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Catapult to Glory
Who knew The Avengers would make such great projectiles?

When Siege Engines are loaded with people rather than rocks/bombs/plague victims. Usually in the context of a siege, so as to get attackers on a walltop quickly, or to give particularly tough characters a Dynamic Entry. See also Fastball Special, Abnormal Ammo.

Title comes from a Darwin Award (that isn't about this, but a Tree Buchet-induced death).

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • The Knight Sabers of Bubblegum Crisis 2040 launch into battle via a magnetic mass driver in their base.
  • This is the main way of transportation of the titular Samurai Pizza Cats, and they do this Once per Episode.
  • Yugi-Oh: "With my Catapult Turtle, I launch my Dragon Champion at your castle..."

Comic Books
  • Astérix and Cleopatra has this twice: once as an accident, a Roman soldier lands on the boulder loaded in the catapult just as it fires, the second is deliberate, Asterix loads himself into one to escape from the Romans.
  • Lanfeust uses this method to get a troll onto a wall quickly.

Film
  • Robin and Azeem do this as part of a Big Damn Heroes in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
    • And then parodied in Robin Hood: Men in Tights with the Sheriff of Rottingham, who gets catapulted into a very eager Latrine's bedroom.
  • Done by Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in the classic silent movie The Thief of Bagdad.
  • Used as part of the ludicrous Rube Goldberg Device transportation method in Robots.
  • Young Einstein has the titular character launch himself from a homemade catapult to test Newton's second law.
  • Mathyas in The Scorpion King stumbles into the Evil Overlord's captive scientist's laboratory during his first attack on the palace. When he asks if there is any other way out of the room, the scientist offers his newly invented catapult as an option. Apparently, he designed it for this purpose explicitly (but never really worked out the landing aspect) and he expresses regret that his boss plans to use the "transportation" device for war.
  • In Sucker Punch, during the Mordor sequence, two orcs are launched by catapult toward the girls' plane. One misses, the other is quickly shot and goes through the Turbine Blender.
  • Madmartigan against the two-headed dragon... thing in Willow.
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again. With the help of a goat, Inspector Clouseau is inadvertently launched into a castle's window via catapult and lands on Professor Fassbender's Disintegrator Ray device, disabling it and saving the day.
  • A variation occurs in Lilo & Stitch when Stitch uses an exploding tanker truck to launch himself at Gantu's spaceship.
  • A giant slingshot is one of the increasingly desperate measures the Lost Boys use in Hook to try to rekindle Peter's ability to fly.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Used as a death trap in an episode of the live-action Batman series ("Penguin Is a Girl's Best Friend"). Penguin has Batman and Robin strapped upon a catapult, with movie cameras strapped to their calves to record their flight and hard landing. The catapult will be released when a taut rope is burned through. The Dynamic Duo do manage to escape this trap through their own technology.
  • In an episode of Northern Exposure, Chris builds a trebuchet as an art project, and is looking for something to "fling" from it. First he wants to fling a cow, but Ed tells him Monty Python already did it. Chris finally settles on a piano ruined by fire, saying, "It's not the thing you fling, it's the fling itself." Then in a later episode, his mentor (who died) sends Chris his corpse...[1]

Newspaper Comics
  • In Dilbert, the Elbonians use giant slingshots instead of planes.
  • In the March 26th strip of Hägar the Horrible, Hagar is about to use a catapult to send some of his warriors over the wall of an enemy castle.
  • One Far Side strip featured a knight being flung from the catapult on a castle's parapet. The chief engineer is calmly berating the others by saying "I told you to slow down or something like this would happen".

Tabletop Games
  • From the Warhammer tabletop is the Goblin Doom Diver, a slingshot or ballista that fires goblins with pointed helmets and crude wings.
  • The Warhammer40k Orks utilize a high-tech variant in the form of gretchin-guided missiles and one possible malfunction for the Shokk Attack Gun ("move the Big Mek into base contact with the target squad and resolve as if he had charged them"). The intended function of the shokk attack gun is to fire a tiny goblin into the target via The Warp, but that's more of a Tele-Frag.
  • The fan-created Warhammer 40,000 Angry Marines have a vehicle class called the Angrinator, which fires Angry Marines directly into combat. Guns that launch Angry Marines (or giant cannons that launch vehicles filled with Angry Marines) are pretty much the only kind of ranged weapon the Angry Marines will use, as they prefer melee combat.
  • Very common in Magic: The Gathering, especially with goblins (and giants, who are always happy to help them fly).

Video Games
  • There are at least three places in World of Warcraft where you can do this:
    • One is in the first bossfight of the Ulduar raid, where the players get to control siege vehicles and fight against a giant steam-tank. A passager of the catapult-like siege vehicle can load himself in the catapult and be fired onto the boss, where he can destroy some turrets and temporarily immobilize the boss.
    • Another is in the Isle of Conquest battleground, which also features vehicles, one of which is a catapult specifically designed to do this. It has low health and no weapons, but it can be used to launch people over the walls of the enemy keep or onto their keep towers.
    • And finally, a quest in the Worgen starting zone involves hijacking a Forsaken Catapult and using it to launch yourself onto their invading ships.
  • The Soviet amphibious transport vehicle from Red Alert 3 is capable of launching (with parachutes) any infantry (which includes bears) through a cannon. There isn't any saner way to exit the craft, though.
  • The Flying-type Gym in Pokémon Black and White games requires the player to shoot himself out of cannons through the gym to reach the Leader.And the last one smashes him/her against the wall.
  • This is how Link infiltrates the Forsaken Fortress in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. He's not happy about it, though.
  • There's an ad for Warhammer Online showing an Orc doing this to clear a castle wall. Orcs being the Plucky Comic Relief race of Warhammer, he goes too low and splatters against the wall before landing on a pile of dead orcs who had no doubt tried the same thing.
    • In-game, you can fire yourself out of a Rock Lobber to get to the top of a dam in Warhammer Online's Greenskins campaign. Fortunately, the crew has had time to correct their aim.
    • In the second cinematic trailer for the game, in a real blink and you'll miss it moment, you see another Orc smash into a rooftop, presumably being fired too high this time.
  • Some multiplayer maps in Halo have Man Cannons as an alternative to teleporters.
  • God of War sees this done a couple of times throughout the series. In GoW 2, Kratos launches himself from a catapult so he can get up close and personal with the animated Colossus of Rhodes. In GoW 3, he hitches a ride on the boulder launched instead.
  • This is how Sir Dan escapes the castle he is dropping into lava in MediEvil.
  • Sly Cooper has done this on rare occasion; the one that comes to mind is in the third game, when preparing to fight the Black Baron by sabotaging his armed blimps. You of course have to GET to the blimps..
  • Sheep Raider (or Sheep Dog and Wolf), being based on Looney Tunes and Wile E Coyote Ralph Wolf, naturally has these.
  • Angry Birds is all about this. On one side, birdbrained birds and a sling. On the opposed side, evil pigs hiding in elaborate-but-not-unbreakable structures. You must smash the pigs.
  • Burrito Bison similarly uses this as its core mechanic. Bison launches himself off the wrestling ring rather than a real catapult, though.
  • The dramatic ending to the tutorial zone for Champions Online features your character carving a path through the Qular invasion into the Hall of Champions. Once there, you finally pound through to the controls for the massive cannon outside. BUT WAIT, you're undoubtedly thinking to yourself, "We've established that nothing we've tried can penetrate the mothership's shields!" Well that's when Ironclad climbs into the cannon... And he one-shots the entire mothership.
  • In Supreme Commander 2, the UEF side can build a giant artillery cannon that is also a giant factory. It builds a small army (more quickly and more cheaply than regular factories do) and fires them across the map where they parachute to the ground. It's useful for parking a force right inside an enemy base.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D, this is one of the more amusing applications of the Reality Shift function, it being used to load Pete and Beagle Boys into a cannon and fire them out of it; first blasting the latter into the former to get him to come down from his perch, then launching the former into a wall as a finisher.
  • Though a fan-made piece by Zack Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, the Team Fortress 2 map cp_smbcastle features a catapult for attacking teams to fling themselves over enemy walls. It's appropriately nonsensical and every bit as funny as it sounds to send a fat Russian man flying over a castle wall with his minigun spinning.
  • Sengoku Basara has ballistas in certain stages that can be used to launch the player across the stages, either for shortcuts or to hidden areas.
  • In the third Monster Hunter game, one of the masks your two Shakalaka companions can use is the Artillery Mask, which will produce a cannon that fires one of them at a nearby monster. It does a massive amount of damage, but completely depletes the health of whoever serves as the ammo.

Webcomics

Western Animation
  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon Knighty Knight Bugs, the Black Knight (Yosemite Sam) uses a catapult to try to launch himself into the window of a castle, but hits the castle instead.
  • Used in one episode of The Simpsons, as punishment for illegal alcohol distilling.
    • In an episode where Lisa was Joan of Arc, she persuaded the French army to use rocks instead of people in their catapults.
    Man in a catapult: I don't know how to feel right now.
  • There was a superhero named the Human Bullet in The Tick. His gimmick was to be fired out of a giant cannon.
    • The cannon even became a Chekhov's Gun (heh) in "The Tick vs The Bread Master" when it was used to generate a sonic boom large enough to detonate the villain's doomsday weapon (a giant soufflé). Naturally, The Tick himself had to be fired to generate the blast as it would have killed anyone else.
  • In South Park, the Moral Guardians protest the Toilet Humour Show Within a Show "Terrance and Phillip" by catapulting themselves against the headquarters of the network.
  • Rocko's Modern Life. Heffer thought it a good idea for Rocko to use a catapult over public trasportation so he wouldn't be late for work.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy once punished Samy this way.
  • The animated Ivanhoe had one episode about a Leonardo da Vinci -like character, who built one to test his gliding apparatus. However, his sponsor Prince John was only interested in the catapult itself, so the inventor eventually sabotaged it, buried his plans in a secret crypt, and fled the country by gliding from a cliff instead.
  • Batman again, this time in the famous episode "Almost Got 'Im", where Two-Face straps Batman to a giant penny, with the intention of catapulting it high into the air. Batman escapes, captures Two-Face, and even gets to keep the penny.

Web Original

Real Life
  • Apparently some people do this for fun.
  • While live victims were a historical rarity, its far from unheard of to catapult dead things into cities in order to spread disease, particularly if aforementioned corpse died of something infectious. The most famous example is the use of this trope by the Mongols to attempt to weaken a European city they were besieging by lobbing their own dead of bubonic plague. It worked too well—thus began the Black Death in medieval Europe, which ended up wiping out somewhere between a third and a half of the continent's population. The thing is, the besieging Mongols were themselves so ravaged by the disease, they didn't even manage to capture the city.


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