Saddle up, pard'ners! note
A video game trope, mostly related to Platform Games
A Powerup Mount is sort of like a powerup item plus Mon
. It is an animal (usually adorable
) that the main character can ride on. Riding on a powerup mount usually does one or more of the following:
- Grants another hit point in the case of a One-Hit-Point Wonder. Usually, getting hit while on it will kill it or cause it to flee.
- Gives the player an alternate means of travel. Faster running, flight, gliding, digging, climbing, riding on lava, and swimming are all typical examples.
- Gives the player a new means of attack related to the steed: long tongue for lizards, fire for dragons, boxing gloves for kangaroos, and so on.
Will overlap with Horse of a Different Color
- Yoshi is such a classic example that the trope used to be named after him.
- He's been a power-up mount in Super Mario World, Super Mario Sunshine, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U. The gameplay is generally the same in all games though there are some variations in each. In Super Mario World, for example, Yoshi can be carried over after clearing a level, which is not the case for the subsequent 2D games where he'll leave his master as soon as the ending flagpole is touched; and even in the SNES game, he cannot join Mario or Luigi during a Ghost House, Fortress or Castle (instead, he waits outside until the departing character clears the level or loses an extra life). In Super Mario Sunshine, Yoshi cannot touch water or he'll disappear, which can complicate things a lot in certain cases.
- Yoshi's Island is the inverse of this: you play as Yoshi himself and his friends, as they carry baby Mario on their backs.note The creators also thoughtfully included a Powerup Mount for Yoshi, in the form of a large dog named Poochy. The dog carries his passengers across spikes and lava and things, but has a fairly steep learning curve for controlling it.
- In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, your Yoshi partner is a Cute Boisterous Bruiser with the strength to carry a plumber three times his size.
- Downplayed with Yoshi in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Yoshi can flutter jump, use his tongue as a hook to swing over wide bottomless pits and to eat enemies, and transform into Dash/Light/Balloon forms as power-ups. However, this is one of the few Mario games in which Yoshi does not provide an extra hit point at all, so taking a hit will result in both Mario/Luigi losing a health wedge/life, and Yoshi fleeing.
- Plessie from Super Mario 3D World can carry all four player characters and race through river levels. Incidentally, Plessie even resembles a big orange Yoshi.
- Rush from the Mega Man series predates Yoshi, and is possibly the Ur Example of this trope. Throughout the games, Rush has been a spring board, a jet sled, a mini-submarine, three types of Powered Armor, a digging tool, a motorcycle, and a space capsule. Most of his forms have provided their own weapon, or altered Mega Man's Arm Cannon.
- The dinosaurs from the Adventure Island series.
- The animal buddies in Little Nemo The Dream Master. Some of them had added a touch of Nightmare Fuel, since in many cases, Nemo would ride them by crawling into their mouth, giving the appearance of wearing their skin.
- Louie the Rabbit, and then later the other Charaboms (especially Pommy) from the Bomberman series.
- In some games, there were several different colors of Louies that provided different abilities. Super Bomberman 4 on the Super Famicom also let you ride certain enemy characters once you'd defeated them.
- Saturn Bomberman exchanges the Louies for dinosaurs. Their name is "Tirra", if Bomberman Fantasy Race is to be believed, but Saturn Bomberman itself makes no such suggestion.
- The many animal buddies from the Donkey Kong Country series that are acquired by breaking crates. The most famous are Rambi the Rhino for land stages, and Enguarde the Swordfish for underwater levels. In comparison, DK Jungle Climber inverts the trope. Diddy Kong is a power-up RIDER that Donkey Kong can launch off of his back to hit enemies from afar. He also gets an extra hit point out of the deal.
- Various buddies such as seahorse, anglerfish and bunny in The Legendary Starfy series.
- The bizarre wasps and other creatures in Awesome Possum.
- Rick, Coo and the rest of the Animal Friends from Kirby, and even King Dedede himself in Kirby 64.
- Also, the Helper Wheelie in Kirby Super Star Ultra: If Kirby splits off the Wheel power, the Wheelie it creates has a cowling and handlebars (unlike every other Wheelie in the game), and Kirby will ride it if he jumps on top. If you're playing two-player mode, Player Two (the helper) will control the motion, and Player One (Kirby) can fire short-range stars at enemies; otherwise, the player will control the motion but be unable to shoot stars.
- In Kirbys Return To Dreamland, it's possible for Kirby and friends to ride each other, which allows them to utilize a Combination Attack when all four of them are stacked up in a tower. There's also a more traditional example in Landia, who serves as a mount for the Unexpected Shmup Level.
- Darksiders allows you to obtain Ruin, The Horseman of War's mount.
- Camels and alligators in Castle Crashers.
- The Golden Axe series has always featured rideable animals called Bizzarians.
- The Remake made this the entire point of the game.
- The red dragon (that shoots fireballs) is an absolute Game Breaker, which is probably why you only get it on one level.
- The NES version of The Empire Strikes Back has the Tauntaun which makes Luke much faster, and gave him increased jumping abilities.
- Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back has two parts where Luke can ride a Tauntaun for faster movement. The Tauntaun has its own life meter and once it died, you have to go the rest of the way on foot.
- In Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Abe can ride a creature named Elum in certain areas. They cut him out of the sequel because he caused so much lag.
- In Gun Smoke, one of the powerups is a donkey, which you ride. It definitely increased the number of hits you could take above one, that's saying something.
- Rayman gets to ride a mosquito a couple of times in his self-titled game. First you have to defeat it, then you get to use it all throughout a few levels.
- Rayman 2 has the Walking Shells, essentially missiles with legs that chase after the player on sight and can be ridden to advance through the level.
- Also in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, you get to ride Globox a couple of times after he's drunk plum juice.
- Guild Wars: You have to ride in Junundu Worms to get across The Desolation in Nightfall. Your Health, Energy, and skillbar are all replaced with Junundu Worm stuff when you enter it. Also, you have to prove your worth by defeating the Junundu Queen before being able to ride one.
- The Crash Bandicoot games produced by Naughty Dog have one such animal per game, with two levels in each game dedicated entirely to riding them through their respective obstacle courses (an unnamed wild boar in Crash Bandicoot, Polar the polar bear in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Pura the tiger, along with a baby T-Rex in Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped).
- In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, Spyro can ride on a manta ray underwater to shoot some Rhynocs in submarines.
- Metal Slug has these feature prominently enough to be named after one - granted, most of these are adorable military vehicles, but the series features ridable animals from time to time, ranging from camel to elephant to donkey. Unlike vehicles, riding an animal leaves the player exposed to enemy fire and may sometimes be a liability.
- Not a powerup, but Genji the turtle acts like this for Reimu Hakurei in early Touhou games.
- Sabrecats in the Dragon Quest series, like chocobos, have served simultaneously as enemy, party member, and transportation.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda Oracle games let Link choose among a boxing kangaroo named Ricky, a blue flying bear named Moosh and a friendly swimming Dodongo named Dimitri as steeds for him. The choice is permanent, so Link cannot use all three.
- Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask and  have the fast-galloping and leaping horse Epona. The latter game also inverts the trope whenever Link turns into a wolf, in whose case Link is the Powerup Mount, for the dark imp Midna. In this formation, the two can can leap to high ledges, teleport and use a homing attack to wipe out several enemies at once.
- Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg has three: Rikol the kangaroo-lion who can jump quite high and spit fireballs, Datch the sheep-ostrich who can glide and has a green-charged attack... thing, and Kaboot the shark who averts your Super Drowning Skills and has a body-slam attack. They can also sustain several hits of damage, instead of just one.
- Any Pokémon able to learn Surf or Fly falls into this.
- In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, you can capture Doduo for faster travel on land, Floatzel or Empoleon for travel in water (the latter provides the ability to smash through icebergs) or Staraptor to teleport between towns. Staraptor will leave the party as soon as you arrive at your destination, the Water types will leave once you leave the water and Doduo can be ridden until you need to enter a building, then it will leave the party (although this can be prevented by doing something that prompts the Ranger pose action, such as a Quest).
- The sixth generation Pokémon Gogoat serves as the first true rideable Pokémon, though (as of this writing) only in Lumiose City and on one route. You can also ride Rhyhorn and Mamoswine on certain routes.
- In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], this is a common form of link attack for Sora's larger dream eater allies. It makes both him and the involved dream eater completely invincible, and allows them to ram into the opposition. Some of the dream eaters are also able to unleash one of their other attacks while being ridden.
- Non-video game example: a few of the later Mage Knight sets included rider and mount figures. When mounted, the two characters move together but have their own separate actions. At least one combination of figures that both had the Charge power was recognized as a Game Breaker.
- Ninja Jajamaru-kun has Gamapa-kun, a giant frog.
- In The Binding of Isaac killing the Headless Horseman or Conquest can drop a broom horsey that lets you fly, and charge every few rooms.
- The dragon from Deliverance: Stormlord II.
- The Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series have horses the player can ride, by either equipping a harness or unhorsing an enemy officer. Dynasty Warriors also has elephants from DW 5 on, and DW 7 adds bears.
- God of War II and III have this. In II, you can mount on a Pegasus twice during the game, starting a segment of the game made only for it. In III, you can ride Cyclops, Cerberus and Harpies, which are "normal" enemies, but that can destroy other enemies when commanded by you. After the ride ends, Kratos kills them.
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow has four kinds of mounts available: Swamp Troll, Giant Spider, Warg, and Pan (Using a horse form), the former three being enemies that are encountered many times during the story, but that can only be mounted after getting the Spiked Chain upgrade, and Pan, who is ridable only in the second mission of the game. When mounting enemies, they are invincible, and can (and must) be used to completely thrash other enemies and help Gabriel cross certain obstacles that he couldn't cross on his own, and like the above example, after using them, Gabriel kills them.
- Medal of Honor of all series got in on this in Rising Sun, the protagonist mounting an elephant with a saddle-mounted machine gun. It sounds like it should have been awesome, but sadly it ended up being a rather frustrating Rail Shooter section; the elephant saunters along at barely the player's walking pace, blithely unconcerned by the amount of lead flying around from several directions at once, and you have no cover whatsoever.
- In Sheep Happens, sheep, as the name implies, are all over the track and can be ridden on. Perseus can't glide while riding one, but it gives him an extra hitpoint. The Christmas update introduces bouncy black sheep that bounce instead of run. Pressing the jump button makes them bounce prematurely.
- In Low G Man, you can take over various vehicles from the Mecha-Mooks. All provide special abilities, and absorb hits at the cost of fuel.
- In Dante's Inferno, Dante occasionally uses his scythe to take control of Beasts. Dante is effectively invincible during these sequences with the only threat being other demons trying to reclaim control of the Beast. The Beast will curbstomp the rest of the enemies with ease. At one point Dante will also use the Scythe to take control of Phylegas, a huge firebreathing rock demon that he just fought as a boss. To highlight how huge Dante's new mount is, Beasts are mice compared to it. Unlike other games that use this mechanic, Dante doesn't kill his mounts after their usefulness has ended. The environment does that for him. Hell is pretty dangerous after all, even for demons.
- Disgaea Dimension 2 replaces the Magichange system of the previous titles with this, allowing a humanoid unit to ride on a monster unit's back or shoulders to boost their performance and enable the use of a Combination Attack. Naturally, it looks a little awkward when done with one of the humanoid monsters like the Succubus or Nekomata...