Created By: myblackcatAugust 21, 2010 Last Edited By: myblackcatDecember 18, 2011

Homing Porcupines

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Needs More Examples, probably Needs A Better Title.

A specific kind of Mook found in videogames, appearing more often in classic sidescrollers from the 80s or 90s, which keeps a place in the minds of most gamers for the worst thoughts imaginable. Thoughts pretty much deserved, considering their cheap tactics.

A Homing Porcupine is an enemy that not only causes heavy damage to the touch, it basically makes Collision Damage its fighting style: get close to the player and grope him/her to death. Being extremely resilient/hard to hit, they render Mercy Invincibility almost useless, and by the time the player manages to kill them, chances are half of his/her lifebar was lost in the brawl. While there are many variants of this foe, most Homing Porcupines obey these 2 points:

In addition, Homing Porcupines usually meet several of the following criteria:

Often a form of Fake Difficulty, Homing Porcupines often, but not always, overlap with Goddamned Bats, but they are usually more threatening than annoying.

Examples:
  • The Mega Man series are terrible offenders to this trope. Every enemy who doesn't shoot will attempt to grope him dead, and most of them will follow Megaman wherever he goes. Most Robot Masters and Mavericks from the X series also fall prey to this; they usually move extremely fast and often touch the player For Massive Damage because of the small size of the arena. Skull Man, I'm looking at you.
  • Super Mario Bros 2 has Phantos, a mask found in walls who not only is a Suddenly Harmful Harmless Object, but it's also indestructible and will chase the player at high speeds until he/she is dead.
  • The roaming ghosts in Silent Hill 4. Not only do they do damage to the player character, Henry Townshend, just by being near him, but they can also follow Henry throughout the level. The four boss ghosts--who are stronger than the regular roaming ghosts--all do serious damage to Henry by being near him, can attack him, can kill him, and, if not pinned to the ground by the requisite item, will follow him to other levels of the game, often in the company of more ghosts.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • August 18, 2010
    Stratadrake
    I don't understand the name, but this is obviously a relative to Goddamned Bats. Homing Mook?

    Compare any enemy that has a Rolling Attack, and the Personal Space Invader.

    • The eagles/falcons in Ninja Gaiden, especially its NES port.

  • August 19, 2010
    myblackcat
    Homing in the sense that they follow and lock onto the player. Porcupine since it hurts the player character on contact.

    For the most part, unlike the Personal Space Invader, the Homing Porcupine doesn't even have the decency of having a custom animation when it attacks, nor any escape control scheme which the player may use to shove him off; the solution is usually trying to get away from it while you can.
  • August 19, 2010
    Prfnoff
    The flying heads in Prince Of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame charge the player at high speed and are vulnerable only at the moment before they strike. Oddly, they're the one enemy in the game to obey Mook Chivalry, but that's probably because having to face two heads at once would make the game impossible.
  • August 19, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Porcupines may be The Spiny, but they're not out to get you. They're actually not agressive at all, so if you got quilled then it's probably your own damn fault. Also, in sidescrolling games the mook will usually be a flyer -- another thing porcupines are not exactly known for. That's why the name doesn't make any sense, and it Needs A Better Title.

    (And Needs A Better Title should be taken seriously -- you should see just how many YKTT Ws get launched straight into Trope Repair Shop because of it. It's painful to watch)

    Either way, it's a close relative of the Kamikaze Mook.

    What about games where this is the sole variety of enemy? E.g. Pac Man and Lode Runner.

    More examples:
    • In Descent, most enemies attacked with weapons, but a few were equipped with claws and attacked exclusively with Collision Damage.

    • The Mario series:
      • Boos, any time the player wasn't looking at them.
      • Monty Moles, which popped out of hillsides and chased Mario along the ground.
      • In Super Mario World, if a Koopa jumped into a yellow shell, it became Nigh Invulnerable and chased after Mario, also along the ground.
      • A few varieties of aquatic enemies pursued the player to varying degrees, such as the Bloopers, certain Cheep Cheeps, or Rip Van Fish from Super Mario World.
  • August 19, 2010
    myblackcat
    Needs A Better Title, then. Radioactive Groper? Something that both demonstrates that 1) The mook chases the player, and 2) The mook uses Collision Damage extensively, would be cool.
  • August 19, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Is there any difference between the mook using collision damage, versus an actual melee attack?
  • August 19, 2010
    Sweet Madness
  • August 19, 2010
    Geargrinder
    So if I understand it correctly, this is about a type of enemy who keeps following you and is damaging in melee range. We need to reflect that in the title, because even though the current title reflects just that, it doesn't look good on this trope. Unfortunately, my brain is mostly off at the moment.

    And uh, do the slow-but-dangerous-in-melee types count as such?
  • August 19, 2010
    FreezairForALimitedTime
    The Kirby series has a number of examples. Most notably are Jack and Expy Phanto from the first game, Mumbies (which slowly close in on your), and Scarfies, which are docile unless you attempt to harm them. Then they turn crazed and swarm you.
  • August 19, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Speaking of slow-but-dangerous, not only are Real Life porcupines not aggressive creatures, they're not agile creatures either. They have no natural threats, and therefore no need to actually run from anything.

    For enemies who are damaging only within a certain attack range, compare Instant Death Radius.
  • August 21, 2010
    myblackcat
    Yeah, the enemy who has an attack animation usually is NOT one of these. Unless he uses said melee attack in a poor manner, making it more probable getting touched by him than getting attacked by it. I cannot think of any examples for this since enemies who rely on Collision Damage rarely have custom melee animations (Since, you know, the developers possibly made it that way for a reason.)

  • August 24, 2010
    Stratadrake
    By the way, compare a Type 1 Airborne Mook.
  • August 24, 2010
    Medinoc
    Those may be related to Personal Space Invaders.
  • August 24, 2010
    Stratadrake
    I already mentioned that last week or so. Aditionally, the Phantos from SMB 2 overlap with Teleporting Keycard Squad, as they specifically won't attack you until you pick up their key.
  • April 14, 2011
    Octagon8
    • Hero Core's Drones are a weak version of this while also being The Goomba. Their upgrades, the Crushers, are a much more threatening version.
    • Cave Story's desert parrot-type enemies, which also appear zerg rushing you. Fortunately they don't chase you until attacked.
  • April 14, 2011
    Bisected8
    The titular monsters of Metroid latch onto Samus and drain her health at an alarming rate. The only way to get them off is to switch into morth ball mode and plant a bomb (which takes precious seconds to detonate) and the only way to kill them is to freeze them (which can only be done with a mid game weapon) and blast them with several missiles (of which you carry a limited amount).
  • May 19, 2011
    Octagon8
    BUMP.
  • December 18, 2011
    Octagon8
    Bump

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable