It is a sunny day in the ruins of Terminus City, and Croctopus is building a boat.
It is a timeless struggle, a battle that has been fought countless times: the elemental conflict of crocodile with octopus legs and power tools versus giant sturgeon stuck onto a tank with a sword and a jet engine for a voice.
— Zoofights, in a nutshell.
Zoofights is an interactive story series hosted on the Something Awful forums, led primarily by the user Major Failure. Each "arc" of Zoofights (there have been six as of this writing) is about large and deadly animals facing one another in a blood sport that is both futuristic and old-timey (Zoofights 3, for example, took place in the late 1800s despite the extremely advanced technology present. They just wanted to have all the bystanders wearing monocles and top hats).While it includes the odd scripted event, the outcome of Zoofights is not up to Major Failure or any of the people who actually write it. Rather, before each match, the readers are encouraged to vote for their winner, and their votes carry more weight if they come with fan art or detailed explanations of their choice (Simply saying "I vote for Steamcrab" results in your vote just being ignored. You need a reason).As of Zoofights 4, a random element was added. Previously the winner was simply whoever had received more votes. In Zoofights 4 the numbers are plugged into a random number generator to get a result (as in, if monster 1 got 20 votes and monster 2 got 80, if the random number generator selected a 20 or lower monster 1 would pull off an upset).Staples of the series include mutant animals, animals with parts of other animals attached, heavily mechanized animals, and one entrant growing so powerful that the remaining normal ones must join forces to defeat it.The series has proved to be a winning formula, spawning lots of fan art (mostly drawings, but everything from plush toys to clay sculptures have been made) and a devoted community of fans further adding to the experience by role-playing as spectators.Due to the fact that it is a Something Awful forum attraction, the first two Zoofights cannot be viewed by the average Internet denizen due to being too old, therefore requiring a Something Awful Archives account (which costs money). The third is available for public viewing regardless of whether you have a Something Awful forum account, as is the fifth one; however, the fourth requires the Archives account upgrade. Fortunately, all of the Zoofights story arcs save the second are currently hosted on the Zoofights website, and the (now over) Zoofights 6 can be seen here, since it's thread of Something Awful cannot be seen by non-members currently.The Eighties-themed 6th series began on May 1st, 2011, and endedsix-and-a-half months later.In 2012, the Zoofights blog changed its format from an annual tournament to a series of "What If?" fights.This Web Original work includes examples of:
Gravitas Shortfall (on whether Lesko, Robotnik, and the two Doctors should continue their roleplay rivalry, and one of them got snippy): I'm sorry you think that MF taking time out from organising and drawing three fights in the week before he has to get married is a dick move. I know it must be terribly hard on you.
Always Male: Each and every fighter is referred to as "he" (or sometimes "it"). The trope persists even when Zoofights 4 introduced Tunguska, an alien queen, and in Zoofights 5, which brought in Blood 4 Oil, a giant mosquito. Only female mosquitoes suck blood. Blood 4 Oil sucks blood. Still called a "he". Update: It took until Round 2, but Major Failure did realize, yes, Blood 4 Oil/DRAAAAAAINAGE/Brutish Petroleumis female.
Bonus-fighter Widow Maker, a Dangerously Genre Savvy (seriously, it's listed as her chief strength) female praying mantis.
Zoofights VI seems to have bucked this trend somewhat, with Murducken (actually a terror bird with the requisite Big Muscly ArmsTM and a microwave for a heart), Playing Mantis, and Teslacorn all being female. Bull Market became Ca$h Cow after a head transplant.
Art Shift: Several folks contribute art to the series that Major Failure uses in the actual story alongside drawings of his own, resulting in some Art Shiftiness.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Presidential Seal, who as the name suggests, is an elephant seal who also happens to be President of the USA.
Awesome Mc Cool Name: Half of all Zoofighters. Even those who are only mentioned in passing or happen to be fan creations tend to have awesome names, like Vuvuzebra, Citizen Cane, Widow Maker and Octopus Crime.
Zoofights 4 - Wolfbike and friends in the Royal Rumble. Subverted when it turns out to just be a Hope Spot.
Bigger Is Better: Edward Tigerhands from Zoofights 3 was absolutely colossal in his final battle. He still lost, though. Granted, he was fighting a demon that could control the four horsemen of the apocalypse...
Body Horror: Many competitors, but the Swanmass from Zoofights 1 has to take the cake.
Brick Joke: Zoofights 5 - The drinking contest Punchules the Magnificant wanted to have with The Snapture
Brother Chuck: Zoofights 3's Loser's League bracket listed a monster named The Necromonitron. It never competed nor was it described, and its would-be opponent was just given a bye.
Butt Monkey: The Tapogres are the biggest example, but Pep-Simian would also count.
Call Back: Every Zoofights has brought back a contender from a previous series, but always in a side or villain role instead of straight-up entering the tournament again.
Zoofights 2 - Swanmass (returns by taking over another combatant)
Zoofights 3 - Sega Gorillesis (works as head of security)
Zoofights 4 - Swanmass (one of the contenders becomes a Swanmass clone), Steamcrab (roleplayed by a spectator), Bisontrain (powers the space station the fights are taking place on as Bisoncore)
Zoofights 5: Sega Gorillesis (cameos as a ghost), Tapogres (controlled by European Onion), Drillbjorn (controlled by European Onion), Ned Killy (part of Barbarrimundi's backstory), Seanet (currently rule the planet, also part of Dreadnautilus' backstory)
Zoofights 6 - Ned Killy and the Kings of Beasts, a power metal band consisting of old fan favorites from the previous fights, (Ned Killy, Wolfbike, Steamcrab, Oh The Huge Manatee, and Bisoncopter) served as the warm-up act before the first round. Croctopus cameos in the Muertodillo vs. Horsepower fight, showing up in the time portal that Teddy Krueger and Delorelion emerged from. The Snapture reappears as a boss-type enemy for the finale. Fists O' Batahan also makes a brief appearance to try and distract Hardcore Prawn from activating his secret weapon.
Cannibal: from Bull Market's specs: "Eats Kobe beef every night. That is f*cked up man."
Canon Discontinuity: Zoofights 2 is generally ignored - it wasn't put onto the official site until long after the others, and it's still not the complete version. Major Failure has previously called it "the The Star Wars Holiday Special of Zoofights".
Chest Burster: Steamcrab vs. Reanimammut and the Mangolin' Pangolians vs. Hippos With An Eating Disorder.
Clean Cut: Zoofights 5 Royal Rumble - Chernoble, to Squidiot
Cliff Hanger: In Zoofights 6, the fight between Teddy Kruger and Delorelion ended with the latter's Flux Capacitor being set off, flinging them both off through time.
Clothes Make the Superman: Oh The Huge Manatee is one of the most powerful competitors in all of Zoofights with his special armor suit on. With it off, he's... still a badass, but not protected or capable of really damaging anything.
Mr Ro-Boto from Zoofights 5 is much the same - outside of his suit, he's a pink dolphin. Inside his suit, however... actually, he's still not that impressive, to be honest.
Zoofights 1 - Subverted repeatedly by the team of 200 radioactive steroid-enhanced tarantulas with jetpacks - they effortlessly defeated their first two opponents, a team of three fire-breathing humanoid frogs and a single bipedal hippo with laser eyes and Wolverine-style claws. At the end of the final battle, 12,000 tarantulas appear to finish off Swanmass, furthering the subversion. Those spiders defied this trope every step of the way, save their semifinal loss to Mechos and Darth Gorilla.
Zoofights 3 - Oh the Huge Manatee vs. Tapogres.
Zoofights 4 - Psynoceros vs. The Delegation
Zoofights 5 - Presidential Seal vs. The European Onion
Zoofights 6 - The cult of Black Rabbath vs. Double Pangolin
Contest Winner Cameo: While Major Failure will often draw users' role-playing characters in the audience if they post often and prove entertaining, one match in Zoofights 5 took it to a new level. This Zoofights introduced "Fite Your Mates Nite", which depicts people's characters beating on each other as a bonus between fights. The winner receives a special vote worth 15 normal votes, redeemable on any match they'd like to influence. The winner of the second FYMN was Doktor Hans, a German with an accordion for a head. He cashed in his bonus on the round 2 fight between The Seal of Disapproval and The Snapture, and decided to back the Seal, who was a significant underdog. When the fight reached its climax and the Snapture appears ready to end it, Doktor Hans appears in the audience, throwing money about in a showboating tactic. The Snapture is distracted by the falling bills, giving The Seal of Disapproval enough time to slam a giant neon sign into the Snapture's head, killing him and ending the fight.
Cool Boat: Zoofights 5 - Commodore Croctopus, if only briefly
Cool Shades: Wolfbike, The Snapture (and all of his supporters), Hog Wild. Snapture's supporters kept their sutter-shades (and added a few new accessories) for The Eighties-themed Zoofights 6.
Speaking of Zoofights 6, the Mangolin' Pangolins all sported pairs of these. After Round 1, Drillz and Hammerz have given them up, although Sawz has kept his.
Cool Sword: The Sturgeon General's cavalry saber. What makes it special? How about the fact that it's twelve feet long?
Crack Defeat: Sometimes the random number generator causes a major upset. Or, alternatively, a Joke Character receives a great deal of support against a much stronger opponent.
Zoofights 4 - All of Wolfbike's fights, Overlord vs. Dred Zeppelin
Zoofights 5 - Sting Kong vs. Barbarrimundi
Zoofights 6 - Croaka Cola vs. Monster Truck
Crapsack World: The world of Zoofights 5 has been devastated by nuclear war, and it's only now that civilisation has reached a level where Zoofights can start again. This is played up by the Goons roleplaying gamblers - instead of money, they're betting skulls, shards of rock, and unmutated squirrel testicles, amongst other things.
Create Your Own Villain: Most of the many villains of Zoofights would have never existed if it weren't for the Loser's League insisting on reanimating and upgrading defeated fighters. In fact, only two of the eight monsters that could have possibly been serious threats were going to show up whether the tournament happened or not - From Hell and Seanet.
The Walrus hails from post-apocalyptic New Zealand, where crazed druids worship the walrus character from the arcade game "New Zealand Story".
And in Zoofights 6, Black Rabbath had a small army of followers with him in battle, serving mostly as disposable mooks.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The first semifinal of Zoofights 4 ( Ned Killy vs. Tangaloa) and Oh The Huge Manatee's first battle against the Tapogres.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Bonus mini-fighter Widow Maker, a praying mantis. She not only won, but escaped the Snake Fights arena by guiding her missile/swordfish opponent into God Emperor Gamma Constrictor's face.
Duel to the Death}}: Virtually every battle ended with someone dying, but in the earlier rounds they get a second chance in the loser's bracket, so machinery and new flesh is grafted on and added to get the monstrosities working again.
Dumb Muscle: Reanimammut, Tapogres, Great White Shitkicker, Smash Gordon, Barbarrimundi
Subverted with Dreadnautilus - he is described as very dim when in fact it is his teammates (three humans commanding him via walkie-talkies) that are the stupid ones. When their connection cuts out Dreadnautilus is shown to be quite clever.
And now Dreadnautilus has come full circle. After going rogue from Seanet's influence, he was defeated by Draaainage. Resurrected for the Loser's League Rumble minus most of his brain as Squidiot, he now appears to be completely unable to fend for himself and now actually needs his radiomen.
Eldritch Abomination: Heart of Darkness, From Hell, and Swanmass. The management promises this won't happen in Zoofights VI, but you never know.
Enemy Mine: A recurring trope for the entire series.
Zoofights 1 - First, Mechos the giant squid teams up with The Red Banana, a Russian gorilla. Later, they join Hulkaphant Plus, Sega Gorillesis, Porky Punisher, The Steed of the Savannah, and 12,000 radioactive tarantulas to fight Swanmass.
Zoofights 3 - Gravatee, Steamcrab, Two Drunk Guys, and Bisondreadnought team up to face From Hell.
Zoofights 4 - Shaolin Monkey, Wrasslopod, Once Were Walrus, The Penguin, Raptorcycle, Wolfbike, Cheetahbike, and Dogbike team up to face Elohim. Subverted hilariously when Ned Killy responds to Dred Zeppelin's peace offering with a steel girder to the face.
Zoofights 5 - Ro-Boto Cop and Sega Gorillesis Mk II become friends and form a tag team.
Face-Heel Turn and Heel-Face Turn: The majority of Zoofights entrants are pretty amoral, but there are examples of some characters deciding to switch teams for one reason or another, like the occasion when Two Drunk Guys turned their back on their once-ally The Greatest Shark on Earth in Zoofights 3.
Zoofights 5 - Hero character Dreadnautilus is corrupted by Seanet and goes rogue.
Zoofights 6 - Sawz of the Mangolin' Pangolins, after being eaten by and merging together with a hippo is seeking vengance on his brothers, who he blames for the aforementioned death.
Hope Spot: Major Failure loves this trope. Virtually every battle swings back and forth a few times. One of the most ridiculous Hope Spots in all of history was the Loser's League Royal Rumble in Zoofights 4. All of the combatants realize that Elohim is the one to beat, so they all gang up on him, but he effortlessly sweeps them aside, killing two of the five in the process. Cue Wolfbike and his new companions Cheetahbike and Dogbike, followed by incredibly awesome pictures of the fighters jumping on the "Zoobikes", including a glorious Enemy Mine that shows Slammonite and Wolfbike putting aside their differences and teaming up and one of the downed warriors returning through a dimensional void from an alternate universe where he was stronger... And in the next drawing Elohim effortlessly kills them all... all but ONE, Once Were Walrus, who gives us ANOTHER Hope Spot, which also ends in brutal annihilation by Elohim.
Name-checked in V, Sting Kong vs. Barbarrimundi. The moment labeled "HOPE SPOT" is when Sting Kong manages to get in a serious strike on Barbarrimundi. The Hope Spot is shown to be your average Hope Spot when Barbarrimundi won anyway. There's also Wolfbike's reappearance in the Snakefights final as he falls to earth as a meteor... and burns to ashes on reentry.
Joke Character: Wolfbike, A Cat With One Leg, Bikebike, A Jar of Frog Piss
In an interview about Zoofights 5, Major Failure gives a few hints of upcoming fighters. One of the creations he names is a psychic onion, which promptly started much joking and hypothesizing among the readers. However, once actually revealed, The European Onion proved to be no joke at all.
Loophole Abuse: Several times, competitors have smuggled in what the narrator refers to as "illegal" weaponry - and won with it. Examples include Imperaptor in the very first fight of Zoofights 4 and Centipope in a Loser's Bracket battle. But despite the weaponry being "illegal", both animals did not for an instant get in trouble, and neither did their sponsoring teams of humans. Apparently the weapons were more "unexpected" than anything else.
One of the rules of Zoofights is "No humans." In Zoofights V, the British team attempt to circumvent this with Smash Gordon, who is a neanderthal and thus doesn't quite count.
Made of Iron: The majority of competitors. Tends to become literal by the last few rounds.
Whos this then coming along when I'm building a boat then lets have a look where are my nails I have a boat to build I'm BUILDING a BOAT I think they'd look ok on a boat, that boat I'M BUILDING. I want to be the CAPTAIN, I'm GONNA BUILD IT. BUT I'VE LOST MY NAILS bet they've got them...
Mecha-Mooks: The Zoofights 4 space station Gravitas Shortfall employed several dozen Mecha-Ants, which were built to repair the ship in the event of an accident. They are also equipped with laser guns to defend the station should it come under attack.
Mêlée à Trois: Zoofights 1's Royal Rumble. Zoofights 4 had a Royal Rumble, but it degenerated into a two-sided conflict instantly when everyone teamed up to fight Elohim.
Zoofights 5 continued with this tradition, this time having all 8 entries at each other's necks.
Only Sane Man: Zoofights 5 - The Sturgeon General and The Snapture are considerably more intelligent and aware than the other 14 competitors. While The Snapture can read, write, and speak (rare for a Zoofighter), and the Sturgeon General is very calculating and resourceful, the other competitors are handicapped to various degrees by things like extreme hatred, deep patriotism, brainwashing and conditioning, insanity, dumb radio operators, low mental capacity, and copious ammounts of alcohol.
People's Republic of Tyranny: North Korea is still like this, even in Zoofights. Their entrant to Zoofights 5, Great Leap Forward, furthers the "we're nice people" lie.
Promoted Fanboy: You like Zoofights? You can draw? Well then come aboard - Major Failure's always looking for a helping hand. One good example is the user Empty Sandwich. He works with clay, and made models of some of the fighters in Zoofights 3 and 4. Come Zoofights 5 he now contributes directly to the fights, with his modeling work appearing in Croctopus vs. Pride and Prejudice, Sting Kong vs. Barbarrimundi, Great Leap Forward vs. The Snapture, and Captain Croctopus vs. Sturgeongrad
Zoofights 5's round two match between Punchules the Magnificent and Banebarrimundi contained several Batman references, specifically "I WILL BREAK YOU". Remarkably fails to take down Punchules, who has a spare spine that he uses to strangle Banebarrimundi.
In Zoofights 5, Major Failure at one point notes that the Zoofights corporation has received a large number of cigars as a "gift" from the BRUT-05 team. He then encourages everyone to smoke. A dozen or so roleplayers obligingly edited their role-play pictures to make their characters smoke.
Actually started earlier with Smash Gordon vs. Sturgeon General. a few people voted for Smash's more-intelligent bulldog Nelson, who escaped in a rocket (until Smash's next round). After Sega and Ro-Boto's "Friendship" more Third Option votes started showing up like "BOTH FIGHTERS DIE" and "Aircraft Carrier Full Of Hate" (eventually made into a Loser's League battleground) and the organizers had to put a stop to it.
Since they're the only truly heroic characters in ZF6 there's been several friendship votes for Two Badass Pangolins and Armor Dio.
Zoofights 1 - Swanmass was eventually going to devour everything on the planet if left unchecked, thereby Taking Over The World by default.
Zoofights 3 - Jack the Ripper, using his monstrous creation From Hell.
Zoofights 4 - Both Seanet and Elohim (Accept his love - and psychic brain eggs - or be destroyed).
Zoofights 5 - Twice. The story opens with Seanet having successfully returned and taken over the planet. They make an attempt to keep their hold over the earth by hijacking Aggronaut's mind, but failed. Later, Gamma Constrictor altered reality to make himself a god-king, perhaps intending to take on Seanet after squashing what was left of the Zoofighters.
Zoofights 6 - It seems Kray Fish's been getting some ideas from Heart of Darkness and The Snapture has returned...
Taking You with Me: Elohim's final "screw you" to Seanet, Dred Zeppelin, Ned Killy, Jupiter, and everyone on board the ship the final battle is taking place on.
And in Zoofights V despite claims to the contrary, Dreadnautilus/Aggronaut, after supposedly being created to battle against Seanet, and whose second round upgrades included the grafted on arms of a Seanet Control Squid he slew in mortal (offscreen) combat as a show of loyalty, ended up being corrupted by Seanet and going rogue anyway. Fortunately, his opponent Draaainage nipped the problem in the bud before it got any worse.
Vodka Drunkenski: Reannimammut has vodka tanks built into him so he can drink up whenever the mood strikes.
Warrior Heaven: Drillbjorn's ultimate goal is to die in glorious combat so that he can ascend to one. Briefly visited during Zoofights V during the final round, caused by Gamma Constrictor's eldritch energies. Steamcrab and Iron Manatee even comment on the fight.
Round 2, Fight 4 - GUESS WHAT NOW THIS IS HAPPENING.
Royal Rumble - SO LET'S ADD TEN MORE.
Final - A wham word. SUCKERS
Worthy Opponent: Zoofights 3, semifinal 1. After the gentlemanly Gravitee defeats the equally dapper Krustus, rather than blasting the crab to pieces Gravitee breaks a coolant pipe on the ship they're fighting on to preserve Krustus and keep him alive for later alterations. This turned out to be a very good decision on Gravitee's part.