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Leaning Tower of Mooks

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"Hey! It took us three hours to stack up like this. Don't knock us over!"
Shy Guy Tower, Paper Mario: Color Splash

Apparently, some minions of the Big Bad will assume that a good strategy is to climb upon one another into an unstable totem pole-like tower (this is why they're Mooks and not The Dragon). For the most part, this trope is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. These often appear in video games, where the tower can be taken out Mook by Mook. Or possibly knocked over all at once by attacking the bottom one. Usually fairly comedic, though some Mooks can pull it off well, the totem being stronger than the sum of its parts.

A possible way for Mini Mooks to become a reasonable threat. One major advantage these mooks have over others is that they're much harder to Goomba Stomp, as they're almost always too large to jump on without standing on something tall first, though once above them it may be possible to take them all out at once with a Ground Pound. For obvious reasons The Spiny will never be part of these, unless it's at the very top.

May be an Asteroids Monster if the tower can be broken apart without killing the Mooks. Sister trope to Segmented Serpent, which is arranged in a line instead of a tower.


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  • Donkey Kong Country Returns: Brown Cageberries do this in groups of five. When they see you, they lunge foward and all fall apart onto the ground.
  • Drawn to Life: Occasionally, the player will encounter two or four Bakis stacked on top of each other. If you attack them, they'll separate and need to be attacked again to defeat them.
  • Kirby: Triple Deluxe: Some Waddle Dees are stacked on top of each other in some levels. These enemies are usually vanquished with the Hypernova ability.
  • LittleBigPlanet: Grunties begin stacking atop each other in later worlds. This makes it hard or even impossible to stomp them, but doesn't render them immune to slaps and other attacks. They'll occasionally throw the top Grunty off of the stack as a projectile, after which they'll get up and fight as normal.
  • Spelunky 2: Olmites often move around their ancient city of the future in this way. While alone they are not particularly dangerous, in a tower-like form, the olmites can be an obstacle for a player without experience and/or equipment, especially if the former have golden armor that will protect them against long-range attacks.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Sunshine: In Pinna Park, there's a tower of ten Strollin' Stus stacked on top of a giant one. Defeating them nets Mario a blue coin.
    • Super Mario 3D Land: You can encounter Goomba Towers that are stacked three to eight goombas high.
    • Super Mario 3D World: Some Fire Bros. stand at the top of very large Goomba Towers, forcing Mario and his friends to dispatch the Goombas in order to deal with the fire shooters.
    • Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2: Almost any enemy can be stacked on top of another, even Bowser and Bowser Jr. (as well as Boom Boom in the second game). The only game style where this trope isn't possible is that of Super Mario 3D World in the second game.
    • Super Mario Odyssey: Mario can invoke this trope by capturing a Goomba and making it jump on another one. That Goomba can them jump on another one, and so on, and so forth, to make a tower of Goombas. In addition, Mario can encounter Goombas already standing on top of one another.
    • Mario Party: Island Tour: The Goomba Tower that appears halfway through the board Perilous Palace Path, and also the first boss fought in Bowser's Tower. In the latter, groups of five Goombas appear in tower formation to attack the main character, who has to throw apples onto them to defeat them one by one; when a group is completely defeated, the next appears and the player has to repeaat the process until their collective HP depletes in full (though when half of it is depleted, the Goombas will come in groups of six and some of the falling objects will be spiky fruits that must not be touched).
    • Yoshi's Island DS: Shy Stacks are stacks of two to five Shy Guys all in a tower. The game's beach levels also adds pirate Shy Stacks.
    • Yoshi's Crafted World has these variants of enemies.
      • Shy Guy Towers are Shy Guys standing on each other's shoulders.
      • Mels are rectangular-bodied enemies that stand on each other's heads.
    • Many ROM hacks of Super Mario World have stacked Munchers, which act like solid tiles that damage the player.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Dragon Quest:
    • The Slime Stack is a stack of three differently-colored Slimes, and is significantly tougher than the sum of its parts. Sometimes, three normal Slimes will even jump together to form one in mid-battle. Later in the game, the Hero can encounter the Metal Medley and the Gem Jamboree, Metal Slime versions that give some good EXP for the former, and more Gold for the latter.
    • Dragon Quest X: Slime Stacks, Metal Medleys, and Gem Jamborees reappear, while the Slime Sisters, a rarefied Slime Stack made up of three Pink Slimes, is introduced.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI: Kefka's first One-Winged Angel form looks like a tower of Siamese mooks on top of each other, themed like characters from The Divine Comedy, that you gradually fight from bottom to top.
    • World of Final Fantasy: This is one of the main mechanics, in which both the player and enemies can attack in stacks, which possess the combined stats and abilities of the component monsters. Both the player’s and enemy’s stacks can be knocked off balance and even toppled as they take damage; some attacks are designed specifically to do this. There are also items and abilities that can restore stability to an unstable stack.
  • Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass: The Turtle Stack enemy, which consists of the enemies Mortimer and Mack stacked atop each other. If you use Steal on the Turtle Stack, you can yank Mack out from under Mortimer, splitting them into separate enemies and knocking them onto their backs for a while.
  • Kingdom Hearts χ: The Wibble Wobble is four small, Shadow-like Heartless stacked on top of each other. It is common in the Dwarf Woodlands.
  • In Madou Monogatari for the Saturn, this is attempted by the Green Puyo enemies, where they summon 3 more of themselves to stack on top. As any Puyo Puyo player knows, four Puyos of the same color touching each other will remove the lot, killing it instead.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: In a non-enemy example, several Emoglobins in the Airway have formed the "Emototem" that only lets you pass by completing a challenge to prove your worth.
    • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam: The Biddybuds stack as this when fought in battle, with the tallest only being dodged successfully by Paper Mario, or the near dwindling being easily countered by either Mario or Luigi, though they will also do their usual attack from their appearances such as 3D Land and 3D World.
    • Paper Mario 64:
      • The Koopa Bros. do this as their signature attack, spinning in their shells toward Mario as one stack. This is at a point in the game in which dangerous enemies deal 2 damage, and unless you catch on to the trick of their Puzzle Boss (tipping them over) they'll make short work of you.
      • Shy Stacks are stacks of two to five Shy Guys all in a tower.
    • Paper Mario: The Origami King: One of the various Folded Paper Koopa Troop Minions' attacks has them climb on top of each other's shoulders, in order to either throw the topmost member on Mario's head or fall on him depending on the Minion fought.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: Among the various indigenous species are a series of turkey bird-like Saltats, who often go about their nature dancing and and making strange musical noises. Some of them can be seen stacking on top of each other as part of their natural behaviors.

Non-Video Game Examples:

    Anime & Manga 

    Film — Animation 
  • Antz: The ants pile themselves into a living tower when trying to reach an opening high up in the chamber they are in. Of course, combining their efforts to achieve great things is their hat.
  • As in the games, Goombas are seen stacked on top of each other in The Super Mario Bros. Movie during the scene that takes place in Bowser's castle while he and his minions are rocking out to Rotten Rock & Roll.

  • Paranatural: While chasing down Max in the first chapter, the bullies Johnny, RJ and Stephen perform the Friendship Fusion by stacking as they attempt to attack him, though they quickly fall apart when Max hits Johnny in the head when a soup can. Evidently, Johnny sees the Friendship Fusion as a sacred act, as he angrily shuts down Ollie's suggestion to stack in order to climb a fence to chase Max.
    Johnny: The Friendship Fusion is not a ladder, it is a union of souls!!!

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Errol Fin

The army of the living dead outnumbers Mr. Krabs by the thousands, but through grabbing the head of a swordfish skeleton, he destroys every single skeleton in the graveyard in a single night without a scratch

How well does it match the trope?

4.83 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / CurbStompBattle

Media sources: