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Whack A Monster
Whenever that hole in the floor isn't the home of a Bottomless Pit, it's the home of a monster. And when there's a lot of holes in the floor, you're probably in the company of this type of monster. Emphasis on fighting these guys is on speed, as you only have so long before they throw something at you and scurry back into hiding. Thankfully, if it isn't a boss these monsters die quickly. May overlap with Puzzle Boss. Non-boss forms can quickly cross into the realm of the Goddamned Bats.

Variations include:
  • Multiple 'moles' pop up, and only one can be hit for damage. Hitting the wrong mole may provoke counter attacks in order to de-emphasize Area of Effect attacks. This type often happens with Doppelganger Spins.
  • The monster that you must kill is above ground but cannot be hurt, and only hitting the 'mole' will allow you to attack it directly.
  • There are no holes. The monster just pops up in a random spot. Usually done by monsters that teleport.
  • In RPGs, all the holes can be targeted, but only one contains the monster. These holes will almost always invoke counterattacks when hit, and your targeting does not track the monster should it move.
  • You can't kill the monster. You have to seal up the holes instead.

Examples:

  • Real Life example: Whack-A-Mole, of course!
  • Parodied in episode 29 of Smile Pretty Cure!. The Akanbe are the moles and Majorina gets to play the game normally. Cure Happy, on the other hand, had her set of moles either block, dodge, retaliate, or refuse to come out at all. So, she settles to do a Pretty Cure Happy Shower to force them out, stun them, and hit them until time runs out. See it here.
  • Sandworm from Final Fantasy V
  • Ultros from Final Fantasy VI, during the opera house battle. Ultros regains hitpoints when he switches locations, requiring you to whack one mole as hard as possible.
  • Phantasy Star Online has the first forms of Vol Opt and the Episode IV boss do this.
  • Zelda has used plenty of variations:
    • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link: The Dragon in the hidden palace pops out of holes in the floor to spit fire at you. You need to stab him in the head on the way up/down.
    • Extremely literally for Volvagia, in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. You even hit him with a hammer as he pops randomly from a number of holes dispersed through the arena.
      • Less literally, Phantom Ganon, also from Ocarina of Time. Substitute 'hole' for 'picture'.
    • Non-boss example: Wizrobes in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. They can create illusory copies of themselves and pop from warp point to warp point. The trick is to pay attention to the solid one. Finding the one that's gearing up to attack you helps too.
  • A variant occurs in Super Metroid. Botwoon is a snake-like miniboss that pops up from holes in the wall. To damage it you must shoot it in the head when it peeks out of one of the holes to spit projectiles at you.
  • That...incredibly suggestive-looking worm thing from Silent Hill 3. Ugh.
    • And the Caterpillar boss from Silent Hill 1, which pops up in random spots.
  • The first boss in Beyond Good & Evil has so much resemblance to Volvagia that it might as well be a Shout-Out.
  • Monty Moles in Super Mario 64's Tall Tall Mountain level, and by extension in Mario Kart 64's Moo Moo Farm level (although in that version, you can't fight them).
    • You DO get to play a Whack-a-Mole type mission with the Moo Moo Farm moles in Mario Kart DS though, in mission mode. Another variant later in the same game has you do the same with Stars and Rocky Wrenches in the Airship Fortress level.
    • Lemmy and Wendy in Super Mario World pop out of pipes along with two fakes.
    • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Pipe Vault. Whack-a-Goomba minigame.
    • In Luigi's Mansion, Luigi has to win a "Freeze-a-Jarvis" game before he can catch Jarvis.
    • Hilariously inverted in Mario Party 7 with the Minigame Monty's Revenge: The players have to pop their heads out of the holes for as long as possible without getting whacked by the moles.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. there is a Whack-a-Monty! minigame.
    • In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Roy Koopa's battle in the world 2 castle is an inverted version of this, with him moving around via pipes on the ceiling and dropping down to attack. You have to jump just before he hits the ground to avoid the shockwave, and then jump on him, otherwise he blasts Mario with magic while Mario can't run or dodge.
  • Some mole noises in The World Ends with You have the ability of digging away and pop up in either of the two screens. Normally it changes screens when you manage hit him before it leaves a bomb and hides again.
  • The Super Scope game Mole Patrol.
  • Star Fox Adventures features monsters like this in the "Crater" area. But it isn't enough to whack them over the head—you have to stun them to expose their weak point first.
  • You don't really find any holes for them in Final Fantasy XI, but when those black Antlions do pop up, they hurt like hell. They also stay above ground after the ambush. The brown Antlions always stay above ground, however. Of course, the game also has worms, which only move through popping in and out of the ground.
  • Traditionally, the first form of Dracula in most of the 2D Castlevania games is an example of a teleporting mole.
  • Mission 23 of Magical Battle Arena, where an infinite number of Gadget Drones pop in and out of the sand and you have to see how many you can smash before the time is up. Naturally, you control Vita for this mission.
  • In Sonic Adventure, it's revealed that Eggman has a whack-a-Sonic game. Amy has to beat the high score to unlock the prison door.
  • One of the best NES Powerpad games was essentially whack-a-mole with a different skin. In Eggsplode, you were a dog who had to protect a hen house from foxes that would try to blow up the chickens with a bomb (awesome, I know!). Points for stepping on the Powerpad where a bomb was, loss of life for stepping on a chicken that had laid an egg. Came as a multi-cart with Short Order.
  • Ōkami has a minigame like this that does feature moles. There's a ring of holes, and you need to headbutt the leader three times. You can predict where he'll pop up by the dirt clouds he sends up as he travels underground, but he's also got two or three henchmen doing the same thing to throw you off. And they speed up every time you make a successful hit. Fortunately you only ever need to do this once to fulfill a sidequest.
  • The first fortress boss in Mega Man 8 acts like this. Four parts of the ceiling, and the boss appears in one of them, along with three dummies. What makes it worse is its weakness: the Mega Ball, which is always fired at an angle.
  • Chrono Trigger had the Son of the Sun, which is surrounded by a circle of flames. Most of them provoke counterattacks, one is the boss' weak point, and they rearrange themselves on a regular basis. It's possible to attack the boss itself, but that really isn't recommended...
  • One boss in Persona 2 creates 3 mirrored illusions of herself. The illusions reflect all damage thrown at them. Also she casts berserk on the party to incite them to attack blindly. Hopefully you'll get lucky and someone will crit on her, short circuiting the battle altogether.
  • The "Dual Sockets" boss in Alien Hominid. Don't hit the pink glowing core (out of the multiple cores) in time? Prepare to be electrocuted immediately!
  • Plants vs. Zombies has a stage that lets you do this, with graves as holes. You also have the option of removing the graves/holes with a special weed.
  • The Mole Train boss in Donkey Kong Country Returns has segments like this where you have to whack Mole Miners (and their leader) off the banana-filled mine carts they hide in. Bonus points for the enemies being moles.
  • The fire dragon boss in Ys V, similar to the aforementioned Barbagia/Volvagia.
  • The final battle of the original Sonic the Hedgehog is a variation on this.
  • They pop up in Guild Wars too. A quest in pre-Searing Ascalon requires you to take them out in the fields near Ashford Abbey, and they also drop Baked Husks, required for gifts from Nick Sandford.
  • Jester Hole, the first boss of Goof Troop.
  • The Holey Moley dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D. Being a dimension warper, it can pop out of any surface in the room it's fought in, even the thin stage props and scaffolds.
  • The gofers Bud and Buzz regularly pop up in No Good Gofers, and the player is encouraged to hit them with the pinball.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, one branch of the Brotherhood of Steel's quest "Still in the Dark" has you play whack-a-mole with a computer virus by attempting to isolate it in three random terminals before it jumps again.

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