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Spike Shooter

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He's got a powerful point to make.

Spikes of Doom are always painful, especially if mobile. If one were able to use those spikes as weapons, they would be extremely deadly.

This is the Spike Shooter, someone capable of having spikes come out of his body, and sometimes able to fire them. The character also needs to have some Required Secondary Powers, one of them being the spikes not tearing his skin in the process. Or a Healing Factor to fix up the damage, alternately.

An Ice Person or someone who is Dishing Out Dirt can mimic this ability, with icicles or stalagmites.

This includes other small body parts that can be fired at opponents to do damage, such as spines, quills, needles, stingers, thorns and so on. The Cactus Person will often have the ability to launch its thorns in this manner. Porcupines may also be depicted as shooting out their quills, despite the fact that porcupines cannot actually do this in real life.

If the spikes in question are nails, that's Nail 'Em. Feather Flechettes and Flechette Storm are closely related tropes. Not to be confused with the Pile Bunker, in which the spike is shot out but as a piston instead of a projectile.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Zampano, a porcupine-human Chimera, has this ability.
  • Claymore:
    • Dauf can shoot huge metallic rods from his mouth and fingers with enough force to impale targets.
    • The Destroyer (Raphaela/Luciela merged being) shoots spikes in all directions that turn into mindless monsters, which shoot even more spikes to infect anyone they hit and turn them into monsters as well.
  • Digimon: Many Digimon have this ability, cactus-themed Togemon being the most notable.
  • Kekkaishi: Kaguro can shoot blades out of his body. He usually just wields them as normal swords, but once impaled another character by grabbing hold of them and shooting blades out of his chest.
  • Naruto: Kimimaro can fire the bone tips of his fingers as bullets as well as projecting spikes or using his spine as a sword since he can instantly regrow any bone in his body.
  • Pokémon: In the anime, attacks like "Poison Sting" and "Pin Missile" are often represented as a shower of white or luminous barbs that fire from the attacking Pokemon's mouth or some other part of their body.
  • Slayers: Fish people can shoot spines, or at least Noonsa does it.

    Asian Animation 

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Needleshot Gourna is a beast that launches spikes from its arms to bring down flying creatures.
    • Manticores are generally depicted as being able to launch volleys of quills from their tails.

    Comic Books 
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • Porcupine Pete from the Legion of Substitute Superheroes. The flaw that caused the Legion proper to turn him away? He launches all of his spikes every time, making him equally dangerous to friend and foe.
    • Dartalg from the Wanderers, a hero team the Legion occasionally teams up with but normally doesn't get along with, is a fur covered extraterrestrial who can shoot out quickly regrowing "darts".

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Ghost Story: One of the defenses set up by Evil Bob to defend Corpsetaker's lair from the Nevernever are huge spine-covered creatures that can fire spikes from their body surface. The spikes are also anchored to them by long tendrils, allowing them to whip them around at enemies that aren't impaled in the initial attack.
  • Humanx Commonwealth: One of the many, many, many deceptively deadly creatures on Mid-World is a type of tiny lemur-like animals that can fire darts from their snouts. They'd be as harmless as they look if the darts didn't carry a poison which renders its target, first euphoric, then unconscious, and finally dissolved alive.
  • Hothouse: Certain species of cactus in the coastal nomansland have developed the ability to launch volleys of their spikes.
  • Togetherly Long: As an unidentified magical creature, Chiisai is capable of throwing her porcupine-like quills with ease, and it's made even more dangerous by her fire magic, which can cause streaks of flame to persist in the air for a few seconds following the path her quills took, and even after they've been thrown and landed, they can still shoot flame at anyone who comes near them, meaning she could quickly fill the battleground with dangerous traps.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Apple". While an Enterprise landing party is exploring the planet Gamma Trianguli VI, they encounter a plant that can fire thorns covered with a deadly poison.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, there's a species of sentient technology-dependent hadrosaur descendants that shoot sedative-laced barbs from their fingers.
    • In Star Trek: Discovery, after their ganglia fall off during vahar'ai, Kelpiens grow spike shooting organs that come out of the same slits where the ganglia were located. They appear like a crown and fire deadly spikes directly forward. Apparently, this - as well as a much more aggressive attitude - is the natural state for a fully-mature Kelpien, which is why the Ba'ul have been culling them before they ever reached that point.
  • In Doctor Who, when the Doctor takes Blon for her last meal, she reveals that Raxacoricofallapatorians can shoot a poisonous barb from their fingers when their life is being threatened. The Doctor, being aware of the trick, simply catches it without even looking up for the menu he was reading.
  • Ultra Series: If the Monster of the Week have its body visibly covered in spikes, chances are it is capable of launching those spikes as projectile weapons.

  • The Manticore is often described as having a tail that ends in a cluster of spines it is able to fire at prey with deadly accuracy. Curiously, ancient texts claimed that only elephants were immune to said attack.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Manticores can fire tail spikes at opponents.
    • Giant porcupines can attack other creatures by throwing their quills at them.
    • A variety of giant sea urchins, include marine, terrestrial and spaceborne kinds, can fire their spines at opponents.
    • Spiked felldrakes can shoot volleys of their tail spikes at enemies.
    • The tails of formian winged warriors bristle with spikes that they can launch at a distance of ninety feet with quick tail snap. They prefer to use this to harass ground-bound foes while they remain safe in the air.
    • Fiend Folio (1981): The needleman, a human-shaped plant creature, can fire small needles from its body.
    • Basic D&D: The archer bush slings its thorns at creatures that approach too close.
    • Dark Sun: The Monstrous Compendium Appendix: Terrors of the Desert describes a few Athasian natives capable of doing this.
      • The flowers of the blossomkiller plant can fire quills tipped with paralysis poison.
      • The spider cactus can fire barbed needles at its victims. The needles are attached to the cactus by a strand, which the cactus uses to drag the victim close to it.
    • Elder Evils: The male Hulk of Zoretha can fire four poisonous spikes from his forearms every turn.
    • Spelljammer: The Monstrous Compendium Appendix II''. The zurchin is a sea urchin that lives in space. It can fire its poison-filled spines at opponents using internal gas pressure.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Among dragons, peludas can lunch volleys of their poisonous quills by violently shaking themselves. Spine dragons can instead launch the large spines along their backs as individual projectiles.
    • Manticores can launch the spikes on their tails like projectile weapons.
    • Gigas clams roll collected sediment and calcifications into needle-like darts they can eject through their siphons.
    • Pathfinder's version of the Tarrasque can fire spikes from its tail, which the designers added because previous versions of the monster could be easily cheesed by parties capable of flying out of its reach.
    • Numerous plant creatures possess abilities of this sort.
      • Cactus leshys can launch their own prickles at several feet of distance, although they need a few turns to recharge this ability.
      • Sards can launch volleys of envenomed, electrically charged foot-long thorns.
      • Thornies, vaguely doglike quadrupedal masses of fungal tissues, grow thorns laced with narcotic venom that they can launch up to thirty feet away.
      • Saguaroi can fire bursts of their needles as a ranged attack three times per day.
  • Shadowrun: The volleying porcupine can fire its quills at opponents.
  • Vampire: The Requiem: The Norvegi bloodline don't have fangs as their big flaw. To make up for this, they get the Bloodworking Discipline, which allows them to turn their bones into weapons and use them to feed from those they stab. At its highest level, the Discipline turns them into an exploding pincushion.
  • Arduin:
    • The Spinthaak is a giant land version of the sea urchin. It can fire 1-20 of its spines at a time, and has a total of 120 spines available.
    • The Teleport Rose can fire 1-20 of its thorns up to 20 feet away, doing 1-7 Hit Points of damage per hit.
  • Chaosium: The supplement All the Worlds' Monsters III describes the Harpooner, a carnivorous plant that grows up to 12 feet tall. It can fire a dart from the center of its flowers that does 1-6 Hit Points of impact damage and injects a poison that does 1-4 Hit Points of damage and forces the target to make as saving throw vs. poison or be paralyzed.
  • Gamma World. The mutations "Quills or Spines" and "Thorn Thrower" allow creatures to throw quills, spines or thorns at opponents and damage them.
  • Traveller supplement Spacefarer's Guide to Alien Monsters
    • The nailer is a porcupine-like alien creature that can fire its quills up to eight meters away.
    • The spinechucker is a four meter tall cactus-like plant which can shoot its spines up to 1 meter away.

    Video Games 
  • The Quadrupedal Xenomorph enemies from Aliens Armageddon are a special breed of aliens who can launch their dorsal spines as ranged projectiles on the players.
  • Bloody Zombies have spiked zombies, who can expel the spikes protruding all over their bodies as a ranged projectile on the players.
  • Spore Hero: Some body parts allow creatures to do this.
  • Fallout 2: Spore Plants can spit spikes as a ranged attack. They're incredibly weak and inaccurate, once you get any moderately good armor you're effectively immune to damage from them even if they manage to actually hit you.
  • Flippin Kaktus: The titular kaktus has the power to shoot his needles. He has the power in the first level, but only as a preview, as he doesn't collect it until later.
  • One of the later weapons in illWill (2023) is a gun that fires spikes loaded with petrifying poison. Enemies hit by said weapon will move around with the spikes visible on them until they suddenly turn grey and solidify.
  • Mega Man 3: Needle Man and his many Hari Harry (read: robot porcupines) minions. Mega Man himself gets in on the act after defeating Needle Man and taking his weapon. This also extends to Needle Man's alternate universe counterpart NeedleMan.EXE. And, of course, MegaMan.EXE too, thanks to several needle/spike-themed battle chips.
  • Pokémon: Some creatures have the moves Spikes, Toxic Spikes, Spike Cannon and/or Pin Missile. There are also Icicle Spear and Icicle Crash for the Ice-types.
  • Metroid: Kraid in both the original game and Super Metroid. Super Metroid also has cactus-like enemies that fire spikes, rather than spines.
  • Kirby has the Needle ability. Recent games have given it the ability to fire the spikes.
  • Starcraft: Drones and Hydralisks spit spines at their enemies.
  • Warcraft III has quillboars, a race of Pig Men who can throw their quills at enemies. The quilbeast, a warthog-like creature summoned by the Beastmaster, does the same.
  • Guild Wars: Giant scorpions with ranger profession shoot spines at players with their tail. The other types of scorpions fight at melee range.
  • Resident Evil 4 gives us Iron Maidens, upgraded versions of Regeneradors that can impale you on their extendable body spikes, hence their name.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Cacti and Cattails both shoot spikes, which are useful for popping Balloon Zombies out of the sky. The Cactus appearing in Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare shoots her spikes at long ranges with pinpoint accuracy, turning the character into a spike-shooting sniper.
  • Amorphous+:
    • The Horror can shoot its "teeth" in a burst. If those hit another gloople, that gloople turns into a Biter (two of which have a slim chance of combining into a Horror). If those hit you, you die unless you have Reactive Armour.
    • The Razor Queen shoots out spikeballs that explode into a burst of spikes.
  • City of Heroes has this with the Spines powerset, where a bunch of sharp pointy things sprout out of your body. You can throw the spines as an attack, or let them passively explode out of you.
  • League of Legends: Cho'gath has the passive "Vorpal Spikes", which augments his basic melee attacks with a large curtain of short-range spikes.
  • Halo 3:
    • The Flood pure forms are capable of anchoring themselves down to a surface and launching sharpened metallic spikes at opponents. These spikes are not generated by the pure form, rather they are metal that they have scavenged from the environment, ground into spikes, and incorporated into their bodies.
    • The Type-25 Carbine, better known as the "Spiker" or the "Spike Rifle", is this, combined with Magnetic Weapons. This is because their rounds are theorized to be spherical in shape, and then extruded and fired out of the barrel as a superheated spike.
  • CreaVures: Pokey, a porcupine-like creature, can shoot spines out of his back to frighten off animals, with no ill effect. Strangly, he can also jab individual spines into certain surfaces to make a impromptu ladder of sorts.
  • The Jungle Book: The enemy porcupines in some levels shoot quills at Mowgli.
  • Final Fantasy: Cactuars are covered in needles, and fire them by the thousand as their signature move.
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue: Plantella's Thorn Shower attack.
  • In Elemental Master, the boss of the Earth zone is a giant hedgehog or porcupine that shoots quills in eight directions at once.
  • Hallowed Legends: Ship of Bones: Garm the ice dog can launch the many icicles on his back in a burst.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • Monster Hunter Freedom Unite: Nargacuga is able to fling spikes from its tail. Lucent Nargacuga in 3 Ultimate takes it even further, as not only can it launch spikes from any of its tail attacks after it unfurls its spikes, but said spikes are also poisonous.
    • Monster Hunter: World:
      • The Radobaan is a brute wyvern that can attack by flinging the bony spikes stuck to its body.
      • Nergigante is a powerful elder dragon that can fling spikes from its body as one of its attacks. What's worse, these spikes grow back bigger and harder in mere minutes, boosting its attack and defense, so hunters need to attack Nergigante as aggressively as possible to keep from being overwhelmed.
  • Glider PRO: The "SeaCaves" Game Mod replaced the water droplets of the normal game with sea urchins continually releasing their spines.
  • In Diablo II, there are Quill Rats, Spike Fiends, Thorn Beasts, and Razor Spines.
  • In Super Mario Maker, a winged Spiny can do this in four directions at once.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force: The Race X "Pit Drones" have a head full of spikes which they can fire off as a ranged attack.
  • In Dauntless, two Behemoths, the Quillshot and the Nayzaga, have evolved to be able to bombard Slayers with a volley of the porcupine-like quills that sprout (and constantly regrow) from their back. Besides serving as armor and artillery, the latter Behemoth always fires them in pairs, which become a conductive organic sentry turret that hurls ball lightning at unsuspecting victims unless it is smashed. Said ball lightning can be deflected, either at the turret to destroy it, or at the Nayzaga itself, electrocuting it and leaving it open to heavy damage.
  • Oriental Legend has a giant sea urchin monster (taking up much of the screen, who will spend the whole game spamming spikes all over the place besides summoning smaller urchins to stab the players.
  • In Paladins, Yagorath's alt fire (in Planted Form) fires exploding spikes. They have a cooldown, but Yagorath can have several charges of the ability at once. The spikes do more damage if Yagorath tenderizes the enemies with the acid from her primary fire first.
  • Mortal Kombat 11: One of Baraka's Equip Abilities is "Spine Burst" which allows him to shoot spikes from his back.
  • Nail Shooters are a fairly common type of hazard in Quake and they come in varied forms, with different directions and fire rates (and even a laser equivalent for base levels). The player gets Spike Shooters of their own to shoot enemies with, with the Nailgun and Super Nailgun.
  • Quest for the Shaven Yak: Starring Ren Hoëk & Stimpy has two examples of enemies that shoot spiked projectiles at Ren or Stimpy. The first is the porcupines in The Blacker Than Black Forest, who shoot quills. The second is the cacti in The Stinking Dry Desert, which shoot prickles.

    Web Comics 
  • The Overture has Sophie. A Porcupine Demi who can throw her barbed hair like knives. While not that painful on entry, the quills are absolute agony to pull out.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Riff's anti-vampire gun shoots 100 stakes in a second. Unfortunately, it takes two days to reload.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Alien Force has Argit, a porcupine-type alien who can literally shoot his quills, with enough force to pierce stone and with Instant Sedation venom. At least until Ben glues them down.
  • Castlevania (2017): One of the demons that attack the Lindensfeld priory in "Abandon All Hope", a lion-like archer, grows the spikes it fires like arrows directly from its hand. This allows it to have an essentially bottomless supply of arrows and to deploy them very rapidly. It can even grow multiple ones at the same time.
  • Dinotrux features the Segarbasaurs, mechanical Stegosaurus/Garbage truck hybrids that are capable of firing their back plates at enemies. They don't seem to be particular sharp though, and only seem to annoy at best.
  • Godzilla: The Series had an episode about giant bees that could shoot their poison stinger.
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk: The Whispering Death possess the ability to shoot bladed spikes from its tail as a side weapon. Other dragons like the Razorwhip, the Screaming Death (a mutated Whispering Death), and the Buffalord.
  • One sea urchin-like creature from Mars And Beyond, a Zeerusty 1957 Disney documentary about the potential for life elsewhere in the solar system, is shown firing one of its needle-thin quills at a smaller Living Gasbag animal, then reeling its pierced prey in on the projectile's natural harpoon-line.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: When angered, the pukwudgies can launch volleys of their quill-like hairs with enough force to bury them in solid wood.
  • X-Men: Evolution has Spyke, a gender-flipped Marrow ( eventually down to the part where the bone armor never goes away). He can create and fire bone projections of all sizes with a great deal of force, as well as create Wolverine Claws. Eventually, his powers grow to the point that his spikes form armor around his body and he's able to launch them as superheated explosives.

    Real Life 
  • Cone snails shoot modified radular teeth to inject venom in their prey. Then a cone pulls on the ejected tooth via a ligament to reel in the paralyzed prey.
  • Averted with the porcupine. It was believed that it could project its quills, but is incapable of doing so. It is, however, capable of lashing out with its tail and leaving quills embedded in an enemy's skin, which makes it look like it is doing this at close-range.
  • When threatened, tarantulas rub their hind legs over their abdomen, sending up a cloud of urticating hairs covered in microscopic barbs that irritate predators' skin and respiratory tracts; they regenerate such shed hair (along with any sustained external injuries) the next time they moult. Elderly tarantulas often have bald abdomens because they've used up their hairs in this way, and old age causes their moulting process to be increasingly infrequent.
  • To other humans unfamiliar with the technology, the very first Stone Age people to make use of javelins, bows, or blowguns for hunting probably seemed like this trope.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Needle Attack



Argit's species has the power to fire quills laced with a sedative.

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Example of:

Main / SpikeShooter

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