Created By: UnobligatoryStunfisk on July 2, 2011 Last Edited By: UnobligatoryStunfisk on July 3, 2011
Troped

Guerrilla Boulders

A type of obstacle that attacks until approached, all without reason

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Trope
Not even looking into the mirror at an angle will show you whose doing this is.
Up for Grabs, Needs More Examples, Seen It a Million Times

The hero is busily traversing across the mountains. It shan't be too long before reaching their destination. Aside from the common mountain mooks and a few bottomless pits, this mountain isn't so bad.

Except, now they are being pelted with boulders! It's a weak avalanche that they can tell is coming from higher up the mountain. Something has to be causing all these boulders to fall down on them. After a short detour up the mountain, they were expecting to find the source of the boulders. It'd only make sense for there to be a reason for this avalanche, right?

HAHAHA, YEAH, NOPE.

Upon locating what would've been the source of the boulders falling down, the hero not only finds their-self without an answer as to why rocks rained on them, but now the boulders have simply stopped.

Enter Guerrilla Boulders, a form of obstacle in video games. Commonly being boulders, balls of snow, or even mook attacks coming from off screen, these obstacles ruthlessly attack the playable character until the player is close enough, in which case the obstacle simply has disappeared, despite nothing being done to remove it. At least two conditions for this YKTTW must be met, of which include:

  1. The obstacle activates on coincidence. It is never a constant obstacle that happens as a natural part of the environment. If the boulders are going to fall, you have to just happen to be in the way.
  2. You cannot see why the obstacle happens. Is someone tossing the boulders down? Are natural forces at work during this? Is there a reason why this only happens when you're in the way? You don't ever find out the exact cause.
  3. It stops as soon as you get close enough. Whatever the cause, as long as you're close enough to the source (but not out of range or sight), it will cease to attack. Think removing enemies by bringing them off-screen, only inverted.

The name deprives from Guerrilla Warfare, referring to how the obstacle tends to attack in set amounts before retreating or stopping altogether. Given the invincible nature of these attacks, they are often regarded negatively within levels.

Examples:

  • The Legend of Zelda has a few of these.
    • A Link to the Past: On the way to the Tower of Hera, boulders will fall down on Link when crossing a certain area on Death Mountain. These boulders fall until Link reaches the summit, where, despite the boulders clearly coming from there, become barren of all activity.
    • Ocarina of Time: While going up Death Mountain, a volcano erupts boulders onto you when you specifically stand on the road in front of it. Getting to the wall means the volcanic activity stops. This even happens after Link rids the Gorons of their problem in Dodongo Cavern.
  • During a few levels of Super Mario Bros. 3, there is water along the bottom of the level, and when you pass through a certain region, the water level starts to raise and lower only to stop again at a certain point.
  • In Super Mario 64, in Bob-omb Battlefield, you travel up a spiral mountain which giant boulders constantly roll down. When you reach the top of the mountain, you see that the boulders were coming out of the side of it... but not with any explanation or way to stop it.
  • In Mario Kart 64, going offroad in D.K.'s Jungle Parkway will result in the driver having coconuts thrown at them until getting back on the main road.
  • System Shock 2 features a room with a cyborg ninja and a wave of never-ending metal crates falling down in it. The crates fell down on you, which only mysteriously stopped once you actually killed the ninja.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • July 2, 2011
    MaciekOst
    The Piranha Plants in the Super Mario Bros games won't come out if you're standing on the pipe.
  • July 2, 2011
    Aielyn
    Piranha Plants don't quite fit the trope, as they're clearly at least semi-sentient.

    An example of sorts in the Super Mario Bros series, however, is on levels where there is water along the bottom of the level, and when you pass through a certain region, the water level starts to raise and lower for no apparent reason, only to stop again at a certain point. I'm not sure if it completely satisfies the trope conditions, though.
  • July 2, 2011
    Meeble
    This would go on This Index Is In The Way
  • July 2, 2011
    Speedball
    I remember this happened--inexplicably-- in System Shock 2. One room with a cyborg ninja in it (yes, really) had a wave of never-ending metal crates falling down and hitting you from above, which only mysteriously stopped once you actually killed the ninja.
  • July 2, 2011
    Confusion567
    • In Super Mario 64, in Bob-omb Battlefield, you travel up a spiral mountain which giant boulders constantly roll down. When you reach the top of the mountain, you see that the boulders were coming out of the side of it... but not with any explanation or way to stop it.
  • July 2, 2011
    UnobligatoryStunfisk
    @Maciek Ost: They stop when approached, but their source is clearly that they're rooted throughout the pipes, and they otherwise do not act booby trapped in nature. It wouldn't fit the trope.

    @Aielyn: It follows booby trap rule, it isn't explained why it happens, and it stops when reaching a certain mark. I think it fits perfectly fine. Besides, we need examples that aren't just boulders or crates.
  • July 2, 2011
    Prfnoff
    The Super Mario Bros games also have in the castle levels the jets of flame that come from nowhere.
  • July 2, 2011
    Aielyn
    But as I said, Piranha Plants are basically sentient. That makes this far more equivalent to, say, the Deku Scrubs in the Zelda series that will attack you from afar, but will hide underground if you get too close. They're not unexplained, they're sentient, and choose not to come up. Same with piranha plants.
  • July 2, 2011
    UnobligatoryStunfisk
    @Aielyn: I was merely agreeing with the water example. Though now I'm confused. You sound against it while also supporting and Deku Scrubs. My apologies if I'm coming off annoying, I'd just like to make sure this (hopefully) future trope stays accurate with its intentions, and I'm inbetween adding the plants or not.
  • July 2, 2011
    UnobligatoryStunfisk
    If I could also add, I'm inexperienced with adding pictures and a subtitle underneath. Anyone able to do that for me?
  • July 2, 2011
    Aielyn
    Oh, sorry - I thought you were referring to the case of Piranha Plants. In that case, I'm fully in agreement.

    I'm not supporting Deku Scrubs, I was drawing the parallel between Deku Scrubs and Piranha Plants, both of which are sentient creatures changing behaviour depending on where the hero currently is. As such, even if the viewer can't see how or why they choose to act the way they do, they still fail condition 2, as the reason why the obstacle happens is sentience, it's not unknown.

    If it were something like, say, a series of hanging, swinging vines blocking the way, but the vines stop swinging once you get past them all, then it would be this trope.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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