Minecraft's single-player survival mode involves protecting yourself against an assortment of creatures that either come out at night or live deep underground. In Minecraft's beta release, there are eight monster types to worry about.
While each creature has its own look and sound effect, monsters typically share a common purpose: to find where you are and attack you until your character runs out of health and can no longer continue. Thus, building a shelter and then crafting items to equip your character are important if you want to keep the enemies at bay.
They're lean, green and most definitely mean. While creepers have four tiny legs, they don't have arms, so they resemble snakes in appearance. Instead of slithering or crawling, however, they tend to "bounce" in the air.
They are also rather devious in their movement, since they often wait near your character rather than making a straight beeline toward you. When they are close, watch out: they will spontaneously combust after a little more than a second. You can escape the detonation simply by moving out of its range.
Life Meter: 10 hearts. Attack Type: explosion. Location: outdoors. Rarity: common.
A staple in role-playing games, skeletons in Minecraft have the ability to shoot arrows. This is one good reason to place glass in your dwelling's windows, since glass cannot be shattered by the projectiles. Defeated skeletons drop arrows and bones that can be picked up and added to your inventory.
Bones can be used in crafting to create bone meal for farming, while arrows can be fired as projectiles once you create a bow. One of the more amusing things about skeletons is that they can anger other enemies if they hit them with their arrows, which can be used to your advantage if you find yourself overwhelmed.
Life Meter: 10 hearts. Attack Type: ranged. Location: outdoors; caves. Rarity: common.
Like skeletons, spiders are a staple in most role-playing games because, let's face it, they're creepy when they're the size of a large dog. Spiders in Minecraft make a rather disturbing rustling sound, as if you were walking across a pile of dried leaves. They can also climb mountains and other tall structures, and their ability to jump high in the air makes them difficult to target.
Spiders will appear during the day as well as at night, but daytime spiders are harmless as long as you don't provoke them. Defeating a spider will give your character string, which can be used to make bows and fishing poles.
Life Meter: 10 hearts. Attack Type: physical. Location: outdoors; caves. Rarity: common.
If a ghost and octopus could mate, the resulting offspring would probably be a ghast. This enemy type can hover and shoot fireballs at characters, but it only appears in Minecraft's alternate universe, otherwise known as "the Nether."
Life Meter: 10 hearts. Attack Type: ranged. Location: the Nether. Rarity: common.
Part zombie, part pig, this enemy looks like the result of some nefarious experiment by Dr. Moreau. The good thing is that it behaves more like a pig in Minecraft than a zombie, so it won't attack you unless it's provoked.
If you do decide to attack it, be prepared to fight off others in the vicinity -- the zombie pig-men don't take kindly to hostile actions toward one of their own. Defeated creatures will drop "cooked porkchops," which can be used as scrumptious, health-restoring food.
Life Meter: 10 hearts. Attack Type: physical. Location: the Nether. Rarity: common
You can't have a game with monsters and not feature zombies -- that would simply be inconceivable. Minecraft's take on the shuffling dead is about what you'd expect -- they travel in groups and make moaning sounds -- although zombies in the game are actually quite fast. They aren't, however, very smart.
Zombies will actually walk into water, off cliffs and into other dangers while trying to reach you, so it's not hard to trick them into doing something that's not in their best interests. Defeated zombies will drop feathers that can be used to make arrows.
Life Meter: 10 hearts. Attack Type: physical. Location: all areas. Rarity: common
Slimes in Minecraft resemble gelatinous cubes in the classic Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game. They function the same way: each attack on the transparent slime/cube will cause it to separate into smaller cubes. Slimes also vary in size, but they are quite rare in Minecraft -- and they only appear deep underground.
Life Meter: 2-32 hearts. Attack Type: physical. Location: caverns. Rarity: rare.
This enemy type is actually a combination of two separate entities: a skeleton and a spider. The skeleton will appear to "ride" on the back of the spider, allowing it to fling arrows as the spider climbs hard-to-reach areas.
Life Meter: 10 hearts per creature. Attack Type: ranged. Location: outdoors. Rarity: rare.