Created By: Anomalocaris20 on February 24, 2011 Last Edited By: Anomalocaris20 on April 17, 2012

Leaning Tower of Mooks

Enemies stack up in a tower to fight you.

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Trope
Apparently, some minions of the Big Bad will assume that a good strategy is to climb upon one another into an unstable totem pole-like tower (This is why they're Mooks and not The Dragon). For the most part, this trope is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. These often appear in video games, where the tower can be taken out Mook by Mook. Or possibly knocked over all at once by attacking the bottom one. Usually fairly comedic, though some Mooks can pull it off well, the totem being stronger than the sum of its parts.

Examples

  • Brown Cageberries in Donkey Kong Country Returns do this in groups of 5. When they see you, they lunge foward and all fall apart onto the ground.
  • Non-video game example: In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "One Krabs' Trash", several skeletal mooks do this in the scene where Mr. Krabs tries to steal the soda drink hat. He easily destroys them in one swipe.
  • Shy Stacks, from Yoshi's Island and Paper Mario, are stacks of 2 to 5 Shy Guys all in a tower.
    • The sequel to the former adds pirate Shy Guys, and, consequentially, pirate Shy Stacks.
  • The Wii Ware versions of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon allow you to do this with your team.
  • A non-enemy example in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: Several Emoglobins in the Airway have formed the "Emototem" that only lets you pass by completing a challenge to prove your worth.
  • This was a common tactic of the Ant Hill Mob in The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop.
  • Used successfully in Antz. The Ants are trying to reach an opening high up in the chamber they are in. Of course, combining their efforts to achieve great things is their hat.
  • One of the regular monsters of the Dragon Quest series is the Slime Stack, which is a stack of 3 differently-colored Slimes - significantly tougher than the sum of its parts. Sometimes, 3 normal slimes will even jump together to form one in mid-battle! (And sometimes, 3 Metal Slimes will replicate the trick, forming a Metal Medley.)
  • The Koopa Bros. in Paper Mario do this as their signature attack, spinning in their shells toward Mario as one stack. This is at a point in the game in which dangerous enemies deal 2 damage, and unless you catch on to the trick of their Puzzle Boss (tipping them over) they'll make short work of you.
  • The tower moves in the Disgaea games eventually became this trope as well.
  • Kefka's first One-Winged Angel form in Final Fantasy VI looks like a tower of Siamese mooks on top of each other, themed like characters from Divine Comedy, that you gradually fight from bottom to top.
  • The pygmies in World Of Warcraft fight in towers.

Rolling Updates, anyone can edit this YKTTW if they want.
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • February 25, 2011
    foxley
    This was a common tactic of the Ant Hill Mob in The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop.
  • February 26, 2011
    henke37
    This reminds me of the same thing, but with a coat and impersonation thrown in.
  • February 26, 2011
    CAD
    Pokey in the Super Mario universe is kidna this, as each segment has an invisible face that only reveals itself if it is the one on top.
  • February 26, 2011
    AFP
    Used successfully in Antz. The Ants are trying to reach an opening high up in the chamber they are in. Of course, combining their efforts to achieve great things is their hat.
  • February 26, 2011
    Rolf
    Various Mario games have desert mooks that stack 5 tall. Desert cirus thing? Dunno what those yellow mooks is called...
  • February 26, 2011
    Ronka87
    We already have Human Ladder, which covers this. Totem Pole Trench is when they do it as a disguise.

    Move any examples from this there and discard this one.
  • February 28, 2011
    Anomalocaris20
    Uhh.. how do I discard them?
  • February 28, 2011
    randomsurfer
    click the launch button, then click where it shows to "launch to discard."
  • February 28, 2011
    BlackDragon
    I dunno... Human Ladder seems to specifically be about, well, HUMANS doing it. Or at least mostly-human creatures. Not ants, shy-guys, slimes or whatnot.

    Speaking of which, one of the regular monsters of the Dragon Quest series is the Slime Stack, which is a stack of 3 differently-colored Slimes - significantly tougher than the sum of its parts. Sometimes, 3 normal slimes will even jump together to form one in mid-battle! (And sometimes, 3 Metal Slimes will replicate the trick, forming a Metal Meddley.)
  • June 13, 2011
    Rolf
    This has one of my earliest ykttw posts and still not launched. Surpises me as its good trope.
  • June 13, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    The Koopa Bros. of Super Mario Bros Z do this as a special move. The first time they do it, it works spectacularly (primarily due to them getting a Chaos Emerald. The second time, they fail spectacularly (primarily due to Mecha Sonic flying in and one-shotting them all).
  • June 14, 2011
    Chabal2
    • Not a pile, but in the animated version of The Great Crossing, the Romans form a giant spherical turtle formation with spears sticking out that rolls around after the centurion.
    • Similarly, the ending scene of {{300}} has the Spartans form up into a multi-storied sphere-o-shields.

  • June 14, 2011
    henke37
    Well, said Koopa Bros is doing it in the game they show up too, Paper Mario.
  • June 14, 2011
    jaytee
    I thikn this could be revamped into a Video Game Trope and would be entirely distinct from Human Ladder.
  • February 18, 2012
    Catbert
    So keep or discard?
  • March 27, 2012
    Anomalocaris20
    Been a long time since I've looked at this.

    Do we keep it or discard it?
  • March 27, 2012
    Tangent128
    I would say split it from Human Ladder; that trope is motivated by a need for height, while this trope... well, it happens frequently, but there seems to be no tactical motivation beyond Rule Of Cool. You'd think the mooks could fight better if they weren't busy balancing, but it offers the player variety in their fighting.
  • March 28, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    The tower moves in the Disgaea games eventually became this trope as well.
  • March 28, 2012
    aurora369
    Kefka's first One Winged Angel form in Final Fantasy VI looks like a tower of Siamese mooks on top of each other, themed like characters from Divine Comedy, that you gradually fight from bottom to top.
  • March 28, 2012
    Tropeless
    How is the Pokey an example? Either you destroy a segment and then everything above it falls, or you destroy the head and all of the segments fall apart or go with it. Could I remove this?
  • March 29, 2012
    somerandomdude
    The pygmies in World Of Warcraft fight in towers.
  • March 29, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    What about enemies forming complex structures of multiple bodies? A Family Guy episode, "No Meals on Wheels", has the Crippletron formed by paraplegics, and an episode of Skunk Fu had a gaint fighting monkey made up of dozens of little ninja monkeys. Also, I've seen characters inadvertently form totem poles by landing atop of each other after a defeat. I think a Pop Eye cartoon used that gag once.
  • March 29, 2012
    Stratadrake
    As a videogame trope, a Leaning Tower Of Mooks is generally resistant to the Goomba Stomp because they're taller than you can jump. So unless you have an ability that can take them out from the side, they're an impassable barrier (more so in 2D than 3D).

    Super Mario 3 D Land, for example, you often encounter Goombas in stacks from 3-8 high.
  • April 17, 2012
    Tangent128
    Do we keep this?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=59pbmhipth4qog1q78f9lps4