The Spiny

Where's Kuribo's Shoe when you need it?
The Spiny is a stock enemy type common in those platform games where enemies can be dispatched with the Goomba Stomp or sometimes some other form of close-range attack. Put simply, The Spiny, rather than taking damage from being stomped, damages you instead. After you've been trained to squish your foes, The Spiny forces you to rethink things. A true Spiny will still be vulnerable to some alternate form of attack; otherwise, you've got an Invincible Minor Minion on your hands. The Spiny is usually covered in spikes, flame, arcing electricity, or something else obviously harmful to visually justify its ability to hurt you from below.

A variety includes semi-spinies which are vulnerable to only some parts of the body or who periodically retract their spines (or other that kind of stuff).

The Spiny is a mobile form of Spikes of Doom. Related to Kung-Fu Proof Mook.


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    Comic Books 
  • The Porcupine from Marvel Comics combined this schtick with being able to shoot off his spines, fire sleep gas from some of them (hollow tubes, likely), and otherwise be augmented by his spiky powered armor. That is, until after he had a Heel-Face Turn followed by dying after falling on one of his own broken-off spikes.

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros. has the Trope Namer, a red and yellow animal covered in spikes that you couldn't stomp, but could kill with fireballs or a koopa shell, as well as its counterpart, the Buzzy Beetle (an enemy that cannot be killed with fireballs, but can be non-fatally stomped on or taken out with a koopa shell).
    • Similarly, Super Mario Bros. 2 has the Porcupo to thwart the game's Cranium Ride feature. Mercifully, they move slowly.
    • Boss Bass in Super Mario Bros. 3 will swallow Mario whole if he attempts to jump on him - or if Mario just happens to be in its way.
    • Super Mario World also introduced Spike Tops and Bony Beetles, which were immune not only to jumps (temporarily, in the case of Bony Beetles), but Mario's fireballs as well. They could be taken out with a cape swing.
    • Both Super Mario Galaxy games have helmeted Goombas. They don't hurt you if you bounce on them, but it can throw you off balance and possibly make you fall from the platform you're standing on. To defeat them, you have to spin-attack them to flip them over, then jump on their undersides.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 has the Pupdozers, which can only be killed by Ground Pounding them from underneath via flippable gravity-reversing platforms. Thankfully, these enemies only appear in the one area where these platforms are found.
    • In Paper Mario, Mario's two standard attacks are jump and hammer, and many enemies are immune to one or the other. The ones immune to jump attacks are almost always things covered with spikes, such as Spiky Goombas and Spike Tops, while the ones immune to hammering are usually flying.
      • The Spear Guy is an enemy that can alternate its immunity based on whether its spear is pointing up (no jumping) or forward (no hammering). It often changes in response to Mario hitting it with whatever attack it wasn't guarded against.
      • Spiked Parabuzzies have both spikes and wings. However, they only appear in levels after you've acquired the Spike Shield badge, which allows you to jump on The Spiny without taking damage (unless it's a Fire Bubble; you need the Ice Power badge for that.)
      • Who can forget Jr. Troopa, who willed himself to grow wings AND spikes just to beat you! (Mercifully, he's at half-health the first time...)
      • The Hammer Throw badge thankfully allows you to hit any enemy in the entire game, provided your attack is high enough to pierce the enemy's defense.
    • The Paper Mario games also feature the actual Spiny, which serves its usual purpose in the first game, but also gains a new move in the second game where it rolls up into a completely impervious ball, and can't be damaged until it unrolls in the next turn.
      • But the worst are the Bristles from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Spikes on top AND on the sides, and with a defense of 4, even with the Spike Shield badge, a normal jump attack won't be able to damage them unless you can increase your attack power by at least 2. The normal ones have only 2 HP and can easily be defeated by a POW Block, but the Dark Bristles in the Pit of 100 Trials are far more durable. Fortunately, the Spike Shield badge does prevent them from poking Mario when he uses a hammer attack.
    • You get the chance to invert this in Paper Mario: Sticker Star with the Spike Helmet sticker, which harms enemies who try to jump on Mario (Assuming they're not made of metal or stone). Notably, it's a One-Hit Kill against the giant Cheep-Cheep boss if jumps on Mario after it inflates itself (Though the resulting explosion hurts a lot).
    • In Super Mario RPG, you can damage Spinies in battle with punches and fireballs, but Jump attacks do 0 damage. Equipping the Jump Shoes remedies this.
    • All of the Mario & Luigi games in the series has this sort of enemy, usually introduced early after The Goomba (except Partners In Time, where the Spiny Shroopa appears a little later after the babies get their hammers).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog has several such enemies and a semi-spiny, where only parts of them are covered with spikes. Most can be dealt with by rolling into them or by waiting until a specific moment to jump on them. Sonic the Hedgehog 3's Marble Garden Zone features a subversion in Spiker, an enemy that closely resembles the ubiquitous Spikes of Doom but whose spikes you harmlessly bounce off.
    • Those goddamned Caterkillers. If you hit them in the wrong place, you not only lose your rings, but they also split into deadly pieces.
      • Kind of like Yadrin from Spring Yard Zone, a pink robot with spikes on it's back.
    • Some Spinies, such as Orbinauts(the ones that don't shoot their spikes), are Invincible Minor Minions unless Sonic has invincibility equipped.
      • At least until the third game, where a well timed doublejump (which activates the split second shield) will kill them.
    • Odd, considering the hog himself has spikes on his back.
    • In some later games, some Badniks and other robots have ways of defending themselves against Homing Attacks. One example is Anton, an enemy from Sonic CD whose reinterpretation in Sonic Lost World has the saddle on its back as Sonic's Homing Attack target, causing Sonic to get trapped on it if he tries to use the Homing Attack.
  • Legend of Zelda has electric enemies that will hurt Link if he hits them with his sword. Some only use their electricity intermittently, while others always have it on, forcing Link to use other weapons to stun or kill them.
  • Donkey Kong Country has Zingers, and their expies, Buzzes. The red ones are Invincible Minor Minions, but the rest can be killed with invincibility or by throwing something at them.
    • Other enemies like the porcupines have to be rolled into head-on. And the Klaptrap must be jumped on (rolling is a basic attack in DKC.) One memorably designed level in the second DKC game features a series of small platforms, each of which has a Porcupine and a Klaptrap on it, forcing the player to use two different attacks to defeat the two enemies in a very small space.
      • Donkey Kong Country Returns has a spinning tiki enemy that serves the same purpose as the original Zinger, even named "Tiki Zing" in tribute.
    • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has Snomads with horned helmets. While jumping on these hurts you, rolling into them doesn't (unless they are also holding a spear), and Cranky's pogo cane is able to bypass this protection and hurt them.
  • There are enemies of this kind in both Wario Land 4 and Shake It. The ones in Wario Land 4 are actually called Spinies by Mario Wiki, and the ones in Shake Dimension are Bumbleprods or something.
  • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back offered several varieties of The Spiny, to accommodate the fact that the player could perform several types of attacks. For example, a basic turtle could either have the sides of his shell laced with deadly spikes (making the full-frontal spin attack impossible), and another could have a spinning sawblade on its back instead (which prevents players from defeating the enemy by jumping). Some enemies even switch back and forth between these two modes, especially in later levels of the game. There's even a third mode, tall enemies with spikes on their head and neck, forcing you to slide into them.
  • Variant: Scarfies in the Kirby series show you that not all problems are solved by eating them. Trying to inhale them causes them to turn into a cyclopean beast that homes in, tries to bite you, and eventually explode for whatever reason. They aren't completely invincible, any other of Kirby's attacks can get rid of them.
    • Gordos are the more traditional spiky Collision Damage variant, but they're completely invincible.
    • From Kirby's Adventure onwards, Kirby could inhale and swallow thorny enemies to gain the Needle power and turn himself into a Spiny. However, Kirby can't move while the spikes are out.
  • Spelunky features carnivorous plants, which are invulnerable to the Goomba Stomp and will instantly kill you if you try it unless you have the Spike Shoesnote . The HD remake also includes devils, which hurt you even if you're wearing Spike Shoes.
  • Some Pokemons like Drifblim have the Aftermath ability, which hurts your Pokémon after you've knocked it out.
    • Others, including the incredibly common Tentacool, have the Liquid Ooze ability. If you use a draining move like Leech Seed or Giga Drain, instead of healing your own Pokémon like the move usually does, it damages your Pokémon instead.
    • And then there's Carvanha, Sharpedo, Druddigon, and the Gible family's (hidden) Rough Skin ability, and also Ferroseed and Ferrothorn's Iron Barbs abiity, which deals damage whenever a "direct attack" is used. Other Pokémon have abilities that occasionally deal status effects to the opponent when hit with a direct attack, such as Pikachu's Static (paralysis) and Nidoran's Poison Point.
  • Gabyoalls in the Mega Man (Classic) series - small robots patrolling a floor that are immune to the default Mega Buster and try to crash into Mega Man. They're usually destroyable with Robot Master weapons, but that uses up limited weapon energy.
  • Porcupines in The Lion King. However, if Simba roars at them first, they roll over.
    • Level 5 includes one in a narrow path where you're pursued by a boulder. You're going to lose a lot of lives if you don't notice you can also roll into them, Fridge Logic be damned.
  • Frost Bite only features two attacks, and certain enemies are immune to each (though never both.) Fitting the trope, those that are immune to the Goomba Stomp have spines and deal Collision Damage when jumped on.
  • Spiked snails in An Untitled Story can only be defeated with fire (or ice, if underwater).
  • The plug-shaped enemies in Purple hurt player if they try jumping on them. They pose no threat, however, as you can merely kill them with your most basic frisbee.
  • Battletoads has the Spikeback, an Invincible Minor Minion which looks and moves very much like the Super Mario Bros. Spinies (though, being yellow, it looked more like fries to Arino).
  • Inverted in I Wanna Be the Guy, where there is only one type of enemy in the game you can Goomba Stomp: the Bullets Bill that the Snifit fires at you (and only so you can Goomba Springboard them).
  • In Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, there are several types of spiny monsters: the beetle-like enemies that the first boss summons, which are capable of retracting their spikes; inflatable dragons in the sunken Precursor city, spiky ice Mooks in the Snowy Mountain and the creatures that come out of the Dark Eco silo during the final boss battle. None of them can be killed by melee attacks while they're spiky.
  • In The Little Mermaid, urchins are the one enemy type that can't be trapped or even stunned by Ariel's bubble attack.
  • While not technically unkillable, the Clannfear in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion have a Reflect Damage effect, which causes you to take part of the damage dealt to the creatures, while still damaging them. Similarly, the Daedroth and Xivilai can make use of Reflect Damage spells at the beginning of a battle, in addition to several enemy characters having such spells, like Mankar Camoran.
  • Certain helmeted spiders in The Fancy Pants Adventure: World 3 cannot be damaged by a simple Goomba Stomp like most other Mooks. Instead, you have to run and slide toward them, whack them with your pencil, or just jump higher. Additionally, pirates can deflect stomps from above or slashes from the front with their swords; damaging them requires taking the right action to hit their exposed spot.
  • In various Spyro the Dragon games, Giant Mooks are immune to Charge Attacks while Heavily Armored Mooks are immune to Flame attacks. Thankfully, most of the time you just need to switch attacks: flame giants and charge armored enemies. Occasionally, though you run into Demonic Spiders that are both giant and armored. To beat them you have to find a way to power up one of your attacks.
  • The Smurfs (1994): Porcupines are dangerous to touch even when jumping.

    Real Life 
  • According to the Roman writer Vegetius soldiers with spikes on their shoulders and helmets were used against War Elephants.
  • Real Life animal (and plant) Spinies are too numerous to list. Being covered with something nasty is a very popular survival strategy.