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Mutagenic Goo

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This is why you should always use thick gloves when gardening around mutagenic ooze weeds.

"This was back in the day when science goo could just do anything! You could make up the most absurd reasoning, that has no scientific logic, but it's science goo! So it flies."

This is any liquid/slime/sludge form of Applied Phlebotinum that causes living creatures that touch it to somehow mutate or transform into... something else. Occasionally, it may need to be ingested (or injected) to take effect, but in most cases it can be easily absorbed through the victim's skin — their own LEGO Genetics will take care of the rest.

The goo comes in many forms — it may be nuclear waste, some form of alien bodily fluid, mud from a cursed swamp, or contaminated water carrying The Virus. Once mutated, sometimes the characters/monsters become Radiation-Immune Mutants in relation to the mutagen, though not always, and repeated exposure can prove increasingly harmful.

Common results include Body Horror, Painful Transformations, and Lovecraftian Superpowers. However, it's also a fairly common backstory for non-Squicky superheroes.

Differs from Super Serum in that the effects of this are usually unexpected and nearly always unwanted. Likely to be either Ominous Obsidian Ooze or a Technicolor Toxin.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Kemono Friends, this role is accomplished by the "Sand Star", a mysterious substance that turns regular animals into the humanoid Friends. It can also change the Biomes of a given region and turns inorganic matter into the antagonistic Ceruleans.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: Alan Craig was fleeing from gangsters near Romyen Falls when he found a cave with a giant glob of floating silver inside. Touching it instantly revitalized his body, and he eventually becomes the legendary hero known as the Silver Agent.
  • In Issue 7 of Invader Zim (Oni), Zim's Voot Cruiser crashes on a lifeless planet. Somehow, its spilled fuel mixes with the planet's core and creates a primordial ooze that causes rapid evolution in anything that is exposed to it.
  • In The Ultraverse, Dirty Cop Frank Hoag is killed in an explosion that showers him in chemicals before his body is dumped in the sewers. The combination of the chemicals and the sewage cause him to transform into the monstrous Sludge.
  • Venom: The symbiotes are amorphous parasitic extraterrestrials that bond to a host, sometimes simply covering their bodies and other times transforming them into often-predatory monsters.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Simpsons Movie, a squirrel is mutated in Lake Springfield after Homer dumps an overflowing silo filled with pig excrement into the lake, causing it to become highly toxic. When chased into the lake by a raccoon, the squirrel emerges as a multi-eyed squirrel mutant.

    Film — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Nightmare Hour: The titular "Alien Candy" is a bizarre fudge-like sweet that seemingly transforms kids into aliens, yet oddly leaves their newly elected club president unaffected. The stuff really just gives them an excuse to shed their human disguises so that they can entrap and eat the new kid.
  • In a fantasy version, the river Metamorphia from The Traveller in Black transforms anything, living or dead, that falls into it into something random, bizarre, and unsightly. The outcome for a beautiful young woman who succumbs to this effect is not described, but whatever used to be her can be heard sobbing a lot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The slime oozing from the drillhead in "Inferno", which turns humans into Primords.
    • The slime produced by the Wirrn in "The Ark in Space", which turns humans into Wirrn.
    • In "Delta and the Bannermen", even Chimeron baby food turns a regular guy/love interest into a Chimeron... which, fortunately, was the outcome besotted young Billy was hoping for.
  • The titular heroine of The Secret World of Alex Mack gains her powers when she is accidentally splashed with toxic waste.
  • The so-called 'black oil' from The X-Files: a sentient alien virus that lives in petroleum deposits. It infects humanoids, taking control of their bodies, and is capable of changing their physiology which is apparently how the alien antagonists of the show reproduce themselves. It can transfer from one host to another and protect itself by emitting lethal doses of radiation.

    Tabletop Games 

    Toys 
  • Various substances in BIONICLE induce this effect:
    • Energized Protodermis is either this or an Acid Pool, depending on whether you are destined to transform or not. It transformed the Toa Mata into Toa Nuva, Gaardus into a sort of multi-armed monster and temporarily merged Takanuva and Makuta into one being called Takutanuva. It was also used as a cure for the mind control induced by the Piraka’s Zamor Spheres, which actually contained a bit of Makuta’s essence.
    • Pit Mutagen will induce mutations that vary from species to species (on the Barraki, it had the effect of transforming them into Fish People, whereas the Makuta Mistika experienced Shapeshifter Mode Lock upon exposure). The Piraka lost most of their bodies and became snakelike creatures, Brutaka was only subtly affected by it, and the Mahri Nui Matoran actually experienced a positive change (temporary exposure undid many of Karzahni's modifications).
    • Hordika Venom will turn sentient beings into Beast Men, and make Rahi more vicious and deadly. Spending too long in a mutated state induces madness and a full mental regression, as shown with the dark hunter Savage.
    • Roodaka’s Rhotuka Spinner causes mutations determined by the user, and was used to mutate Nidhiki into an insectoid monster as well as the Toa Hagah into the Rahaga.
    • While never fully explored, the Bohrok-Kal and Kraata-Kal were mutated through exposure to some mutagenic substance.
    • Miserix's mask of mutation can also induce transformations.
  • The backstory for Heroes of Goo Jit Zu is that a meteor carrying ooze mutated a bunch of zoo animals into humanoid forms with Rubber Man powers.

    Video Games 
  • Changed is all about this. A cure was created to combat the pale virus, and it transforms people into anthropomorphic animals made out of the substance that transformed them.
  • The Potion of Mutation in Dungeon Crawl. Might be a good mutation, might be bad.
  • Fallout:
    • The FEV (Forced Evolutionary Virus) is first encountered as vats of green ooze, though an airborne variant also exists.
    • In a milder example from Fallout 2, walking through toxic waste without protective footwear will cause the player character to grow an extra toe.
  • In Geneforge, the content of canisters and Geneforges are most often blue or green, other times ochre or magenta, but always gooey and a catalyst for mutation.
  • I=MGCM: Tobio's Remote Body Omnis is created by a strange black liquid that transforms magical girls into stronger forms called "Beast Forms". Their bodies (except for their eyes) turn black and white and their magical weapons become black and crystallized, causing them to somewhat look like demons. Noticeably, despite appearances they aren't corrupted into demons; they're still able to think, fight, and act like normal humans. This Applied Phlebotinum first appears in the climax chapters of the 2nd Arc of the main story, and the 3rd Arc will explore more about the liquid and what the Beast Forms of the 12 heroines look like, as seen in this official teaser. This in-game upgrade system was implemented at the end of June 2021.
  • Dark Eco acts like this in Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Daxter gets transformed into an Ottsel when he falls into it, and it's suggested the same would happen to Jak if he fell in himself(in-game, no transformation is seen, and pools of Dark Eco are effectively treated as Spikes of Doom, and Jak simply vanishes into dark sparkles).
  • One form of Phazon in the Metroid Prime Trilogy is like this. Other times it appears as crystals. The mutations it causes appear to be due to long-term exposure to a type of radiation it emits.
  • The Mad Lab dungeon in Realm of the Mad God contains pools of green slime that turn your character into a random pet that cannot attack until you step into a pool of blue goo.
  • Rogue Stormers has the Goop, an oil-like, black, oozing substance that horribly mutates living beings in addition to powering Diesel Punk tech.
  • Serious Sam's Bogus Detour: The Mental-Altani Corporation is testing a strange, green liquid called the "Ooze" on Earth's flora and fauna, originally created by the Zorgs as a potential cure for their... skin(less) condition. This chemical mutates almost everything that it touches, transforming plants and otherwise harmless animals into deadly predators that attack all non-mutated life. Even the chemical itself is able to come to life in the form of small orbs called "Ooze Spawn", which die quickly after being released from Ooze containers. If Sam or other non-mutated enemies step into puddles or are touched by Ooze Spawn, they will suffer a poison effect for a few seconds.
  • Structure Gel from SOMA is a black, slimy chemical that's a fantastically efficient conductor when used on machines — and also happens to have mutagenic properties that transformed the majority of the PATHOS-II staff into horrible biomechanical monsters.
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth, the alien goo turns anyone who touches it into a Nazi zombie, complete with the voice of Adolf Hitler. Clyde, however, thinks that it's Taco Bell Green Sauce and refuses to be convinced otherwise.
  • Space Quest V: The Next Mutation has Primordial Soup, which was created in a bacteriological experiment gone catastrophically wrong. Infected humans become "Pukoids", who attempt to transmit The Virus to others by vomiting on them.
  • Terraria: The Shimmer, a lavender-coloured liquid located within the Aether mini-biome, is a somewhat more fantasy take on this, but it still fits this trope, considering that any critters that fall into it become fairy-like faelings, it can change the appearances of town NPCs and can change certain items into different ones. If the player themselves get submerged in Shimmer, they'll be inflicted with the "Shimmering" debuff, which causes them to start phasing through blocks until they reach an opening.

    Webcomics 
  • In this strip of Sinfest, Slick bolts from a mutant creature emerging from a toxic waste pit.
  • Wasted Away has large pools of this nasty stuff dotting the landscape. Sometimes cats like to get high off it, but falling in can do strange things — it turns Gerald and Ez into a massive creature with huge claws, and turns Radon green.
  • Wurr has the Black Touch, found throughout the crater; its effects on an entirely normal dog haven't yet been shown, but given that it can make the already-mutated hounds even more so, it likely wouldn't be pretty.

    Web Original 
  • Fenspace: Handwavium has this effect on living tissue; being turned into a Cat Girl is one of the less weird things it can do to you if you aren't careful.

    Web Videos 
  • The plot of The Cartoon Man is set in motion by a jar of black ink "fermented from the ash of the Fires of Flemsigrad" by occultist animator Oswald Sherzikien. It causes anyone who comes into contact with it to transform into a crazy human cartoon character.
  • The Nostalgia Critic also provides an example in the same review that the page quote comes from when he combines what he calls science goo and a jar of Philadelphia cream cheese; and it turns into a 12" talking Dennis Miller doll.

    Western Animation 
  • Victor Veloci was fond of this in Dino Squad. It turned regular animals into prehistoric mutants and when the titular group of kids were exposed, they gained the power to turn into dinosaurs.
  • Futurama has a mutagenic lake in the sewers of New New York. It turns rats into flying fish-pigs, and a purple octopus living there claimed to have once been a little blonde girl named Virginia. Sewer mutants are immune, and so use the lake as a punishment against offensive outsiders.
  • In Kim Possible, the minor villain Gill, once a camper who went swimming in a toxic lake that caused him to change into a fish/frog mutant, is able to excrete slimy muck that mutates those who come into contact with it after enough time.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:


 
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Video Example(s):

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"Turtle Tracks"

April O'Neil, an ace reporter for Channel 6, investigates recent break-ins, allegedly by Ninjas, which have resulted in the thefts of numerous technologies. However, a chance encounter with a gang of thieves soon leads her to a bigger story when she is saved from the criminals by four Ninja-trained, mutated turtles.

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