If you're an Indiana Jones
fan you probably know the scene by heart. After dodging one Booby Trap
after another on their way through the Temple of Doom
, the hero approaches the MacGuffin
he's spent the past few hours searching for, neatly resting on a pedestal and seemingly unguarded. It's tempting to grab it, but somehow he knows it's not that easy.
The prize, you see, is resting on a Pressure Plate
, and removing the payload would most likely set off yet another trap. So he ever so carefully swaps it with something of equal weight, and the trap is none the wiser. (Just as often if not more, though, the trick fails and the trap goes off anyways so the audience can see their action escape sequence
Like Indy Hat Roll
and a handful of others, just about every instance of this trope is a Shout-Out
to the famed adventurer (see Raiders of the Lost Parody
). See also Land Mine Goes Click
when the "treasure" is a fellow human being.
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- Indiana Jones is, naturally, the Trope Maker. He performs the trick in Raiders of the Lost Ark (unfortunately the bag proves too heavy after a Hope Spot: the trap goes off, leading directly to the Indy Escape), and as mentioned above, every other example of this trope seems to be presented and/or interpreted as a reference to it.
- In the Indiana Jones parody at the beginning of UHF, George does this, carefully and dramatically weighing the sand bag in his hands before... sighing and just taking the statue (an Oscar). Somehow the trap is still triggered.
- A variation occurs in Entrapment, in which Catherine Zeta-Jones' character secures a pressure plate with chewed bubble gum before removing the jewelled mask from it.
Live Action TV
- Highlander did this in 'The Cross of St. Antoine'. Amanda was trying to help Duncan steal back a cross statue another immortal had wrongly taken. She has to use this technique to prevent the alarm going off when she removes the cross from its display.
- There is an episode of Andromeda where the characters have an Indiana Jones-esque adventure in a jungle planet. Beka steps on such a trap. They consider counterweights, but then Dylan just pushes her away from the poisonous darts.
- Variant attempt on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, in 'Grave Danger'. The glass box Nick was buried in was equipped with explosives designed to go off when pressure was removed from them. Grissom uses a backhoe to dump in a pile of dirt roughly equivalent to Nick's body weight to stop the explosion. It fails, though the dirt does muffle the blast.
- An episode of Sliders had a similar example to the above with a booby-trapped hopscotch course. Quinn uses a plank as a see-saw to drop Wade's weight in bricks onto the pressure plate, and they manage to get out of the way just before the trap activates.
- An episode of Mythbusters tested the Entrapment example of holding the pressure plate down using chewed bubble gum. That didn't work, but trying it with duct tape did.
- NCIS: Tony directly references the Trope Maker when he and Ziva have to rescue a girl on a pressure plate wired with explosives.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon magazine #5, adventure "The Stolen Power". The stolen Book of Infinite Spells is protected by a pressure plate trap. If the Book is lifted off without being replaced by another object of about the same weight (10-15 lbs.), the trap will release Knockout Gas.
- Also in module I4 Oasis of the White Palm. In the Crypt of Badr Al-Mosak, the Star Gem of Shah-pelar is in an area where only part of the floor is real. The rest of the floor is actually acid-filled pits covered with illusions. If the gem is removed from its pillar without replacing it with something of equal weight, the real floor sections will be covered with energy beams that will do serious damage to anyone passing through them.
- In Sam and Max Hit the Road, Sam uses this trope to steal Conroy Bumpus's toupee. It fails spectacularly, but he gets it anyways.
- In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, the way Guybrush replaces a book for another over the bed of Governor Phatt is exactly the same way Indiana Jones replaces a sandbox for an idol in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Use of this technique is necessary to acquire one of the Chao eggs in Sonic Adventure; it's in a room where the exit locks when the egg is removed, and it needs to be replaced with an egg-shaped rock.
- One of Etsuko's minigames in Incredible Crisis involves having to do this with a golden pig, swapping the right amount of groceries in and out of her shopping bag to equal the weight.
- Various pressure plate traps abound in the dungeons of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. However, a fast player can swap out the treasure with something of equal weight. Whether or not it works depends on how good you are.
- Uncle Mimic of the Shantae series tells a story in the second game of how he looted some treasure by emptying the contents of his bowels onto the pressure plate.
- The player does this in the first Resident Evil game and its remake, thanks to finding imitations of keys and shotguns and such, replacing the original ones from their perches.
- In the Discworld game, Rincewind tries to switch his money bag (filled with sand) with a jewel at a temple. As usual with this trope, it fails.
- Edwin Lindsay's chapter in Eternal Darkness features a room with a bronze bracelet guarded by a naga statue. Taking the bracelet causes the doors to close and the naga to spit darts at Lindsay. To progress, Lindsay must replace the bronze bracelet with a worthless iron bracelet discovered earlier. Appropriately, this is very much an Indiana Jones expy chapter.
- A delayed version in Futurama: When Leela rescues the head of Lucy Liu from KidNappster.com (which is using her to illegally download copies of her brain into robots) she sets off the Pressure Plate sensor, so Leela replaces Liu's head with Madeline Albright's.
- In Phineas and Ferb episode "We Call it Maze", Ferb does this in order to get a key to help through a maze. He even temporarily dons Indie's trademark hat and coat while he does it.
- The Daring Do book Rainbow Dash reads in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features the Indy-Expy heroine making a dramatic show of getting ready for the swap, only to just take the idol off the platform without bothering to put down a replacement.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, Jackie is shown doing it in a museum to make off with a talisman, while Viper instead uses high-tech to steal a diamond. Satchel Switcheroo ensues.
- In Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, Barbie tries this to remove the Dreamhouse's CPU. She grabs a Bag of Holding, pulls a guitar, an anvil, and a lamp out of it, then tries to slide the bag onto the CPU's platform. The bag proves heavier than the CPU, causing a giant Barbie styling head to pursue Barbie, Midge, and Summer.