Kill It with Ice
Some say the world will end in fire;And would suffice.
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
—Robert Frost, "Fire and Ice"
While fire is the traditional means of destroying evil, sometimes cold works just as well. This can range from liquid nitrogen to just luring your opponent into a very cold place. Attacking people in this way almost always results in an instant kill through immediate cessation of bodily function, although in real life it would still take time to induce hypothermia or stop the heart.
Likely to be used by An Ice Person. May involve a Freeze Ray, Literally Shattered Lives, Depleted Phlebotinum Shells, or being Locked in a Freezer. See also Kill It with Water and Kill It with Fire. Not always related to Impossibly Cool Weapon. For the non-lethal version of this trope, see Harmless Freezing. Anyone wearing An Ice Suit is likely to try to Kill It With Ice.
Likely to appear in video games that use Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors.
- Being An Ice Person, Admiral Aokiji in One Piece can freeze someone solid, then kill them by shattering their frozen body. Even barring that, they can still die if thawed improperly.
- Bleach: The definitive user of this trope is Captain Hitsugaya. He possesses the strongest ice/snow type zanpakutou in Soul Society and therefore the entirety of his powers centre around killing enemies with ice.
- Rukia also possesses an ice/snow type zanpakutou and therefore her powers are also based around this trope.
- In Slayers, there are a variety of ice-based magic spells, ranging from the "weak enough to use on yourself as air conditioning" to the "instant kill if used on a human". The strongest such attack is Dynast Breath, which freezes the target within ice. The ice then shatters, and the victim with it.
- Evangeline A.K. McDowell from Negima, when she can actually use her magic, specializes in dark and ice spells. Her most powerful spell shown, Kosmike Katastrophe (translates roughly as End of the World), freezes a massive demon, then shatters it with a snap of her fingers. The spell breaks the second law of thermodynamics to freeze a 150 square foot area in absolute zero temperatures. She also has a smaller-scale ice spell that's supposed to freeze the target for a few years, but Asuna manages to break out of it quickly enough due to her magic nullification ability.
- Evangeline's latest spell, Endless White Nine Heavens, is an original ice-lightning spell made specifically to combat constructs, and locks-on to an enemy and continually freezes them and their surroundings solid while leaving them conscious, so they can suffer for all eternity.
- In the magic system of Negima, ice spells are considered higher-level than fire spells of roughly equivalent power, because ice spells violate more of the laws of physics.
- In the manga version of Fullmetal Alchemist, it turns out a Briggs winter is even capable of incapacitating a homunculus.
- In Dragon Ball, Goku manages to beat a rubbery monster named Buyon by causing the cold air outside to freeze him, and he broke him afterwards.
- Sailor Mercury eventually learns ice-based attacks.
- Cygnus Hyoga and Aquarius Camus are great examples. All their attacks are ice-themed.
- Cardcaptor Sakura: Sakura incapacitates the Watery card by tricking her into entering a walk-in freezer and then locking the door. Wait a bit, and capturing her became a simple matter.
- Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z: Him is weakened by cold (because, as a demon, he's all about hellfire and brimstone).
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- This was shown in the JLA comic as one of the few effective ways of hurting Plastic Man. Since he is apparently immortal, actually killing him is out of the question.
- The standard method employed by Mr. Freeze in the Batman franchise (sometimes non-lethally but often with deadly effect).
- While it doesn't actually kill her, this is one method for defeating Killer Frost. She absorbs nearby energy, so encasing her in ice cuts off her power supply.
- Captain Cold has an ice gun capable of creating fields of absolute zero. Like the Kosmike Katastrophe spell by Evangeline from Negima this works by violating the second law of thermodynamics.
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day: The shapeshifting T-1000 is apparently destroyed when a truckload of liquid nitrogen ruptures, restricting its ability to shapeshift or even move. Arnie then shatters the T-1000 to pieces with a bullet. Unfortunately this occurs in a smelting plant whose heat melts the T-1000 so it can reassemble again.
- The novelization of the movie says that while the freezing of the T-1000 did not harm it, it mucked up its artificial intelligence (due to superconductivity) making it possible to defeat it in the end. This is also implied in the director's cut of the movie, which shows the T-1000 lurching around the plant exhibiting difficulty in controlling its shapeshifting—for instance, when it touches a railing, its hand takes on the appearance of the railing, apparently without it meaning to do so.
- The T2 scene was spoofed in Hot Shots Part Deux!, in which Saddam Hussein and his pet dog are frozen by a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher then shattered, reforming into a hybrid dog-dictator.
- That famous B-Movie The Blob ended with the eponymous alien monster being parachuted into the Arctic, as cold was the only way to stop it from spreading. Earlier it had been immobilised with carbon dioxide fire extinguishers.
- Aliens 3: Ripley and the others lure the alien into a lead smelting plant, first super-heating it (with lead) then suddenly cooling it with water sprays. This causes the creature to shatter like glass would under such conditions (but unfortunately not lead).
- Well, Xenomorphs are Silicon-Based Life. What does superheated silicon melt and fuse into? Glass.
- Alien: Resurrection: Liquid nitrogen sprays are set up to control the aliens in their cells. Unfortunately, one alien is clever enough to deduce the connection between the sprays and the Big Red Button, which serves to bite the ass of a security mook.
- The Fifth Element: Zorg's demonstration of his latest BFG includes "the grand finale: the all-new Ice Cube System" as one of its options, though it only gets used on a test dummy.
- Iron Man: Tony Stark uses his suit's greater resistance to icing up at high altitudes to immobilize Iron Monger.
How'd you solve the icing problem?
- Liu Kang kills Sub-Zero (who is known for his ice powers) this way in the Mortal Kombat movie. He uses a bucket of water that goes through Sub-Zero's ice shield and becomes an ice spike that impales him with extreme prejudice, pins him to a wall, and then freezes him solid.
- Then, in Mortal Kombat Annihilation, when Sub-Zero's heroic younger brother shows up, he freezes Smoke and saves Liu Kang. To cement that Smoke dies, the robot then explodes.
- At the end of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Destoroyah is killed by being frozen alive, causing him to crash to the ground and shatter into a billion tiny pieces.
- Time Cop: One of the mooks gets blasted with liquid nitro, whereupon Claude Van Damme kicks and shatters his arm, and he falls off a ledge to his death.
- The Shining. Jack gets lost in the hedge maze and freezes.
- Villains too can use this trope as seen in Friday the 13th (film), when Jason sticks Adrienne's face in liquid nitrogen, then smashes her face on the counter. Jason had years earlier been immobilised (but of course, not killed) by being lured into a cryogenic chamber.
- Simon Phoenix suffers this fate at the end of Demolition Man, before having his head kicked off.
- Mindhunters (2004). In the first trap set by the Serial Killer, Christian Slater's feet get blasted with liquid nitrogen; his ankles then shatter and he falls to the ground and crumbles.
- While not necessarily killed by the ice, Megatron from the live-action Transformers movie was frozen for decades after crashing into the North Pole. He was kept frozen while hidden in the Hoover Dam. When Bumblebee was captured, they kept him immobilized with blasts of carbon dioxide.
- Fantastic Four. Von Doom tries to immobilize Reed with supercold temperatures while saying something along the lines of: "Remember Chem 101? What happens when rubber freezes?"
- Phantasm II shows that cold is one of the few forces known to have any effect against the Tall Man.
- A vat of liquid nitrogen is how Boris Grishenko meets his end in 'GoldenEye. So much for being invincible.
- The Hate Plague in Alien Cargo is succesfully counteracted by exposure to subzero temperatures.
- In one old ghost story, a ghost that dripped water all over its victims and made them miserable was defeated by being lured into an ice house. The cold froze the ghost's water and turned it into an icy statue.
Literature[edit | hide]
- Cold-gas weapons (both spray projectors and rocket warheads) are used in The War Against the Chtorr, though the hero doesn't find them as reliable as flamethrowers.
- The first deathtrap in Ripper is a loaded crossbow aimed at someone in the dining room, its stock propped on top of an ice cube. As the ice melts, its stock settles onto the shelf and depresses the firing lever by its own weight.
- Liquid Nitrogen Grenades make an appearance in Matthew Reilly's Ice Station, but don't cause the instant freezing usually seen with this trope. Instead, people exposed to them freeze from the outside in.
- They're already dead, but in Dante's Inferno (part of the Divine Comedy), the lowest circle of hell has traitors distorted and frozen in ice for all eternity. This is the same level that Brutus, Cassius, and Judas reside on, but with the added bonus of having their feet chewed on by Satan.
- Jack London's classic short story "To Build a Fire" tells of a rather foolish and unsympathetic gold miner in Yukon Territory who goes off on a journey alone and winds up freezing to death after he falls into water and is unable to build a fire to warm himself.
- The Left Behind series has a somewhat different version of this trope: Enigma Babylon One World Faith leader Peter Mathews was killed by sharp feathers made from an ice sculpture of him.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In the pilot episode, Q bumped off a Red Shirt by freezing him after he drew a phaser.
- Also, Security Chief/first season regular Tasha Yar, but she got better.
- Star Trek: Voyager ("Displaced"): When Voyager's crew is trapped in a prison with different environments for different species, Tom and B'Elanna dispose of two Nyrian mooks (from a very warm planet) by luring them into a subzero habitat. Later Captain Janeway beams the rest of the Nyrians there, and threatens to keep them there until her ship is returned.
- In the Doctor Who serial Planet of the Daleks, the centre of the planet Spiridon is filled with ice instead of lava; thus an "ice-flow" is used to destroy the Dalek army.
- A victim of the week on NCIS was killed by liquid nitrogen.
- Also in The X-Files episode "Roland".
- It's also revealed that the alien virus can be rendered harmless by lowering the temperature of its environment.
- Also in The X-Files episode "Roland".
- Heroes: Tracy. Later adds Making a Splash (drowning people in enclosed spaces) to her arsenal.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: Mirror!Phlox tortures a Tholian by reducing the temperature in its cell. When it drops low enough, the poor Tholian shatters. Unusual in that Tholians normally live in a superheated environment, and the cell was still well above normal for most folks.
- One demon in the Angel episode "Expecting" was taken down with liquid nitrogen.
- Primeval has a fungus monster that can only be killed by subzero temperatures. Connor nearly dies after trapping himself in a freezer with it.
- Same thing with Jenny.
- An aquatic Monster of the Week on Tremors: The Series was killed by dumping dry ice into the aquaduct it was submerged in. Unusual in that the heroes could have shot it or blown it up quite easily, but needed to keep its carcass intact to avoid contaminating the area with the mixmaster in its tissues.
- A bitchy fashionista on CSI New York fell onto the bent stem of a liquid nitrogen tank, which injected her chest with the frigid fluid and literally froze her heart solid.
Tabletop RPG[edit | hide]
- In the Traveller Double Adventure "The Chamax Plague/Horde", the title alien monsters are defeated by luring them into an icy snow field and with a cold-generation field, respectively.
- Forgotten Realms' god of rot Moander has penchant for controlling slaves via parasitic vines. Since they were of tropical variety any area spell cold enough to harm a victim was overkill for them. Later Moander itself got a piece of paraelemental ice delivered and force-fed.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- In Pokémon, this is the standard way of dealing with Dragon-types, since the only other type that's super-effective against them is their own. You will want something else for Reshiram, Dialga, Palkia, and Kyurem, however.
- Even without dragons, you can eliminate any Pokemon with a type combo of Dragon, Grass, Ground, and Flying with a single well-placed shot of the cold stuff.
- In Mass Effect, a secret research lab is built in high mountains on a permanently frozen planet, the idea being that if anything goes wrong, the cold would stop whatever they create from leaving the labs. In case of an emmergency, the doors are locked and the power cut off, and after a week or so, cleanup teams with arctic gear can take care of the frozen mess.
- In Magicka Ice and Frost are both 2 elements you can use.
- The Legend of Zelda has the Ice Arrows, which freezes enemies upon contact. Weaker enemies will be killed the moment they're thawed out, while stronger enemies will need either another Ice Arrow or to be dealt with up-close.
- Link to the Past used an Ice Rod instead of Ice Arrows, but same basic idea.
- Mel the Torrent Witch first start out a simple water spell until she learned Ice Crush, a strongest magical attack second only to Claire's Volt Storm. She is also the Combat Medic.
- Mortal Kombat: Sub-Zero, being An Ice Person in general, hands out plenty of these as Finishing Moves.
- One can use the Ice Wand weapon in American McGee's Alice to kill opponents with cold; they freeze solid and then fade away.
- Diablo II introduces the Cold element to kill stuff and be killed with. Has a chance of successfully shattering stuff as well.
- Being An Ice Person, this is Vexen of Kingdom Hearts's weapon of choice. Erm, besides his big-ass, spike-covered shield.
- Metroids are extremely vulnerable to cold, which is probably the only reason why Samus has an Ice Beam.
- And why, when Samus becomes part Metroid in Metroid Fusion, the X start coming after her with ice based cells that hurt her if absorbed.
- In Other M, a rogue group of Federation scientists manages to engineer some Metroids immune to cold, effectively rendering them invincible. Fortunately, all living specimens of this group were killed in an explosion before they became mature. Doubly fortunately, the rest of the Federation realizes exactly how stupid creating invincible Metroids is, and do not continue the project.
- Torch Bearer from Demigod switches between this and Kill It with Fire.
- Crysis has frost-based aliens armed with ice-shard guns. Later on, you can get one of their weapons to use against them. And it has infinite ammo, too!
- Atempted in Dead Space with the hunter, which you have to lure into a cryogenic chamber to freeze it solid. While this seems to work at first, it manges to kill it as much as any other things you've tried so far. In the end, it requires firing the rocket engines of a space ship into its face to really kill it dead.
- One of the bosses in the final level of Kid Dracula requires to shoot it with an ice projectile which is almost completely useless elsewhere.
- Quick rule of thumb: if Mega Man is up against both a fire-using boss and an ice-using boss in the same batch of Robot Masters, the one using fire will usually be weak to one using ice, though this is occasionally inverted. Otherwise, Kill It with Water.
- ROM Hack Rockman No Constancy has Ice Circle, Wood Man's new weapon.
- Inverted in 6 - Blizzard Man is weak to the weapon that Flame Man gives Mega Man.
- 10 has Solar Man (fire), Chill Man (ice) and Pump Man (Water). Kill Solar Man with water. The Chill Spike (which creates spines of ice on the ground) is good against Nitro Man (who turns into a motorcycle.
- In New Super Mario Bros. Wii, while few enemies die outright from being frozen with the Ice Flower, it does turn many into ice blocks which can then be crushed with a Ground Pound or thrown into walls. This is the most convenient way to handle Dry Bones.
- In Warcraft III, the Scourge specializes in ice attacks (since Evil Is Deathly Cold), particularly the Lich heroes.
- In World of Warcraft, Mages and Death Knights are both capable of specializing in Ice-based attacks. Also, Shamans have Frost Shock. Averted with Hunters, whose freezing traps don't kill, but merely immobilize an enemy in ice or create a slick surface that slows enemy movement. As mentioned above, many Scourge mobs also tend towards ice.
- One fascinating quirk of dwarven physics in Dwarf Fortress permits you to build an insta-freeze ice gun. It's known as the degrinchinator.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 gives the Allied faction several new ice-based superweapons and units, including Cryoblasts and Cryocopters. While the ice itself doesn't do any damage, it does leave frozen targets vulnerable enough that a single shot from the weakest infantry unit will shatter an Apocolypse tank.
- You have a lot of options to do this in a standard Final Fantasy game: the Ice/Blizzard series of spells is generally one of the Black Mage's basic abilities, ice-elemental equipment is usually obtained around the half-way point, and summoners have Shiva (or Mateus in the Ivalice games).
- Hexen: Beyond Heretic has the Mage's Ice Spell, which if you kill someone with it, they freeze, and you can shatter them like glass.
- Freeze spells in Shining in the Darkness.
- Melty Blood has one in White Len.
- Freezing to death from staying outside too long is one of the ways you can let Nancy Drew die in Treasure in the Royal Tower and White Wolf of Icicle Creek, and in one of these games the villain tries to get rid of her this way.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, at the end of the first act, the party's gotten in Edea's way for a bit too long, so what does she do? Impale!
- The Soviets in War Front Turning Point love their liquid nitrogen weapons.
- This seems to be Soulcalibur's (and by extension Siegfried's) goal for the entire world in Soulcalibur IV.
Web Comics[edit | hide]
- In Drowtales, Sillice does this to her enemies. It doesn't look pleasant.
- Stonewater the orc in Dominic Deegan can conjure ice to use as a weapon; it is just as effective as holy magic against demons (which is to say, very) because the orcs believe ice to be sacred.
- Red Mage of Eight Bit Theater has a tendency to throw around ice spells. His most epic is easily using Ice-9 to freeze the Fiend of Fire into a Bag of Holding.
- Slightly Damned: The demon Lazuli uses ice magic to summon sharp, pointy icicles. They are very fatal, and rather messy.
- Old Man Winter of Snow By Night does this to every bird he sees.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- While she in no way specializes in it, Weiss Schnee of RWBY incorporates a lot of ice into her combat style. (Of course, since her name is "Snow White" in German and her personal symbol is a snowflake, this is probably to be expected.)
- At the end of Volume 5, this is how Raven Branwen defeats Cinder Fall, with an implied case of Literally Shattered Lives immediately after.
- Tigatron of Beast Wars fame used a gun that was seen to instantly freeze other Transformers.
- Used in the Disney Afternoon cartoon Darkwing Duck to immobilise a super-villain made of liquid. It was ultimately only a temporary solution.
- This was one method of dealing with the otherwise untouchable Inque in Batman Beyond. However, after repeated exposure, she figured out that compressing herself in a ball would keep most of her body active while only freezing the outside layer.
- For defensive moves water benders usually use water in a liquid form. When they really want to hurt someone, they start using ice, either as daggers or absurdly sharp flying disks.
- The Swedish Empire in 1700, Napoleon in 1812, and Hitler during WWII all tried to invade Russia, and Russia kicked them all out the same way; by letting the really nasty Russian winters (sometimes called General Winter) drain their forces, then defeating them.
- Finland took advantage of this against the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-1940. The brutal winter that year caused great problems for the Soviet advance, helping the Finnish to resist effectively, despite being ridiculously outnumbered. They had to give up and surrender some territory in the spring though.
- The Russian Front of World War II
- Partial subversion; many historians now say that winter is not the worst time to campaign in the arctic. Indeed apparently the Finns were praying for spring to bring them lots of good old fashioned mud.
- Only a partial subversion. When the first freezes of winter come in the far north it actually helps an army on the move when the mud freezes over; Hitler's Wehrmacht made better progress when the hard freeze came. However, when the temperature dropped to thirty below and the blizzards came, they suffered terribly.
- David Hackett Fischer in Albion's Seed said that the Puritans unwittingly chose a very good spot to place their colony. While a New England winter is hard on humans, it actually does kill germs.
- Like its liquid counterpart, ice will tear up the landscape given time. No matter how hard the rock, even a little crack will doom it in the right climate.
- In many types of extermination in the real world, cold temperatures, or freezing, is used to kill pests. It can be ineffective, or take a long time.
- Kill It with Fire, and cold temperatures, are used to kill bed bugs and other pests in some cases, other than poison, in which the house's temperature is lowered, or raised, substantially. This can take multiple attempts, such as the process being done every other day or so for a year. And if the problem persists, once again, another year.