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Spikes of Villainy

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"Look at the spikes he's wearing! He's gotta be evil!"
One very smart little boy, Shadow Hearts: Covenant

An evil character, particularly his armor, will be covered in a mass of spikes, blades, horns, and spines that would make a porcupine jealous. Also, expect black or blood-red armor.

The idea is to make sure the audience knows that this person or group is dangerous. Others might think it just looks cool. Such spikes or blades are often purely ornamental: despite the fact that they're sharp enough to pierce flesh, it's pretty rare for Spikes Of Villainy to be actually used in combat. Indeed, you would have to get to very close quarters in order to stick an opponent using spikes on your armor—meaning it probably would have been easier to stab them with a hand weapon—and their tendency to accidentally snag on things or poke allies next to you would be a nuisance, which is why in real life they were mostly confined to helmets and rarely used offensively. An exception to the ornamental rule is if spikes are found on a video game enemy, in which case they stand a very good chance of foiling would-be Goomba Stompers.

Samurai are a potential exception whose spikes are not necessarily villainous. Historically, they did wear headgear impressively decorated with horns, spikes, and rings; modern depictions of samurai tend to be both heroic and spikey.

A subtrope of Dress-Coded for Your Convenience and Evil Is Angular. May be complemented with Chained by Fashion, Fangs Are Evil, Flying Cutlery Spaceship, armor-mounted Femme Fatalons, or Ominous Opera Cape. Most likely used by a Tin Tyrant. See also Scary Impractical Armor. Not to be confused with Spikes of Doom. Sister Trope to Horns of Villainy; the two don't necessarily have to coincide. Savage Spiked Weapons, while not exclusively "evil", could be considered a weapon related cousin of this trope.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • In the first two episodes of Happy Heroes, Big M. has spiky shoulder pads on his suit of armor. He does not have these shoulder pads in any later episodes.
  • White Snake (2019): The Master's giant snake form is covered with black spikes, in contrast with Blanca's snake form, whose scales are shining white.

    Comic Books 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • The Shredder's weapons were conceived when someone wondered what it would be like to have cheese graters on their arms. (Whether the armor was actually functional as a weapon or whether it was just ornamental depended on the continuity; in some versions, it was just for show, and he used standard archaic weapons like swords most of the time, while in others, the armor was indeed useful as an offensive weapon.)
    • Slash, a recurring Evil Counterpart rival to the Turtles, is often depicted with spikes on his shell across various continuities. While he's usually more of an Anti-Hero than a villain, the spikes still emphasize his brutal nature and power compared to the Turtles' use of martial arts and teamwork. Sometimes the spikes are subdued and a natural part of his shell, similar to the snapping turtle he's based off of. Other times, they're obvious sharp spines of a different colour growing straight out of his shell.
  • In Superman comics:
  • Alien bounty hunter/mercenary Lobo. Mass murderer, miscreant, and dedicated wearer of leather and spikes. Quite appropriate for a space biker, too.
  • X-Men:
    • Rachel Summers original Hound uniform was depicted as black with metal studs around the neck and wrists, down her front, and along the outside of her arms and legs. Her Excalibur catsuit was an adaptation of this: red with spikes instead of studs, and none on the legs. Alan Davis consistently drew the black studded uniform in flashbacks, but other artists instead put Rachel in the very same red. The outfit mix-up may have started with Days of the Future Present, where Rachel refers to her costume as her "Hound uniform" even though it's really a variation.
    • Stryfe wears a spiky armored costume. To get an idea of just how invested Stryfe is in this trope, his spikes have spikes on them.
  • Wonder Woman:
  • Star Wars Legends series Legacy: Darth Krayt's armour is covered with spikes, some of which are parasitic Yuuzhan Vong implants growing out of his body. Many of his Sith minions emulate his fashion sense to a lesser degree, minus the parasites. After coming back from the dead and purging himself of the implants, Krayt ditches his old armour for a less-spiky one.
  • Ghost Rider is often depicted with small spikes, as benefits an Anti-Hero biker. In contrast, his Evil Knockoff Vengeance has two-foot shoulder spikes and a spike mohawk growing out of his Flaming Skull. He's also been known to intentionally impale victims on his shoulder spikes.
  • During Speedball's Audience-Alienating Era as Penance, he wore a costume with spikes on the outside and the inside.
  • Some of evil doppelgangers of Marvel superheroes created by Magus during The Infinity War, including Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Wonder Man, The Thing, and Vision, had additional spikes on their costumes (or bodies).
  • In the final issues of Marvel Comics' Robocop: The Future of Law Enforcement series, RoboCop's final challenge is his intended replacement whose cyborg body is similar to his, but it's black and has spikes on the shoulders.
  • Harris invented some Spikey Battle Nun Armor for Vampirella. Of course she's not evil, but after all, the Mother of all "Bad Girls", so it's not a fashion crime.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Fear's fortress is completely adorned with spikes and chains.
  • Kaine Parker during The Clone Saga had a full body costume with spikes coming out of the forearms and legs, as well as a homicidal attitude.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Ghorghor Bey's armor as a dreaded warlord is covered head to toe with massive spikes, to the point where nobody could conceivably even get near him without getting gored in the process.
  • Copperhead puts sheriff's deputy Budroxifinicus and gang member Brexinfoyle, both members of the same alien species. Brex's villainy is underlined by his spiked shoulderpad and arm guard.
  • Red Robin: The trigger happy League of Assassins member Prudence wears a purple leather jacket with spikes along the shoulders. She notably is never seen with the jacket after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Pitiful Human Lizard: Bodyrocks has a lot of spikes protruding from his body.
  • In Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Lady Mordiel's helmet is adorned with menacing spikes.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992), all the Ganon's soldiers wear spiked armor.
  • In the final issue of Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake, the evil Ice Queen sports wears a spiked costume.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Jafar from Aladdin gains a spikier-looking outfit after wishing to be "the most powerful sorcerer in the world!" His shoulder pads become larger and pointier, his hat loses its feather and gains two spikes facing either side, and his cobra staff actually opens its mouth.
  • The Gorg from Home (2015) wear armor adorned with spikes that have skulls impaled on them. Subverted – he’s actually pretty nice.
  • Most of the dragons in How to Train Your Dragon combine this with lots and lots of sharp, spiky teeth. In an interesting twist, the fastest, most maneuverable, and arguably the deadliest one, Toothless the Night Fury, forgoes the spikes for a more streamlined look. Not surprisingly, he's the first sympathetic dragon that the viewers encounter.
  • Megamind practically lives by this trope. Everything he owns is adorned with spikes - his outfits, his car, his robots, his weapons - even something as mundane as a pair of tongs he owned was adorned with spikes. None of them serve any purpose other than to make things look more "villain-y".
  • In Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent actually has spikes covering her dragon form at the end of her film: four on her neck, six on her back, five on the base of her tail, and three on the tip of her tail.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The Scorpion is the biggest offender, being covered in spikes, but several other villains have a spiky motif, including the Prowler and Green Goblin.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Dennis tries to stomp on SpongeBob and Patrick with a boot with spikes on the sole. It even has the words "Your head here" written on it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Class of Nuke 'Em High: The nuclear mutant is covered in these.
  • Godzilla both uses and subverts this one: the man himself is fairly spiky, and ranges from badass villain to badass Anti-Hero to child-friendly Super Hero. Anguiras, the spikiest monster of all, is almost always good and functions as Godzilla's Sidekick at times. Gigan, meanwhile, is always evil, has spikes for hands, a spike on his head, spiky wings, and a buzzsaw in his stomach. And Big Bad King Ghidorah is only slightly spiky.
    • SpaceGodzilla, Godzilla's evil clone from Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, has two massive spikes on his shoulders, a crown-like spike on his head, and several small spikes at the tip of his tail.
    • Destoroyah of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is quite spiky, and he's definitely one of the more evil monsters.
  • Nero's ship in the Star Trek (2009) reboot. Ironically, the ship is a simple mining vessel in its original time period.
    • Even the Narada's torpedoes are spiky. Nero really liked spikes.
    • Note that the prequel comic indicates that the Narada didn't look like that until Nero outfitted it with prototype hybrid Romulan-Borg technology in his quest for revenge.
  • In the DC Extended Universe, the original design for the armor of the New God Steppenwolf included plenty of silvery spikes. It was eventually used in Zack Snyder's Justice League.
  • Transformers in the movie series seem to have a lot of spikes. Although both Autobots and Decepticons have them, Decepticons seem to have more (and Megatron is made up of precious little but spikes).
  • In The Lord of the Rings, after the Witch-King moved into the fortress of Minas Morgul, he evidently did some redecorating, 'cause the place looks like the Minas Tirith (good guys) fortress with — you guessed it — gigantic spikes bolted on. There's also Sauron himself, who is kitted out in armour that can only be described as spiketacular. The Black Gates, Barad-dûr and Orthanc (modified by Saruman to resemble Barad-dûr) also fall into this, to an extent that if you fell off the top of them you'd think you'd be more likely to die by impalement than by hitting the ground.
  • Mohawk, the main gremlin in Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Guess what his mohawk is made of.
  • Pinhead in the Hellraiser series has a face full of spikes (well, nails).
  • The Shredder in the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films has spikes on his outfit, as well as on him, that spring up after being doused in chemicals. Tokka the mutant snapping turtle has spikes but is less evil and more... dumb and gullible.
  • Gilles de Rais actually uses his spiked armor as a weapon in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. May serve as either Foreshadowing or Genius Bonus, considering what Gilles became infamous for afterwards...
  • In I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, the demon-possessed motorbike grows a spike to impale a guy who tries to ride it, and grows a whole forest of them in its final One-Winged Angel form.
  • Several of Davy Jones' Fish Person crew in Pirates of the Caribbean have spines or spikes of some sort, notably Koleniko (half man, half puffer fish) and Urchin (Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
  • In the Australian horror film The Cars That Ate Paris, one of the eponymous cars is a Volkswagon Beetle covered in a forest of metal spikes that the villains use to Car Fu people. This is homaged in Mad Max: Fury Road where one of the desert gangs attacks Furiosa's Big Badass Rig with excessively-spiked Beetles and other vehicles.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: Hela has a headdress that's covered in long twisting spikes.
  • Captive State: The Roaches/Legislator's environmental suits are covered in wicked black spikes that, in a pinch, serve as self-defense weapons.
  • Bane's design in Batman & Robin incorporated a spiked collar and spiked gauntlets.
  • This trope is downplayed with one of the vampires in Night Teeth, Eva, who wears a spiked ear ornament and dog collar. It serves to put her on the unfriendly side of the Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness.

  • In K.A. Applegate's Animorphs books, the kids have a hard time accepting the fact that unhosted Hork-Bajir are, in actuality, good guys, due to the dangerous-looking blades that cover the Hork-Bajir figure (they're actually specialized to help the Hork-Bajir cut off their diet of tree bark).
  • In Iain M. Banks's Culture novels, one race of aliens, the Affront, like to adorn their war spaceships with huge spikes and blades.
  • Almost everyone in The Dire Saga comments on the tendency of Dire's inventions to sport spikes, and how it looks more like something a villain would make. Dire notes that the spikes are simply practical for their purpose.
  • Discworld
    • Queen Ynci's armor in Lords and Ladies, although she wasn't a villain, being the Lancre version of Boudicca. She was very fond of spikes though. Or probably would have been, had she not been entirely made up by a later king of Lancre who saw himself as a folk historian.
    • Card-Carrying Villain Evil Harry Dread in The Last Hero has spiked shoulderpads and a helmet with a spiked skull and spiky batwings, none of which really stops him looking like a middle manager in an accountancy firm or something.
  • The Elenium: Lampshaded in The Sapphire Rose, when they find the temple of the Big Bad guarded by warriors in heavily spiked and hooked armor, which the heroes laugh at — not only would the spikes get in the way of the wearer, they'd also serve to guide sword blows into weak spots in the armour. It turns out that they were created because the Big Bad was intimidated by the appearance of heavy armor, but did not understand it. Besides, it turns out the guards weren't intended to fight anyway.
  • Played with in the Erebus Sequence. Some of the Orfani have spikes growing out of their bodies, and they're often perceived as villainous, but in fact, that's variable. Dino, the protagonist of the second book, has spikes but is a hero.
  • The Kill-O-Zap gun from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was designed around this trope.
    The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. "Make it evil," he'd been told. "Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with."
  • Honor Harrington: In Cauldron of Ghosts, the Powered Armor worn by the Mesan Internal Security Directorate was designed to intimidate, and features both spike-knuckled gauntlets and spiked pauldrons (plus a One-Way Visor bearing the Directorate's logo of a dagger held by a gauntleted fist).
  • The Shrike in Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos novels is a cryptic three-meter tall killing machine constructed of razor-sharp metallic spikes and blades. It's named after a bird that impales its prey on thorns.
  • Mistborn: The Steel Inquisitors, Elite Mooks from the original trilogy, are a strange example of this... because the spikes are hammered into their bodies and through their eyes. Actually, Ruin's whole branch of Blood Magic, hemalurgy, is based around hammering Spikes Of Villainy into people. These are spikes that make people Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Scourge from Warrior Cats is a former pet cat who wears a collar studded with dog teeth; many cats in his Clan, BloodClan, wear similar collars as well.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: The logo of The Circle of the Black Thorn. ('Cause, you know, thorns.)
  • Anything to do with the Shadows in Babylon 5. Even their ships all look like big black spiky nightmares...Even their planet-killer, unveiled in season 4, works by firing big spikes from orbit into a planet that then destroy it from the inside out.
  • CSI: NY: Subverted in "No Good Deed." A tall, muscular, tattooed, head-shaved suspect has a row of flesh-colored spikes implanted in his head, ala a mohawk. He has means and opportunity due to being caught on camera in the victim's apartment. Turns out he's the landlord there to finally address a complaint. He also moonlights as the announcer for women's wrestling and has good rapport with them. His body modification is just him asserting his individuality.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Daleks have Spikes Of Villainy in their DNA. It certainly explains them being Always Chaotic Evil.
      • Just remember, Thal DNA would have the same structure; it's for the whole planet Skaro.
    • "Demons of the Punjab": The Thijarians have a very spiky appearance, appropriate for the universe's best assassins. It turns out to be a subversion, however, as they've become atoners and their intentions are far less sinister than they seem.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Being made entirely of swords, the Iron Throne reeks of this trope. However, by all accounts, Aegon the Conqueror was a surprisingly good monarch who fashioned it not just to symbolize his power but also as a reminder that a king should never sit easy. His successors, ranging from The Good King to The Caligula, all sat on the same throne.
    • Joffrey plays it straight, however, adding spikey braziers to the pillars of the throne room.
    • Although not literal spikes, Sansa's Evil Costume Switch has this appearance thanks to the feathers on her shoulders.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:
    • In the prologue, Sauron appears cladded in his dark spiked armor like the Tin Tyrant that he is.
    • Adar wears a spiked black gauntlet, reminiscent of Sauron's armour.
  • In the Super Sentai franchise:

  • Everything in Victory is covered with spikes of some sort... even though the actual game is about perfectly ordinary auto racing.
  • The leg fastener bolts on Magic Girl are capped with (dulled) spikes.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Tag Team The Road Warriors/The Legion of Doom was well known for the spiked shoulder pads they wore as they entered the ring. In fact, these, along with their strangely-painted faces, punk-style hair, and tree-trunk-like builds, made for 100% grade-A Nightmare Fuel for some people. The look stayed intact long after their Heel–Face Turn. They even broke off a spike and stuck it into the eye of Dusty Rhodes.
  • Big Van Vader in his gas mask/elephant suit thing. The mask underneath it, which is used in matches, is devoid of spikes.
  • The Great Muta has a mask that is similar to the red one Vader commonly wears except that its straps are adorned in spikes.
  • Psicosis was known to have spiked shoulder pads and wrist bands, in addition to horns.
  • La Parka's gimmick is that of a dancing skeleton and sometimes his ring gear is bursting with spikes, bony or otherwise, as he dances his way to the ring. He discards them before the match begins regardless.
  • When Damiancito el Guerrero moved from the mini estrella ranks to those of the larger luchadors as Virus in 1998, it coincided with his entrance and ring gear getting a whole lot spikier.
  • Laredo Kid, Mini Laredo Kid and Súper Laredo, since their wrestling gear comes to noticeable points in many places, especially on their masks. However, they have often been tecnicos.
  • Daizee Haze refused to defend her NWA Midwest Women's Title against MsChif while the latter's spiked vest was anywhere near the ring. MsChif had used it to carve up Mickie Knuckles in IWA Mid-South.
  • Whenever Mephisto's mask doesn't have horns, it has a row of spikes lining the middle of his head. Some of his masks have both features at once.
  • IWRG mainstay Eterno lost his mask in 2008 but did not stop coming to the ring in a half face concealing mask loaded with spikes. He just took off before the bell after that point.
  • CMLL luchador Inquisidor debuted a mask with a six spike "crown" in 2008, which is purely Rule of Cool as they are not sturdy enough to be of much danger.
  • After Anticristo lost his mask to Aladino at an AULL show in 2009, he began wearing a spiked dog collar to make up for it.
  • The Midwest Militia's Allysin Kay and Sassy Stephie have been known to wrestle in spiked sports bras, which make even some of the most basic holds they apply very painful. Kay's Made In Sin cohort, Taylor Made, also used them as did Ivelisse Vélez in Valkyrie. (April Hunter went for a spiked singlet instead)
  • Mistress Glenda Lee in the World Wrestling League also had a fondness for spiky sports gear. Luckily for the sanity of the wrestlers, she was mostly a manager.
  • Jessicka Havok, another Midwest Militia member, avoided this until she was signed to TNA and had spikes added to her training mask.
  • Espíritu Infernal wrestled with spikes all down his legs, on his boots, on his shoulder pads and on his mask while he was in pursuit of Archimedes, who at one point appeared to receive a shoulder laceration while wrestling him. Subverted though in that Infernal was the face in the 2016 feud, at least in the Empire Wrestling Federation.
  • Demonio Infernal of IWRG had a row of spikes on the back of his mask, perhaps as a deterrent to those who would try to forcibly remove it.
  • Victor Benjamin, The Savage Gentlemen, had spikes on his goggles.
  • Effy Gibbes wears a suit jacket whose collar and sleeves are loaded with spikes, which would presumably make dressing difficult. It’s a red jacket though and he wears nothing underneath, so there’s not much to clean up if Effy does have a messy accident, at least not in the short term...

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Cadaver collectors are technically Lawful Neutral, but are described as golems used to collect bodies for their masters, usually for necromancy, so chances are not a lot of not a lot of good individuals will construct and command one. The make practical use of its spikes in both the fluff and the stats, using them as weapons and as something to hold dead bodies with.
    • There are several types of devils that have spikes growing out of their skin. The Spined Devil is simply a winged mass of spikes.
    • Hellfire wyrms are evil dragons from Hell whose necks, backs and shoulders bristle with vicious spikes.
    • Soulspike devourers are towering skeletal undead with souls impaled on the massive bony spikes coming out of their bodies. They're Always Chaotic Evil horrors that rips souls out of people and causes them immense agony when they shoves them on their spikes. They also consume these souls for a boost to their power in a pinch.
  • Forgotten Realms:
    • An orc warlord named King Obould wears spiked full plate. he started as a villain and has since become an Anti-Villain, and possibly a secondary protagonist as well.
    • There is a prestige class in service to the Chaotic Evil deity Cyric called the Spur Lord, and a few of their abilities are all about making use of the spikes on their armor.
  • Mystara: In the module The Best of Intentions, the Chaotic Evil Immortal NPC villain Hircismus takes the form of a Shaggy Demon. Beneath his long, shaggy hair are short, stiff poisonous spines. He likes to grapple opponents to force them against his spines.
  • Lancer has the Vlad, which is covered in these. What's more, it specializes in grappling, so the nasty spikes aren't just for show.
  • The Needlekin in The Splinter are described as "the living embodiment of violence, combat, and physical force". In Razorback form, spikes and blades grow out of their bones and through their skin. In Bladeling form, they're covered in an exoskeleton of steel bristles.
  • In Mutant Chronicles, the Dark Legion cover their vehicles, firearms, and armor with spikes. Examples include Alakhai the Cunning, Golgotha, and Stahler's One-Winged Angel form.
  • Both Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 use this a lot:
    • All of Chaos, but especially worshippers of Khorne. They actually use the spikes on their armor and vehicles to impale the heads of slain foes/victims and eventually make a gruesome trophy rack. At least one Chaos army book has included "Spiky Bits" as a piece of equipment that makes its bearer more effective in combat. That guy up there in the picture? He's a good example (...and named Engra Deathsword, of course).
      • In the 40k tie-in game Dawn of War, the Orks derisively refer to Chaos Space Marines as "spiky boyz"; in Dawn of War II, this trope is actually lampshaded by the Ork Mekboy.
    Mekboy: Cor, they sure like spikes on their kit, don' they?
    • Also a massive case of hypocrisy on the orks' part, as they are quite fond of adding spiky bits on their guns, armor and vehicles: there's nothing more practical for impaling a particularly impressive foe's skull after you've killed it (or helping to kill it, for that matter).
    • Some Age of Sigmar Khorne characters such as the Slaughterpreist have the spikes either implanted into or growing out of their bodies.
    • The Orcs (or Orks) in both series, to a lesser extent. Sometimes the spikes are from some ugly spiked creature (of which the universe has no shortage) to show the wearer is able to kill something bigger and meaner than himself.
    • The Dark Elves/Eldar actually use blades instead of spikes, but otherwise have this trope in spades.
    • The Lizardmen can rival Chaos in the spikes department, though, especially because all of their melee weapons are spiked clubs...though they're not as evil.
    • The Chaos example is almost lampshaded in Fulgrim. When describing one of the first Noise Marines, literally the first thing mentioned is that he's added 'jagged iron spikes' to his power armour.

    Video Games 
  • Warcraft: The Horde held onto their spikes even when the race pulled a Heel–Face Turn after the first few games.
    • Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos: It's a game mechanic (though the orcs, are for the most part, no longer evil in this game), where the orcs' defensive upgrade, Spiked Barricades, deal damage back to melee attackers. Also, the Undead Crypt Lord has the Spiked Carapace ability, which increases defense and also deals damage to melee attackers.
    • World of Warcraft: Some of the Warlock armor sets had spikes on them, which is to be expected as they use the powers of demons. Some of the more morally-neutral classes' armor have them also, as does armor which is not class-specific. They all look cool, but it makes you wonder about Blizzard...
      • Wrath of the Lich King takes this trope to new heights with Saronite, a metal made from the blood of an Old God. Everything that's made of it looks very evil and spiky. Except, somewhat surprisingly, the Lich King himself. Other than a moderately spiky helm (very reminiscent of Sauron's from the movie), his armor works with a skull motif rather than spikes.
      • The demonic Felguards have spikes on them growing from everywhere. That includes three huge spikes on the back (presumably the reason why they don't wear chest armor) and one horn on the forehead.
      • Horde players can deck their garrison with as many spikes as they want.
      • Zovaal the Jailer and his Mawsworn armies from Shadowlands are also spiked armor galore, in a film Sauron and Nazgûls way. Players can gain access to transmogs of them through the Torghast solo dungeon and the Sanctum of Domination raid dungeon.
  • Deadhunt throws hordes of medieval knights as enemies, the strongest Elite Mooks who wears spiked armor far more durable than regular knights. They can inflict damage just by bumping into you.
  • Diablo:
    • Diablo II has Antiheroic examples; Necromancer and Assassin can get armors festooned with Spikes. Though not the villains, neither of them explicitly deny evil motives and revel in evil methods.
    • Diablo III has two characters who are the Big Bads of the vanilla and the Reaper of souls expansion. Diablo himself once he possesses Leah and becomes the Prime Evil has organic spikes across his body. In the Reaper of souls expansion is Malthael who has spiked gauntlets, shown prominently when he steals the Black Soulstone.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Bowser has a shell cover in sharp spikes. His Giga Bowser form in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl takes this and runs with it, pumping his spikiness up to Kaiju levels.
  • Mortal Kombat: Shao Kahn wears armour the has spikes on his shoulers and helmet. Wheres many armors cover the entire body, Kahn's outit is on the Stripperiffic side, only covering small parts of his body.
  • LocoCycle: S.P.I.K.E. has this in the format of him being an artificially-intelligent motorcycle, as opposed to the more obviously futuristic sci-fi look of the protagonist motorcycle, I.R.I.S.
  • Mega Man X: Sigma adds spikes to his armor after his Face–Heel Turn.
  • City of Heroes: Enthusiastically embraced with the expanded costume elements added in the release of City of Villains, including all manner of clothing pieces featuring horns, spikes, chains, barbed wire, and other pointy bits. Additionally, one of the Veterans' Rewards badges gives the player access to a special set of high-tech spiky bits.
  • Fire Emblem:
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: The antagonistic group, Team Galactic, had a headquarters with large Spikes Of Villainy on both sides. (The spikes were white, though.)
  • Overlord: as you do evil deeds and your Corruption Level rises, you grow spikes and spines all over your body, particularly on the shoulders, which get bigger as your villainy increases. Your Dark Tower follows suit, though you can adorn it with a lot of nifty spiky things even if you stay (relatively) good. If you go evil, it just seems to spontaneously grow them.
  • Black & White: The tower that acts as your base starts out with several flat, blunt rays spreading out from the bottom. As you become more evil, the tower turns black and the rays curl up into wicked spikes.
  • Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness: Jin Saotome, better known for his Marvel vs. Capcom appearances, is a good guy with spikes on the shoulders of his outfit.
  • Wario Land: Shake It!: The Shake King has this, with the standard evil overlord spiked beard (with viking horns), spiked bracelet type things, and the like.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Given how the Dwarves act at times, it's no wonder that everything they decorate ends up menacing, with spikes of wood or basalt or dwarf bones.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Many outfits for high-level Sith Inquisitors have these.
  • Wolf O'Donnell from Star Fox wore spiked shoulder pads in his later appearances. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, his claws are almost long enough to count as well.
  • While not actually a villain, Sonic's Werehog transformation in Sonic Unleashed has spikes on his shoes akin to golf cleats. They actually seem to serve a purpose since they allow him to stop on a dime.
  • The People's Liberation Army of Venezuela in Mercenaries 2 is equipped with Vietnam-era vehicles with spikes and barbed wire all over everything.
  • Lechuck, in his Pirate God form, in Tales of Monkey Island: Rise of the Pirate God.
  • Wodan Ymir from Super Robot Wars wears spikes on his armor and is on the Shadow Mirror side, and he is Sanger's Evil Counterpart. However, he's not 100% evil.
  • Wolfgario the Ravager, leader of the enemy army in Mitsumete Knight, has horns on his helmet.
  • Gulcasa and Leon of Yggdra Union both have extremely spiky armor, but although they're antagonists, the former happens to be a Messianic Archetype and a Hero Antagonist, while the latter is a slightly deranged Jerkass Woobie.
  • The Final Starman and Starman Deluxe from EarthBound (1994) have spiked shoulders and spikes on the top of their heads. The Final Starman and the Starman Deluxe happen to be one of the stronger enemies in the game.
  • In Fallout 3, one of the Ax-Crazy Raider armors is aptly named "Raider Painspike Armor".
    • Semi-example would be the Tribal Power Armor and Ashur's Power Armor from Fallout 3's DLC, The Pitt. Highly stylized PA sporting makeshift repair that included a horned cow skull, the Tribal PA doesn't do melee damage like the Painspike does, and for a PA, it has the lowest Defense Rating. However, it does give you +15 AP to be lined up for those satisfying VATS kills.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Legate Lanius' armor has spikes on his shoulderpads.
    • Ditto the Metal Armor in both games.
  • The Sansha's Nation pirate faction in EVE Online is all about spikes. And villainy.
  • Acknowledged by developers as an important design decision for Mordekaiser in League of Legends.
  • The Vindictus boss Sturdy Emuloch is encrusted with these. He has a spiky shield on each arm with a bunch of knives attached to the rims and punches you with them.
  • Hades in God of War III has these protruding from his whole body, mainly the back. But he's actually less evil than the other gods, like Zeus or Athena. His sole reason for fighting you is your murder of his loved ones.
  • Quercus Alba, the Big Bad of Ace Attorney Investigations, gains these once he reveals his true nature. He had been masquerading as a frail old man until that point.
  • The Darkspawn in Dragon Age. Everything they wear or carry around (weapons, shields) is adorned with spikes. They even build spiky altar-like structures wherever they camp and adorn statues from other civilizations with spikes wherever they go. Also, played with in Dragon Age II, where after you meet party member Fenris, Varric warns you that he wears spiky black leather. However, Fenris isn't particularly villainous - just an Anti-Hero with, as Varric puts it, "issues."
  • Sarevok in Baldur's Gate.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series, Daedric equipment tends to be very spiky. Daedric equipment is forged using ebony which has been in some way imbued with the souls of lesser Daedra. In each game where it is found, Daedric is typically the highest tier non-unique crafting material available. It is also the trademark gear of the Dremora, a sentient race of lesser Daedra typically found in service to Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction and one of the few Daedric Princes to be seen as almost wholly evil by the denizens of Tamriel.
    • This is also a trait of Daedroths, a crocodilian form of lesser Daedra typically found in service to Molag Bal. They tend to have a very spiky appearance and are near-universally hostile to mortals.
    • Hungers are another form of lesser Daedra, looking very similar in appearance to the "alien-style" Chupacabra, complete with claws, a "sucker" mouth, and a row of razor sharp spikes down their backs. They are in service to Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots.
    • Ogrim are yet another form of lesser Daedra, being massive and as dim-witted as they are strong. They too have spiky appearances (especially in Online) and are near-universally hostile to mortals.
    • In Oblivion's Knights of the Nine expansion, Big Bad Umaril the Unfeathered has unfeathered wings which come across looking like spikes.
    • Skyrim:
    • Online introduces Daedric Titans, a form of lesser Daedra created by Molag Bal by corrupting dragons. They manage to be even spikier than the already very spiky standard dragons.
    • In the Battlespire Dungeon Crawler spin-off game, this is a trait of the Morphoid Daedra, lesser Daedra in service to Big Bad Mehrunes Dagon.
  • Most of the invading Machines in Mini Robot Wars have spikes on them, but some get more spikes as they get stronger. Smasher (the basic enemy unit) has a stronger version called the Heavy Smasher, which is black and has more health and more spikes. An even stronger version is called the Mega Smasher, which is purple, has more attack power and health, and...even more spikes.
    • Then there is the Giant, which has an upgraded form called the Titan, which is green, has more health, can pull a One-Hit Kill on THREE of your units instead of just one, and has more spikes.
    • Even the True Final Boss plays with this. Compared to the Disc-One Final Boss, it is blue, has more health, attacks faster...and has more spikes.
  • Xenon ships in X3 Reunion and later games have cubic black hulls with red lighting, and have large masses of sharp antennas protruding from their capital ships at every angle, while their fighters get forward-facing antenna. Split Dynasty capital ships have a huge mass of spike-y antennas mounted on their prows, which are very effective for stabbing at enemy capital ships when ramming
  • Kingdom of Loathing: A few enemies have these, such as most of the Boss Monsters in the GameInformPowerDailyPro Dungeon, and many of the demonic Nemeses.
  • Dark Souls has the infamous Darkwraith Kirk though he's actually a Chaos Servant, and by the time of Dark Souls III, Rosaria's Finger, The Knight of Thorns. His armor set is one of the few examples where spiky armor is actually used in combat, as you can roll into enemies to damage them (it's minimal damage at best, but still). Even his sword is spiky and is the only straight sword in the game which causes bleeding.
  • Halo: The Hunters had massive spikes on their backs. These were stated in extra material to be razor-sharp, but were never used for combat, and mostly were to make them look cool, and, when they're an enemy, evil.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn: In the final GDI mission, you're told that Kane's headquarters has finally been located and that it's time to launch a final assault against him. Then you get a good look at the Temple of Nod, with its glowing red lights and spikes emanating from it, and you wonder how anyone could have missed it.
  • Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey: Zara's hair is styled into points.
  • Evolve: The Goliath has an organic version of this. Its back has numerous jagged spikes that grow larger as it gets more powerful. The Behemoth has a more subdued version of this with only a few spikes on its shoulder plates.
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall: The Assembly aren't necessarily evil, but they're hostile more often than not, and Nightmare Fetishists even when friendly. They're also cyborgs with a malevolent punk theme whose cities, augments, and technology all bristle with pointy bits.
  • The Legend of Spyro: High-ranking apes tend to sport large spikes on their cauldrons and helmets.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Ganon's official character model is riddled with spikes, such as his shoulder pads, torso armor plate, cuffs and knuckle braces.
  • King Arthur The Roleplaying Wargame: One of the knights you can recruit is Mordred. Mordred is of tyrannical alignment and he wears spiky red armour. This makes him look a bit like Lord Deimos, a major villain in Mace: The Dark Age.
  • Dragon Quest IV: Psaro the Manslayer wears a spiky pauldron on his left shoulder.
  • Pac-Man World: Re-PAC's redesign of Toc-Man gives him spikes on his gloves and boots.

    Web Animation 

  • Commander Kitty: Parodied. After getting an unwanted makeover from Zenith, CK ends up with a hilariously hideous Liefeldian outfit with not only spiked shoulder pads, but spiked collars around his tail.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: This trope is mused upon when, while the characters are trying to work on Mort the ghost's evil image, Annie wonders if he should try wearing more horns.
    Annie: You need to make yourself look more evil, Mort. More horns?
  • Homestuck: The imperial drones, brutal and faceless enforcers of a totalitarian dystopia, are visually distinguished by the long, sharp spikes growing from their heads and bristling from their shoulders.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Jägers, while not evil as such, like this style. Although he's one of the good guys, Gil receives some spare epically spikey shoulder pads as they were the only clothing on hand at the time. Even the hat has spikes of its own. Later, one Jäger general wears long, bone-looking shoulder spikes. At least in his case, these are quite functional.
    • Agatha's Humongous Mecha here has spikes on it. Well, she is the protagonist, but she is also a Heterodyne.
    • Professor Blintzie von Wyrmhaut has long, dangerous-looking spikes sprouting from the shoulders of her coat, and smaller ones from the top of her thigh-high boots. And she's certainly a dangerous and amoral Spark. Although in her line of work (which include hunting monsters), the spikes are certainly justified as a defense against being swallowed whole.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The Thorn Knights, an order of Fallen Angels seeking to end and reboot the universe, are covered in spikes both in their containment armor and in their true Energy Being forms. Their Speaker, Juggernaut Star, even has spikes growing out of its eyes. It's Invoked, since they're forged into their Thorn forms by Metatron 1 in a process that leaves all but Juggernaut Star The Speechless.
  • Nodwick: Yeagar the warrior once bemoans upon an evil adventuring party, "The accessories on their warrior! My spiked shoulder plates are no match for his blade-festooned finery!" They do have their use, however.
  • The Order of the Stick: Elan's evil father Tarquin has spiky armor, and his soldiers have spiky helms.
  • To Prevent World Peace: When Cream Angel undergoes a Face–Heel Turn, her halo grows spikes on it.
  • Trevor (2020): The first kill we see Trevor make is with a giant hand he formed, with bone-spikes poking out of it here and there.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The original designs had Fire Nation characters, especially in regards to Prince Zuko, sport spiky, red armor. This was scrapped and came to receive an internal Take That! in the actual series when Sokka mocks the fact that the Water Tribe has Fire Nation uniforms that are almost a century out of date by sproinging the spikes on the shoulders. The current armor still has spikes on the scary masks the Faceless Goons wear, and Aang actually uses one to cut the rope tying his hands after beating the other guards.
    • Another parody came when Team Avatar was in a weapon shop and Aang was wearing a ridiculously large set of armor that even has a spike with a buzzsaw in it. It was even accompanied by a metal riff (which is incredibly out of place in this series). Said costume was included because the merchandisers tried to insist that Aang wear one like that for his battles, despite the fact that it's completely against his fighting style.
  • Metalocalypse's Dethklok have this kind of design on their vehicles and other accessories. "Dethfone", a cell phone designed by them while drunk, has so many spiky bits that it's almost impossible to use without poking out one's own eye. Murderface uses it to kill a monster.
  • Chase Young from Xiaolin Showdown; so evil that he has (retractable) spikes in and on his underwear.
  • Baron Ünderbheit in The Venture Bros. has these on his armour.
  • Aku, the Big Bad of Samurai Jack, does this massively. He's spiky, he puts up spiky towers, even his original pre-humanoid form was growing fields of spikes out of the ground...
  • Not only does Vilgax on Ben 10 have a bunch of spikes on his armor, but his land vehicle of choice is essentially a giant, spiky ball with spike launchers that pop out of the sides.
  • Transformers: Animated: Megatron starts out spiky but trades them in for Vertical Mecha Fins and a more G1-esque look overall. Lockdown and Oil Slick have smaller spikes on their armour.
    • The Michael Bay live-action movies have all Cybertronians spiky and more alien in their pre-Earth forms, and Megs is the one who never takes an Earth vehicle mode. As such, every single inch of the Emperor of Destruction's body is twisted, razor-sharp death.
    • Transformers: Prime: Megatron once again. His robot mode is pre-Earth Animated Megs with some Bayformers touches.
    • And in Transformers: Cybertron. As a result of rebuilding himself with pieces of Unicron's body and absorbing what remained of the dark god's power, he sports demonic horns and numerous spikes. Unicron himself features these.
  • Mr. Ten on Jimmy Two-Shoes. He turns out to be a Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • King Sombra has a crown adorned with spikes. Even more prominent is his unicorn horn, which is so curved and sharp that it more closely resembles a spike that's been driven through his head.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", as if the book hidden behind a wall on a pedestal over a pit weren't suspicious enough, it has these on the cover.
  • Adventure Time has a particularly literal example of this trope. Ice King, who was the main recurring villain in early seasons, wears a spiky crown. It turns out that said spiky crown is, in fact, the actual villain — Ice King himself is merely Brainwashed and Crazy by it.
  • Spider-Man Unlimited's version of Carnage has bony protrusions all over his body, including his shoulders.
  • Tangled: The Series: Cassandra, after her Painful Transformation in "Destinies Collide" has this by having the black rocks spread through her body as they create her new armor covered in a mass of spikes, and those spikes are not merely decorative because Cassandra can grow them to attack, like in "Cassandra's Revenge" when she tried to Crush the Keepsake only to be stopped by Varian.
  • When Batman: The Animated Series became The New Batman Adventures, Bane was among the many redesigned characters, moving away from his original wrestler-inspired design to sporting S&M gear, complete with a spiked collar and bracelet.
  • Unikitty!: Among the Doom Lords, Master Malice, Master Fear, and Master Pain all wear collars adorned with spikes.


Video Example(s):


Hell Charles

For the final battle, Charles transforms into a larger, more demonic version of himself called Hell Charles. This was foreshadowed by an NPC who leads you to one of the eggs.

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Example of:

Main / OneWingedAngel

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