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Feel my head, touch my face;

two steps back, you're in my space
Sugar RayPersonal Space Invader

Your hero has just entered a dungeon/house/seemingly empty place. All of a sudden, a monster jumps out of nowhere and latches onto the hero with the nasty variant of The Glomp. It's the dreaded Personal Space Invader. The player must frantically mash buttons or rotate the joystick to get it off before strangulation ensues. Particularly lethal versions of the Personal Space Invader are capable of leeching health off the player.

Some versions deliver a Face Full of Alien Wingwong or an Orifice Invasion. May be combined with Full-Frontal Assault.

Not to be confused with No Sense of Personal Space.

Examples of Personal Space Invader include:

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons has three major types.
    • Swarms are actually groups of thousands of tiny creatures. The swarm automatically damages any creature sharing its space.
    • Creatures with the Improved Grab ability can automatically grapple enemies they strike with normal attacks. The best example of this trope would probably be the Choker, a humanoid-shaped creature about three feet tall with arms that stretch out to about ten feet long and which likes to hang out on cave ceilings.
        • Though certain oozes and a view other creatures that move like tumbleweeds take it even farther and engulf their victims entirely. Possibly one of the worst offenders is the Flesh Jelly. Why? Well as an ooze made of putrid flesh, being engulfed by it doesn't result in an acid bath as with most oozes with this ability, which can magically avoided. Instead you either take damage from the convulsions of the mushy remains of previous victims and are exposed to disease, or are instantly converted into the mush, which so thoroughly destroys your remains that only the most potent magics in the game can bring you back.
    • A few creatures have possession-related abilities. Most, like ghosts, are incorporeal, but a few, like the tsochari (or the hellwasp swarm, to combine examples), are simply small enough to fit inside creatures the size of the player characters.

Video Games

  • The Flood from the Halo series are like this.
  • In most arcade beat-em-up games, especially the plethora of licensed ones made by Konami in the 1990s (like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons), enemies would try to grab you so other foes could beat you up, and you were instructed to "Push Buttons Wiggle Joystick" to break free.
    • All three of the Streets of Rage games had enemies that could grab you from behind, but in the first and third games, you could get rid of them with a shoulder throw.
  • FPSes based on the Alien franchise do this well, giving you a screen full of alien wing-wong.
    • And in the Aliens Vs Predator PC entries, if you're not a Predator, they're instant death. Schwing!
  • The Hell Hands - demon-possessed crawling hands which choke you - from Blood.
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare did this with attack dogs, and it was instant death if you didn't kill them quickly enough once they latched onto you.
    • Naturally, if one of your squad members is pinned by a dog he can shoot the damned thing with ease. The reason you can't is because when it tackles you, you drop your gun. Way to go!
      • However, if you shoot a certain wild dog in the mission All Ghillied Up your superior (and you, unless you are very good) will be killed by the dead dog's enraged packmates.
        • Quickly enough isn't entirely accurate, you have to hit the button EXACTLY at the right time, too late, and the dog rips your throat out, too soon, and you mess up your grab, THEN it rips your throat out.
    • The Banzai chargers in World At War serve the same purpose; if you fail to kill him in time, your blood-crazed Japanese attacker will instantly bayonet you to death. And, once again, your teammates seem to have no trouble shooting them off.
      • You have a small window of opportunity to knife a charger that does reach you. In fact, they are practically the attack dogs of CoD5. Except that there are also attack dogs.
    • MW3's survival mode has two types of dogs: normal attack dogs, and attack dogs with C4 strapped to them.
  • Succubi and female vampire type enemies in Castlevania games, starting with Carmilla in Rondo of Blood. They suck your hearts / energy, but hey, at least they're gorgeous mostly naked women.
    • Lilth and Succubi in the Castlevania games. In Order of Ecclesia, Dracula himself does this.
      • Imps in Order of Ecclesia are a particularly annoying version, latching on and controlling you until you shake them off.
  • Some of the enemies in Gunstar Heroes would sneak up behind your character and grab you in a headlock. Luckily, you could throw them off, and give them a nice shot to the face for their trouble.
  • In Dead Rising this is pretty much the only way that the zombies attack.
  • There are tiny Necromorphs in Dead Space that will often swarm you if you let them, which usually doesn't end well. Some of the bigger ones will also latch onto you until you free yourself (especially the fetal Lurker types). In addition, you're sometimes grabbed by gigantic tentacles and must shoot the weak spot while being dragged down a hallway before it'll let go.
    • Not to mention the Hive Mind at the end of the game. Though it that case it's more like you're the personal space invader with the fusion cutter.
  • The nasty jumping spiders in Duke Nukem 2.
  • The zombies in Eternal Darkness, though the Chatturgha and the Mantorok zombies are the ones that mostly do it.
    • Also the Bonethieves, which are even worse due to a particularly disturbing One-Hit Kill attack. They jump on your chest and attempt to rip your face off, tearing hunks of blood and flesh as they burrow into your body.
  • In F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Alma repeatedly assaults Becket in close quarters, grabbing onto him and forcing Becket to fight her off.
    • She has a good reason too, to rape you.
    • Some wall-crawling enemies grab you for a quick-time event struggle too, though probably not for the same reason as Alma. I hope.
    • There's also an up-close and personal tug of war over a shotgun at one point. Amusingly, you have to both struggle over where its pointed, AND pull the trigger, in a slight departure from the traditional divorce between gameplay controls and Action Commands.
  • The 1985 arcade version of Konami's Goemon had nearly all the mooks try to put a choke hold on your hero, as opposed to a touch-and-kill. You had about 2-3 seconds to escape or die (though projectiles and bosses kill him instantly).
  • The headcrabs in the Half-Life series. Although they never latch-on during combat, they were frequently seen doing their thing to random hapless NPCs.
    • Half-Life 2 has faster versions of the headcrab, as well as multiple poisonous headcrabs latching themselves onto one zombie.
    • Fortunately, Mr. Friendly was cut from Half Life 1, but he would have been this.
  • PC Game Heart of Darkness featured shadows that came at you in large numbers and hooked on to you. Example.
  • They frequently appear in the House of the Dead light gun games.
    • With giant mutant leeches and frogs. No, really.
  • The Heartless in Kingdom Hearts slowly creep up to you, get really close, and attack by slashing at you with their claws, they also dive at you in some instances trying to jump on top of you.
    • Most of them don't make much of an effort to grapple Sora, so they're probably not the best example. The various forms of Xehanort are more in line with this trope — both Ansem Seeker of Darkness and Terra-Xehanort have a Heartless Guardian that grabs Sora and Aqua from behind and holds them back while the they themselves attack, and you have to press X repeatedly to escape before they do damage. Master Xehanort takes it a step further, and pins Terra to the ground by his neck, crouches over him, and charges up a Blizzaga spell to use at point-blank range unless you press X enough times to escape. There isn't that much of a penalty for losing if you're not already low on health, though.
  • Justified in the old Kung Fu Master arcade game; the enemy Mooks were called 'Grapplers'. Granted, all they were animated doing was hugging Thomas; apparently it was the submission-hold variant of a tender embrace.
  • Hunters and Smokers from Left 4 Dead. For a bonus, once they have "got" you, there is no way to get out of this alone.
    • Although if you're lucky, once a Smoker grabs you, you have about two seconds to kill it before you're helpless. Unfortunately, the Smoker's tongue ability is made all the worse by the fact that, if for some reason it can't drag you to it, it will catch you to the nearest obstacle and continue to kill you, making it all the more difficult for your allies to find it in time.
      • However, you can free Smoker-held allies by smacking them with your gun; this forces the Smoker to release them, so it is not actually necessary to kill the Smoker to save your teammate.
    • Hunters, on the other hand, can be unintentionally hilarious if you're good enough. Two achievements emphasize this: one is awarded for punching a hunter in the face as it's about to leap on you (and, if you're really good, can be repeated ad nauseam until you kill it), and another is awarded for killing a Hunter mid-leap, which will always (unless you're using a handgun) send it flying for many yards, spawning the disturbing (and not officially recognized) mini-game Hunter Punter.
    • You can save yourself from a Hunter after you get pounced, but you must either: Make sure you've set off a timed explosive nearby OR have set the Hunter on fire and hopes he burns out before you die.
    • Witches and Tanks, by contrast, love to get in your personal space to fuck you up. And they will. A lot.
      • Witches are usually disturbed if you are the Personal Space Invader. Ironic justice much?
    • Also, in Left 4 Dead 2, the Jockey, who grabs onto your back and does his best to steer you around while you fight him and your buddies shoot at him.
      • This is lampshaded by the characters who says "That is just wrong".
      • This also makes them Headhumpers.
    • Arguably every infected minus the Spitter is a personal space invader since they lack any sort of long range weaponry and insist on beating you to death with their fists (or lack thereof). The Charger will stalk and eventually slam himself straight through a group of survivors, carrying the first he hits (and scatters the others) several yards and continuously slam them into the ground, ceiling and walls until he or his victim are killed.
  • The Legend of Zelda has several enemies like this, like the Gels and the ReDeads. Bonus points for the ReDeads being great Nightmare Fuel.
    • Except that the ReDeads only do that in the E-rated Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker, and not in the T-rated Twilight Princess.
      • That makes it worse.
    • In Twilight Princess there are also giant, invisible rats that attach to you and slow you down. Some people mistook it for a bug in the game... until they used their wolf-form's Sense power. Pure Nightmare Fuel when you first see them.
    • No mention yet of the Dead Hands in the Well and the Shadow Temple? It's basically a set of six skeletal arms reaching out of the earth trying to grab your head. And if one did, you then had to deal with a burrowing, long-necked, bloodstained, jaw-unhinging zombie that would slowly slither up to you and try to take a chomp out of your face.
    • The pile of evil pancakes known as a "Like-Like" also qualifies. They are notable mainly due to their nasty habit of eating your equipment.
    • Then there were the Floor Masters in Ocarina of Time. Slash one and he splits into three smaller zombie hands that pounce on you and then choke the life out of you before reassembling again. Some of them were invisible too.
      • Don't forget the Wall Masters too! These appeared in several Zelda games as well as OoT. If you see a huge shadow expanding all around you, don't ever stop running. If these giant hands land on your head they carry you back to the beginning of the dungeon and you have to re-do all that trekking to get back to where you were before. In OoT Link does struggle rather graphically as it slowly drags him by the head up into the darkness above.
    • The Skulltulas in Skyward Sword attack by latching onto you and trying to crush you. Quite a jarring change from their attack pattern in Twilight Princess.
  • Luigi's Mansion has a variety of ghost that grabs on to Luigi, though in many cases they can be shaken off before they do damage. Some of them were invisible.
    • Micro-Goombas in Super Mario Brothers 3. They don't actually hurt Mario, but they reduce his jump to practically nothing, which can kill you indirectly. And they stack. "Get off you little bastards!"
    • And those leeches from Super Mario Galaxy.
      • SMG 2 introduces the Smeech, a little pig-like enemy with wings and huge lips. If Mario approaches it alone, it will avoid him. If approached while riding Yoshi, it will fly towards him and fiercly kiss him on the lips, which blocks his ability to eat enemies
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3, if Snake swim/wades in the jungle waters for too long, leeches may attach themselves to his skin and drain his stamina. You can burn them off with a cigar.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4 the "Beauty" forms of the Beauty and Beast Unit would attack by hugging Snake.
  • The eponymous monsters in the Metroid series. You get a really good look at their undercarriage when they latch onto you in the Prime games.
    • Also in Corruption, Gandrayda will do this when you fight her.
  • The zombies and the Ganados in the Resident Evil series, but Las Plagas are the most blatant space invaders.
  • Resistance: Fall of Man had "menials" which latched onto your face and screamed at you and tore you apart. It's an FPS, so...scary stuff.
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the video game, GBA and NDS versions has strangling droids, and clone troopers that shoot strangling string lasers.
  • The Fuzzies from the Paper Mario games.
  • Ty the Tasmanian Tiger has leeches and ticks, who can take off a sizeable portion of your life if not shaken off quickly. If it wasn't for the the fact that you can only take four hits at first, and they're so low to the ground only your exploding boomerangs can take them out without precision aiming, they wouldn't be a threat.
  • The PS2 game War of the Monsters gives a giant preying mantis the power to fire a flying leech.
  • Critters from the classic Xenophobe were fond of crawling on your space marine, alien, or duck (Yes, duck) and chewing off life. A simple button press solved the issue, though.
  • Almost ubiquitous in the Silent Hill series, with each game possessing at least one variant. Perhaps the worst, both in terms of gameplay and sheer mindfuckery, are either the Doorman/Abstract Daddy monsters in the second game, which are massive and proceed to swallow the player character's head, or the Slurpers in the third game that knock the (teenaged, female) player character to the ground and climb on top of her in preparation for "fun time".
  • If you get too close to an unarmed enemy in Condemned: Criminal Origins, he'll leap on you and start headbutting you to death.
  • Viking: Battle for Asgard: The Assassins will leap onto you and start stabbing away at you.
  • The moles in Mario Kart would jump out of the ground onto your kart. They would slow you down and block your view until you threw them off.
  • Invading the player character's personal space and grabbing on to them is a popular attack for the ghosts in the Fatal Frame series. For a couple of the bosses, being touched is also a One-Hit Kill.
  • Gets done occasionally in World of Warcraft, particularly by any mob that uses the Death Grip ability to pull players into melee range.
    • A particularly nasty case of this is exemplified by the first boss in the Trial of the Crusader raid dungeon, Gormok the Impaler, who carries around a stable of Snobolds with him that he throws at players during the encounter. These creatures are incredibly annoying as they damage, stun, and interrupt their target, can't be attacked by their target, and can only be killed with direct damage, not AoE. For added hilarity, there's an achievement for doing the entire boss encounter without killing the Snobolds.
    • The very next major boss, Lord Jaraxxus, periodically summons demon minions to aid him. One of these, the Mistress of Pain, likes to leap at players, grab them, and do a spinning pile driver move reminiscent of Zangief from Street Fighter.
    • Valkyr Shadowguards in phase 3 of the Lich King encounter in Icecrown Citadel fly to their target players, pick them up, and drop them over the side of the Frozen Throne platform, for a guaranteed death if they aren't killed first.
  • Light bugs in Limbo attach themselves on the protagonist, forcing him to perpetually walk in one direction, only stopping when he hits an obstacle and only turning around when he steps into a beam of light. Fortunately, the boy isn't the only one which the limbo wants to see eaten.
  • Loco Roco has Kojas, a small variation of your average enemies which attach themselfes upon the locoroco, making it much harder to jump. Their weakness - Water
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum has escaped lunatic inmates who lunge and grapple you until you shake them off.
  • Amorphous has Clutters, which bombard you with their spawn that latches onto you, slowing you as more become attached. If you let enough of the baby Clutters latch onto you they stun you for a while, leaving you completely open to all attacks.
  • WWE games are full of this, but then, that's kinda the point.
  • Nethack monsters that do this are some of the most dangerous in the game. If a kraken or giant eel grabs you, then no matter how big and strong you are, you have at most one round to get free before it drowns you.
  • In Hydrocity Zone in Sonic 3 & Knuckles there are little red piranha-like Mecha-Mooks that swim around in certain underwater sections, and can even jump out of the water at you, just to start chewing on your character. They cause you to be unable to jump or roll without help of certain devices that make you curl into a ball automatically, and make you lose one ring per second until you run out. Then you die from either drowning (as you can't get out of the water if you can't jump, and can't inhale from the big bubbles without doing so either) or the fact they keep chewing even after your rings are gone.
  • La-Mulana's A Bao A Qu enemies, some sort of invisible flying wallabies.
  • Kung Fu Master had "Grippers" as the most common mook, who would grab you and drain your life until you shook them off by button mashing.
  • In Borderlands, pretty much all of Pandora's native life will jump at you and try to bite your face off.
  • The Brainsuckers from X-COM: Apocalypse, which latch onto the heads of your troops and deliver an agent that brings them under the aliens' control.
  • The "Hump-Bot" from Journey to Silius. Kill it quickly before it locks onto you, or you're finished.
  • Terror spider droids in The Force Unleashed 2 leap on to Starkiller's chest or back and drain his health unless he throws them off. Unfortunately, they attack in huge waves.
  • Slurples and Poinks from Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Sunshine, respectively. (Though the later of the two creatures only drains your water levels.)
  • Bone Leeches, Thieves and Hands in Blood. Pretty hard to get off once they latch on to you, and that would just put them back in the exact same point where they were the moment before they jumped at you, so they'd just jump back in the fracture of a second, prompting you to shoot in every direction like a maniac and probably run out of ammo in the process. Not helped by the fact that while you're doing this, the entire HUD (and most of the screen) is obscured by those REALLY ugly critters. The best solution is really to save the moment you hear them coming than, blast everything with napalm.
  • In Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, various ammo types such as Fuzzles will invade the personal space... of enemies! Played straight with Sekto though, who is an Oktigi, a octopus-like creature that latches onto the head of something and then proceeds to control them. In Sekto's case, he latched onto the previous Guardian Steef.
  • The second stage of Drol had magnets that would latch onto you. They weren't directly harmful, but prevented you from firing in one direction until you shook them loose by moving down or up a hatch.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Husks gain this ability. They can grab the player, forcing you to mash buttons in order to escape their grip.
  • In Super Smash Bros Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode, the Bucculus likes to hide under ground, then leap out at careless players and latch on tight. They make a loud smooching sound as the sac attached to their lips fills up and you take damage, then, once you finally pry them off, they bounce around before hiding back under ground to start the process all over again.