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Spike Balls of Doom

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"...and just to ensure there's not one speck of your blue hide remaining? My extra-large, super-nasty swinging spike ball WILL OBLITERATE YOU!"
Dr. Robotnik (to a captured Sonic) Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

A variation of Spikes of Doom. Take a sphere and cover it with spikes and you got yourself a very typical obstacle. Common in video games but also occasionally present in other media. They come in many forms:

  • They can be located on surfaces and fill the role of Spikes of Doom.
  • They can hang mid-air and even move independently. Sometimes they're even spinning.
  • In some cases, they are alive (see The Spiny, Painful Pointy Pufferfish and Sea Hurtchin for some common examples).
  • In other cases, they're on chains, but not as a wieldable weapon since it's another trope.
    • When on chains, they will often swing back and forth or even in a 360 degree motion, perpetually.
  • They might be projectiles shot by enemy cannons

In video games, those objects started making more widespread appearance from third generation consoles afterward and can sometimes still be present in seventh generation platform games.

See also Savage Spiked Weapons. Not to be confused with the Sea Mine.


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    Fan Works 
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, Needle Man's super attack has him curl up into one of these, firing his needles out everywhere.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Even Lambs Have Teeth, Sloane and Katie create these by shoving roofing nails through tennis balls. They then throw these balls into Boris's face. (And possibly other body parts, as the subsequent hits occur off-screen.)
  • Pinhead from Hellraiser uses flying spiked balls at one point (according to an ad for one of the films).
  • The Thief and the Cobbler includes these in a chain reaction.

  • Rollerball, one of the Commander Shaw spy thrillers by Philip McCutchan, has a flanged sphere twelve feet in diameter rolling on an unstoppable course towards a Soviet base.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ace Lightning: Googler can turn into a bouncing spiked ball.
  • Doctor Who: The Toclafane become spiky balls when they have decided to kill you.
  • Robot Wars featured these on long chains — known as The Pendulum — in the early classic era. A smaller round one with long and thin spikes was used in Series 1 while a much bigger square one with thick and short spikes appeared in Series 2, but both more-or-less served the same purpose as hazards to avoid in the Gauntlet and Arena stages. The Pendulums were eventually phased out from Series 3 onward, but would continue to feature in the iconic original intro sequence up until Series 5/Extreme Series 1.


    Video Games 
  • Abuse: Combines this trope with Asteroids Monster — huge spiky balls are inclined to drop on the player without warning, and when destroyed they split into smaller spiky balls.
  • Adventure Island IV: Spiky balls are present in underwater sections.
  • Batman: Return of the Joker (NES): Spiked balls hanging from the chains is one of the first hazards you encounter. Another bunch of them hover up and down in the first Unexpected Shmup Level.
  • Battletoads: These are located in many stages like 4 and 6, and mean instant death for the 'toads. Unlike other spikeballs, they are in a slightly irregular shape. More regular spike balls appear in the final level, orbiting around the tower.
  • Battletoads and Double Dragon: The Stage 6 boss can turn into an invulnerable spikeball.
  • The Bloons Tower Defense series has the Spike-o-pult. Originally a tower of its own, and later integrated into the Dart Monkey tower as an upgrade, it launches spiked balls which roll down the track, boasting the ability to damage multiple bloons with each shot.
  • Blues Brothers: This NES game has stationary versions, mobile versions and larger spikeballs on chains.
  • Bonze Adventure has indestructible blue spike balls that sway back and forth.
  • C Js Elephant Antics: Sometimes these cover floors and skies.
  • DanceDanceRevolution: Some songs on MAX, MAX2, and EXTREME prominently features these in their background videos, especially up-tempo songs. Subverted Trope in that you don't have to dodge them.
  • The Deception series puts these at your disposal once you've upgraded from regular balls.
  • Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime: These are one of the (many) weapons for tanks.
  • Dwarf Fortress has these as one of variant trap components. Due to the way damage works, they're not too good on fleshy foes, as the spikes don't penetrate much, but the small contact area makes them excellent against hardened enemies and anything armored, often shattering bones. The fact they hit thrice per ball helps a lot, too.
  • Evolve: The Behemoth can roll up into a giant spiked ball that can damage hunters just by colliding with them.
  • Gokujyo Parodius has a giant powerup boss which shoots powerups and spiky balls out in higher difficulties.
  • Gremlins 2 has two types of spiky balls. One goes round and the other one goes from wall to wall.
  • Hammerin' Harry has at-the-end-of-chain variations of these.
  • HarmoKnight: Do you remember the meteorites that dropped in the second cutscene? Some did not hatch, and now they are rolling, spiked obstacles, big and small. Oh, and don't try jumping over the big ones. They only deal damage.
  • Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu: Some green spiked balls can be seen moving back and forth.
  • Jetpack has small spikeball enemies that move diagonally and bounce off walls, though they are sometimes trapped within bricks instead.
  • Jumper series: A common trap.
  • Kabuki Quantum Fighter has those kinds of obstacles and these move around too.
  • Kickle Cubicle: One enemy is an invincible spinning spike ball that likes to hug walls.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]: The Drill Sye and Cera Terror Dream Eaters can transform into one and roll into their foes. They're also completely immune to most physical attacks in this state, even unblockable ones.
  • The Kirby series has Gordo which is a living and invincible version of a spikeball.
  • Last Alert: Occasionally, there are spikeballs found.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: These appear as enemies in the Water Temple.
  • Liero: Features spike balls as a weapon - a very tricky, but also potentially very destructive weapon. Players who use them are known as "spikeballers".
  • LocoRoco series has Togeh which is a black ball of spikes commonly found on surfaces. There is also an alive version of it.
  • Mega Man 2: The series' notorious Spikes of Doom take this form in the underwater areas. In 9, one type of spikeball is even an enemy.
  • The Messenger (2018): There are spiky balls in many places: Shot by blue demons, swinging back and forth, or dropped down from trees.
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus: Subverted with Needlers, which look big spiked spheres but are non aggressive.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Grass/Steel Pokemon Ferroseed and its evolution Ferrothorn from Black and White. Both are spiky metal plants, and Ferrothorn pretty much fits all the criteria at the top of the page (alive, hanging, spins, on chainsvines). Obviously, using a contact move on either of them will result in the attacker taking damage thanks to their Iron Barbs ability.
    • Togedemaru from Pokémon Sun and Moon is an Electric/Steel type hedgehog with the Iron Barbs ability too. In fact, its name literally translates to "spike-protruding ball".
  • Professor Layton and the Curious Village: Don Paulo uses some on his flying machine to wreck the tower.
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future: The sliding puzzle before confronting the future professor has one.
  • In Qwak, black spiked balls are fixed hazards in some stages, but they also may fall randomly from the ceiling in some circumstances.
  • Resident Evil 5 features a puzzle involving a bunch of giant flaming spike balls rolling around.
  • In Revolution (1986), this is one of the hazards you'll encounter in the game.
  • Rogue Legacy has spikeballs as possible enemies that can be spawned in rooms. They always move in straight lines - horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, bouncing off walls and slopes. Unlike most other examples, these ones will self-destruct if they bounce too many times in quick succession (like if they spawn trapped in a small hallway).
  • Serious Sam II has a spikeball vehicle you can ride in. One of the enemies is also a spikeball.
  • Shantae: Pike Balls, spiky balls that revolve around Shantae to damage any enemy that comes near her, are one of the buyable items. They return in the sequels with Super and Mega variants that summon multiple Pike Balls at once.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Uses spikeballs extensively, starting from the Spring Yard Zone in the first game. They are a rather common attack of many of the bosses in the series. Some of the spikeballs can be seen in environment spinning or mid-air. Also, some enemies, like Orbinaut, have spikeballs.
  • On a more Meta level, Sonic himself is one of these most the time, being a hedgehog and all. He's covered in spikes, and all his attacks require him to roll into a ball, often causing the doom of Dr Eggman's machinery.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In a number of games, such as Super Mario Galaxy and Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Bowser can form himself into a spiked ball by curling up and leaving on his spiked shell exposed, and afterwards roll around and attempt to crush enemies.
    • Spiny eggs, which are thrown by Lakitus, are spiked orbs that will either turn in Spinies (red), bounce on the ground (green), or explode (yellow) when they hit the ground.
    • Spikes are enemies that spit up spiked balls (or spiked bars in 3D games) and throw them at the player.
    • New Super Mario Bros.:
      • In the first game and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there are spike balls that act like enemies and destroy anything they touch.
      • New Super Mario Bros. U: Grrols and their bigger Dai Gorō relatives are circular stone enemies lined with spikes that try to roll into and crush the player.
    • Paper Mario:
      • Spiny Tromps, enemies seen in the first and third games, are living balls of stone covered in spikes. They usually roll back and forth along platforms to impede Mario's progress or come rolling downhill along narrow slops to try to crush the plumber.
      • Paper Mario: The Origami King: When trying to climb out of Chestnut Valley, Mario's progress is hampered by giant, spherical and very spiky chestnut shells that come rolling down the slopes he needs to ascend.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 introduces certain species of Piranha Plant, referred to as "Ptooies", that keep a spiky ball suspended above them by blowing upwards. Naturally, they cause contact damage if Mario touches them. When brought in as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Piranha Plant is shown to be able to spit them out as part of its neutral special move.
    • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: Bowser can wield a variety of weapons, one of them being a spiked ball on a chain that he hurls at enemies.
    • Super Mario World: There are spiked balls spinning around in a few stages.
    • Yoshi's Island has blue spike balls called Thorns that kill Yoshi in one hit and can be destroyed by eggs.
    • Wario Land 4 and Wario Land: Shake It! have spiky mines and mine-like stationary enemies that look and act like this trope as well.
  • Terraria has these as a throwable weapon. As well as perpetually rotating ball-n-chain's spawning in dungeons.
  • Trine loves spiked balls. Rolling, hanging from chains, falling out of trap doors, floating like naval mines, I don't think there was a single level that didn't have one.
  • Valis II has spiked balls that mostly move back and forth along straight lines. They can be temporarily stopped, but not destroyed.
  • Vectorman: The first boss has spikes attached to its wings. Level 3 also features spikeballs, although they may be sea mines.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


Shy Guy Squad

Bowser curls up into a spikeball (despite not learning the move yet), and the Shy Guys use a band to fling him into the enemies.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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Main / SpikeBallsOfDoom

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