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Sleepy Enemy

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Enemies come in all sorts of variations. Whether they're competent Elite Mooks or easily disposable Cannon Fodder like The Goomba, you would at least expect them to pull their weight when it comes to assisting the Big Bad on their conquest to Take Over the World.
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But then you get these guys. The lazy bunch who prefer to do nothing but sleep all day, the Big Bad's orders be damned.

Sleepy Enemies are enemies that are almost always found asleep. They're usually passive and docile in this state and will not pose a threat to the hero from the outset... unless they disturb them. The enemy's reactions to waking up can vary. Most commonly they'll Turn Red and lash out at the hero in an Unstoppable Rage, but other reactions include fleeing from the hero, alerting their comrades of an intruding threat, or just plain apathy to their situation.

Commonly found in video games because these types of enemies can allow the player to sneak up on them to get the upper edge, and there may be a dedicated Stealth-Based Mission involving them. Generally, they're weaker and easier to deal with while sleeping but stronger and more challenging while awake. Other times, however, it's more preferable to avoid them entirely while they're sleeping, especially if they're strong Beef Gates ready to tear the player apart at a moment's notice should they trespass on their turf. Typically, if the player hides from their view for a while or runs away far enough from their initial area, they return to their position and eventually fall asleep again, though in rare cases enemies will remain alert.

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Sub-Trope of Sleepyhead and Don't Wake the Sleeper. Compare Lazy Dragon. Can be a form of Savage Setpiece. See also Cowardly Mooks and The Guards Must Be Crazy, which are related tropes that share the same family tree as this one. Tends to overlap with Harmless Villain most of the time, and even if they retaliate against the hero, it's usually because they don't like being woken up rather than fulfilling an ulterior motive the Big Bad set for them. Contrast Forced Sleep, which is about using spells or powers to put people (including enemies) to sleep, and Never Wake Up a Sleepwalker, where waking up a sleepwalker causes their death.


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Video Game Examples:

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    Action-Adventure 
  • Disney's Hide & Sneak: Some UFO enemies can be seen often times dozing off. Pressing B to catch their attention, sneaking too close to them or running over to them will cause them to wake up without hesitation.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
    • During the nighttime, Bokoblins and Moblins lie down and go to sleep, remaining like that until dawn unless woken by noises, which allows Link to sneak around their camps and take them out in their sleep or steal their weapons. If woken, they'll remain awake and hostile as long as Link is in their field of sight; if he leaves their field of vision for long enough before dawn breaks, they'll give up looking after a while and return to sleep.
    • Hinoxes are large cyclopes found sleeping day and night in isolated spots in the wilderness. They're sound enough sleepers that, with some care, Link can climb right on top of their recumbent bodies to steal the weapons strung on their rope necklaces. They will turn hostile if awoken by repeated loud noises or an attack but, if they lose track of Link, they will simply head back to their spots, stretch, lie down and go right back to sleep.

    Beat 'em Ups 
  • An Egyptian Tale: During earlier stages when the game's going easy on the player, the Princess will often enter a new area and find a bunch of sleeping guards, some of them dozing off while standing, only waking up when attacked. She can in fact beat up one or two awakened enemy at a time, as long as she didn't accidentally punch a sleeping mook.
  • Warriors of Fate: The game has levels where you infiltrate Cao Cao's outposts. The guards in the areas are asleep with some of them even holding wine bottles, but trying to tiptoe past them will wake them up and cause them to attack you. It's preferable that you strike the nearest sleeping enemy and take down a few before they realize your presence.

    Eastern RPGs 
  • Dragon Quest Builders: The game has a day-night cycle and many of the monsters that are active during the daytime will be asleep if you encounter them while adventuring at night. They'll wake up if you attack them or make too much noise.
  • Elden Ring: Most low-level enemies (from wolves to the Misbegotten) have a resting animation cycle and are often found sleeping in the overworld. This lets you sneak past them much easier than around roaming enemies, and was reportedly part of a cut questline that focused on sneakily stealing various sleeping creatures' dreams.
  • Genshin Impact: Some Hilichurls are found napping out in the open and have low aggro ranges when compared to their awake brethren. Because of this, it's very easy to sneak up on them and launch a surprise attack, but once disturbed, they'll be on high alert and will not fall back asleep if you decide to bail. Lore-wise, there's a tribe of Hilichurls in Dadaupa Gorge called the Sleeper Tribe which mostly consists of sleeping Hilichirls for you to sneak up on.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Red and Blue: The games introduce Snorlax, which often appears in the series as a sleeping Broken Bridge that requires special means to wake up. Once you've done so, it proves to be a Mighty Glacier that likes to use "Rest" to restore its health. Later generation games give it additional moves like Belly Drum (maxes out it's attack at the cost of half of its HP, which it restores easily with Rest) and moves it can use while asleep like Snore and Sleep Talk.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon: The games introduce Komala, a Pokémon that is perpetually asleep thanks to its Ability "Comatose". This gives it the advantage of being immune to all other non-volatile status conditions (paralysis, poison, etc.) and it can use moves that would normally require being asleep (Sleep Talk, Snore) at any time. However, this also leaves it vulnerable to moves that require the target to be asleep (Dream Eater, Nightmare) and it takes double-damage every time from Hex and Wake-Up Slap.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: One of the enemies found in Oho Ocean Seabed are Malibuts, octopus-esque creatures who begin the fight asleep and subconsciously attack Mario and Luigi by blowing bubbles if they're left alone. If attacked, they wake up annoyed at having their sleep disrupted and throw their pillow at the offending brother.
    • Paper Mario 64: In Tubba Blubba's Castle, the player encounters Clubbas who are green, shelled enemies with spiked maces. While some patrol a small area of the Castle, others are found sleeping, with Mario able to walk slowly to avoid waking them.
    • Super Mario RPG: Jawfuls spend the first few turns of each fight fast asleep, not waking up until that period elapses. Bowser's Keep features a stronger variant known as Forkies, which function almost identically but are described as being "enraptured" at first, only "[coming] to their senses" when attacked.
  • Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana: The Bullfroodons in the Eroded Valley are giant sleeping frogs who, when disturbed, will enter an enraged state and relentlessly attack your party with poison smog and falling boulders. They're at a higher level than what your party should be at that point, meaning it's recommended to avoid them until you're strong enough to take them on later. Your party members will even call you out if you attack the Bullfroodons prematurely.

    Fighting Games 
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Towtows in The Subspace Emissary are sheep-like enemies that spawn in an asleep state. If awakened by attacks, they enter a feral form and viciously charge at the player.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: Most Predator mooks encountered in the overworld have two distinct behaviors: They will either be fully alert and looking for players at all times, or be sleeping until woken up by loud noises or being too close, and will only then give chase.

    First-Person Shooters 
  • Halo: Downplayed with Grunts, who can often be found sleeping across all games in the series, allowing Chief to stealthily take them out with melee attacks (or just toss a bunch of grenades into the snoozing aliens).
  • Memoirs of Magic: Gargoyles will sleep upon spawning and won't wake until you either step near them or damage them. If attacked, they take to the skies and will fire counter-attack lasers while dodging any slow projectiles; often, it's easier to just snipe them.

    MMORPGs 
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • An example that overlaps with Lazy Dragon. In the Aery, there are numerous Slumbering Dragons resting inside Nidhogg's den. They won't wake up if you hug the wall opposite their nests, allowing the party to safely bypass them. However, Nidhogg's Broodlings will aggro and chase after the party, and killing them too close to the Slumbering Dragons will cause their death cries to wake the dragons up to avenge their young.
    • In Sohr Khai, there are several gates guarded by sleeping Cloud Gardeners, rocky beings that rest inside cube-shaped stones. There's no way past the gate without killing the Gardeners first, forcing the party to wake them up and kill them to proceed.
  • Kingdom of Loathing: The Accordion Thief's Nemesis questline has the Mariachi enemies in the Barracks, which you need to pickpocket the hacienda key plot item from. They start out as a Sleepy Mariachi, become a slightly beefier Surprised Mariachi after one turn, and then a much tougher Alert Mariachi on the next. An Alert Mariachi that gets their turn will One-Hit Kill you by calling all their buddies to beat you up and throw you out.

    Platformers 
  • Drawn to Life: Snowman enemies found in the Banya Fields are always asleep before the player approaches them, at which point they awake and attack, unless one walks by them carefully instead of running. As running is the default speed, this requires tapping the d-pad instead of holding it down.
  • Epic Mickey: Spladooshes combine this with Action Bomb. If Mickey approaches one, it will wake up and explode, thinning out all the paint in the vicinity. Paint will slow down the explosion, and thinner will speed it up.
  • Golden Force have an underwater cavern where enemies (piranhas, water-grubs, etc) are asleep. Unfortunately it's an area where the water current throws you around, as such you're very likely to bump into a sleeping monster and awaken them to attack.
  • A Hat in Time: Sleepy Raccoons appear in some of the game's levels. They float through the air while sleeping, and if Hat Kid passes underneath one of them, the Snot Bubble they use to stay afloat will pop and cause them to drop on her.
  • Jazz Jackrabbit 2:
    • The bats enemies are usually found sleeping hanging upside down, but they wake up when the player gets close to them and start chasing the player.
    • The fish from the water levels are found sleeping (with their eyes closed, despite the fact this group of animals don't have eyelids), but brutally charge towards the player when they get close to the mooks.
  • Kirby:
    • Noddy is programmed to doze off into sleep, awaken and take a few steps in one direction, after which the cycle restarts. If Kirby eats one, he also falls asleep until disturbed.
    • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: Some of the Awoofies are asleep. One notable instance in the winter world has them sleeping in a frozen cave with some food nearby.
  • Oddworld: Sligs can often be found just sleeping on the job. This gives Abe the opportunity to sneak past them without dealing with them at all, get a decent head start if you're just going to make a break for it, get a good shot at them using lethal items like a grenade or Brewnade, or in Oddworld: Soulstorm specifically, rob them blind. Two loud noises in a row will wake them up, but they will usually go back to sleep if the alarms are low or they didn't find anything.
  • Pac-Man: The sleeping ghosts from CE DX act as this. Sleeping ghosts are usually colored green, but if Pac-Man comes near a sleeping ghost, they'll turn into angry rainbow ghosts that chase Pac-Man.
  • Sonic Heroes: Some of Dr. Eggman's robots are asleep, and will attack the player if they are awakened. Team Chaotix's storyline in particular has missions where Vector, Espio, and Charmy have to get to the goal ring without being detected by the robots. As a chameleon, Espio can use his Invisibility to easily sneak past the robots.
    Espio: Hey, they're asleep. So stay quiet and move slowly...
    Charmy: (Loudly) OK!
    Vector (Even louder) Whaddaya doing?! Be quiet!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom: The aptly-named Sleepytime robots first encountered in Rock Bottom are always sleeping but they have security lights above them that can detect you when you're within range. When the lights turn red, the Sleepytimes wake up and zap you with a continuous laser beam that can quickly drain your health if you don't step out of it. SpongeBob is the only character capable of sneaking up on them by tip-toeing without waking them up.
  • Spyro the Dragon (1998): Sleeping Dogs are a type of enemy found in the boss level Toasty. If you get too close to it or flame it, it wakes up and leaps to squish you. It takes two attacks to kill them.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario 64: The Piranha Plants in Whomp's Fortress are asleep with a little lullaby playing should you approach them. If they wake up, the lullaby will stop playing and the Piranha Plants will chomp at Mario in retaliation, only falling back asleep once you back out a bit. They can only be defeated by sneaking up on them and punching them while asleep.
    • Super Mario World: The Rip Van Fish will usually be seen sleeping unless the player gets too close; then they will wake up and pursue the player (but will fall back asleep if the player swims too far away).
    • Super Princess Peach: Some enemies will be seen sleeping, but will wake up if Princess Peach gets too close. The best way to get past them without waking them up is by sneaking by them.
  • YuuYuu Jiteki no Yuukarin: Subverted and played with the lazy pig enemies. They're found dozing off on lawn chairs with a newspaper in hand and will not react to Yuuka attacking them, making them the least-threatening in the game. The worse they can do is harm Yuuka with Collision Damage but, they don't actively retaliate once attacked and will just go back to napping. They even appear in World 3-2 "Where the skull lurks" where their dozing habit gets them killed by the giant skeleton pursuing Yuuka.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Deadly Rooms of Death: Evil eyes are always asleep at the start of a room, and wake up if the player or a decoy moves into their line of sight, making them a common choice when the architect needs a tile or area to be "watched". Once awakened, they pursue the player similarly to other monsters.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Pikmin:
    • The Bulborb family are nocturnal and thus typically found laying down in the open and snoring away. If awoken, they will pursue you and your squad but return to their sleeping spots if you lose them. Sneaking up on them is complicated by the fact that they're usually found alongside dwarf bulborbs, which unlike them are diurnal and will wake the larger creature with their cries if startled. Spotty Bulbears also have this behaviour in the first game, although the later games have them be awake at all times.
    • Pikmin 3 adds the Waddlepus to the collection of sleeping creatures, though it only blows bubbles in an attempt of self defence, not in search for its next meal.

    Roguelike Games 
  • Caves of Qud: Slumberlings are a sleepy sort of Boss in Mook's Clothing that you can easily and thankfully avoid, common enough to find even in the Rust Wells. They're giant craggy bears big enough to mistake for boulders, and heavy enough sleepers that no amount of mayhem nearby will wake them up. Only direct damage can wake them up, at which point they will start swinging to kill, charge quickly across the field, and always make a beeline for the player. They're very quick to fall asleep again if they don't immediately reach you, so you have an option if you whacked one through accidental AOE attacks and aren't high enough level to survive their swipes more than a couple turns.
  • NetHack: Leprechauns and nymphs, both of which are a kind of Bandit Mook trying to steal the player's gold and inventory items respectively, are typically generated fast asleep. Characters with the ability of stealth can always walk past them without waking them up, but there still are many ways for them to be woken up, like kicking down a locked door or when a random light/sphere type of monster explodes nearby. The Jabberwock also starts off asleep... most of the time.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Some wild Pokémon can be found sleeping in dungeons and only attack if your party gets too close to them. In Super Mystery Dungeon, equipping the Tiptoe emera to your lead Pokémon's looplet allows your party to walk past a sleeping Pokémon without waking it up.
  • Slay the Spire: The elite enemy "Lagavulin" will spend the first three turns of combat fast asleep, unless the player wakes it up early by dealing greater than 8 damage in a single turn.
  • Touhou Genso Wanderer: Low-levelled Copies have a tendency to randomly fall asleep while roaming the dungeons, making it easier to avoid them or launch surprise attacks on them. The ones commonly prone to this habit are Copies based on the fairies (Cirno, Daiyousei, Lily White, Sunny Milk, Luna Child, and Star Sapphire) and Team ⑨ (Cirno again, Rumia, Mystia Lorelei, and Wriggle Nightbug).

    Run and Gun 
  • Commando 2: You can come across several areas where enemy sentries are slacking off or asleep, allowing you to knife them before they wake up. But accidentally drawing a gun and firing off a shot and you'll wake up everyone into attacking you.
  • Savage Halloween have seals in the Arctic-themed stages, who remains asleep even as you're shooting at other enemies around it. But should you accidentally hit it with a stray bullet, it immediately awakes and starts attacking.

    Third-Person Shooters 
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: A variant. While never explicitly described as "asleep", the Clubberskulls are powerful enemies that usually remain dormant in the form of a chained up skull. Unless of course Pit disturbs them, then they'll transform into a hulking heart-like monstrosity and rampage across the level.
  • Metal Gear: Sleeping guards can be found from time to time in the series. They will fall asleep right where they're patrolling while standing up. The player can walk by them with no problems as long as they don't touch the guards or make loud noises in their vicinity. And of course if Alert Mode is reached, they will wake up and pursue the player.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth: Subverted. Cammy Meele is a flight attendant who is seemingly highly prone to falling asleep randomly. In reality, her sleepyheadedness is a façade to hide her role as an agent in the smuggling ring who murdered an Interpol agent who was investigating the ring.

    Western RPGs 
  • Dragon Age: Origins: In the quest, "The Harrowing", a Warden who picked the Circle Mage origin is tested in the Fade with resisting the temptations of the spirits and demons that call the Fade home. Aided by a companion named Mouse, one such creature they encounter is a Mini-Boss/Elite Mook Sloth Demon named Bereskarn, who complains about being woken up by the two of them, and constantly yawns whenever the Warden speaks with him. He eventually agrees to teach Mouse how to shapeshift into a bear if the Warden correctly answers his riddles or defeats him in combat (and will automatically engage the two in combat if the Warden incorrectly guesses any of the riddles), and once the Warden has done so, he teaches Mouse how to assume his bear form, and then goes right back to sleep.
  • Undertale: Napstablook pretends to be asleep when the Player Character first encounters them early in the game. Closer examination will reveal that they are actually saying the letter 'Z' repeatedly in an attempt to avoid notice. Unfortunately for Blooky, they are blocking the only way forward, so there is no choice but to confront them.

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