Wall Crawl

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Damn it, I just washed that window!

But then one day he went to that science lab
That mutated spider came down
Oh, and now Peter crawls over everyone's walls

And he's swingin' all over town
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Ode to a Superhero"

The ability to scale vertical surfaces. There are many ways it can be done. You might have been bitten by a radioactive or genetically modified spider. You might be part gecko. You might use magnetic boots or suction cups. You might just be such a good climber that you can make use of any natural hand- and footholds, no matter how small.

However it's done, characters with this ability can scale cliffs as easily as crossing the road. The best are even able to crawl across ceilings, and they almost never encounter drywall that isn't strong enough to bear their weight.

Compare Wall Jump, Ceiling Cling, Le Parkour, and Running on All Fours.

Examples of Wall Crawl include:

Anime & Manga

  • Near the end of RE: Cutey Honey, Honey displays this ability by running down a vertical wall with Natsuko in her arms after the latter resuscitates her. "These boots can run anywhere!"
  • Naruto: Ninjas learn wall-walking. With chakra being the source of all breaks from reality in the series, this is explained as the user concentrating chakra to his or her feet. With enough skill it is also possible to freely walk on ceilings or water.
  • Baccano!: Both Rachel and Claire demonstrate this ability on the outside of a moving train. Rachel at least has the decency to struggle at it (she's trained, but not that well). Claire, on the other hand, may as well be Spider-Man.
  • In the anime Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, Neuro can often be found defying gravity. For example, in one episode, you see Yako attending school when Neuro ends up right outside the class window, obviously nowhere near the ground level.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, Subaru's Device allows her to rollerblade on walls by activating the Absorb Grip spell.
  • Ranma ½
    • Ranma can run up vertical things like powerline poles or horizontally on walls. In fact, in the first Kodachi storyline, he actually scurries up the dojo wall and across the ceiling in the exact same manner as Spider-Man.
  • In the "Martial Art Tea Ceremony" storyline, the Daimonji elder demonstrates that she can sit seiza-style on the ceiling. She's holding up—and moving—entirely by the strength of her toes.
  • Hellsing : Both Alucard and Tubalcain display this ability in their fight in the 3rd OVA.
  • Heroman: Heroman has achieved this by using his magnetic powers to cling to metal surfaces.
  • Lupin III: Lupin is exceptionally skilled at scaling walls, what with being the world's greatest thief. One of the finest examples is in The Castleof Cagliostro.

Comic Books

  • Spider-Man is famous for this. His arachnid powers allow him to scale buildings and cling to ceilings. The films showed a close-up of his hands with protruding barbs in an attempt to explain his wall-crawling abilities. Which just makes you wonder a) how thin the gloves and shoes of his costume are, and b) how exactly that works when he's sliding down a wall after taking a particularly powerful blow. Wouldn't that hurt? Another comic-book explanation had him manipulating "nuclear force" to do the wall-sticking.
    • Legacy Character May Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Girl, inherited the ability; in an odd twist, she can also use it to repel objects.
    • The Lizard can also do this. In his first appearance, he compares it to the ability of the gecko.
  • The X-Men characters Nightcrawler, villainous but pathetic Renfield Toad, and Ensemble Darkhorse Anole. Beast, in his more apelike version of his blue furry form, could do this because his nails could dig into even brick.
  • The Golden Age DC character Airwave (who appeared in the back pages of Detective Comics, back before it became "Detective Comics featuring Batman", and later "Batman in Detective Comics") could do this through electrically charged boots that allowed him to stick to walls through electromagnetism. (He could also skate along powerlines Electro style, and yes, I know most walls aren't metallic, so electromagnetism wouldn't work, just go with it, okay!)
  • DC speedsters including The Flash can run up walls.
  • Nightcat (who appears in a single issue of Nightcat) of Marvel can climb up walls like a cat.
  • Empowered, thanks to her clingy supersuit. She discovered it by accident.
  • Batman has done this a few times, usually through the use of certain gadgets, but sometimes just because he's Batman.

Films -- Animation

  • Wallace and Gromit: Wallace's techno-trousers come in very handy when hanging wallpaper.
  • Aisling from The Secret of Kells manages to scale a high tower using her magic.
  • The Simpsons Movie: Homer uses super glue to climb up the dome around Springfield.
  • Astro Boy (2009): Astro sprints up a skyscraper while trying to avoid capture, using momentum from his flight.
  • Toy Story 2: Crazy Buzz uses the magnetic grips from his new utility belt to try and haul himself (and the other toys) up an escalator shaft.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Spy Kids: At the beginning of the second movie, the main characters have a gadget that's essentially magnetic fingers that accomplish this trope.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Moria goblins and Gollum can do this.
  • Alien: In the second movie of the franchise, the aliens are shown crawling a ceiling. This has been adapted in later movies and been made extensive use of in the Aliens vs. Predator games, as alien players are able to change to wall-crawling mode and thus traverse any surface, no matter if vertical or even upside down by simply walking towards it.
  • The Exorcist has scenes involving the possessed girl crawling across the walls and ceilings as well, at least on the extended re-cut. The Exorcist III has a creepy granny-on-ceiling moment.
  • Resident Evil: The Licker—a mutating monster—could Wall Crawl.
  • The original 1978 Superman movie (of the suction cups variety).
  • In Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, Ethan has to scale the outside of the Burj Khalifa using gloves. It would be Beyond the Impossible, but this is Mission Impossible.


  • Skulduggery Pleasant: One of Tanith Low's signature moves is to run up the wall and attack from the ceiling.
  • Conan the Barbarian: One of Conan's many talents is the ability to scale sheer cliffs that would be suicidal to attempt for any other human being. Knowledgeable characters observing him doing so recognize it as a distinctly Cimmerian trait, despite the fact that Conan is the only Cimmerian the reader ever sees.
  • Dracula: In Bram Stoker's original novel, one of the first obvious hints that Dracula is something other than human occurs when Jonathan Harker witnesses the Count crawling down the castle walls face first.
  • Oblivion: A Wall Crawl up one of Chicago's skyscrapers is part of the story "Mister Squishy" in David Foster Wallace's short story collection. David Foster Wallace being who he is, said crawl involves suction cups and is quite obvious to the Chicagoans below, but is left quite unresolved at the end of the story.
  • The Stormlight Archive has Szeth who can use his Gravity Master powers to redefine "down" for himself, allowing him to walk on walls and ceilings easily. Also Kaladin while he hasn't yet figured out that trick, nonetheless managed to get up a sheer chasm wall by magically sticking rocks to it to use as hand and footholds.
  • The nameless feral child from Gormenghast scales the walls of a cave when Titus startles her, clambering around the rough surface like a lizard.

Live-Action TV

  • Part of Mohinder's new-found lizard-ness in Heroes allows him to do this.
  • Examined and attempted by the MythBusters—Jamie using magnets on the lateral side of a metal air vent, and Adam using suction cups hooked up to vacuum pumps.

Adam: Why, Thor the God of Thunder is trying to enter my building!

  • The Avengers episode "The Winged Avenger" has magnetic boots used to scale walls.
  • The spider-like Replicators from Stargate SG-1 can move over any surface. Including one that crawled over Jack O'Neill during his first encounter with them, to his great disgust.
  • In the Stargate Atlantis season 5 episode "Whispers", the hybrid creatures created by Michael can wall-crawl—as Carson Beckett discovers when he gets nose-to-nose with an upside-down one.
  • Raina from Cleopatra 2525.
  • Some of the Suliban on Star Trek: Enterprise have acquired this ability.
  • Sikozu in Farscape, explained away as being able to manipulate her center of gravity (which still shouldn't give her the ability to stand at right-angles to a vertical wall the way she often does).
  • In an episode of Sanctuary, Will is turning into a lizard-creature following some contamination by spores from the Hollow Earth, and gains the ability to crawl on walls.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons back from the first edition have a spell called "Spider Climb". Guess what it does? Later sourcebooks, especially on drow (with their spider theme and living in caverns) add some variations.
    • Forgotten Realms AD&D2 sourcebook The Drow of the Underdark got a divine version of the spell, Menzoberranzan has Improved Spider Climb and Cling (stationary, but working on any surface and unshakeable).
    • 3e introduced Icewalking ability of some creatures (and provided by magic items) that resembles Spider Climb, except it works on any ice surfaces, and only them.
    • Vampires in the game have the ability, presumably going back to the example in Dracula.
    • Some creatures - including sentients such as Grippli or Geckonid - based on real life animals that do it (spiders, reptiles etc) can move up the walls or tree trunks at their normal walking speed.
    • The warlock class from D&D 3.5 can pick up an ability which allows them to climb on ceilings, or walls, whenever they want. That said, they can also pick up permanent flying.
    • Furthermore, it is possible for characters with no magic to climb up perfectly smooth walls of force. Then again, they can also swim up waterfalls, so it might just be a case of the game getting ridiculous after a while.
    • Also featured in D&D are "Boots of Spiderwalk" that allow this.
    • In 4th, the new Dark pact for the Warlock class has this as a 2nd level Utility power, called Spider Scuttle; As you casually scale the wall, onlookers catch glimpses of hundreds of shadowy legs and pieces of spider-selves that couldn't possibly match the real you.
  • Exalted gives Solars an athletics Charm called Spider-Foot Style. As above... guess what it does?
  • Lizard-Climb from GURPS: Martial Arts as well as the advantage Clinging (which you can get cheap if you limit it to certain surfaces, like metal or chocolate).
  • Mutants and Masterminds includes this as a standard Super-Movement power.
  • The Clinging power in Champions.

Video Games

  • Knuckles from the Sonic the Hedgehog series can use the spikes on his eponymous knuckles to grip and climb walls. This allows him to reach areas other characters cannot.
    • Sonic himself, and pretty much every other character as well, can run on walls in any direction indefinitely, provided they keep going fast enough. At least, that's the theory... And provided the floor leading up to the wall is a ramp of increasing incline. Fortunately, in Sonic's world it frequently is. Sonic is capable of doing this when there is water falling down the wall.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, in a section of the destroyed future's volcano (Magma Core), there is a wall dash section that leads to a ceiling area you can run across. If you stop during the ceiling section, you'll find that it is rather tricky to get off of it.
    • 3D Sonic games have included designated jump points—portions of background Sonic can latch onto via momentum, then jump off to the next. In Sonic Adventure these places were specially marked; while most of them are obvious in Sonic 2006 because of level architecture cues, some of them end up being total surprises.
    • The Wii-exclusive Pink Wisp in Sonic Colors, which covers Sonic in spikes (more so than usual) and allows him to climb walls and ceilings.
  • While this might be less wall crawling and more like Spider-Man's web slinging, The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess allows Link to zip from wall to wall with two separate clawshots.
  • The most awesome version of this ever is the Xenomorph from the Alienversus Predator series of games. Not only can you stick to and run along virtually any type of wall at absurd speed, you also have about 200° of vision and can leap around forty feet in any direction.
  • A major ability in Knytt.
  • In Assassin's Creed, Altair is able to scramble up most walls and buildings with remarkable ease, often leaping, swinging, and pulling himself up with incredible physical strength and stamina. This overlaps with Le Parkour, though: Altair himself does not have any powers.
  • Prototype: Alex Mercer can do it as well. While simply running up or along walls is pretty good, stopping will make him fall... unless the "use" key is pressed while facing the wall which makes him latch on and climb, Spiderman-style. He can't traverse ceilings, though.
  • In Primal, the gargoyle Scree can climb "any stonework surface". Be aware that this means any stonework surface where it is needed to achieve some goal in the game and no others. He also sometimes gets stuck and begins climbing midair, leading to some interesting views of the complex scenery.
  • Raziel of the Legacy of Kain series learns to climb certain walls partway through the first Soul Reaver game, and his sire Kain picks up the skill during a prequel later in the series.
  • Samus' Spider Ball in certain Metroid games allowed her to crawl up walls and ceilings with no trouble; however, in the Metroid Prime trilogy (excluding Hunters and Pinball), the Spider Ball only allows Samus to cling to magnetic tracks.
  • Unusually for a Platform Game character (at least at the time), Quiffy from Flood could climb walls and ceilings, unless they were covered in ice or lava.
  • The title character of the game Gex, who is, naturally, a gecko.
  • Strider Hiryu from the Strider series. In the first game and its sequel (as well as the Marvel vs. Capcom series), he uses a special hook claw that allows him to climb any surface, vertical wall and hang from ceiling structures. In the NES game, he can obtain magnetic boots that let him walk up conveniently placed magnetic walls and ceilings.
  • Ryu Hyabusa from Ninja Gaiden started with the ability to cling to walls but not climb (except through triple jumps and a tricky form of boomerang jumping). Later games gave him the full ability to climb up and down most walls he grabbed onto.
  • Lemmings
    • The ability to climb walls is one talent you can assign to one of your marching horde of Lemmings. It can then climb vertical surfaces, though a ledge will make it fall. Also, no Lemming can climb down even with this ability (meaning they'll just splat if reaching a sheer drop). ** In Lemmings 2, you can also give magnetic boots to a Lemming, especially with the Space tribe. They allow it to walk on any surface, even upside-down, though slower than usual.
  • You can buy a pair of gloves in Thief: Deadly Shadows that enables you to scale certain surfaces.
  • BioShock (series): The Spider Splicers use this in maximum freakiness.
  • The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall allowed the player to climb any vertical wall in the game with high enough stats and enough time. The main catches were that a) you couldn't stop climbing or you'd fall, b) based on your climbing skill, you had a random chance of falling at any time, and c) you climb very slowly unless you have the 10,000x speed cheat on (which, admittedly, most people did). This was popular enough that fans were up in arms that Morrowind did not include it as a skill.
  • Ghost in the Shell: The game is built around this mechanic. Your Fuchikoma is required to climb up walls, buildings, and even travel on ceilings for certain levels of the game. With less than 2% of the game area unclimbable, you can literally go anywhere you want.
  • Ratchet and Clank: As the "fancy Techno Babble name" levels increased in the games, the hero moved from having magnetic boots to having gravity boots. The main difference here are that you start being able to shoot while using them to walk along the dedicated track.
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld: Lara Croft can climb up, down, and sideways along certain walls. And in one of the game's DLC expansions, her Doppelganger has a much faster and more effective version of this power.
  • Castlevania III Dracula's Curse: Grant Danasty can climb walls and the ceiling if he jumps on it.
  • In the original Street Fighter II, Vega's Flying Barcelona Attack was performed by the boss character by crawling up the cage fence in his stage, then dropping down and extending his claw. When Vega was made playable in Turbo the move was changed to work by diving off the side of the screen, as the original version would only be useable in Vega's own stage. In Street Fighter Alpha III, the player can use Vega's original cage-climbing Flying Barcelona Attack by inputting a special code while playing Vega's stage.
    • Mai Shiranui also has an attack like this, Musasabi no Mai. In her debut game, Fatal Fury2, she could only do the move by jumping off convenient flagpoles that only showed up in her stage. This even carried over to The King of Fighters, where the move could only be used on the England stage. In subsequent games, they changed the command motion and she could use it anywhere.
  • Ferazel's Wand doesn't even try to explain why the main character can do this (although it might help that "Habnabits" like him are clearly not human.) It seems to have been implemented so the designers could put a bunch of coins and powerups in high-up places that couldn't be reached by jumping alone, under the "they'll never look here" principle.
  • Dantes Inferno: The walls you crawl on are composed of tightly packed writhing damned souls bemoaning their terrible afterlife.
  • Scaler: Being a mutant chameleon, this is one of Scaler's abilities, although (as not to break the game) he can only do it on certain surfaces.
  • As of Clonk Rage, clonks can climb any smooth vertical surface. Before that, low rank clonks could easily trap themselves by simply digging downwards.
  • The eighth colossus in Shadow of the Colossus can crawl up the sides of the arena you're in to reach you on higher ground. This is instrumental in defeating it.
  • The title Bug of Bug! can do this. Justified because, well, he's a bug!
  • In a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, a cutscene in Mortal Kombat 9 features Reptile scaling the side of an office building to attack Stryker and Kabal.
  • Near the end of the Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Bowser gets the ability to scale dirt walls by curling up into a spikeball and using his shell spikes as climbing picks.
  • In Cosmos Cosmic Adventure, you can stick to walls with your suction hands. You can't crawl up directly, though. You have to keep jumping and then sticking to the wall again.
  • In Okami, Ameterasu can perform a "catwalk," which is essentially this trope, on walls bearing the mark of Kabegami, goddess of walls. Much like the above example, however, its not so much a walk or crawl as it is a hop.
  • In Brave Fencer Musashi, Musashi gains the ability to use his two swords as climbing picks to scale walls, though only exceptionally brittle ones and only vertically. It is also very slow and the player has to alternate the buttons for the two swords, making this one of the more realistic examples of the trope.
  • Downplayed in The Fancy Pants Adventure: World 3, where jumping into a wall, whether it be from a ground jump or wall jump, allows a small amount of vertical climbing. However, it is not infinite, and Fancy Pants Man will eventually fall off, unless he can wall-jump to another wall and climb that up, and then then wall-jump again.
  • In Little Nemo the Dream Master, of the Power Up Mounts that Nemo can ride, the lizard, gorilla, and mouse can climb walls and trees.

Web Comics

  • Freefall. "Spider Sam, Spider Sam - do anything, duct tape can...." Of course, he was in microgravity at the time.

Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, there's more than one character who can do this. The main character Chaka has figured out how to use her Ki powers to run up and down sheer walls. The supervillain Nex can do this using telekinesis. The side character Aquerna can do this because she has captured the spirit of the squirrel. And so on... In one scene, there's a wall-crawling conga line.
  • In Baman Piderman, Piderman can do this. Not that he uses it for anything, but he can do it.

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • The Dai Li wear gloves and shoes made of stone. Using Earthbending not only makes that workable in the first place, but it allows the Dai Li to bond these accessories to stone walls and ceilings, allowing them super-crawling ability.
    • And Toph, who follows the same trick with metal, which is supposed to be unbendable.
    • Suki manages something similar, though she's not a bender—she's just awesome.
  • Nightbird, a robot ninja from the episode Enter The Nightbird of Transformers Generation 1, has this power. It initially seemed to be due to magnetic feet, but then she used it to walk up a cliff.
  • One of Danny's abilities in Danny Phantom, though he rarely uses it. 'Course, considering he can just fly around, it's no wonder this is one of the least used of his bag of tricks.
  • Kim Possible and suction cups. Averted with the sidekick Ron Stoppable that has trouble getting the hang of it.
  • Code Lyoko
    • Odd can climb about any steep surface on Lyoko thanks to the cat-like claws and agility of his avatar.
    • Ulrich sometimes also run up vertical surfaces with his Super Sprint.
    • On the villains' side, the Crawlers can move equally fast over any surface of Sector 5, even ceilings.
    • Finally, people possessed by XANA's specters can gain the power to Wall Crawl in the real world.
  • Bronx, the sort-of-dog from Gargoyles, doesn't have wings and ascends vertical surfaces by simply digging in with his massive claws. Other gargoyles do the same thing to gain altitude before taking wing.
  • In the Scooby Doo episode No Place to Hyde the Monster of the Week can do this. The gang at first suspects an ex circus star, but it turns out that the real villain doctor Jekyll was using suction cups.

Real Life

  • Somewhat common in animals, especially arthropods (insects, spiders, centipedes, etc.), as well as many varieties of frogs and lizards. Arboreal mammals, like monkeys and squirrels, aren't too bad at this either.
  • Recent development of gecko tape promises this to become reality in some time. Everything works because of Van Der Waals forces. Artificial gecko stickers have potential to surpass nature few times. Biggest problem today is rapid contamination. There is also the fact that the square-cube law dictates that there's no way that a human can scale surfaces as effortlessly as a small gecko.
  • They have suction cups that hook up to backpacks that do this. Awesome but Impractical, it's called the gekkomat. Video.
  • There's a near-vertical cliff face in Bolivia that looks like this trope, as it's covered in dinosaur footprints wandering up, down, and across it. Subverted in that the cliff's surface was horizontal when the footprints were made, and got tilted gradually due to subsequent mountain-building processes.