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The Spiny

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Where's a Goomba's Shoe when you need one?

"That's a Spiky Goomba. ...A spiky-headed Goomba. What a creative name. That spike is super-pointy, so it's better to hit it with a hammer than jump on it." note 

The Spiny is a stock enemy type common in those platform games where enemies can be dispatched with the Goomba Stomp or sometimes some other form of close-range attack. Put simply, The Spiny, rather than taking damage from being stomped, damages you instead. After you've been trained to squish your foes, this one is immune to that attack. It forces you to rethink your tactics.

A true Spiny will still be vulnerable to some alternate form of attack; otherwise, you've got an Invincible Minor Minion on your hands. The Spiny is usually covered in spikes, flame, arcing electricity, or something else obviously harmful to visually justify its ability to hurt you from below.

A variety includes semi-spinies which are vulnerable to only some parts of the body or who periodically retract their spines (or whatever hazard they have attached to them), allowing the player to counterattack with good enough timing.

The Spiny is a mobile form of Spikes of Doom. If they walk on land they may bear a Studded Shell; if they lurk underwater they may resemble a Painful Pointy Pufferfish or Sea Hurtchin. If they are also Spike Shooters, keep your distance!


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  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Several games in the franchise (specifically the ones that originated on the Gameboy and Gameboy Advance) feature Spiked Beetles that normally have to be flipped over with a shield when they charge at Link to be defeated.
    • Some Chuchus are naturally electrical like the earlier Buzz Blobs, forcing you to use measures beyond simply swinging your sword at them. A variant from The Minish Cap can cover itself with spikes when Link draws near, also requiring some creativity to defeat.
  • Remember Me: The Elite Enforcers wear electrified armor, which makes Nilin take damage every time she hits them. The only way to safely fight them is to use combos that include regeneration moves in them.

    Beat 'em Up 

  • An Untitled Story: Spiked snails can only be defeated with fire. Underwater, you don't even have that, as you can't use your fireballs; you can only temporarily freeze enemies with ice, turning Spiked Snails into an Invincible Minor Minion in those environments.
  • Iconoclasts:
    • Pluro, the first enemies encountered, are this. Luckily, Robin is no Mario, and relies on her wrench and stun gun instead, which both work on them just fine.
    • The Squints, which are much stronger enemies of this nature encountered in the Isilugar Depths. They are heavily armored, and positioned in such a way that simply stunning them with a bomb shot still leaves their spiny backs blocking the path. Instead, you must curve the bomb projectile in such a way that it detonates the explosive tip of their tail.
    • One Concern also has small electrified mechs called Spotters that fulfil the same function.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy: Inverted, as there is only one type of enemy in the game you can Goomba Stomp: the Bullets Bill that the Snifit fires at you (and only so you can Goomba Springboard them).

  • Warcraft III:
    • The Keeper of the Grove's Thorns Aura turns every ally in range into a Spiny by making melee units take damage when attacking.
    • The orcs can upgrade their buildings with Spiked Barricades for the same effect.
    • The Crypt Lord's Spiked Carapace not only makes melee attackers take damage, it also increases his armor.

  • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back: The game offers several varieties of the Spiny, to accommodate the fact that the player can perform several types of attacks. For example, a basic turtle can either have the sides of its shell laced with deadly spikes (making the full-frontal spin attack impossible), and another can have a spinning sawblade on its back instead (which prevents players from defeating it by jumping). Some enemies even switch back and forth between these two modes, especially in later levels of the game. There's even a third mode, tall enemies with spikes on their head and neck, forcing you to slide into them.
  • Fancy Pants Adventures: Certain helmeted spiders in The Fancy Pants Adventure: World 3 cannot be damaged by a simple Goomba Stomp like most other Mooks. Instead, you have to run and slide toward them, whack them with your pencil, or just jump higher. Additionally, pirates can deflect stomps from above or slashes from the front with their swords; damaging them requires taking the right action to hit their exposed spot.
  • Disney's Magical Quest has its share of enemies that couldn't be harmed by jumping on them. One example would be the walking flames from the third game.
  • Donkey Kong Country:
    • Donkey Kong Country has two types. There are bee-like Zingers who are the standard spiny, but this game also introduces the Klaptrap, a low-lying Kremling with large snapping jaws, which makes it immune to the Kongs' frontal attacks.
    • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! introduces robotic Zingers called Buzzes. The red ones are Invincible Minor Minions, but the rest can be killed with invincibility or by throwing something at them.
    • In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, the porcupines Spinies have to be rolled into head-on. One memorably designed level features a series of small platforms, each of which has a Porcupine and a Klaptrap on it, forcing the player to use two different attacks to defeat the two enemies in a very small space.
    • Donkey Kong Country Returns has a spinning tiki enemy that serves the same purpose as the original Zinger, even named "Tiki Zing" in tribute.
    • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has Snomads with horned helmets. While jumping on these hurts you, rolling into them doesn't (unless they are also holding a spear), and Cranky's pogo cane is able to bypass this protection and hurt them.
  • Kirby: From Kirby's Adventure onwards, Kirby can inhale and swallow thorny enemies to gain the Needle power and turn himself into a Spiny. However, Kirby can't move while the spikes are out. Gordos are the more traditional spiky Collision Damage variant, but they're completely invincible.
  • Levelhead:
  • The Lion King: Porcupines fill this role. If Simba roars at them first, they roll over. Level 5 includes one in a narrow path where you're pursued by a boulder. You're going to lose a lot of lives if you don't notice you can also roll into them, Fridge Logic be damned.
  • Mega Man (Classic): Gabyoalls, small robots patrolling a floor that are immune to the default Mega Buster and try to crash into Mega Man. They're usually destroyable with Robot Master weapons, but that uses up limited weapon energy.
  • Later stages of Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff introduce versions of enemies with spikes on top. Attempting to jump on top of these ones will do nothing but hurt your character.
  • Purple: The plug-shaped enemies hurt players if they try jumping on them. They pose no threat, however, as you can merely kill them with your most basic frisbee.
  • The Smurfs (1994): Porcupines are dangerous to touch even when jumping.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • A fair number of Badniks qualify, although since the standard attack method is to hit an enemy while curled into a ball rather than necessarily to hit it from above, some of these are covered in spikes or other harmful stuff on all sides, rather than just the top, and must be defeated by waiting for them to revert to a vulnerable state or using invincibility.
    • Those goddamned Caterkillers. If you hit them in the wrong place, you not only lose your rings, but they also split into deadly pieces.
    • In some later games, some Badniks and other robots have ways of defending themselves against Homing Attacks. One example is Anton, an enemy from Sonic CD whose reinterpretation in Sonic Lost World has the saddle on its back as Sonic's Homing Attack target, causing Sonic to get trapped on it if he tries to use the Homing Attack.
  • Spelunky features carnivorous plants, which are invulnerable to the Goomba Stomp and will instantly kill you if you try it unless you have the Spike Shoesnote . The HD remake also includes devils, which hurt you even if you're wearing Spike Shoes.
  • Spyro 2: Season of Flame: Ripto's Mondo Volcano features Rhynocs wearing spiky helmets that damage Shiela if she tries to attack them.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros.: The game marks the debut of the Trope Namer, the Spiny, which would since go on to be a mainstay in the series. Usually (but not always) dropped from the sky by the Lakitu, the Spiny is a red and yellow Koopa covered in spikes that you can't stomp, but can kill with fireballs or a regular Koopa's shell, as well as its counterpart the Buzzy Beetle (an enemy that cannot be killed with fireballs, but can be non-fatally stomped on or taken out with a Koopa shell).
    • Super Mario Bros. 2 has the Porcupo to thwart the game's Cranium Ride feature. Mercifully, they move slowly. There are also Sparks and Pansers who are not so merciful. Sparks are covered in electricity and constantly race around platforms, while Pansers sit in locations and shoot fireballs. Also, while jumping on Birdo's head is okay, trying to jump on the other bosses is a bad idea.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: Boss Bass will swallow Mario whole if he attempts to jump on him — or if Mario just happens to be in its way. Also, Nippers (small carnivorous plants with upwards-facing mouths) and Munchers (black, stationary plants) are stomp-proof and harmful as well. The Battle Mode (a remake of the original arcade Mario Bros.) also replaces the Shellcreepers (green turtle enemies that were the forebears of Koopa Troopas) with Spinies, to communicate that enemies cannot be jumped on. This would carry over to other Mario Bros. remakes, such as Mario Clash and the Super Mario Advance series.
    • Super Mario World introduces Spike Tops and Bony Beetles, which are immune not only to jumps (temporarily, in the case of Bony Beetles), but Mario's fireballs as well. They can be taken out with a cape swing. Porcupuffers, introduced in this game, are an aquatic example.
    • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island has Harry Hedgehog, which can be stomped on or swallowed when its spikes are contracted, but not when they're extended. The enemy returns in Yoshi's Island DS.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: Both games have helmeted Goombas. They don't hurt you if you bounce on them, but it can throw you off balance and possibly make you fall from the platform you're standing on. To defeat them, you have to spin-attack them to flip them over, then jump on their undersides.
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2 has the Pupdozers, which can only be killed by Ground Pounding them from underneath via flippable gravity-reversing platforms. Thankfully, these enemies only appear in the one area where these platforms are found.
    • Super Mario 3D World: Unlike the standard Skipsqueaks (mice) and Ant Troopers (ants), the Spiny Skipsqueaks and Horned Ant Troopers cannot be stomped on due to their spiky protection: The Spiny Skipsqueaks have red thorns in their backs, while the Horned Ant Troopers have a red helmet with a white spike at the top.
  • Wario Land: Zigzagged. In all of the games, Wario is completely immune to normal Collision Damage, so bumping into enemies doesn't hurt him. However, many enemies in the game have attacks or carry sharp weapons and protection that do hurt Wario if he collides with them. Wario has to attack these enemies from an unprotected side (usually from behind) to defeat them.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • Some Pokémon, like Drifblim, have the Aftermath ability, which hurts your Pokémon after you've knocked it out.
    • Others, including the incredibly common Tentacool, have the Liquid Ooze ability, which damages your Pokémon if you use a Life Drain move like Leech Seed or Giga Drain.
    • Carvanha, Sharpedo, Druddigon, and the Gible family's (hidden) Rough Skin ability, as well as Ferroseed and Ferrothorn's Iron Barbs ability, deal damage whenever a "direct attack" — that is, one involving physical contact instead of projectiles, beams of energy or Psychic Powers — is used. The Rocky Helmet item allows Pokémon holding it to damage their attackers in the same manner. Other Pokémon have abilities that occasionally deal status effects to the opponent when hit with a direct attack, such as Pikachu's Static (paralysis) and Nidoran's Poison Point.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Mario's standard attacks in the RPGs are the jump and the hammer, and many enemies are immune to one or the other. The ones immune to jump attacks are almost always things covered with spikes, while the ones immune to hammering are usually flying. Occasionally, usually in the mid- to late game, enemies turn up that have both immunities at once, and usually require the use of items, partners or special attacks to defeat.
    • Mario & Luigi: All of the games have this sort of enemy, usually introduced early after The Goomba (except in Partners in Time, where the Spiny Shroopa appears a little later after the babies get their hammers).
    • Paper Mario:
      • The Spear Guy is an enemy that can alternate its immunity based on whether its spear is pointing up (no jumping) or forward (no hammering). It often changes in response to Mario hitting it with whatever attack it wasn't guarded against.
      • Spiked Parabuzzies have both spikes and wings. However, they only appear in levels after you've acquired the Spike Shield badge, which allows you to jump on the Spiny without taking damage (unless it's a Fire Bubble; you need the Ice Power badge for that).
      • The Hammer Throw badge thankfully allows you to hit any enemy in the entire game, provided your attack is high enough to pierce the enemy's defense.
      • The actual Spiny also appears, and serves its usual purpose in the first game, but also gains a new move in the second game where it rolls up into a completely impervious ball, and can't be damaged until it unrolls in the next turn.
      • Paper Mario 64: Jr. Troopa eventually wills himself to grow wings and spikes just to beat you! (Mercifully, he's at half-health the first time.)
      • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: Bristles have spikes on top and on the sides, and with a defense of 4, even with the Spike Shield badge, a normal jump attack won't be able to damage them unless you can increase your attack power by at least 2. The normal ones have only 2 HP and can easily be defeated by a POW Block, but the Dark Bristles in the Pit of 100 Trials are far more durable. Fortunately, the Spike Shield badge does prevent them from poking Mario when he uses a hammer attack.
      • Paper Mario: Sticker Star: You get the chance to invert this with the Spike Helmet sticker, which harms enemies who try to jump on Mario (Assuming they're not made of metal or stone). Notably, it's a One-Hit Kill against the giant Cheep-Cheep boss if jumps on Mario after it inflates itself (Though the resulting explosion hurts a lot).
      • Paper Mario: The Origami King continues using enemies that hurt Mario when he jumps, but in addition to the Folded Soldiers with sharp protrusions which can be circumvented with Iron Boots of various grades, two bosses are immune to jump attacks even with the Iron Boots. Any attempt to jump on Tape ends with Mario sticking to Tape and getting slammed into the floor for his efforts, and jumping into Scissors' unsheathed blades is literally suicidal.
    • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars: You can damage Spinies in battle with punches and fireballs, but Jump attacks do 0 damage. Equipping the Jump Shoes remedies this.

    Simulation Games 
  • Slime Rancher: Rock and Crystal Slimes are covered in growths of sharp rocks and crystals, respectively, and as such will harm the player if touched.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • Minecraft has Guardians, aquatic mobs that resemble one-eyed fish that can extend and retract their spines. Hitting them with melee attacks while their spines are extended will damage the player, although the attack still damages the Guardian. Players can also invoke this by enchanting their armor with Thorns, though this will increase the rate at which armor degrades from attacks.

  • Many Roguelike Deckbuilders have the Spike status effect, which causes most attacks on the wielder to deal counter-damage. This can be a problem if you have low health, enough attack cards to curb-stomp anyone but barely any defense cards, and an opponent who is effectively a curb with stakes grafted to it.
  • Frost Bite only features two attacks, and certain enemies are immune to each (though never both.) Fitting the trope, those that are immune to the Goomba Stomp have spines and deal Collision Damage when jumped on.
  • STUN Runner: Armored drones are impervious to your vehicle's laser cannon. Befitting the trope name, they have more spikes mounted on their frames than ordinary drone cars. They're not quite as "indestructible" as the onscreen hint suggests: they can still be cleared off the track immediately ahead of you by a Shockwave.

Non-Video Game Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece: Zala aka Miss Doublefingers can grow spikes on any part of her body or turn any of her body parts into a spike.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Universe: The Porcupine combines this schtick with being able to shoot off his spines, fire sleep gas from some of them (hollow tubes, likely), and otherwise be augmented by his spiky powered armor. Years later, it comes back to bite him when he has a Heel–Face Turn followed by falling on one of his broken-off spikes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla: Anguirus is an Ankylosaurus-based kaiju with spines covering his back. He's known for his ability to curl up into a ball and hurl himself at enemies, basically a Kaiju Special that doesn't require a partner. In many video game appearances, melee attacks to his back cause damage to the attacker instead of him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Bloodstrikers are dinosaurs resembling armor-plated ceratopsids with two notable traits: a bristling coat of bony spines and caustic blood. Characters who attack a bloodstriker in melee receive damage from both their slashing spines and the caustic fluids released from the wound, the latter also harming their weapons. To avoid harming themselves, characters must attacked bloodstrikers with either weapons with exceptional reach, such as longspears, which will still be damaged by the blood, or with ranged attacks.
    • A barbed devil's skin is covered in wicked spines, which will damage any beings that try to grapple it or engage it with short-range melee weapons.
    • Striking a guulvorg with a piercing or slashing attack will send its boiling-hot blood gushing out, badly scalding its attacker.
    • Anyone attempting to battle a saguaro sentinel risks exposure to the long, wicked thorns that grow from their bodies. In game terms, this causes anyone who tries to fight one with natural attacks or unarmed strikes, or who is pushed into the plant, to suffer 1d6 points of piercing damage. This issue can be circumvented by using melee weapons.
    • An aura of electrical energy surrounds a zeugalak at all times, electrocuting anyone who tries to damage it in melee.
  • Lancer: The Vlad mecha is covered in spikes that do damage to any enemy that attacks him from too close. Its core power not only increases the damage Vlad deals, but allows it to completely ignore the damage from the enemy attack. Attacking from a distance gets around that, but as a grappler mecha, Vlad is quite good at closing that distance quickly.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Cactus People such as cactus leshys and saguaroi are completely covered in needles, anyone trying to grapple them or fight them hand-to-hand does so at the risk of unavoidable piercing damage.
    • The hides of spine dragons are bristling with razor-sharp spines ready to skewer anyone attacking them in melee.
    • A thorny's thorny hide causes any creature that grapples it to take piercing damage and be exposed to its toxin.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Shard dragons are covered in jagged, razor-edged scales that slice into anyone who tries to engage them in melee. This is represented in-game through their Razor Scales special rule, which deals an automatic attack against a shard dragon's opponent when the dragon successfully blocks an attack in close combat.

    Real Life 
  • According to the Roman writer Vegetius, soldiers with spikes on their shoulders and helmets were used against War Elephants.
  • The Korean "Turtle Ship" that was deployed during their war against Japan in the late 16th century fits as well. The vessel was very effective at repelling boarding parties, which was the preferred tactic of the Japanese navy.
  • Being covered with spikes is a relatively common defense in the natural world:
    • Sea urchins are a slow moving animal that looks like a ball of spikes. In some species, the spikes are poisonous to boot.
    • Porcupines not only have thick coats of quills protecting them, the quills are only loosely attached to their skin so that if a predator strikes (or is struck by) one, it will embed into the predator and can potentially even kill them depending on how many and where the spikes get lodged.
    • Many plants have large spikes they use to discourage browsers — roses, blackberries, cactus, and acacia trees are all well known for their spiky exteriors which render many plant eating animals unable to consume them.


Video Example(s):


Sumo Bro

The spike on Sumo Bro's heads prevent Mario from jumping on them without getting hurt, even with Legendary Boots.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / TheSpiny

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