioWare’s medieval fantasy title, Dragon Age: Origins, and despite their rarity, are still one of the enemies I remember most clearly. All in all, there were 11 in the basic title, 6 of which would only be found as part of a quest, “The Black Vials” where they have been trapped in phylacteries, glass vessels containing the essence of a magical being. Revenants are powerful demons that inhabit the corpses of fallen humans, and twist them to their demonic nature. These demons had various area effect attacks, which could quickly debilitate an entire team, even with the use of a tank-like character as a damage sponge. In addition to this, Revenants are devastating melee combatants, and will often use a magical Pull or Mass Pull to bring the player and their companions into close-range combat, where they can be defeated. These powerful enemies, often rivaling the strength of boss characters, thankfully always left valuable loot, making the brutal fight before worth every second and health potion.
EVO Trooper/ Shadow EVO Trooper – Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Stormtroopers were a strange breed, the remnants of the clones present for Order 66 and the purging of the Jedi and the trained recruits of the Galactic Empire all serving in one, collectively inaccurate army. These renownedly poor marksmen came in many varieties, several of which were present in The Force Unleashed, but very few were as painful as the EVO and Shadow EVO troopers. These troopers were armoured to protect them from hostile conditions on dangerous planets such as Raxus Prime and from threats such as local wildlife and the mystical Force. This meant that when they had their shields up, EVO Troopers were resistant to many, if not all of your force powers, meaning you had to get into close proximity and kill them with the use of your lightsaber. Unfortunately their abilities made this a difficult task, as one of their chief abilities was to fire a shot that would temporarily stun your character, giving them time to escape, put up their shields, or in the case of the Shadow EVO Trooper, cloak and reappear elsewhere. While on their own they were not particularly difficult to defeat, as a support unit, they would keep their distance and use their abilities to make Starkiller vulnerable to attacks from their teammates.
Super Soldiers – [Prototype]
Super Soldiers are an oft considered concept; A soldier who is genetically or cybernetically enhanced to be stronger, more resilient, faster, or smarter than their infantry counterparts. In both Prototype titles, the Super Soldiers are genetically enhanced with advanced and controlled versions of the Blacklight virus (the same virus that gives Alex Mercer and James Heller their abilities) and with surgical enhancements, such as the weaving of bulletproof materials into their soft tissue – these enhancements, genetic and surgical, meant that Super Soldiers were able to battle the strongest Infected easily, and were able to effectively combat the threats of Heller and Mercer. The original title’s Super Soldiers were a more daunting foe to be confronted with than the sequel’s equivalents for two reasons: The first is that Super Soldiers were very common in the latter stages of [Prototype], whereas they were far rarer in the second title. The second reason is that the first title’s Super Soldiers were equipped with visors which allowed them to identify Alex Mercer in a crowd, and instantly target and attack him. This made sneaking around in a disguise ineffective, something which greatly frustrated me, although there was no better feeling than issuing a beatdown to an observant Super Soldier.
If nothing else, these painful enemies serve as a challenge to the gamers who play these titles, a test set forth by the developers to the player. While this doesn’t mean we have to like these enemies, it does make sense, and most enemies do at least have an acceptable reason for being in their respective worlds, and usually, these painful enemies are fairly rare – a brief frustration in an immersive and vibrant world.
If there are any enemies you think would fit into this list, let us know in the comments section of the article. Thanks for reading!