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Booby Trap

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An explosive surprise.
"Like new parents, spies take preventative measures to ensure a safe environment. Only instead of baby-proofing cabinets and electrical sockets, they use more extreme methods."

A version of the Death Trap, except instead of the good guys being put into it, they have to somehow get past it to achieve their objective. Such devices will usually gruesomely kill the first Red Shirt sent into it before the hero correctly figures out how to get past.

Otherwise, most such traps act in exactly the same way as Death Traps. Explosives are a particular favorite, as they will also destroy the installation involved. Expect a retreating character to trick a pursuer into it. Naturally a feature of the Death Course and Temple of Doom. The Trap Master has this as an M.O. and will plant such traps at every opportunity.

Closely related to the Temple of Doom is the frequent presence of booby traps as a Take That! to would-be tomb robbers. What is often left unexplained is how these elaborate booby traps are still functional after ages. There is also the question of who resets these traps whenever an unlucky adventurer meets their fate?

Also, please note that while some good guys and definitely the audience knows when and where the booby trap is, most characters just don't have these privileges. Unless they feel compelled to do things the "right" way. Booby traps, being indirect weapons, are not very discriminating about who they go off on, and are just as likely to hurt someone that you don't want hurt (or even yourself) as your enemy.

Obviously, Truth in Television. Keep in mind, however, that in most countries booby traps are illegal and if they kill someone you'll likely face jail time. This includes incidences of home invasion by a thief.

Compare and contrast Trick Bomb. If you're looking for that other kind of Booby Trap, see Marshmallow Hell.


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  • A commercial for Toyota features a seemingly Happily Married couple, who've rigged the entire house with death traps, to prevent one another from getting to their RAV-4 before the other.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: When visiting an Abandoned Hospital, Sousuke suspects that a telephone that suddenly starts to ring is a Booby Trap (when in fact, it was "just" set up to scare him and Chidori), commenting that one of his friends was killed with such a device before.
  • In Gunsmith Cats OVA Roy and a Co-worker investigate a scene and find the suspect dead. Roy Moves the body carefully to find a primed grenade waiting, he re-pins it only for his co-worker to pick up the phone. Roy screams not to touch anything. Nothing happens until The Phone is hung up.......BOOOM!
  • When Lupin and his gang go after the Zufu national treasury in Lupin III: Dead or Alive, they find it is protected against thieves by programmed Nanomachines. It beats Lupin twice before the gang is finally able to fool the traps.
  • In an early episode of Sgt. Frog, Giroro rigs the Hinata household with these to ensure no one gets in the way. This requires a quick definition which the Gag Dub makes the obvious joke on.
    Narrator: A booby trap is a bomb that's attached to something. Contrary to popular opinion, it has nothing to do with a woman's bosom...99.9 percent of the time.
  • Spy X Family: Anya tries to warn Loid about a grenade trap behind a door by drawing one. Unfortunately, her artistic skills being what they are, he thinks it's a pineapple.
  • As mentioned on the quotes page, "Booby Trap" is the title of the first episode of Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and Robotech). It refers to the SDF-1/Macross having been set up to automatically fire its Wave-Motion Gun at any Zentradi ships when they approached it.
  • In episode 136 of Tamagotchi, Adobentchi accidentally sets off three booby traps in the temple portion of the area beneath the Gotchi King's castle. The first drops what looks like a washtub on him, the second is a trip rope that makes him stumble into a trap door, and the third sends a boulder rolling at him and the rest of the gang, similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The house Paddi, Sparky, and Blady visit in Mighty Little Defenders episode 6 has one that Sparky sets off by accident, leading to him being trapped in a chamber underground where he runs on a treadmill to avoid falling in a pit of cockroaches while being subjected to a shower of water and the horrid stench of a sock. It's also in this chamber where Sparky finds a belt made by Uncle Gogoa that gives its wearer the power of increased strength.

    Card Games 
  • Hunter heroes in Shadow Era can cast some trap cards, such as "Spike Trap" that either harm or kill any monster summoned after it is cast.

    Comic Books 
  • Button Man: Harry is prety adept at making them, setting various traps in the forest near his home turf to take out all the other Button Men who are after him. Unfortunately however, his best friend Wiley walks into one by mistake.
  • During the ElfQuest "Shards" storyline, the elves follow Two-Edge's secret tunnels under the Citadel. Two-Edge (being the half-crazy engineer he is) has booby traps to supplement the obvious barriers he's planted.
  • The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers are alarmed to hear the police can break into homes without knocking, so they booby trap the apartment with falling bowling balls, high-voltage wires - then they have Fat Freddy go to the store, telling him "Don't forget to be careful coming back in". He walks along repeating the mantra...then forgets what he was going to get. He rushes back in and, well...
  • Jon Sable, Freelance: As an expert in Jungle Warfare, Sable is highly skilled at rigging booby traps. In #4, he wipes out most of the mercenary band that killed his family by rigging a deadfall at the one safe river crossing on their escape route.
  • Betty of Rat Queens carries a bag of candy mixed with poison just in case her stuff gets stolen. It pays off when she's captured by goblins who immediately gorge themselves and die.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Dr. Psycho tries to kill Steve Trevor by leaving an explosive pen on his desk. It turns out to be a rather powerful experimental explosive called an Electo-Atomizer and when Steve's secratary arrogantly reacts to Di telling her not to touch it by defiantly grabbing it, the pen atomizes most of her and the desk.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): The Themysciran hardliners set up an explosive at the memorial at Dooms Doorway, designed to go off when some of the offerings are messed with. They also frame the Bana for the explosive, which kick starts the Themysciran Civil War and leads to the abolishment of the monarchy, which is the opposite of their intended goal.
  • Y: The Last Man has a rat soaked in kerosene, set into a hole in wall of the bad guy's HQ and then set on fire.

    Comic Strips 
  • One of Bill Mauldin's World War II cartoons showed a couple of Germans rigging a disabled tank ... unaware that American troops were already close enough that they could have reached out and touched them. The caption is an American saying, "Dang clever booby trap! I kinda hate to disturb 'em..."
  • The main weapons in Spy vs. Spy, which include a gun on a tripwire, a Cartoon Bomb, a giant spring, an electrified water bucket, and a Time Bomb.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Change of Pace, the Bone Carver that builds the Stalker Shrine for the Outsider, sets up a razorwire mine to deal with the person stealing his runes. Taylor mentions it "killed her once" before she and Glory Girl bypass it to get the rune and mask.
  • Nyx's Family: Rainbow Dash expects the Tomb of the Founders to have these, but Twilight and Professor Dubious insist (correctly) that there aren't - the tomb was in constant use, and putting up traps would just endanger the ponies using it. In his efforts to point out how ridiculous the idea is, Dubious then compares it to "laying booby traps around your kitchen", and is rather dumbfounded when Rainbow Dash says she HAS had to booby-trap her kitchen from time to time (non-lethally, of course), and explains why:
    Rainbow Dash: "You've never tried to keep a batch of fresh muffins away from Derpy."
  • Sixes and Sevens: To protect the safe containing her plans, Cassandra Romulus has her office at the Arena Club outfitted with a few. An automated crossbow and an axe swinging from the ceiling are easy enough for Peggy to avoid, but she didn't expect enough explosives to level the building.
  • The Witch of the Everfree: On top of all the traps already in the Princesses' old castle, Sunset adds some new ones of her own. She also sets up a huge one for Celestia during the Summer Sun Celebration, which she repurposes for use against Nightmare Moon when it becomes clear that she actually exists. It levels half of Ponyville's town hall when it goes off.
  • Read the Fine Print (Evangelion): When Shinji joins Kensuke's camping, Kensuke decides to "secure the perimeter" around their tent. Shinji does not understand what does his new friend mean until Asuka gets caught by a tripwire.

    Films — Animated 
  • Laird set up one long ago in the castle dungeon in The Princess and the Pea. He tried to lead Rollo into it until Fearless set it off.
  • In Treasure Planet, the entire title planet is booby trapped.
  • A rare personal space variant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit has Jessica Rabbit hiding an entire Bear Trap in her gratuitous cleavage as a deterrent against lecherous men. In this case, it goes off on Greasy Weasel, after he gets too handsy with her when Judge Doom orders the Weasels to frisk Jessica for Acme's will. Jessica's unchanging expression of disinterest heavily implies this isn't even the frist time she's had to use it. Rule of Funny, Visual Pun, and Toon Physics at its finest, as acknowledged by Eddie.
    Eddie: "Nice booby trap."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Abduction of Saint Anne: To foil his would-be killers, Dave rents two motel rooms, one under his name and one under no name, and stays in the no name room. He sees two goons going into the room rented under his name and then leaving. When he carefully pushes the door open with a broom, it explodes.
  • In The Aggression Scale, Owen sets up a bunch of traps to cripple or kill the Mob assassins who invade his home in a very dark version of "Home Alone" Antics.
  • Early in Aguirre, the Wrath of God, a Spaniard exploring the jungle walks into a sling which draws him up into a tree by some unseen contraption. Moments later we see blood dripping from above, revealing that the man has met his doom, although we do not see how.
  • In Apocalypto Jaguar Paw kills Zero Wolf by impaling him on a set of spikes originally set to kill a wild boar.
  • The Beast of War (1988). The Soviet tank crew leaves one of their own comrades tied to a rock with a grenade under his head. ("If you want anything, just nod.")
  • Beware the Woods: While approaching the old woman's home, Josh and Liz come upon a tripwire. Josh pushes on it, and springs a trap that would have swung a bunch of blades in his face.
  • Blazing Saddles. The citizens of the town of Rock Ridge create a fake Rock Ridge filled with explosives as a giant trap for Hedy Lamaar's army.
  • Blown Away centers on a Mad Bomber hounding a Bomb Disposal officer by rigging booby trapped explosives. The devices are cruelly ingenious in foreseeing how the bomb squad will work. At several points the camera passes through the scene and into the workings of the bomb in what appears to be a continuous take, striking shots which highlight, almost fetishistically, the workings of the device.
  • In Botched, Boris and Dimitri rig up a booby trap in an attempt to trap Sonya, but Boris winds up caught in it himself and loses his hand.
  • Brannigan (1975). John Wayne is targeted by a hit-man who rigs up a Sawn-Off Shotgun behind his hotel room door. In case this fails, the hit-man plants a bomb in the toilet as well, knowing that a near-death experience would lead to a Bring My Brown Pants reaction. Fortunately the Duke is smart enough to dodge both traps.
  • In Buffalo Soldiers a booby trapped drop box kills Stoney. We later find out that it was set by Sergeant Lee.
  • Conan The Barbarian sets up a number of these in preparation for the Battle of the Mounds, including one calculated to take advantage of Thorgrim's penchant for smashing enemies' heads in with his big two-handed hammer, which gets the dumb brute Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
  • In Crocodile Dundee II, Mick uses a variety of non-lethal booby traps to pick off the goons hunting him and Sue in the Australian Outback. Including one that uses Sue's bra as bait.
  • In Dead Again in Tombstone, Craven is fond of setting deadly booby traps, usually involving large amounts of dynamite.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves: To get to the powerful artifact Xenk has hidden away, the party needs to cross a bridge over molten lava. Xenk is in the middle of explaining that the bridge is booby-trapped and to avoid certain death, they have to walk across it in a very specific, complicated order. And then Simon ignorantly trips it, causing the entire bridge to collapse.
  • One character in Evil Dead Trap is held captive in a room with two deadly booby traps that are set to go off once the main character finds her.
  • The Goonies: Several, including a couple examples of the Rube Goldberg Device. Data, in his broken English, calls them "Booty Traps".
  • Part of the appeal of the Home Alone series is during the final segments of the movies, watching Kevin set up some ingeniously nasty traps for Harry and Marv to stumble into. A good number of these traps, particularly in the second movie, would probably kill those who stumbled into them, but Harry and Marv are Iron Butt Monkeys, so apart from getting banged up, neither of them get fatally hurt.
  • The title house in House of Traps is crammed with these. From protruding spikes on the ground floor, to the staircase turning into blades (which an unfortunate infiltrator found out after having half of his left foot sheared off), and even if the infiltrator can leap into the air In a Single Bound (it's a Wuxia after all), the ceiling can extend spiked grates that impales anybody attempting this method.
  • Indiana Jones, being an Adventurer Archaeologist who frequently explores ancient tombs and ruins, deals with these on any given day.
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. In a Scavanger World where petrol is worth killing for, the gas tank on Max's vehicle is set to explode if anyone tries to steal from it. Two men are smart enough to avoid getting blown up; the third isn't.
  • Masked Avengers: The bad guys' lair is filled with booby traps, which cause such lovely deaths as being cut in half, shot with arrows, impaled on spikes and melted by acid.
  • Mosul (2020): Due to his established Neat Freak tendencies, Jasem accidentally sets off an explosive triggered by removing a carton weighing down a primed mousetrap, which is hooked to an ISIS-made IED.
  • In New Town Killers, Alistair has booby-trapped the stairs in his own house, as Sean finds out when he breaks in and is nearly impaled by a set of spikes that drops from the ceiling.
  • No Escape (1994): Robbins convinces the Insiders they must abandon their camp as the Outsiders come to attack, knowing they can't hold out. They leave it full of booby-traps that kill most Outsiders when they enter.
  • Predators: After he tries to kill Royce, serial killer Edwin is left as one-he's laid down with a bunch of grenades rigged beneath him that go off when a Predator pulls him up.
  • Rampage: In the second and third movies Bill Williamson starts to use booby traps against the authorities pursuing him, primarily bombs and mines.
  • In Red Dawn (1984), the Wolverines leave the dying Toni Mason's body behind for the Russians to collect, with a live grenade wedged beneath her body.
  • Replicant: Garrote rigs a bomb to his computer that is triggered by a signal sent to his printer in case the cops came looking around his apartment.
  • Rovdyr: When Jorgen is captured, he is sat on the ground and tied to a tree. Under him is a pressure plate, so when he is untied and stands up, it triggers a deadfall.
  • Run for the Sun: While being pursued through the jungle, the wilderness-wise Latimer rigs a crude bow-and-arrow booby trap that kills Jan.
  • A rare heroic example - Marv sets up a few of these for Kevin in Sin City.
  • In Sky Riders, Greek police surround a truck that they think contains the kidnappers of Ellen and her kids. But when one of them opens the doors, they turn out to be rigged to several sticks of dynamite which explode, killing six officers.
  • The Soldier (1982). The hero forces his way into the US Embassy at gunpoint and has them place a phone call to his superior in the CIA, who turns on his desklamp to take down the message. Unfortunately a terrorist has filled the bulb with a flammable liquid that explodes when the light is turned on, killing the man and preventing the Soldier from verifying his identity and passing on what he's discovered.
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: Blowing up the Enterprise with the Klingons on board.
  • In The Woman Hunt,Tony protects the camp by constructing a 'bamboo whip': a set of spikes over a long bamboo pole which is pulled back into an arc using a catch attached to a tripwire. Magda triggers the trap while trying to sneak up on the camp and catchs the spikes squarely in her stomach.

  • Adventure Hunters: Lisa and Artorius have a running bet whenever they go treasure hunting: "What do you think? Giant boulder or rushing water?"
  • In the Albert Campion novel Police at the Funeral, the solution to the mystery is that the misanthropic and depressed first victim killed himself and made it look like murder, but left booby traps all over the house that he shared with his Big, Screwed-Up Family, mostly involving poison.
  • In Awaken the Stars, Ella Som transforms her own house into one.
  • In Brothers of the Snake, a squad of Space Marines finds one portion of Dark Eldar defense particularly fierce. Breaking in, they find that the eldar had left explosives in the phosphorus mines; they lug them off before they can explode.
  • A smuggler's encampment in A Brother's Price is surrounded by such traps.
  • The English Patient is set in areas of World War II Italy that have been thoroughly boobytrapped by the retreating Axis. One of the main characters, Kip, is a sapper with the British army; the presence of unexploded bombs and mines is what brings him to the villa where the other protagonists live.
  • In the Full Metal Panic! novel "Burning One Man Force", Kurama sets up a booby trap for Sousuke in the arena, which succeeds in dislocating Sousuke's left arm, and giving Kurama the time to deliver an almost lethal shot.
  • In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Salvation's Reach, the Ghosts attack a heavily fortified Chaos facility on an asteroid. While one group stages a frontal assault as a diversion, the rest of the regiment are trying to infiltrate from the others side through sections of the facility that have been abandoned. However, the Chaos forces booby trapped all the unused rooms and teams of sappers and specially trained snipers have to go ahead of the main force and painstakingly disarm all the traps. As they get deeper into the facility, the traps get more elaborate and the soldiers get tired and start making mistakes. The success of the mission hinges on whether the Ghosts can reach their target before they run out of sappers.
  • In The Honourable Schoolboy a jeep is booby-trapped by sticking a grenade in the gas tank with a rubber band around the handle; when the gasoline eats through the rubber, the grenade explodes. Jerry Westerby, the 'schoolboy'/spy muses that such a simple device would never even be thought of in Europe.
  • Joe Pickett: In Savage Run, a pair of Eco Terrorists are killed by an improvised explosive device planted under the body of a cow.
  • In Mickey Spillane's Kiss Me Deadly, The Mafia leaves a brand new Ford for Private Detective Mike Hammer as a bribe, with several sticks of dynamite attached to the ignition. Figuring he's smart enough to figure that out, they have a second bomb hidden underneath wired to the odometer. Fortunately, Mike has a mechanic check out the car thoroughly. Later when two hitmen take him for a ride, Hammer lets them think he's missed the second bomb; the hitman driving instinctively slams on the brakes, giving Hammer a chance to overpower them both.
  • The Princess Bride Prince Humperdinck sets up a booby trap on a door knob when he plants a deadly spider nearby so anybody who opens the door will be fatally bitten. The trap fails when Fezzik panics about the possibility of a trap and simply runs through the door, smashing it off the hinges.
  • The Waste Lands. Jake Chambers gets kidnapped by Gasher and taken into the Under City past various tripwires and pressure pads that would bring down the accumulated junk on their heads. As a trained Gunslinger, Roland easily sees the traps while tracking them, but trips one of them deliberately so Gasher will hear the noise and think he's dead, putting him off guard.
  • In The Witchlands, the Nomatsi roads are packed up to brim with traps, ranging from snares and poisonous plants to spike holes and bear traps. They are marked in a way that only someone raised among the Nomatsi would notice and recognize, as their main purpose is to discourage or kill any outsider who'd wish to enter a Nomatsi camp.
  • X-Wing Series: Rogue Squadron, when the world they were hiding on was discovered, left a lot of explosive traps for the Imperials. Said Imperials did work their way through all of them, but exactly what they were trying to achieve is up in the air. They didn't need anything that had been left on that world and they knew the Rogues had already left.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of Babylon 5, Sinclair and Ivanova are exploring the planet the titular space station is orbiting. At one point the pair come across a long-dead body; Sinclair realizes the next hallway is likely trapped and throws a stone down that hall to check. Sure enough, a lot of death lasers light up that hallway.
    Ivanova: Well, that'll cut down on tourism.
  • The Mexican drug cartel in Breaking Bad sets one for the DEA in the form of a large tortoise with "Hola DEA" painted on the side...and the severed head of "El Tortuga", a cartel member turned DEA informant, riding atop it. When one of the agents picks up the head, it sets off the explosives concealed beneath it.
  • Providing the page quote, Burn Notice. Starting from the pilot onward, Michael Westen would MacGyver up a booby trap based on whatever he can find on-hand. He potentially outdid MacGyver for the sheer number of improvised traps and distractions.
    Michael (narrating in the pilot): For a job like getting rid of the drug dealer next door, I'll take a hardware store over a gun any day. Guns make you stupid; better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
  • Cold Case: In "Gleen", the Victim of the Week is killed by a bomb hidden in a box of detergent; rigged to detonate as soon as the box is moved.
  • In CSI: NY's "Death House," the team must unravel various traps set by the long deceased owner of a penthouse who used them to off an enemy of his almost 100 years earlier. A present day person has been killed, and his girlfriend is trapped as well. Sheldon gets caught in the trap that killed the young man; Mac & Stella rescue him before they all find the girl.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Curse of Fenric": Commander Millington booby traps his chess set. Ace and the Doctor set off a gas grenade, which Doctor defeats by placing a wastepaper basket on top of it. Ace then comments that it was lucky that he used a gas grenade, and if it had been her she would placed a couple of sticks of dynamite under the table. With sudden realization, Ace and the Doctor both then look under the table and bolt. A few seconds later, the table blows up.
    • "The Ghost Monument": The ruins the Doctor and company have to get through are guarded by sniper robots, which Epzo activates by obliviously setting off a laser tripwire.
  • At least one episode of Foyle's War had a murder committed using the booby trap techniques which were being taught to the Home Guard in case of invasion.
  • Admiral Chegwidden's girlfriend is killed by a booby trap, set up by an old rival, in front of him on his own porch in the JAG episode "Ghosts".
  • Star Trek: The Original Series. Naturally only Captain Kirk can get away with a fake booby trap to win the day.
  • On Strikeback during a mission Stonebridge Failed a Spot Check and almost got the team killed when he missed a basic grenade-with-a-wire booby-trap in a room he was securing. Stonebridge is suffering from PTSD and such a rookie mistake means that he is way off his game and should not be in the field.
  • Supernatural: Gordon makes not one but two traps for Sam, so that the first one would act as a Red Herring and Sam wouldn't expect the second one, which triggered an explosion.
  • On True Detective, Marty and Rust discover a meth lab booby trapped with grenades. One of the cookers runs and gets blown to bits by them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Partly this trope and partly Taking You with Me, BattleTech features Booby Trapped units, which have explosives placed in them. This can be anything from innocuous transports to expensive experimental Battlemechs. Using it often involve baiting enemies into approaching the unit either to capture or defeat it, only to find themselves at the center of a cloud of explosions and shrapnel. Notably, primitive booby traps built to resemble fully functioning Battlemechs (even featuring basic weapons that could fire and deal damage) successfully lured in Clans Smoke Jaguar and Nova Cat at the Battle of Luthien, tricking them into charging into what they thought were the defending lines to start making kills, only to get much of their force annihilated once the whole field of Mech-shaped bombs went off.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • A staple during pretty much any old-school Dungeon Crawling. Particularly fiendish Game Masters love filling their dungeons with these.
    • The Combat Trapsmith in 3.5. They specialize in being able to set up simple traps in the middle of a fight and are capable of trapping a small area within seconds.
  • In Hunter: The Vigil, more Security dots in Safehouse merit means that your hiding place is rigged with those kind of mechanism. The illustration is a triggered shotgun.
  • LEGO Games: In Heroica, all chests have a chance to be booby-trapped, dealing damage to the character, should the player roll the skull symbol on the die.
  • Along with traps set by sentient creatures heroes in Rocket Age also have to contend with the trip line spider, a giant Venusian arachnid who puts both the ewoks and the Vietcong to shame.
  • In the 2018 Edition of Warhammer 40000 Killteam, one of the actions that Kill Teams can make during the pre-battle Scouting Phase of the 2018 Edition of the game is to 'Plant Traps'. These traps can be placed in terrain features, doing mortal wounds to any enemy models that move through that terrain piece.
  • The Grimtooth's Traps series is all about this trope, giving a wide variety of traps, most usable in multiple genre. Many of them are over the top or even silly, but some are quite clever and subtle.

    Video Games 
  • Rubber traps of Clu Clu Land are a non lethal version, but do tend to pop up without warning and are a great hinderance when everything is a Timed Mission. The good news is that they can hinder your enemies, but only after you accidentally activate them.
  • It's possible In Batman: Arkham Asylum to use the Explosive Gel as a booby trap with the right upgrades, it's especially effective when planted at the top of a ladder which results in a flying mook and an instant KO.
  • In the Call of Duty series, Care Packages can be rigged to explode when an opponent attempts to capture them.
  • Command & Conquer has this in varying flavors. Games like Renegade feature land mines, which tend to be placed to deter infantry. Generals, on the other hand, has the ability to lay entire minefields to destroy enemy units, as well as a GLA item called the Demo Trap—little more than a barrel of unknown dangerous stuff hidden from view that exploded either by proximity or on command. Red Alert featured more proactive traps, including a nasty Soviet trick called the Terror Drone Surprise, which causes vehicles to eject a nasty hidden Attack Drone when destroyed.
  • Plentiful in Dark Souls, from rolling iron balls to pressure plate activated arrow storms. Sen's Fortress is so thick with these that players occasionally roleplay as Indiana Jones while running through it.
  • Ah, the horrible, horrible things you can do in Dwarf Fortress. From the simple "stone-fall trap" (which, as one would expect, drops a rock on something's head) to sections of hallway loaded with ten giant serrated whirling discs to fully-fledged Death Traps, the game lets you indulge your horrible little imagination endlessly.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, many dungeons have booby traps in them. It is pathetically easy to kill the people who set them up with them.
    • Well, it would be, if the booby traps weren't so slow moving and badly designed...
    • One dungeon in Skyrim has what can only be the most obvious booby trap evernote . By contrast, there are some booby traps in Dwemer ruins that can be really deadly. One type can only be described as a helicopter rotor in a trench; it can take out a steam centurion in two hits.
    • Though once you recognise the pattern Dwemer traps can be surprisingly easy to realize are there: they tend to be colour-codednote . Some of the traps appear to be less trap and more dangerous machinery, as well.
    • Nordic tombs are also littered with various traps for mincing the unwary explorer, from a hail of poisonous darts to swinging spike walls. There's a reason why the game offers you a perk that lets you stand on pressure plates without triggering them. And even then, it's probably a good idea to look down once in a while, because that perk has no effect on tripwires.
  • Fallout 3 features a wide variety of booby traps. Don't be surprised when you:
    • Get hit by a swinging cow, log or I-beam chained to a ceiling.
    • Try to use a computer, only to have it explode in your face.
    • Get your leg crippled by a bear trap.
    • Exploding mail boxes
    • Encounter one of several types of plain ol' fashioned mines (which come in frag, plasma and EMP flavours) which you can disarm and replant yourself.
    • Get shot by a pressure plate- or tripwire- activated shotgun sitting on a nearby bench.
    • Get grenades hanging from a ceiling dropped on your head.
    • Exploding nuclear-powered cars
    • Get pelted with baseballs by a pitching machine
    • Ignite a gasleak with gunfire or explosives
    • and all sorts of other booby fun!
      • You even get a perk which makes you invulnerable to tripwires, mines etc by allowing you to walk over them without triggering them (hard luck if an enemy or ally gets too close though).
      • Don't forget the exploding baby carriages.
    • The Point Lookout sidequest "The Velvet Curtain" leads you to a Chinese spy bunker, where upon activating the extraction terminal in the basement, the door locks and radiation starts venting into the room. If you don't have a high enough repair skill, you're doomed. This was meant to be a double-cross for the Chinese agent who died at the Turtledove Detention Camp. While not lethal (unless you're low on health), the Calvert Mansion has a collapsing floor trap that drops you into its basement.
    • Trash compactors in the Waste Disposal area of Mothership Zeta.
      • These are not at all like the slow sideways crushing trash compactors in Star Wars, but lightning-fast power hammers smashing down from the ceiling. Fortunately for the player, they're more of a "hazard" than a "trap": they're timed rather than triggered by proximity.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has all of the above. Also concealed mines which don't glow. Finding (or being victim to) them in an area full of corpses, without finding evidence that someone Crazy-Prepared set them up, is usually evidence in itself that Caesar's Legion is responsible for said corpses.
  • Fallout 4 continues the tradition. In some cases, the Raiders go so far as to set up elaborate death mazes full of booby traps.
    • Nuka-World has the Gauntlet, which is one of these death mazes. There's also a booby-trapped haunted house attraction on the outskirts of the park.
  • In Grim Fandango, when Manny and Glottis attempt to retrieve their Cool Car from its garage after two years of travelling without it, they discover that it is surrounded by an elaborate set of dominoes that will trigger a bomb if disturbed. (Glottis's question about who could've done this seems a little odd, what's with one of the villains being named Domino and all...)
  • Half-Life:
    • Half-Life has mines which can be set off via their blue/green laser tripwires and sentries which can be set off by nearby red beamsnote , the former are one of the available weapons.
    • Half-Life 2 has "hopper mines" which can be wrenched off the ground with the gravity gun and replantednote  or simply punted for a quick explosion, as well as several traps in zombie infested Ravenholm: re-purposed gas mains, blades on car engines and cars on pulleys.
  • Jagged Alliance and it's sequel both had numerous areas littered with mines or booby-trapped boxes.
  • Lead and Gold: The trapper's special ability is setting up bear traps.
  • The Legend of Zelda franchise has had these in spades since the beginning. Razor traps, flying tiles and pots, landmines, rotating spiked cylinders, guillotines, crushing ceilings and walls, fake switches that release bombs or enemies, fake doors that fall on Link, fake treasure chests, etc.
  • An obligatory obstacle in Lemmings, including 10-ton weights, bear traps, rope snares, needles, crushing pistons, shredders, flame jets, and disintegrators.
  • Rico Muerte's hotel room in Max Payne is booby trapped with a sawed-off shotgun set to go off when someone opens the door.
  • Medabots AX: Metabee and Rokusho: The Hunter and Cover-Up head parts set destructive traps for shooting and grappling parts respectively. If the corresponding part tries to attack, the trap inflicts heavy damage and knockback.
  • A staple of Metal Gear. Trap doors, poison gas traps, laser cannons, laser tripwires rigged to explosives, rolling spiked cylinders, crushers, electrified floors, sentry guns, and the list goes on.
  • One of the many many, many threats in Metro2033. They come in the shotgun-with-tripwire form, the pipe bomb-with-tripwire form, and the falling-log-with-nails-in-it form. Any of these can and will ruin your day if you don't look where you're going.
  • Pyramids in Minecraft have TNT traps hidden from view. When you enter a pyramid and destroy the blue wool block, you can see 4 chests below and a pressure plate. Stepping on the plate triggers the TNT and will most likely kill you, but it will definitely destroy the chests and their contents.
    • In a similar fashion, jungle temples have tripwires that, when tripped or destroyed without using shears, will activate a nearby dispenser that will fire arrows at you.
    • The trope can be invoked by the player themselves with nearly any block they can use, such as pressure plates, TNT, pistons, etc.
  • In Ori and the Blind Forest, Nibel is rife with familiar and not-so-familiar traps, many of which were constructed by the Ancients, others which originated following Kuro's defilement of the Spirit Tree and the subsequent decay of the forest.
  • Every so often in The Persistence, one of the cabinets that hold health, weapons, and currency will have a bomb in them that will glow red and blow your face off if you stand there agape.
  • In Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Platinum, you set these for other players in the Underground.
  • Portal 2: The Final Boss of the game demonstrates how even a complete idiot can be smart — and subvert Boss-Arena Idiocy along the way — by taking into account the possibility that you might win and placing a trap- specifically, a bunch of bombs- on the Stalemate Resolution Button.
    Wheatley: (triumphantly) PART FIVE: BOOBY-TRAP THE STALEMATE BUTTON!
  • The Prince of Persia series has lots of traps. Spikes of Doom? Yup. Snapping metal jaws? Yup. Wall-mounted scythes or buzzsaws? Yup. Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom? Yup. Bladed pendulums? Yup. Spinning poles covered in spikes? Yup. The list goes on and on. Frequently combined with Death Course for extra fun.
  • Project Reality has accurate depictions of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's) which are often used this way, ranging in size and sophistication from a hand grenade in a tin can with a tripwire across a doorway to pipe bombs & artillery shells with a cell phone acting as a remote detonator.
  • Resident Evil had several of these peppered inside the mansion; one room would fill with poison gas if you didn't seal the vents before pressing a button and another room would have the ceiling come down on you if you take the shotgun from the room next door. The underground leading to the laboratory had huge boulders that would start rolling down your path, crushing you instantly if you didn't find a place to duck into. The remake adds a few more traps, such an advancing spinning blade of doom and crushing walls. They occur throughout the rest of the series, including spiked pit traps and ceilings, pitfalls into bottomless pits, Deadly Gas traps as previously mentioned, a Sauna of Death, tripwire bombs, a gauntlet of pendulums, Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom, falling heavy objects, laser hallways, Living Statues, lava pits, etc.
  • In Rick Dangerous and its sequel, booby traps provide most of the challenge. They're as deadly to the enemies as they are to the player.
  • Rising Storm gives Japanese forces the option of planting their hand grenades into the ground to act as improvised landmines.
    • In Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, the NVA and VC are given three different types of booby traps depending on the class you're playing as.
      • The most common is the punji stick trap, a stick laden with a wooden board full of sharpened bamboo shoots. This one is mainly issued to Guerillas and Machine-gunners.
      • Scouts get the tripwire trap, which is essentially made out of a Russian hand grenade, two sticks, and some chicken wire.
      • Sappers get the MD-82 anti-personnel mine, which detonates when an enemy steps on it.
  • Pills and armor shards often trigger ambushes in Serious Sam.
  • In Silent Storm and it's sequel S3: Sentinels, it's more than likely you will stumble upon a rigged chest or door. Having a skilled engineer around can save a lot of folks failing spot checks- and they're also useful when you lay your own traps for enemies to stumble upon.
  • Sniper Elite, Sniper Elite V2, and Sniper Elite III: You have land mines, trip mines, and explosives to place in doorways, along stairs, etc.
  • Soldier of Fortune II has tripwire mines in some levels, which the player can disarm.
  • The Space Quest series includes: Collapsing bridges, grates with monsters lurking underneath, laser fences, hallways lined with invisible laser traps, Disintegrator Ray-equipped slot machines, sticky trees that get you eaten alive by insects, acid pits, conveyor belts leading to shredding machines, and many more.
  • In StarCraft Terran players can set up hidden land mines.
    • And in Warcraft III, any side can buy landmines from the goblins and lay them around the place. They turn invisible, so most units won't see them.
  • In the Stronghold series, players can set up all sorts of traps for their enemies, such as sand-covered pits or cages full of starved wolves that open up when enemies get too close.
  • System Shock is full of them. One example occurs in a mission where you have to blow up a bunch of satellite arrays with a massive explosive; once you set the explosive the malevolent AI in charge of the station locks the door behind you and instructs you to make yourself at home. A more common example is live landmines being mixed in with explosive caches and mulching incautious players trying to pick them up.
  • These are half the "fun" of Theresia: Dear Emile, and an excellent reason not to Try Everything. Just after the title sequence, attempting to move a stretcher and see what's behind it makes it fire arrows at you—and it only gets worse from there.
  • The TimeSplitters series has both remote and automated land mines as weapons.
  • It simply wasn't Tomb Raider without these. Huge rolling boulders, trap doors that gave way, spikes, lava pits...the list goes on and on.
  • In Tsukihime, Arcueid apparently booby traps her underwear drawer, if that's as accurate a detail of Shiki's life as a lot of other things were in Kagetsu Tohya. The trap? A magical talking leopard that pops out and eats you. Yes. Really.
  • Yandere Simulator:
    • You can set a bucket full of water, gasoline, or blood over a door so that when someone opens it, they get splashed. The student will run to the locker room to change their clothes, which gives you an opportunity to steal their phone. If they were doused with gasoline, you can approach them with a candle and they will burn to death.
    • Another way to achieve this is to make a trap with a water cooler, some string, and the liquid of your choice. Fill the water cooler with the liquid, drop it somewhere, and set up the string. Anyone who walks into it will be splashed except for the Student Council, who will see the trap and dismantle it.
    • You can electrocute someone by plugging in a power strip near a water fountain and sabotaging the pipes to create a leak. If you give your victim some chips, they will get thirsty after eating them and drink from the nearest fountain. Flip the light switch while they're drinking and they'll go out in a shocking manner.

  • Garnet and Gure's animated short, Bad Enough Dude focuses on the evil Dr. Upsetrose needing to call tech support for his "Montenegro spiked ceiling death apparatus".
  • Karate Bears have the ability to actually detect such traps. Like in Dungeons and Dragons.
  • The Order of the Stick: Vaarsuvius' Running Gag, "I prepared Explosive Runes this morning."
  • A literal one in Pacificators in which Cinna wore a couple of water balloons in order to "pad herself up" when she was forced to play The Bait to lure Rendo away from his comrades. (The lightning users are vulnerable to water attacks because it increases the risk of electrocuting themselves.)

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Wikipedia will tell you more than you ever wanted to know.
  • Rigging boobytraps is the bread and butter for The Engineer. There's an old military saying: "If an engineer wants to get you by the balls, he will."
  • Some boobytraps may themselves be boobytrapped: anti-handling devices are devices attached to bombs, mines, or traps to kill or injure anyone who tries to move or disarm the main trap. For instance, some mines may have a second pull-fuse underneath them; while a deminer may disarm the primary fuse, the pull-fuse will detonate the mine if they lift the mine without disarming it as well.
  • It is common in some older areas of Britain to see walls with pieces of broken glass embedded in the cement tops, a common and surprisingly effective variant of this trope. Pretty too, because one can use a mix of clear, blue, and green glass to make the wall top. Illegal now, though you may keep the glass in place if it was already there when you bought the property, provided warning signs are displayed.
  • The Viet Cong were very fond of these back in The Vietnam War, as any veteran of that conflict will tell you.
  • A variant of the grenade hooked-to-the-door trick shown in the trope picture was very popular during the Utica, N.Y. mob wars of the 1960s-70s. The hitman would pop the car door of the individual he was hired to make go away, jam a grenade under the gas pedal, then flatten a closet hanger, slip the hook under the grenade pin and then (very carefully) twist the bent middle of the hanger around the inside door handle. Opening the door pulled the pin and the grenade went off just as the vic was sitting down, solving da boss's problem with dispatch. It was used with great success several times before people wised up.
  • Guerrilla groups will often use this to ambush security forces, usually to wear them down or steal anything valuable like their guns, ammo, food or other valuable items including vehicles that may survive an attack.
  • Part of the reason why Urban Warfare is the most awful warzone. Twists and turns, narrow alleys and corners, where the defenders have the home advantage, and you'll never be sure where the next booby trap will be.
  • The oft-cited "thief suing homeowner for an injury when breaking in and winning" Urban Legend is usually a long game of telephone about Katko v. Briney. It's usually cited as the ultimate example of a Frivolous Lawsuit and a Miscarriage of Justice, but it's not. Katko, the aforesaid burglar, really did sue the Briney family after he was injured while trying to rob their property, and he won. What people don't mention (or don't know) is that the Brineys had left the place unoccupied for ten years, and that they had rigged a shotgun to fire at anyone who opened a bedroom door. The courts ultimately ruled that lethal force is not allowed to defend unoccupied property. In addition, the court said that while this would have been self-defense had the Brineys been there since a homeowner has no responsibility to render a property safe for a trespasser or a burglar, they have no right to actively attempt to kill somebody who enters their property if it's unoccupied.
    • Part of what makes these booby traps illegal in real life is that they do not discriminate between unlawful entry (burglary) and lawful entry (cops with a warrant, paramedics, firefighters, etc...).
  • From the Eastern Front in WW2, retreating Germans might leave a large portrait of Adolf Hitler or other Nazi dignitary behind, knowing no self-respecting Russian would refrain from wanting to rip it off the wall. After a while the Red Army realised it might be better to curb the instant rush of anger, and check first for the explosives the portrait would be attached to.
    • A variant on the trick would be to leave a box of hand-grenades behind, knowing the Russians would not be able to resist using them on visibly retreating Germans. The grenades would invariably be primed with zero-second delay fuses so as to explode in the hands of the would-be thrower. When the Red Army got wise to this trick as well, the Germans, knowing their colour-coding for grenade fuses was known to the Russians note , gave the zero-second fuses the colour that previously had corresponded to a seven second delay, and took care to leave grenades behind that were - apparently - safe to use.

heh heh, you said "trap".


Memoirs of a Murderer

Instead of finding a body, detectives Makimura and Taki find an explosive surprise.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

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Main / BoobyTrap

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