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Mook-Themed Level

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A video game level that highlights a specific enemy type as (usually) the main obstacle or gimmick for the player to overcome.

This naturally means that the place is either crawling with them or that they are powerful enough to deserve your attention. The Mooks in question are likely to be the level's namesake as well (or maybe the level refers to them through a more generic, yet fitting term), but the only real requirement is for the whole concept of the stage to revolve around either their overwhelming presence or whatever unique gameplay aspect they end up introducing.

Since dealing with the same enemy type over and over may become boring fast, one can expect species variants to pop up after a while to keep things fresh (unrelated mooks can also show up, but they will be rarer). Should there be a Boss Battle at the end of the level, it will most definitely feature a King Mook or a Monster Progenitor.


Very often leads to cases of Unique Enemy, as having a mook that is exclusively tied to a certain stage, or at least rarely appearing outside it, helps in making the place stand out from others that might utilize similar environments. However, if the mooks from this level start being carelessly reused in later courses, then they run the risk of becoming Artifact Mooks, especially if the justification for it is weak or non-existent.


Video Game Examples

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    Action-Adventure Games 

    Maze Games 
  • The first seven levels of the original Gauntlet are these. The first three levels have only ghosts, level 4 adds grunts, level 5 has demons that shoot fireballs at the players, level 6 has sorcerersnote , and level 7 has Death, who pursues the players.

    Platformer Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. has level 4-1, which serves as an introduction to Spinies and Lakitu. Spinies are slow moving, but immune to the Goomba Stomp and can only be dispatched with a fire flower, Super Star or by hitting blocks beneath them, and Lakitu follows you around while hovering mostly out of reach at the top of the screen - patterns you won't have seen from any of the other kinds of mooks.
    • Super Mario 64 has the first two levels, Bob-Omb Battlefield and Whomp's Fortress. They both feature the titular Bob-Ombs and Whomps as the main enemy types, with appropriate King Mooks for bosses. The fifth level, Big Boo's Haunt, involves fighting Boos (small and big) as a requirement for most of the level's Power Stars. Super Mario 64 DS includes worlds that Mario and Wario are trapped in, which center around Goombas and Ice Bullies (Luigi's is more Boos).
    • New Super Mario Bros. U (and by extension New Super Luigi U) have levels named after mooks, either because they're natural habitats for them or are simply designed around them. Examples include Perilous Pokey Cave, Fire Snake Cavern, Spike's Surrounding Sands, Blooming Lakitus, and Piranha Plants on Ice. And the ones mentioned are from one of the worlds (Layer Cake Desert).
    • There are a lot of those in Super Mario 3D World: Koopa Troopanote  Cave, Bullet Billnote  Express, Ant Troopernote  Hill, Piranha Creepernote  Creek, Spike'snote  Lost City, among others.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
    • The first Donkey Kong Country mostly uses generic names for enemy-themed levels (for example, Reptile Rumble is a level about fighting hordes of Slippas, coral snake enemies), The sole exception is "Croctopus Chase", where the player gets pursued by octopi enemies that are called as such.
    • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest has Kannon'snote  Klaim, Lockjaw'snote  Locker and Klobbernote  Karnage. There's also the Hornet Hole-themed levels, referring to the Zingers, giant wasp enemies, that are always omnipresent in them.
    • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! has too many to count, as most of the stages are Gimmick Levels. Some examples include:
      • In Murky Mill, you play as Ellie the elephant, who is afraid of the Sneeks crawling around the mill, so they have to be defeated from a distance so that Ellie doesn't panic and run away from them.
      • Barrel Shield Bust-Up, from the second world, sees the Kongs climbing ropes inside hollowed out trees while Minkies throw acorns at them. Fortunately, as the level's title implies, there are floating half-barrel shields that the Kongs can use as cover.
      • In Squeals on Wheels, the Kongs have to hunt down Sneeks that are in hamster wheels. Defeating all of them is necessary to open the door to the exit.
      • Bazza's Blockade is an underwater level where the eponymous predatory fish can be seen at many points swimming across the path that the Kongs need to take.
      • In Kreeping Klasps, the Kongs have to climb along ropes to cross a pier while Klasps, enemies hiding in TNT barrels, patrol the ropes.
      • Throughout Fire-Ball Frenzy, the Kongs have to contend with Karbines shooting fireballs at them from the background.
      • Blazing Bazukas is a factory area where a regiment of Bazukas can be found shooting barrels of various types at the Kongs. There are switches in the level that will change the ammo type they use between normal barrels, steel kegs, and TNT barrels, all of which are used by various obstacles in the level.
      • Lemguin Lunge is a snow area where penguins called Lemguins are sliding around and trying to attack the Kongs with their pointy beaks.
      • Koindozer Klamber is a jungle area where Koindozers abound. Unlike Koin, their passive green counterparts that are found in every level, Koindozers will aggressively try to shove the Kongs into a pit.
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns:
      • Level 3-5 (Itty Bitty Biters) stars little furball enemies called Toothberries, who first observe and then ambush the player by jumping out of the floor and objects inside an ancient temple. They also have variants encountered through the level, like a stack of four of them that is too tall to be Goomba Stomped and a caged one that's effectively invulnerable, but can be exploited to provide a huge jumping boost for the player.
      • Level 5-8 (Muncher Marathon) is focused on running away from a tidal wave of ravenous insects aptly named the Munchers, who consume everything in their path. The level is divided into two sections: the horizontal section near the start that lasts two-thirds of the level, and the final vertical section near the end where you must ascend quickly by barrel cannons to keep ahead of the climbing Munchers. This level also features bigger, defeatable spiders called Skittlers, which are implied to be the adult form of the Munchers (as they share very similar models).
  • Commonly done in the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy, particularly the third game, where the level gimmicks are often tied to a newly-introduced enemy type. For example, the three medieval-themed stages featured in the game consist of "Toad Village" (which is overrun by frogs), "Gee Wiz" (introduces wizards that can fire off spells that transform people into frogs, thus tying them to the previous level) and "Double Header" (this one having two-headed ogres that swing clubs around).
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island mostly consists of this type of level, including the boss ones (since they are simple mooks enlarged by the Big Bad Kamek). Those are often represented by a thumbnail picturing the starring mook on the world map. The first world alone has:
    • Watch Out Below!: Chain Chomps jump in from the background and make endless pits all over the place
    • Shy Guys on Stilts: Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's a level filled with Shy Guy enemies walking on stilts.
    • Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy: the level is filled with puffs that cause major Interface Screw.
  • The first Dr. Wily stage in Mega Man 4 features nothing but Metalls as enemies, culminating in a boss fight against a Giant Metall.
  • Mega Man X8: The "true final level" has you fight nothing but New-Generation Reploids shapeshifting into (weaker versions of) Sigma as the mooks.
  • Mega Man ZX: Area H is a Mettaur-themed Amusement Park of Doom. Downplayed in that there are enemies other than Mettaurs, but the Mets are still the most common mooks you'll face; there's also a giant Mettaur as a Mini-Boss.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: While new robots are introduced every level, Rock Bottom takes this further by using the Sleepy Times as its main stealth gimmick. These sleeping robots are enshrouded with security lights that wake them up if you step foot in them, causing them to shoot a constant laser beam at you until you step out. This encourages using SpongeBob's sneaking mechanic to approach them without waking them up.
  • Blaster Master Zero: Area 7 introduces a ridiculously powerful mook as its main gimmick. If the player is spotted by it, it will viciously attack them while sending every other sentry in the room into a frenzy.

    Racing Games 

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • The Diglett's Cave in Pokémon Red and Blue. Its solely inhabited by Diglett and its evolved form Dugtrio. Pokémon Sun and Moon has a small nod to that location with the Diglett's Tunnel, which has Alolan Diglett instead (they're, however, rarer than the infamous cave-infesting Zubats).
    • The Slowpoke Well from Pokémon Gold and Silver, filled with Slowpoke and the occasional Slowbro. Zubat is still common since it's an underground area, but they're not present in the watery bits that you can access by surfing.
    • Unown, as a Pokémon, only shows up in specific locations where it is always the lone encounter, which is good given its 28 different forms to find. These locations include the Ruins of Alph in Johto, Tanoby Ruins in the Sevii Isles, Solaceon Ruins in Sinnoh, and a specific Mirage Cave in Hoenn in the remakes.
    • Although not named after them, the only wild Pokémon in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (and Emerald)'s Rusturf Tunnel is Whismur.
    • Artisan Cave in Pokémon Emerald only contains Smeargle, and it is the only location in all of Generation III where they're found in the wild.
  • Two mini-dungeons in Etrian Odyssey IV are tailored for, and thus named after, the F.O.E. that inhabit them: The Moth's Garden in Scarlet Pillars (inhabited by Moth Lords) and The Golden Deer Keep (self-explanatory). In Etrian Odyssey Nexus, there's the Seditious Colony, where the only mooks present are Ants of different breeds, as well as ant-based F.O.E. and the Ant Queen as the boss.
  • Paper Mario 64:
    • The first actual level of the game, Goomba Road, only features The Goomba and some of its variants as enemies, including the Mini-Boss and King Mook at the end.
    • Most of Chapter 4 takes place in the Shy Guy's Toy Box, where all enemies are Shy Guys and various subspecies like the Spy Guy or the Groovy Guy, and the boss is a Shy Guy riding a tank called General Guy. The only exceptions are the mini-boss holding a new partner and some optional encounters depending on how the player answered Bowser's questions pre-chapter.

    Strategy Games 
  • Some caves in Pikmin 2 are themed around the native creatures that inhabit them, and base their names (either directly or indirectly) on them: Bulblax Kingdom (the Bulborbs and the King Mook Emperor Bulblax), Snagret Hole (the Burrowing Snagrets and the King Mook Pileated Snagret), and Glutton's Kitchen (the Breadbugs, insect-like creatures resembling an actual piece of bread, and their King Mook Giant Breadbug).
  • Starcraft II:
    • Wings of Liberty: Every mission unlocks a new unit type and is tailor-made to showcase that unit's strengths. Such as the Reaper being given on a level with lots of cliffs, or the Diamondback on a level that involves pursuing moving targets...
    • Heart of the Swarm: Abathur missions consist of using specialized Zerg organisms in scenarios where that specialization becomes a Game-Breaker, such as jumping Banelings that can traverse cliffs or Ultralisks that resurrect when killed.
  • Both Project X Zone and its sequel have levels centered around the Stehoney enemy, which flees from the player and must be defeated before it reaches a certain space on the map.

    Shooter Games 

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