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Wall Master

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These are monsters that hide in the environment (walls, floors, ceilings, etc.) and never fully appear until you walk close to them, at which point they suddenly lunge out and try to grab you. Bonus points if they're also Mook Bouncers and eject you elsewhere when they grab you.

Can be extremely annoying, especially when they guard narrow ledges, as you can't target them until you're within their attacking range.

Compare Goddamned Bats and Demonic Spiders, depending on what the particular monster is capable of. See also Chest Monster for enemies that hide by disguising themselves as something benign. Compare Living Structure Monster; there, the structure itself is the monster while in this trope, the monster hides inside the wall.



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    Action Adventure 
  • Named after the extremely irritating disembodied hands of The Legend of Zelda games that would carry you back to the beginning of the level. In fact, Wall Masters have been named the video game enemy most likely to give the player a heart attack.
    • Pictured to the right: a Floormaster in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Its attack is accompanied by a terrifying cry that will likely make your heart skip a beat. Floormasters in other Zelda games are merely Mook Bouncers that move around normally.
    • In the Shadow Temple and Spirit Temple in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, they're also invisible.
    • In the original game are disembodied hands that creep out of the wall and, if they hit Link, drag him back to the entrance of the dungeon. They're also quite generous with dropping blue Rupees and life hearts though, and they aren't that durable, so players who aren't creeped out by them may be happy to encounter them.
    • Even given an Expy in the form of Zant's Hands in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, where they don't grab you, they slam into you from above and grab the Sol sphere you're carrying when you (naturally) drop it. And in case that didn't already have you on edge, their approach is accompanied by increasingly frantic "Psycho" Strings.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has its own Expy in the form of Key Masters, which look like the original Wall Masters but act more like Zant's Hands. In several dungeons, a bunch of them jump out of the ground the second you pick up the Big Key, and would try to steal it from you until you finally threw it into the keyhole.
    • The Dead Hand from Ocarina of Time was an annoying pile of white rotting flesh that you fought at the bottom of the well and in the Shadow Temple. It hid in the ground, only exposing its numerous, gangly arms. If you got too close to one of the arms, it grabbed you and the monster itself would rise up from the ground.
    • The games also feature Deku Scrubs and Mad Scrubs, which hide underneath bushes until approached.
    • Big Skulltulas drop around all over the game. Great Deku Tree, Forest Temple, Kakariko Well and Shadow Temple are where they're most common. Nothing quite like a spider the size of a Clydesdale dropping into your face just over an entrance.
    • Also there are these "doors" that can attack you if you try to open them, plus the pots and floor tiles that look nothing out of the ordinary until you get too close and they hover for a second and then hurl themselves at you.
  • Metroid:
    • The first two games of the Metroid Prime Trilogy have wall-dwelling Reaper Vines, Aqua Reapers, and Darkling Tentacles that act this way.
    • Some the Metroids in the original NES Metroid 1 are kind of like this, in that they lurk just off screen then rush you as soon as they appear, and a few do start off in the ceiling or floor.
    • Metroid: Other M has the Whipvine, which acts similarly to the various tentacles from the first two Prime games, and the Grippers, which pretend to be random flowers growing in the background before jumping out and eating your head when you walk past.
  • The Kyoma Demon monster in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow hides in a few of the many mirrors in the Inner Quarters area and mimics your movements in the background when you pass by it; stand in front of the mirror it's hiding in for too long, and it pops out to swipe at you with his sword. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance has a similar enemy in the Sky Walkway area.
    • The original Wall Master in the Castlevania series is the venerable Fish Man, which will pop out of the water in sewer-based levels the moment you get too close to the edge of an overhang.
    • The boss monster Paranoia in the sequel Dawn of Sorrow does much the same thing, but mostly uses lasers while hiding in the mirrors.
    • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia introduces the aptly named boss Wallman, complete with... no. Figure out how to defeat him and you'll understand.
    • Super Castlevania IV boasts quite a few enemies that lurk in the walls.
    • The early Haunted Castle has enemies that sprouted from trees, who were almost impossible to see. In the first level. Unsurprisingly, the game is Nintendo Hard.
  • La-Mulana has the infamous Surprise Fish, which exists solely to knock you down a waterfall.
  • The Nightmare Spiders in American McGee's Alice are disguised as a mask on the wall.
  • Sandcrocs in Cave Story. Make the mistake of stepping on the sand in the wrong place, and BAM! Big chompy jaws outta nowhere that deal insane damage. You can't shoot them until they pop out, and they don't do that until you're standing in their bite range, so killing them isn't really an option either. Plus that first one you're not expecting can scare the hell out of you. There's also a possessed door which reveals itself only when standing close to it. It catches most people off guard.
  • God of War II and III have "Servants of Hades", which are revealed to be the hands which fully-corrupt sinful humans, turning them into the red zombie undeads commonly found in Hades, and prepare them for their transformation into the Zombie Soldier mooks that Kratos has fought IN ALMOST EVERY GAME. They're generally weak, but they act like unpassable grass when not sliced apart.
  • Mega Man Legends 2 has Shoebafun, Reaverbots that hide in the floor and don't come out until you're on top of them, at which point they pop out of the floor and clamp shut on your legs. The only way to avoid them is to either jump exactly when you see one coming up or button mash like hell once they've got you.

     Action Games 
  • Faults in Devil May Cry 4 are Mook Bouncers that continually start spawning under your feet in certain stages.
  • In Drol, try to descend through some of the hatches the third mission and a serpent will rise straight up from the floor underneath.
  • Haunting Starring Polterguy: The arms in the underworld only come out when poltergeist Polterguy immediately passes them. They are very strong and hurt him a lot.

     Beat Em Up 
  • In the original Splatterhouse, certain mirrors are possessed. When you pass them, Rick's reflection suddenly turns and jumps out of them, attacking you.
  • In Grabbed by the Ghoulies, this is true of about half the enemies. If they're not an evil door, chair, or painting, they cause a Super Scary Shock. Most of the time you can't dodge them.

     Fighting Games 
  • The "Bucculus" in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary. You can just see the tip of its lips poking out of the ground, but drawing it out without getting it stuck on you is a real pain.

    First Person Shooter 
  • In the Dark Forces Saga, there's a level where you have to go through a sewer infested with the tentacle monsters from A New Hope. Specifically, they would just jump out of the muddy water and attack you. There are tales of players who felt like they were having a heart attack when they appeared.
  • Most of the special zombies in Left 4 Dead are Wall Masters. The Hunter is probably the best example of the trope; he appears out of nowhere to pin down stragglers and rip them apart. The director AI of Left 4 Dead 2 has a nasty habit of putting Chargers right behind/beside the group; as it often seems to do this following Jerkass behavior, players have dubbed them "Karma Chargers".
  • Half-Life 2 had the entire city of Ravenholm, where everybody had died. Corpses laid everywhere, and you could hear the moan of zombies as fires roared. The whole place was Nightmare Fuel. But seeing as how it's Valve, they took it Up to Eleven with the fact that some zombies will disguise themselves as normal corpses only getting up after you're right next to them. Or maybe even until you had passed them... It says a lot about a game when corpses can be considered part of the scenery.
  • Nitemare 3D had two types of statues that came to life when you got close enough, one for the stone-walled areas and one for the hedge mazes.
  • The Xenomorphs in the Alien vs. Predator videogames are very good at hiding in walls, ceilings and corners, especially in their own hives, where they will hide in plain sight until the walls and ceilings start to move.
  • The second expansion for F.E.A.R. adds "Scarecrows", enemies which hide in puddles of darkness on the ground, only visible by way of very slight distortion in the air above them and the fact that the "puddle" grows slightly when you get close. If you step or even jump over it, they drag you in to start clawing at you.
  • In the Marathon mod Gemini Station, one of the Pfhor ship levels has flying saucer-shaped Attack Drones disguised as ceiling light fixtures.

  • World of Warcraft Expansion Pack The Burning Crusade introduced sand worms. Though they could be seen by bouncing rock on the ground, they couldn't actually be targeted until you enter within melee range of them, making them a headache for Glass Cannon casters. Another variation are enemies that appear when you interact with certain objects.
  • A variant of this appears in The Eden Trial in City of Heroes with the Rock Wall and Mold Wall. Each is a wall that must be destroyed by the players to progress through the trial, each has a lot of hitpoints, and both spawn monsters from the wall itself when it is attacked.
  • Runescape includes the aptly named Wall Beast. Its lair is more or less visible, but is so placed to be nearly unavoidable. If you walk past it, a giant claw reaches out and grabs you by the head, shaking you and inflicting major damage. Averted if you are wearing a spiked helmet, in which case you can just kill the thing normally.
    • Taverley Dungeon used to have a pair of suits of armor that would come to life when the player tried to open the gate leading to the room containing the Cauldron of Thunder.
  • Guild Wars has a large assortment of "pop-up" mobs that only appear when you approach their location. This includes rappelling bandits, dormant spirits, burrowed insects, burrowed undead, burrowed plants, ceiling-hanging bats, ambushing demons, and wurms. Prophecies was especially fond of this, often leaving large areas of zones suspiciously devoid of any enemies.

  • Grille Chompa, Portrait Chompa, Grimlet and Big Clucker in Banjo-Kazooie and Snapdragon, Dragunda, and Hothand in Banjo-Tooie.
  • Blargg in Super Mario World lurks in the lava pins Mario has to use skull rafts to ride over and periodically lunges out.
  • Much of the level itself will do this to you in Big Boo's Haunt in Super Mario 64. Especially that terrible, awful, ''evil'' piano that's also guarding one of the red coins.
  • Eversion has the HANDS, which emit an extremely irritating screech whenever they appear. Find them in Level 4.
  • I Wanna Be the Guy has a lot of enemies that come at you extremely fast from out of nowhere. An enemy more clearly fitting the wall master profile is Master Claw, which comes out of tree hollows in the Ghouls'n Ghosts level and reappears in the Castle of the Guy where you least expect it. A certain pit of death has Ryu pop out of nowhere spinning in a continuous Hurricane Kick.
  • Commander Keen has three of these:
    • In Episode 4, the Wormouths look like little green worm things that go back and forth over an area of the ground fairly quickly, then when they get close enough to you, they show themselves to have a surprisingly big mouth full of teeth. They can only be shot if you shoot them at just the right time as they try to attack you. Many a player has lost more than one life to these nasty little buggers.
    • Also in Episode 4, there's the walking rocks which only turn active when you're not facing them which fit the definition more closely. They look like typical rocks you see at the side of the road, although they can be recognized by sitting on the plane where you walk, instead of the foreground. When you're not facing them, they walk around, and when they're at the correct distance they jump to knock you out.
    • Episode 6 has the Ceilick, which hides in a hole in the ceiling and tries to poke you with its tongue, then laughs at its antics. Can be a problem if they're near a key gem. Still, at least you can shoot them when they're laughing.
  • In Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, there is a plant-like monster that lurks within tunnels in the walls and will try to eat Klonoa if he gets too close. A Moo needs to be thrown in its way as bait in order to get past.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Inverted by an enemy from Sonic The Hedgehog 3's Marble Garden Zone. They look like spikes until you get close enough to them, but the projectiles they shoot are easy to dodge (and can be repelled by any shield)—and their spikes act like springs rather than hurting you. In other words, they're less dangerous than the landscape feature they're imitating.
    • Played straight in Sonic the Hedgehog with the Burrobot, and in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with its spiritual successor, Grounder.
  • Monster Bash has hands with eyes hiding in walls which throw knives and which simply cannot be killed. On the bright side, other monsters are not immune to the knives they throw.
  • Crystal Caves has the purple snake-dinosaur thing which also makes a cameo at the title screen. It's usually just a small purple bump in the wall, but if you get too close, it emerges, snaps its jaws once and hides back.
  • The last stage of the Capcom Arcade Game Nemo has the Nightmare King's enormous clawed hands emerging from numerous holes in the walls.
  • Holy Diver has a enemy that pops up from the middle of small pillars and bounces up and down.
  • The Legendary Axe has Frog Men jumping out of waterfalls.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 has the Angry Sun in the unnumbered World 2 quicksand level and World 8-2.

    Puzzle Games 
  • The mutant rats from the almost unknown but hilariously bad game Revolution.
  • Gomola Speed has Bamper, a long enemy that emerges from some of the wall tiles in Act 10 when Gorm approaches.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Various guns, flamethrowers, and missile launchers appear out of the floor and walls during the indoor missions in StarCraft. There's also the Zerg ground forces. Most of them can bury themselves to prepare an ambush, and the Lurker can even attack from underground. StarCraft II also introduces Nydus Worms which can dig through the ground in order to serve as entrances to an underground network for any Zerg forces.
  • Can be done in the Total War games (Rome, Medieval II, Empire) where an army that stands close enough to a thickly forested area can hide, and ambush any other army that comes its way. Makes it hellish when your city is being besieged by a lackluster force, and you send a full stack to rescue it, only to be AMBUSHED by an EVEN BIGGER ARMY on the way there. To make it fair, the player can set up armies to ambush, too!

  • The Monster Houses in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (both generations) are a kind of Wall Master, but plural. An empty room with lots of items and Wonder Tiles may spawn a horde of enemy Pokemon when you enter, and unless you are either immensely overleveled, can find a way to retreat into a corridor (on some occasions, without exposing your partners) and beat down the Pokemon one by one, or have the moves and Orbs necessary to immobilize the bunch, it's almost a guaranteed loss. Made even worse in the sequel when you can't use orbs against them.
    • Ghost Pokemon can come at you through walls. You can see them when they do this, but most attacks will fail. You have to run a few steps to trick them into coming out where you can hurt them. And meanwhile they knock out the weak guy you were leveling up...
  • Many Roguelikes have mimic monsters that pretend to be items or other objects before the player comes close. Dungeon Crawl has a particularly varied bunch: mimics can pretend to be anything from potions and scrolls to doors, stairways and even Bonus Dungeon entrances. Also, mimics pretending to be the entrance to a branch will get all the special features which would normally surround the entrance. The last thing you'd expect is that a bunch of giant spiders and spider webs are just guarding a mimic pretending to be the entrance to the spider's nest.
  • Mom's Hands in The Binding of Isaac are the game's resident Wallmasters. They're preceded by Mom's sadistic laughter, and if they catch you, they'll throw you right back to the beginning of the level. They're the only major enemy in the game to have this effect.

    Role Playing Games 
  • Evil Murals in Blue Dragon. Forgivable because we had fair warning and they're somewhat noticeable. Plus you get a treasure chest after beating them, which is nice.
  • Those undead maneating Venus flytrap things in The Witcher.
  • Chigoe bugs in Final Fantasy XI are almost impossible to visually distinguish from the dirt and grass underneath them, and don't have their names appear above their heads like most monsters until they're attacking you. When they attack you, they attack at insanely high speeds and can cause the Disease status on each hit. They also give almost nothing for defeating them.
  • The Wallbeast in Shining in the Darkness and Shining the Holy Ark. The name says it all. Bonus deception because of the fact that the walls you had to open had an eye design on them, just like a creature disguised as a wall. In fact, you still had to open these; it just led to a battle.
  • Floors and grass in Ultima III, both of which just look like ordinary tiles; ghosts and Shadowlords can come at you through walls and be invisible in Ultima V - and do both at the same time.
  • A number of the unique monsters in Xenoblade won't show themselves until you walk extremely close to where they're hiding, at which point they'll leap out of the water, drop from the ceiling or sky, or climb up the edge of a cliff.
  • The wall hand things in Ib. Beware the edges indeed!
  • In Mother 3 there are Pseudoors, which look just like normal doors but will attack you if you try to open them.
  • In Dark Souls, there is a spell (Chameleon) that allows the player to do this: it turns you into a mobile piece of scenery. Clever use of the spell will mean that enemy players will have a near-impossible time finding you... until you jump out of apparently nowhere for a surprise attack.
  • Pokemon Xand Y has Pokémon ambush you from above in caves, though if you're paying attention you can see their shadows in advance. (Some caves make this easier than others.) Victory Road also has them occasionally swoop in on you in certain outdoor areas, and this can include encounters with the pseudolegendary Hydreigon.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Shadows, the most common type of Heartless, and Neo-Shadows, their upgraded form, can become literal shadows on the floor, which makes them impossible to hit until they come out to attack. Same goes for Floods, their Unversed equivalent. In Kingdom Hearts III, you can use Water magic to force them out.

    Survival Horror 
  • The Wall Snatchers from Silent Hill 4: The Room. Imagine a monster that sprouts suddenly out of the walls when the protagonist gets close. Imagine that it does a substantial amount of damage when it hits you. Imagine that every hit knocks you back a fair distance. Now imagine that there are hundreds of them hiding in the walls of a very long, very narrow escalator. The Victims also have the ability to materialize out of walls.
  • Nooseman in The Suffering.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Minecraft's Silverfish hide inside of blocks. They'll stay there indefinitely, unless you break the block. They'll also come to the aid of their injured brethren. If you can't One-Hit Kill a Silverfish, you face a Zerg Rush worthy of the Cucco.

Non-Video Game Examples:

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Paradox Brothers in Yu-Gi-Oh! used a card called "Wall Shadow" which could cheat the maze setup of the duel and move along the walls to get anywhere. The card exists in the actual TCG, too, but its effect merely makes it unsummonable without tributing a "Labyrinth Wall" with a "Magical Labyrinth" equipped to it. Aside from that, Wall Shadow has very good defense and mediocre attacking ability... which isn't very helpful, since its defense is equal to the "Labyrinth Wall"'s and the attack of the former card is nonexistent, so you wouldn't be using it for offense anyways.
  • Surprise zombies in One Piece were capable of disguising themselves as furniture, and lived up to their name at first. However, most of them were utterly incompetent at anything else. The Negative Hollows Perona used later in the same arc also had a tendency to drift ponderously out of walls.

  • The eponymous Alien excels at clinging at walls and ceilings to ambush and grab a soon to be host. Notable in the second movie, where the creatures are introduced five minutes before we realize so, when what we though was a wall turned out to be more dangerous. The last scene of the original movie pulls a similar trick.

  • The "cavernmouths" from The Seventh Tower. They look like caves... until you go too close and CHOMP! enormous jaws shoot out at lightning speed and eat you. Occasionally can be distinguished by a pair of Glowing Eyes of Doom in the depths of the cave.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A rare (but oft-remembered) non-video game version of this is present in the Nickelodeon gameshow Legends of the Hidden Temple in the form of Temple Guards, who would forcibly grab players if they ventured into the wrong room or checked the wrong part of a room, taking away a "pendant of life" or removing the player from the game if they did not have one. The trope applies because said guards almost always hid inside of disguised wall panels so the players would see an empty room until the guard suddenly popped out.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Something in the Walls", Sharon Miles commits herself to the Crest Ridge Sanitarium as she is convinced that she can see creatures that live in walls, linoleum floors and any item with a pattern and that these creatures are trying to kill her. She tells her psychologist Dr. Mallory Craig that she believes that these creatures are what people see when they look at a patterned object for long enough and imagine that they see faces. Her theory is that they are from an Alternate Universe that intersects with ours and want to break through to our world. Although Dr. Craig doesn't believe her, Sharon turns out to be correct as one of the creatures invades her room in the sanitarium and assumes her identity after absorbing her into the wall.

  • The Jemjammer party encounters one in episode 7 in the form of a rug monster that tries to eat Cacophony.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Incorporeal creatures can lurk inside objects and listen for enemies (especially the player characters) to approach (This is in addition to all the enemies that impersonate walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture). Oddly enough, this tactic doesn't seem to be used in D&D video games, even when incorporeal enemies appear.
    • The "room of death" has shown up in several adventures. The Carpet, Rug, and Wall Drapings are all animated objects and try to strangle you. The desk and chair, as well as the chest in the corner, are all Mimics, and once you're distracted spring forward and attack you. The monsters are all visible, but only a total paranoid or someone with a lot of experience with D&D would expect them to actually be enemies.
    • And the Lurkers Above, Trappers, and Stunjellies. "Room of death" indeed.
    • To complete the ultimate "room of death" with a Lurker Above, a Trapper, and Stunjellies, throw in a Gelatinous Cube, a transparent monster that disguises itself as empty space inside a dungeon room.
    • There's also the piercer, which looks like a stalactite and drops onto people, and the roper, a "stalagmite" that sprouts tentacles and a mouth full of fangs.

    Western Animation 
  • The guards of the Perplexahedron from Ben 10: Ultimate Alien can take the form of walls and only attack when anyone inside the cube is following the correct path.
  • Black Star had monsters called Lavalocks that could make themselves part of a cliff wall, to emerge and attack when Our Heroes got too close. In their attack form they looked more or less like stocky dragons or dinosaurs walking on their hind legs.

    Real Life 
  • Trap door spiders from the perspective of their prey.


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