Everyone knows about Godzilla, King Kong, and their ilk. Monsters of mammoth size, trampling everything in their path. Indeed, it is what most people automatically associate with the term "scary monster". But should they? Perhaps not. In the classic words of Yoda, "Size matters not." The smallest creatures may yet hold a terrifying force within their tiny bodies, and should not be taken lightly. Not all miniscule monsters are tiny terrors, but others may very well be the most deadly foes in RPGdom. But, I hear you asking, "how will I be able to tell the difference?" Fret not - in honor of Halloween, I've taken the time to assemble a rogue's gallery of the most infamous mini monsters. With this knowledge in hand, you will be prepared at least somewhat for an encounter with these evil beings. I still advise you to approach with EXTREME CAUTION, however.
Everyone knows what a tonberry is, right? Right? Of course you all do. They're those small, green, lantern-carrying, knife wielding beasties that lurk in the dark corners of dungeons. Innocuous at first glance, but one of the most dreaded encounters in the series they inhabit. First introduced in the fifth installment of Square Enix's flagship series Final Fantasy, they've sent chills down many a player's spine over the years. Sometimes they've been known due to translation oddities as Pugs or even Dingleberries(why?!), but a monster by any other name is still a monster, and still fights just as brutally.
The tonberry is hardly a one-dimensional creature, however - it has filled other roles in its different incarnations. In Final Fantasy VIII, the player can summon the Tonberry King as a Guardian Force, if they complete the necessary sidequest. It also got its own playing card in both VIII's Triple Triad and IX's Tetra Master. And in FFX-2, Paine's Mascot costume was a Tonberry(not surprisingly, it's the most powerful variation of that particular dressphere). Only time will tell where the Tonberry goes next.
Make no mistake, though - its versatility in the series doesn't make it any less a formidable foe. If you are ever in a dark dungeon and see a lantern bobbing in the shadows, stay away. Or you might wind up going into another sort of light entirely.
Another Final Fantasy series monster, Yans popped up in the ninth installment. Small, goat-like beasts, they, like their tiny terror brethren, appear innocent at first. But when they start casting spells like Meteor and Flare on your unprepared and likely unprotected hiney, you quickly change your tune, and possibly your underwear. After all, one alone is bad enough, since each one possesses around twenty thousand hit points, to say nothing of defensive stats. But you usually encounter about three or four, which makes the situation go from bad to worse very, very swiftly.
Fortunately for you, they're located on an island reachable only by airship or Gold Chocobo, and one you're not required to visit during the main storyline. Unfortunately for you, you'll have to risk encountering them if you want to make the optional battle with Ozma(who is an entirely different story, for an entirely different article) somewhat easier. Look on the bright side, though: they give some of the best experience in the whole game.
If you can survive long enough to kill them, that is.
Loopers have to be the most annoying monster in all of Skies of Arcadia. They're small, and shaped like inverted teardrops with hands and a ring around them. They come in all different colors, and there's even a giant one that you can fight with your airship. But the oversized one is not nearly as deadly as one of the smaller ones, as you might have predicted. The small ones are all hard to hit, being possessed of insanely high evasion stats, and most spells and special attacks won't even scratch them. They also tend to run away a lot, which is frustrating because they give good experience.
Elcian is one of the smaller ones, and is colored black. He appears in a section of the Dark Rift close to the Yafutoma side once the final dungeon is accessible. Like his fellow loopers, he has the irritating tendency to run away, but this, as with the others, can be solved simply by equipping a Black Map on Vyse. Like the other loopers, he also has incredibly high evasion, and will counterattack any normal attacks against him, to boot. Which is definitely something you don't want, as his attack power is quite high. His magical power is nothing to sneeze at, either, and he won't hesitate to cast high level spells on you. To add insult to injury, his attacks can cause the status effect Fatigue, preventing you from gaining Spirit back each round. And that's not the end of it, either: when his HP is low enough, he'll start healing himself with Sacres.
He is defeatable, but it will take some time and effort. He'll always be back for more, though, letting you return for a rematch if you so desire.
My my, was that an eyetwitch? Heh. As I suspected, at least some of you reading have played Valkyrie Profile, and encountered the dreaded hamsters. They're a rare encounter in the optional dungeon called the Seraphic Gate, residing in a room near the last boss of the place. The sprite you slash your sword at to fight, a wizard floating around in midair, will usually be a Loki Shade, which is a formidable adversary in its own right, but hardly a match for the hamsters. Should you meet these furry foes in lieu of a Loki Shade, chances are it's Game Over, usually. They're unquestionably the most powerful enemies in the game, and have acquired legendary status among the small but devoted VP fanbase.
To start off with, their dimunitive size makes them extremely difficult to hit. Very few characters can actually do so, which will greatly hamper your offensive strategies. And you need plenty of offence, as they each have four hundred thousand HP. To make matters worse, you encounter them in groups of either three or four, and each one can easily wipe out your entire party in one attack.
So what to do? Strategies abound, but each one will also depend on some luck to see it through and survive for a win. I've done it myself a few times, and every time, some luck definitely played into my victory. When it comes to the hamsters, I must reiterate my warning of approaching with extreme caution.
The Black Rabite
You just shuddered simply because of reading that name, didn't you? If you didn't, chances are that you have not played Seiken Densetsu III. If you have played it, then you probably haven't played through Angela or Duran's scenarios and found this ebony enemy in a well-hidden(for a reason, I might add) corner of the Dragon's Hole.
The Black Rabite needs no introduction, but I'll give it one anyway. Rabites themselves are small, cute, bunny-like monsters that have become mascots for the Seiken Densetsu series, much the same way that moogles have for the Final Fantasy series. They themselves can be considered to fall into the "cute, but deadly" category of monsters. One of them, however, is such a force to be reckoned with that it merits its own entry.
In the years since translated ROMs of Seiken Densetsu III began making their way around the internet, gaining a cult following for the game, the Black Rabite has gained a notoriety that is perhaps even greater than that of all the other profiled monsters put together. And with good reason. It is not a foe to be taken lightly, for its heart is as black as its fur. It knows just about every spell in the game, including the terrifyingly powerful Ancient, it can summon a Level 99 Great Demon, absorbs Shade element damage(and will cast Black Saber on YOUR weapons, the little cheater!), has obscenely high HP and attack power, counterattacks spells, reflects spells randomly, and it's even been speculated that it can heal itself. One of the spells it casts can turn your characters into moogles as well, so I hope you have some way of healing that.
Whew. Not something you'd want to meet in a dark or even well-lit anywhere, is it? The Black Rabite's infamy is well-earned, and continues to strike fear into the hearts of even the toughest gamers. Approach it if you dare.
There are many fearsome critters out there in the RPG world. They come in all different sizes, shapes, and types. But as you can see from surveying this article, one needn't be a colossus to command supreme destructive power. Over the years, I've learned to be especially wary of those of small stature, and this developed instinct has served me well on more than one occasion. I hope that through this article, I can instill in at least some of you the inclination to not take mini monsters lightly. Because the face of evil is not always big, and it is not always ugly.
Little Shop of Horrors