Go for the Eye

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It's bad when you get blinded by Nobody.

"Go for the eyes Boo, go for the eyes!"

Minsc, Baldur's Gate

"GAH! MY EYE! Why is it always the goddamn eye!?"

No matter how thick the hide, hard the chitin, or magically impervious the body, the eyes are a natural weak spot for any creature that has them.

If you ever encounter a monster in a video game with a single, enormous, Glowing Eyes of Doom, you can bet dollars to donuts that said eye will be that monster's only weak spot. The rest of its body will be Made of Iron, and even the Infinity+1 Sword won't damage it. Often, part of the strategy to beat the boss will be figuring out how to make it open its eye so you can hit it For Massive Damage.

Compare Eye Scream, A Handful for an Eye. For more human characters getting their eyes whacked, see Moe Greene Special.

Examples of Go for the Eye include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Near the beginning of Ninja Scroll, Jubei confronts Tessai, a bad guy with the ability to harden his body like stone. Jubei casually mentions that he can't be invulnerable everywhere, right before throwing a needle into his eye.
  • The manga adaptation of Kingdom Hearts, in a break from the game's events has Sora use a quote from Battle of the Bengal Tiger (When you encounter a giant enemy, aim for the eye. No one can train one's eyes...) against the giant Heartless.
  • Partially subverted in the first chapter of Shanghai Youma Kikai, where Jack uses his last bullet to shoot the demon in the eye. The demon tells him that even that won't work. Turns out Jack's real intention was to create a blind spot do some other really cool stuff which I shan't mention here.
  • In a particularly badass moment from the Eclipse from Berserk, Guts uses the broken-off horn of a demon this way to devastating effect on several of the horde of monsters trying to eat him alive.
  • This is the only way that the title cyborg girls from Gunslinger Girl can be killed due to their extensive cybernetic enhancement.
  • In one episode of Inuyasha, while trapped in human form and fighting (losing horribly) against a plant demon, Inuyasha snaps off one of the demon's thorns and stabs him in the eye with it. Subverted as it doesn't actually kill him.
  • In Yaiba, Silver's body is rubber-like everywhere, but his eye do bleed and is his weak spot. His brother Gold, however, avert this by having a rubbery eye too.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • This is pretty much the only way to hurt the Thing.
  • In Ghost Rider, the All-New Orb (whose entire head is a giant eyeball) is taken out by a trap that flung a board with a nail in it into his eye. He survived, but was temporarily blinded and gravely hurt.
  • In Elf Quest, this was the way they killed Madcoil.

Fan Works[edit | hide]

Films[edit | hide]

  • The Trope Namer is Harry Hamlin of the original Clash of the Titans, who instructs this of his mechanical owl Bubo.
  • Subverted in Superman Returns: as always, Shooting Superman fails.
  • The opening of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla has Maser pilot Akane aim for Godzilla's eyes during a Battle in the Rain. It only pisses Godzilla off and leads to the deaths of several people in her squad.
  • While the Star Wars prequels have felt a LOT like video games, a certain scene in the opening of Revenge of the Sith had Obi-Wan channeling Peppy Hare. And they played it straight!
  • Tell your brother the next time he wife-beats her, hit her in the eye. Her eyes are normal.
  • Parodied in Galaxy Quest. "Go for the eyes!" "It doesn't have any eyes!" "Then the nose, the throat, its vulnerable spots!" "It's rock, it doesn't have any vulnerable spots!"
  • This is how The Bride defeated Elle Driver, who had bad luck when it came to this trope.
  • In Demon Knight this is one of the only ways to kill a demon, the other being to use the blood in the Key. This only works on weaker demons though—the Collector is only mildly annoyed after Jeryline stabs him in the eye. Splashing the special blood into his eyes does the trick.
  • What the human snipers does exactly against several Decepticons in Transformers: Dark of the Moon during the climatic battle in Chicago, allowing NEST to take down a couple of them without Autobot aid.
    • It's not just the Decepticon mooks that fall victim to this. Starscream is killed by having his eyes taken out and a grenade dropped inside his head through one of his now-empty eyesockets.
  • The only weak point Ms. Indestructible of The Specials has is her eyes.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the Harry Potter series, the eyes are a dragon's weak point.
    • While not a fatal move in itself, Harry is greatly aided at the end of the second book, The Chamber of Secrets, when the basilisk he is facing gets its eyes plucked out, rendering it unable to use its One-Hit Kill (and even still petrifying when reflected) gaze.
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Harry is asked to come up with 10 unusual uses of items in combat. One was to stick his wand into someone's eye. His teacher commented that this wasn't a realistic combat tactic. Later on, he does exactly this, and it works.
  • Ender's Game: How Ender finally gets past the Giant's Drink in the fantasy game.
  • In A Horse and his Boy, the Hermit (remotely watching a battle) observes that one of the Narnian Giants is down, "shot through the eye, I suppose."
  • The Colour of Magic: Did this to Bel-Shamharoth just before it could devour Rincewind, the camera that Rincewind was holding flashed into its giant eye causing enough pain for it to retreat to the chthonic planes.
  • Brought up by a Klingon hunter in one Star Trek novel: while hunting a particularly large and aggressive beast as part of a contest with a just-discovered warrior race, he muses on how it's good sense to aim for the eye. Best-case scenario, your shot goes straight into its brain. If you hit, then you've at least partially blinded it, giving yourself an advantage.
  • Similar to the Real Life spitting cobra example below, Pip of Allan Dean Foster's Pip and Flinx novels prefers to aim at the eyes for her one-hit kill venom.
  • Lampshaded and averted in Codex Alera, where it's noted that if the Vord hulk's had eyes attacking them would be a good way to take them down.
  • In The War of the Flowers the preferred goblin method of killing dragons is to shoot them in the eyes with poisoned arrows.
  • The only way to reliably take down a Mumakil in the Lord of the Rings was to aim for their eyes. The skin of the great elephant ancestor was thick and extremely tough, deflecting arrows and blunting swords.
  • This is how Kaladin managed to kill a Shardbearer in The Stormlight Archive, he rammed a spearpoint through the visor slit in his armour.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Nigerian masked zombie-demon in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Dead Man's Party".
    • This could be applied somewhat to Xander as well. Sure he's had an arm broken here and there, and has been beaten with a Troll God's Hammer, but all to little actual effect. It was only an attack on his eye that really harmed him.
      • Right after telling his fighters to "go for the (...) eyes. Everything's got eyes." Ouch.
  • In Brimstone, the eyes of the fugitives from Hell are their only weak spot (because eyes are the windows to the soul), thus Zeke has to shoot their eyes to send them back. Interestingly enough, he's also immune to everything except the eyes.
    • As the Devil points out, that's because Zeke is also a damned soul himself.
  • In Doctor Who, the Daleks' eyepiece is the most susceptible to gunfire, though only comparatively.
    • On more than one occasion, Daleks have been incapacitated by damaging or covering their single eyestalk: "My vision is impaired!! I can not see!!"
    • In one past (or maybe future, hard to tell here) story, a Dalek is subdued when someone sticks a piece of chewing gum on the lens. In another, the Doctor blinds one by throwing his hat over it. To be bunt, no matter how often they upgrade themselves, this will be their most obvious Achilles Heel.
      • Notably avoided on one occasion. [1] "MY-VISION-IS-NOT-IMPAIRED!"
    • The show parodied this once in Remembrance of the Daleks. After the Doctor repeatedly tells soldiers to shoot the Daleks in the eyepiece throughout the story, Ace ends up blowing one up entirely with a rocket launcher.

The Doctor: You destroyed it!
Ace: I aimed for the eyepiece.

Myth and Legend[edit | hide]

  • Despite being primarily a video game trope nowadays, this is actually Older Than Feudalism. How does Odysseus defeat the Cyclops Polyphemos? By shoving a burning stick in his eye.

Tabletop Game[edit | hide]

  • In Dungeons and Dragons, the Astral Dreadnaught is one of the most dangerous and powerful predators in the Astral Plane. While it's entire body is armored, its single eye is less so, and if blinded, it flees the fight.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Minsc from Baldur's Gate has this in one of his attack quotes- he orders his pet miniature giant space hamster to, well....

"Go for the eyes, Boo! GO FOR THE EYES! EYYAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!"

    • The final battle of Shadows of Amn features the memorable line "Boo will finish his eyeballs so he will not rise again!"
    • If anyone has read The War Of The Spider Queen series, set in the Forgotten Realms, the 'finish his eyeballs' quote feels remarkably similar to a certain situation where a character has his eyes EATEN by a rat to put NEW ones in...
    • The quote pops up again in Mass Effect 2 (along with a possible pet Space Hamster) and Dragon Age as a bit of a Mythology Gag on BioWare's part.
  • The Legend of Zelda games use this trope often. Most of the examples are different iterations of Gohma.
    • This is so common in the series that they incorporated it into puzzles, starting in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past, in which a statue of a cyclopean monster acts as a switch when shot in the eye. In the first 3-D games, an ornate eye on the wall would act similarly.
    • In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, all of the Fused Shadow-created bosses have giant eyes that must be attacked, as do two of the Mirror Shard bosses.
      • The devs even have some fun with this. The boss of the Temple of Time is Armogohma, a giant spider with an eye on its back, which also serves as a weak point and a weapon. Hilariously, the eye is revealed to be a smaller spider that was controlling the bigger spider! Even Link has a stunned look on his face.
    • The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass has the Phantoms, which are invulnerable except for the eye in their back, and even that can only be used to stun them for most of the game.
      • It's not just the Phantoms. Bellum himself has many, many eyes in octopus form which you must attack; when he possesses Linebeck and becomes a superpowered version of the Phantoms, and, like the Phantoms, has an eye on his back (albeit a much bigger one).
      • Most of Bellum's monsters have the same eye as Bellum. For the big blue cyclops monster, you can't go near them at all unless you fire an arrow in its eye first, thus stunning it.
    • Shockingly subverted with Vaati from The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap, whose entire villain motif revolves around eyes. Vaati is a Glass Cannon who can be hurt anywhere on his body once you take down his defense.
      • Said defense usually consists of eyes, however.
    • The Misery Mire boss Vitreous from A Link to the Past is nothing but a giant eye, surrounded by innumerable smaller ones. What else are you going to hit?
    • Let's not forget the numerous eye switches found throughout the games, which usually have to be hit with an arrow or slingshot.
    • The Gohma in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker has an eye as its weak point, but it also has an armored lid that comes down every time you try to hit it – at least, until you drop a huge rock on its head enough times to break its armor.
    • Rocktites and the Ocean Temple boss Phytops in Spirit Tracks
    • A lot of bosses in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. Scaldera, Moldarach, Tentalus, Levias, Bilocyte...
    • Basically, if it's got a big eye, you're probably supposed to shoot at it.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, hitting a Guardian in its single eye with an arrow will stun it for a few seconds; doing so with an Ancient Arrow destroys it instantly. This works for Hinnox too, although the smarter black ones will shield their eye with one hand if you reduce their Health Bar by half.
  • Phantoon from Super Metroid can only be damaged when his eye is open as well.
    • The second type of boss in Metroid Prime: Hunters, which are almost nothing but huge, floating eyes.
      • Really, both of the recurring bosses require you to shoot some eye-like structure. The Slench is more annoying because you have to go for not just the eye, but the pupil, and it's aggravatingly agile.
    • In Fusion, some doors are blocked by giant eyes. Absorbing their Core-X restores a large heap of energy, so they are actually there to help the player (the next room usually contains a boss). These doors are similar to ones found before bosses in Super Metroid, and in both cases the doors are capable of shooting Eye Beams.
      • Metroid Zero Mission has Mother Brain sporting both Eye Beams and the eye weakness.
  • The Cyclops in God of War 2, although rather than being shot, the eye is ripped out as a Finishing Move.
  • The end boss Gene Worm from the Half-Life expansion Opposing Force had this. The boss itself is invulnerable but hitting the eyes makes the boss' belly open and briefly reveal the only vulnerable area, accompanied by the boss teleporting in a Mook to keep the attacker occupied while regenerating its eyes. While blind, the boss is unable to attack but blindly thrashes around.
    • The earlier Pit Worm Puzzle Boss had this trope as well; while not actually inflicting any damage, shooting it in the eye causes the worm to shriek in pain and protectively cover the eye for a moment, making it unable to use its Eye Beam for a short while.
  • The Yellow Devil and its different incarnations in the Mega Man series.
  • The Brain boss in the first stage of Life Force.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, a miniboss, Nipper, is a Giant Enemy Crab, and you defeat it by attacking its weak point, For Massive Damage.
    • Lord Woo Fak Fak in Banjo Tooie, once he's opened his eyes (apparently his eyelids are grenade-proof).
  • Many of the bosses in Stinkoman 20 X 6.
  • In both Star FOX and 64, you must shoot Andross's eyes in order to reveal his brain or the robot duplicate on Video Game/Starfox 64's Easy route. In Starfox 64 you first had to destroy Andross's hands, but shooting the eyes would stun him momentarily, making that far easier.
    • Additionally, the Bacoon from Star Fox 64 is a giant one-eyed clam, prompting Peppy to call out this trope verbatim.
      • The person that made this page before the wipe can confirm that this is the Trope Namer, actually.
        • Not surprising. Peppy's advice had a tendency to be memorable.
  • A variation is played in Super Mario 64: one of the enemies is simply a huge eye, and you defeat it by running around in circles.
    • One of the mini games in Mario Party does this exactly the same as well.
    • It's also played straight with the boss of Shifting Sand Land, two giant stone hands with eyes in the palms. Whacking 'em in the eye causes damage, but only when the eye is open.
    • Mario Kart DS has the same hands as one of the bosses in mission mode and just like in Super Mario 64, you can't damage the eyes unless they're open.
  • In Video Game/Fallout1 and Fallout 2 (but not 3), it's possible to aim specifically for the eyes of your opponent (or appropriate sensory organ). It's usually the most difficult shot to connect with, but landing a critical hit to the eyes will almost always kill or blind a creature, making it mostly harmless or dead.
    • In Fallout, Harold mentions that a Deathclaw's eyes might be its weakness. It's true. Using this knowledge you can actually go kill one at a low level. However, since it's still so tough you need to hit it dozens of times even so, this leads to perhaps the most ridiculous Death of a Thousand Cuts ever.
      • Deathclaws have incredibly sharp senses of smell and hearing, but rather weak eyesight. So blinding them is only a minor annoyance, but it's still the softest part of their surface and has a possibility of piercing to the brain. Damaging them anywhere else generally requires anti-tank weaponry.
    • A character in Fallout: New Vegas claims to have done the impossible and shot a Brotherhood of Steel Paladin through the eye hole of their Power Armor. If you've met the Brotherhood and gotten in their good books you can challenge these Blatant Lies by pointing out that their eye protection is bullet proof. As with 3, however, it's not actually possible to target the eyes.
  • The final boss from Resident Evil 4 is an extremely odd creature with eyes on its articulated limbs. While you do have to shoot it to keep the fight moving, you kill it with the staple Resident Evil anti-boss weapon: a rocket launcher.
    • Not to mention the fact that if you do shoot the eyes on the limbs, it gives you the opportunity to shove your ubiquitous knife into its main eye. Repeatedly.
    • The G-Mutant from Resident Evil 2 and Darkside Chronicles gets even more eyes every time it mutates.
  • The miniboss Eyeclops in Carn Evil has seven eyes which must be shot out before you can get past him.
  • Final Dracula in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.
    • Eligor from Order of Ecclesia. Easier said than done as Eligor is a gargantuan stone centaur armed with a massive sword, mounted crossbows, harpoon tail and powerful kicks and his eyeball is located on the back of his head.
  • In Sonic and the Secret Rings, one of the bosses is an enormous, purple scorpion with four eyes (two on its tails, one on its back, and another in its mouth). Of course, Sonic must use the Homing Attack on the scorpion's eyes to defeat it.
    • Previously, there were the Black Bull and Devil Doom in Shadow the Hedgehog, with the unskippable obvious hint "The eye is its weak spot" in both fights. Thanks, Einstein.
    • Finally, Dark Gaia in Sonic Unleashed.
  • The final boss in Legacy of Kain Defiance. Not surprising as he seems to be composed entirely of eyes and tentacles - you attack both, but only the eye counts for the Life Bar.
  • The King Crabber boss in Summon Night Swordcraft Story, whose only weak points are its eye stalks.
  • Notably subverted in Shadow of the Colossus. While the entire game is made up of boss battles against giant creatures, most of whom have glowing eyes, they are almost never a weak point. Even when facing the one where you actually are supposed to aim for the eye, it's only a preliminary attack and not what actually kills him.
  • The stage 6 boss of the GBA game Gradius Galaxies/Generation is simply a giant eyeball. Naturally, the off-screen announcer that usually tells you to "Destroy the core!" when a boss shows up will instead tell you to "Shoot it in the eye!"
  • The first boss in Light Crusader consists of a meteor with a ton of craters and an eye that pops up in random craters. Aiming for the eye is the tactic to defeat him.
  • Devil May Cry 3 has the boss Beowulf. While it's not compulsory to hit him in the eye to damage him, and he does have a light-blast to- try and deter your doing so, striking him in the eye does more damage and causes him to flail about for a bit, allowing one to get a bit more distance from him. More importantly however, striking him in the eye for the hit that causes his Turns Red response will cause him to fall to the ground briefly, allowing for some more hits to be delivered against him. You will need those hits.
  • Cave Story has the Core and the Undead Core who is only vulnerable at the little opening in its shell where the eyes peek out. The Bonus Level of Hell (literally) also has Ballos, who in his second and third forms can only be harmed by shooting his eyes.
  • "This fucker has to have eyes...or something!" in Crysis Warhead, although the boss in question doesn't actually have eyes as a weak spot.
  • The final boss in Mass Effect 2 has to be shot in one of three misshapen eyes. Or in the mouth. The stomach weak point isn't as easy, as it only rarely appears and is really hard to hit.
  • In Pac-Man World, King Galaxian has four eyes. You defeat it by destroying its eyes, but it becomes faster, uses more shots, and summons more difficult enemies after each eye is destroyed.
  • In World of Warcraft, one of the final bosses of the old world was the EYE of Eldrich Abombination Cthun. Merely defeating Cthun's eye was for a long time considered more difficult and hardcore than any of the raids that followed it.
  • In Gauntlet (1985 video game): Dark Legacy, if you found the Javelin of Blinding, your character would throw it into the Plague Fiend's eye, temporarily reducing his near-perfect accuracy.
  • Oddly enough, the Whomping Willow in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets game.
  • Dark Mind from Kirby and The Amazing Mirror has this as his only weak spot.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, the Cave of Wonders gets possessed, and the only spot you can hit and do actual damage is its eyes.
  • The second form of the final boss in Purple can only be hurt by throwing a frisbee on his pair of enormous eyes.
  • Ghostbusters 2009 does this at least twice. The first time is with the Collector (and it's a VERY SMALL eye), and the second is the Juvenile Slor. The JS is a double example, as you must slime the single eyeball on its head and contend with the four orbiting "eyes" which threaten you and the others. Naturally there are about a hundred eye-puns throughout.
    • The Sega Genesis game does this a few times, too. There's a One-Hundred-Eye Centipede, which is nothing but eyes, and a floating egg with an eye/mouth (!) that can shoot lasers.
  • In Borderlands headshots result in large amounts of critical damage. For enemies that have armored heads you need to aim for the eyes.
  • This is how you have to defeat the Eyebot in Heavy Weapon, by attacking the eye when it is open.
  • In La-Mulana, Viy is only vulnerable when the lid of his eye opens, which is also when he can unleash his most powerful attack.
  • Overlapping with Eye Scream, one of the finishing moves against dragons in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is for the Dovahkiin to jump onto the dragon's head and stab or slash it in the eye.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Zoe: I threw Bun-Bun right into that thing's eye! That's so cool!

  • Lampshaded in Schlock Mercenary, when a human sniper hits the massively exposed eyeball of Ebbirnoth, member of a cyclopean species called Unioc. Bizarre Alien Biology proves him wrong, as the Unioc eyeball is just an eye, and although the attack blinds Ebbirnoth (and probably hurts a lot), it has less effect on him than an attack in a similar location would have done to a human (Unioc brains are located in their pelvis).
  • Referenced in Faulty Logic. When asked for advice on a Zelda boss, Jalyss recommends shooting it in the eye without bothering to look. She then provides a surprisingly reasonable-sounding explanation of why (apart from the obvious) Zelda bosses work that way.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • While it may just decide to bite its attacker with venomous fangs, the spitting cobra will usually target a spot where its projectile venom will be easily absorbed (and thus disable the opponent). Guess where that spot is.
  • The eye is usually a good weak point in real life. It's soft, easily damaged, very painful, and causes a loss of vision. It's one of the first places you're taught to aim for in a self defense class.
    • And on a similar note, "When someone stares at you, don't be intimidated. Eyeballs are soft, sensitive and filled with goo. They cannot hurt you."
  • On a similar note as above, at least one worst-case survival guide has this little number: "When fighting an alien creature, go for the eyes. It's the only vulnerable point you can be sure of."
  • This trope is sufficiently widespread in nature that many species of insects, and a few small vertebrates, have evolved markings that resemble false "eyes." These markings are a decoy for predators, ensuring they'll direct their attacks towards the marked animal's tail or other less-essential body part, rather than its actual eyes.
    • It also doubles in usefulness as it's intimidating as hell.
  • In medieval plate armor the eye slit of the helmet was a very vulnerable spot. If it was too small the fighter would be almost blind. If it was too big, an arrow or crossbow bolt could pass through it and kill the fighter. During a battle a knight might lift his visor to get a better look at what was happening around him only to get shot right in the eye.
    • "Lucky" lance hits to the head during cavalry charges or jousting tournaments could also go through the visor and the eye at times; the results were not pretty. Just ask king Henry II of France.
    • Remains symbolically true of armored vehicles: any sort of viewing slit provides a gap in the armor, whereas a camera or other remote system is itself vulnerable to being shot off.
  • Several surfers and swimmers attacked by sharks have managed to get away after landing a lucky punch in their eye.