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Death from Above
Luckily, Sonic's Fire Shield will protect him.note 

"You should encounter little organized resistance because the Pfhor are preoccupied. I've been introducing them to the magic of orbital bombardment."
Durandal, Marathon 2: Durandal

Whether it's (un)holy smiting, meteor showers, nuclear weapons, bricks from bi-planes, ordinary ordnance, or good old napalm, there's lots of ways to rain Death From Above on those below. There's something about Death raining down from the sky that is almost Biblical; it's fear and awe inspiring because there is nothing the target can do to avoid this airborne doom but "duck and cover". It is at once a powerful and impersonal way to threaten or actually kill someone, hence a great way to establish a villain's power and threat as being on a planetary scale; on the flip side it also makes the airborne cavalry come to save the hero look angelic and omnipotent in comparison to the efforts of the heroes.

Listed below are a few ways to rain this holy judgment:

Occasionally leads to Riding the Bomb.

For a more personal version of this trope see Vertical Kidnapping.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Valvrave the Liberator, the heroes do battle with Dorssia's crown jewel of planetary air combat-the Ideal Blume. L-Elf knows that its meant to spam relatively light machine gun fire down on land emplacements with weak upper armor, so when he selects a team to destroy it, he picks (among others) the Valvrave with the best shielding to defy this Trope. He even mentions that top-notch mecha like the Valvraves make that kind of airship obsolete.
  • Dio Brando's (in)famous steamroller attack, featured near the end of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 3.
    • Occurs again in Part 6 with Viviano Westwood's Stand, Planet Rays. When active, Planet Rays pulls Meteorites towards Westwood, burning them away before they make contact with him. Ones flying towards other people though will not do so. Now imagine that power being active during a fist-fight...
  • The Colony Drop and related forms are absolutely adored by the Gundam franchise. To wit:
  • Enryu from Tower of God and his ability Red Rain, which is the materialization of countless spears above the enemy. The greatest recorded number was 9000 at a time.
  • In Mazinger Z, Jenova M9 was a Robeast could shoot an enemy down several miles away. It tried to shoot Kouji Kabuto down from the atmosphere, where neither him nor Mazinger-Z could reach it.
    • And in the sequel, Great Mazinger, Great Marshall of Hell fabricated a massive lens of ice orbited around Earth and worked like a Kill Sat by focusing sunrays in one single point and blasting it with a massive, hot-melting heat ray. It appeared only in one of the manga continuities, though.
  • Servant Caster from Fate/stay night is rather fond of this, especially in the sequel Fate/hollow ataraxia. Being able to create Frickin' Laser Beams with a single word (whereas the regular magus would need 30 seconds and a small ritual), and capable of flight, she Beam Spams her enemies who have almost no chance of fighting back.
  • Hiigari must stop the Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies version in Psycho Staff.
  • Hostile aliens destroy Earth's bases through showers of meteors in Space Carrier Blue Noah.
  • In AKIRA, the manga at least, there was an orbital laser called Pink Floyd, which the good-ish guys hacked to put the trigger on a hand-held gps.
    Random Mook: What? Was that supposed to do something?
    • In the Akira film, The Colonel ordered SOL (Solar Orbital Laser) to attempt to target Tetsuo, a boy who had attained powerful but uncontrollable psychic powers.
  • In Heaven's Lost Property, Ikaros uses a cork-minigun in a shoot-out competition to get rid of a lot of participants. All whilst flying.
  • Two (actually three) words: HEARTCATCH ORCHESTRA! Despite its name, the true nature of the attack is to summon a giant pink haired woman who punches her enemies from the above with a Power Fist! Just skip to 01:07 and see for yourself.
  • The Digimon Starmon/SuperStarmon have the "Meteor Shower/Squall" attack.
  • Mekakucity Actors: The fate suffered by Hiyori in episode 4 via many iron poles. The worst part is that this isn't the first (or last) time either.

     Comic Books 
  • Nextwave. Widdle cuddly bears... of death! Then subverted by Aaron Stack. "Fear my robot head."
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog Archie comic, Dr. Robotnik assembled a fleet of airships and bombed Knothole into a crater, forcing the cast to relocate.
  • The skyfurnaces in Christian Gossett's The Red Star, mile-long, heavily armored airships armed with Warkasters (military sorceresses). Each kaster is suspended in a special chamber that allows her to project herself temporarily as a concentrated beam of heat. The effect is pretty terrifying.
  • The Cavalry version of Big Damn Heroes coming from above can be seen in Kingdom Come, in which it is dubbed a "Force from on high." Also subverted, as the superheroes involved do not kill anybody.

    Film 
  • Sometimes, it's just simply the most expedient solution to your problem. After all, why stomp around on the ground, wading through hordes of enemies just for the hell of it? As Ripley states in Aliens, "I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
  • In Starship Troopers, carpet bombing a planet is shown to be much more effective than simply dropping the Mobile Infantry on the ground and letting them shoot it out.
    • The penultimate scene of Starship Troopers 3: Marauder has the Marauder team dropping from the night sky (first appearing as a halo of lights around Holly's head) in answer to Holly and Lola's prayers. After they're rescued a Q-Bomb is then used to destroy the entire planet.
    • In the first film, this is on the tattoo that Rico, Ace, Dizzy and Kitten get before the Battle of Big K.
  • There's a particularly cool bit in The Mummy with Brendan Fraser where it literally starts raining fire from above. Not only does this look awesome but the flames make a satisfying low whoosh sound as they hit the ground and set red-shirts alight. And a minaret breaks off a building, probably falling on people.
  • The various Star Destroyer type vessels in Star Wars are equipped for orbital bombardment; the Expanded Universe says they were designed around the task, which is part of why they so heavily outgunned everything else in space at the time and had such an advantage against other vessels designed for starship combat. Notably, in the novel Rebel Dream, a Super Star Destroyer uses this tactic while defending - by using ground troops to force the enemy into specific locations on the planet below, where they could safely be blown to bits. Repeatedly.
    • And of course there's the Death Star, designed specifically to blow up a planet.
    • The Republic Attack Cruisers/Venator-class Star Destroyers from the prequel featured similar systems, but they had a unique drawback: because of the placement of their weapons, they were great for orbital bombardment, but crap for ship-to-ship combat. This was fixed with the later Star Destroyers.
  • Red Dawn (1984). After the Soviet army and even Spetznaz commandos prove ineffective in wiping out the American guerrillas, the Reds bait a trap with some supplies that 'accidentally' fell off a truck, then send in three Hind gunships.
  • An unusual take on the trope occurs in The Boondock Saints. The Mafiya soldier is about to execute one of the protagonists when a toilet drops on his head.
  • In the beginning of Suspiria, after the first victim is killed, she falls through the stained glass skylight, several pieces of which end up impaling her roommate who's standing below.
  • Witnessed from afar in Lawrence of Arabia.
    Ali: God pity the men under those guns.
    Lawrence: They're Turks.
    Ali: Even so, God pity them.
  • 300:
    Persian: Our arrows will blot out the sun!
    Stelios: Then we will fight in the shade.
  • Armageddon and Deep Impact both revolved around meteor impacts.
  • Star Trek (2009): The Narada uses a giant laser to drill to the middle of a planet, then drops in red matter to create a black hole in its core.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, the Decepticons attacks the Earth by crash landing in different parts of the world and then demands the surrender of Sam Witwicky to them or they destroy the world.
  • Avatar: Narrator Jake describes himself as this after he bonds with his Ikran. His feelings of lethality last up until he is attacked by Death From Above in the form of a predator almost five times as big.
    • The Na'vi word for the great leonopteryx, "Toruk", means "Last Shadow"
    • In the battle at the end, Jake and his Toruk lead the Na'vi flyers in a diving ambush on the RDA's gunships. Their bows, shown to lack the power to penetrate the gunship canopies when fired up from the ground, are much more effective with the force of a diving Ikran behind them.
  • Invoked in a grand display of helicopters and napalm bombing during Apocalypse Now. For perspective, Lt. Colonel Kilgore of the Air Cavalry division is somewhat reluctant to assist Captain Willard in his mission but when he hears that there is a good beach nearby occupied by the enemy that would just so happen to go Willard's way he decides to lead his men into battle in a formation of helicopters. As the helicopters close in on the Vietcong he plays "Ride of the Valkyries" to intimidate them and then they rain fiery death down upon them and as the helicopters land to let the men down onto the ground one of the helicopters humorously has "Death From Above" stamped on its nose. The battle goes well enough but Kilgore gets frustrated, that the enemy are being so persistent as he would just like to go ahead and surf the beach already, and decides to call in a massive napalm strike to end the battle. When all is said and done Kilgore temporarily forgets about the surfing and in the ecstasy of the moment notes how much he loves to watch explosions like that famously saying, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning (...) It smells like victory."
  • The Rock has an example of one side of the protagonists doing this to another due to Poor Communication Kills: The VX gas threat was neutralised so late and the signal indicating the all-clear took so long to transmit to the bombers sent to destroy the Alcaztraz facilities (holding the terrorists and the VX gas) that by the time it gets through, one missile has already been launched.
  • In Godzilla (2014), The male Muto employs a hit and run strategy using its wings, and dive-bombs the boat carrying the nuclear bomb the military intended to use to kill him, the female, and Godzilla.
  • The eponymous threat of Sharknado forces people to dodge falling sharks. At one point, the Hollywood sign also becomes a dangerous projectile. Sharknado 2: The Second One uses this trope to come up with what may be the first shark movie fatality caused by a whale shark.

    Literature 
  • Zeus's Master Lightning Bolt in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is a prime example of this trope.
    "A two-foot long cylinder of high-grade celestial bronze, capped on both ends with god-level explosives." "The bolt that sheered the top off Mount Etna and hurled Kronos from his throne; the master bolt, which packs enough power to make mortal hydrogen bombs look like firecrackers."
  • Three or more times in Animorphs they have a plan that involved having one of them (usually Cassie) fly as high as possible, then turn into a whale over water. Proof that Nice doesn't mean Weak, because she (like all of them) has to turn human in between.
    • In the second-last book, Visser One kills the Auxiliary Animorphs and some of General Doubleday's troops by shooting the Pool ship's Dracon cannon from orbit.
    • Tobias whenever he's feeling hungry.
      • Or in battle. TSEEEEEER!
  • In the Darkwar Trilogy of the Riftwar Cycle, an epic-level demon is going through a portal connecting from the Dasati dimension to the world of Kelewan. Pug's answer? Evacuate the world and drop the moon on top of the portal.
    • Pug did it a couple of decades before, by firebombing the flagship of an invading fleet. His fireball bounced back, however.
  • Anathem had Rodding. Very simple. Drop a large dense rod from orbit at hypersonic speeds into a dormant volcano. Boom. Repeat.
  • In The Big One, Nazi Germany gets the Quintessential Death from Above when it is wiped off the map by a rain of 232 atomic bombs dropped by B-36 bombers. The operation described actually used a real American warplan (AWDP-1) as its basis making this Truth in Television. The idea was to destroy German warmaking potential. It turned out doing that that meant destroying everything that went with it. And that meant everything.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Used to unnerving yet hilarious effect in Blood Rites, where a frozen turkey falling from a commercial airliner kills a vampire in a "freak accident" caused by a malicious curse. The 'done' button popping out is a nice touch.
    • This happens offscreen earlier in the book when Harry is told that an early victim of the curse was hit by a runaway car... while waterskiing.
    • Also in Blood Rites, Ebenezar McCoy killed a vampire who had challenged his former apprentice, Harry Dresden, to a duel (and had cheated). He did this by pulling a soviet-era satellite from orbit and making it crash onto the vampire's compound, killing the vampire and most of his retinue (sadly it also killed the humans they fed from).
  • In the Narnia book The Horse and His Boy, the main villain, having somehow found himself at a higher elevation than his enemies, declares "The bolt of Tash falls from above!" leaping upon his enemies... and getting caught on a hook halfway down to dangle helplessly for the rest of the battle.
    • As if that wasn't bad enough, the villain - having not learned his lesson - repeats the above line again during a rant against the heroes, prompting one of them to rub it in by asking, "Does it ever get caught on a hook halfway?" Apparently, yes, it does.
  • A similar system is described in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, where a Moon colony uses metal-sheathed multiton rocks tossed at Earth as a weapon - a highly effective and cheap weapon - which would strike any point on Earth with the energy of a tactical nuclear strike.
  • Similarly, Shatterpoint had DOKAWs, De-Orbiting Kinetic Anti-emplacement Weapons, described as 200-ton metal rods with thrusters on them. They were lethal, if somewhat less than accurate.
  • From the Legacy of the Aldenata series by John Ringo:
    • The Posleen invasion was lead off by kinetic weapon strikes on planetary defense centers and various pyramid structures around the world (due to a resemblance to similar structures set up by the Posleen, who consider them important).
    • In Hell's Faire, the heroes and the entire population of earth, are totally screwed until the fleet unexpectedly returns and uses kinetic bombardment to destroy every important target on the ground.
    • O'Neal's team finds out what it's like to be on the receiving end of it, in The Eye of the Storm (free sneak preview available here, containing the scene in question in Chapter Four).
  • The Western Galactic Empire of Robert Zubrin's The Holy Land uses Psioray bombardment. Capable of wide-area bombardment, accurate to within one-tenth of a percent of the range fired, can be tuned to only affect specific groups of beings (even more specifically than species), and reduces the targets to less than an inch in height, while leaving, for instance, local birds, lizards, and predatory insects the same size. Poor Peru. Poor Iowa.
  • The Ganymede Takeover (by Philip K. Dick and Robert Nelson) has The Shaft, a miniature psychotropic autonomic dart fired from a satellite, used to kill (on an individual basis) a vast number of key technicians and leaders during the alien invasion.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. In an interesting inversion, a group of renegades attempting to booby-trap a helicopter landing field are exposed to a counter-ambush when an orbiting solar mirror is suddenly turned on the area.
  • The Reality Dysfunction (part of the Night's Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton). A special forces team floating down a river through enemy territory get some sudden and unexpected support when 5,000 precision-guided kinetic energy harpoons fired from a spaceship slam into the banks on either side. The harpoons are falling so fast no-one hears them until after they land. Then they really hear them.
    • The Kinetic-Energy Harpoon is mentioned, although not used on-page, in "The Nano Flower" by the same author; described as a "poor man's nuke"note , they were apparently used in the Slamdown War. That resulted in massive campaign to get a defensive system in orbit, designed specifically to stop them ever being used again.
  • In Footfall (by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle) the alien invaders have two versions of this. First, they use space-based lasers and the 'Rods From God' described below to destroy Earth's military forces and insurgents; later, after Kansas is nuked to defeat their first invasion they land the eponymous 'Foot' (an asteroid) in the Indian Ocean to try to force Earth's surrender (it doesn't work).
  • A form of this is featured in the climax of the final novel of Tad Williams's Otherland series. The Other tricks the heroes into giving it control of the satellite that it's imprisoned on, and sends the satellite plummeting to Earth, aimed directly at the headquarters of J Corp. Boom.
  • In Bones of the Hills, when Jochi and Jebe are being pursued by Khalifa, Jochi sarcastically suggests dropping boulders on the Arabs. Jebe thinks that's a great idea. And it works.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Dragon Jousters series, Jousters ride dragons and Air Joust each other, when there are Jousters on each side of the war. When Jousters either don't find their enemy counterparts or manage to drive off or kill them, they turn on the ground armies, swooping down to have their dragons snatch up a commander, carry him high into the air... and drop him on his own forces. This is said to be highly demoralizing. One of the good Jousters, Ari, has a Heroic BSOD when the group of Jousters he was with, having some spare time, does this to the civilians in an enemy village, even joking about painting a target next time for more sport.
  • In The Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett it's orbital bombardment with eggs:
    flying bot: Crackdown in this area is forecast in ten minutes. Don your protective clothing or seek chthonic safety.
    flying bot: Crackdown! Crackdown! Beware of the eggs!
  • Since flying warriors (Knights Aeris) are pretty much standard in any army in Codex Alera, this was inevitable. But Tavi's idea for how to use his vast numbers of mediocre Knights (most of whom couldn't fly properly) against an army in the third book really takes the cake: he had them scale up a telescope spell, and had Max use the giant lens to turn the sunlight into a freaking Death Ray.
  • Death from the Skies by Phil Plait, a mostly non-fiction book about all the ways the universe could kill us.
  • In the Wing Commander novel Fleet Action, multiple Terran Confederation planets are bombarded from orbit by a massive Kilrathi fleet the humans are unable to stop, using antimatter warheads and dirty nukes specifically employed to sterilize worlds.
  • Sky Masters by Dale Brown, a Chinese destroyer was about to nuke the city of Davao, the Americans neutralized it by dropping a satellite right on top of it.
  • Mentioned to have happened in the history of Wellakh in the Young Wizards series: their sun is somewhat unstable and flared, burning half the planet to a featureless plain and killing anyone who was there at the time, along with a good number of their wizards in the effort to stop it.
  • In Jack McDevitt's The Academy Novels, the Omega Clouds are gigantic, mysterious artifacts which travel through the galaxy, coming in waves about 8,000 years apart. They investigate planets they pass, and rain down electrical death from the skies on any civilization foolish enough to use right angles in their architecture.
  • Starship Troopers acknowledges that if you just want to kill stuff that lives on the surface, nuking it from orbit is usually much more effective. Two problems with this: the Bugs don't live on the surface, and while the Skinnies do, the humans are hoping to turn them into allies/trading partners in the future and don't want to completely wipe them out.
  • As might be expected, the Lensmen get into this particular Arms Race. If you're lucky, they're just tossing bombs at you. If you get them really mad, they target you with a couple of planets moving at several times c. With diametrically opposed vectors. It's called the "nutcracker", and the results are described as the creation of a new, temporary star.
  • Bomber planes rain down destruction during the final battle in The Leonard Regime.
  • In the Age of Fire series, this is how Wistala finishes off Gobold Fangbreaker. When she sees him and his Praetorian Guard fleeing from the siege of his fortress on boat, she grabs a fallen longpoon (an artillery projectile that's basically a giant harpoon with a ball-and-chain on one end), carries it as far into the air as she can, and then drops it on the boat. Gobold is presumably either crushed or drowned in the process.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the pilot episode of Dead Like Me, a toilet seat drops onto the main character from orbit, killing her instantly.
    • Likewise in the opening of the TV spy movie Blue Ice, Michael Caine is attending the funeral of a friend killed by a chunk of ice that fell off an aircraft.
    • And yet again in CSI: New York, when a construction worker is found dead inside a port-a-potty, and the fecal residue found in the injury — a hole in his head — is justified early on as contamination from the scene. Turns out, he was the victim of a very, very unlucky (and timely) leak in an airplane stall.
  • The usual outcome of the Lexx visiting a planet.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) begins with the nuclear annihilation of humanity by the Cylons.
    • Toward the beginning of season 3 when liberating New Caprica, Adama decides to attack by jumping the Galactica into the atmosphere and launching its fighters and shuttles from there, jumping back out just before hitting the dirt.
  • Stargate Atlantis has a scene similar to Battlestar Galactica when the Atlantis team wipe out the Asurans with a new naquadah-enhanced bomb.
    • Subverted, at least in terms of effectiveness, when the Asurans rebuild as if nothing happened, make MORE shipyards, and attack Atlantis in revenge.
  • Sons Of Guns had an episode where the crew rigged a machine gun to be door-mounted on a helicopter. The episode ended with them shooting it at a junked car on the ground, which exploded when it was hit.
  • Robot Wars had the drop zone, where an immobilized robot would be placed on a spot on the arena floor and something would be dropped from the ceiling (including a television, an oven, bowling balls, and one of the Video Games dropped a grand piano!)
  • The storms featured in Storm Chasers frequently drop tornadoes, lightning, and hail big enough to smash an unprotected human skull on anyone unlucky enough to be in their path.
  • Babylon 5:
    • At the end of the second season, the Centauri use mass drivers to bombard the homeworld of their long-time enemies the Narns. In Season 3, the effects are shown — including altered climate due to atmospheric dust.
    • Also almost the fate of Earth, at the end of Clarke's presidency of the Earth Alliance.
    • Later on, the Narn, with the help of the Drazi, proceed to Centauri Prime to return the favor, though they at least restrain themselves to only using conventional heavy weapons (causing untold thousands of deaths, as opposed to the Centauri's attack on Narn being essentially a WMD attack severe enough that even the Vorlons gave them a "What the Hell, Hero?" response.
  • In Power Rangers RPM, this is how Venjix is ultimately defeated, with Gem and Gemma shooting out the supports of the overhanging Command Center, causing the entire structure to fall right on top of Venjix's robotic form.
  • Star Trek has shown cases of orbital bombardment a few times, and discussed the possibility a few times more. Star Trek S 2 E 17 A Piece Of The Action had non-lethal orbital bombardment (a precision phaser blast from the Enterprise set on stun).
  • The Unit never shows the plane, just a missile coming out of nowhere like the fist of an angry god. On one occasion the boys joked about it a little.
    Jonas: Does the State Department know [that you traded a terrorist for me]?
    Bob: No. But the Air Force does.

    Music 
  • Marduk's album Panzer Division Marduk has tanks, bombs and death as its theme. The song Baptism By Fire has the lines:
    Death from above - The hellfire will soon be unleashed
    Death rips the sky - Domination gives praise to the beast
    Death from above - Explosions is tearing your soul
    Death rips the sky - The bombing is reaching its goal
    Death from above - Death or glory, there is no way back
    Death rips the sky - Attack, attack, attack!
  • Dance-punk band Death From Above 1979
    • And by extension, CSS's song Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above
  • Jets'n'Guns features the titular tune in its OST.
  • The sweet Regina Spektor has the sweetest song The Sword and the Pen, which has the lines:
    What if the sword kills the pen
    what if God kills the man
    and if He does it with love
    well then it's death from above
    and death from above is still death
  • Sabaton's song Firestorm, being about the Allies' strategic bombing campaign of World War II, is all about this trope.
    Burn burn
    rage of the heavens
    burn burn
    death from above
    die die
    merciless killing
    burn burn
    death from above
  • Death from Above by Turbonegro.
    Flyin' in on the wings of destruction
    with freedom in our eyes
    it's the death from above
    and everybody dies

    Pinball 
  • Gottlieb's Gladiators shows a shower of fireballs dropping out of the sky and onto the game's virtual reality landscape.
  • Bally's Wizard! depicts the bombers from Captain Walker's bombing run.
  • This is a recurring theme of the "Ruiner" table of Ruiner Pinball. In addition to a bomber and two Nose Art gals dropping bombs, the right side of the table has a family anxiously looking skyward as more bombs fall down.

    Roleplay 
  • Destroy The Godmodder has had multiple uses of this on all scales, from as small as an airstrike, to the UNSC Preston Cole doing orbital bombardments, and it doesn't even stop at having the entire solar system thrown at the godmodder.
    • Probably one of the most notable examples would be ninjatwist's meteor strike that completely obliterated the PG side in one shot.

    Tabletop Games 
  • "Death From Above" is also a maneuver from the miniatures wargame Battletech, father of western mecha, in which a jump- or flight-capable combat mech aims to land directly atop an opponent, with its plasma-based jumpjets firing. This maneuver is generally one of desperation because it stands a good chance of dumping both attacker and attacked on the ground where they will be easy targets for whoever wanders by or gets up first, but its effects are often devastating since mechs mount their cockpit in the head. Some larger mechs are specifically designed to carry it out such as the 90-ton Highlander, leading to the term "Highlander burial" for a light mech getting landed on by an assault-class.
    • Given their firepower and bomb capacity, the larger fighters (aerospace or otherwise) of the setting can also qualify with regard to ground forces if used in the game. (Though the rules give the targets a fair chance of dropping even the biggest fighter out of the sky with a single hit.) The ultimate example, though, at least before the Jihad era brought nukes back onto the battlefield, may be orbital bombardment like the infamous destruction of the city of Edo on the planet Turtle Bay by Clan Smoke Jaguar.
  • The CCG Net Runner has a powerful card named Death From Above.
    • With a telling bit of flavor text: "They drop rocks; I commandeer battlesats." Needless to say, there's also a card with the meaningful name I Got A Rock that will under the right circumstances hit the Runner with enough 'meat damage' to flatline him or her about three times over...
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • Many Imperial vessels are capable of Exterminatus — an extreme version of Death From Above, which leaves absolutely nothing living on a planet it hits.
    • 40k also includes each and every type of Death From Above listed—even hails of arrows on feudal worlds.
    • They even have multiple ways to perform Exterminatus, from virus-bombing (which destroys all unprotected organic material on a planet) to cyclonic torpedoes (which shatter the planet's crust)
  • Numerous Dungeons & Dragons spells such as Flame Pillar, Flame Strike, Meteor Shower, Storm of Vengeance, Hail Storm, and Call Lightning. It's more common amongst Divine Spellcasters, because Gods enjoy this kind of smiting.
    • There's a frequently devised tactic relying on summoning and creation spells. Create a large rock five feet above your target's head and they die easily enough, or summon a horse over them, or whatever.
      • As of at least 3.0 Edition, if not earlier, the rules for such spells explicitly do not allow this, as they specify that summoned creatures/items have to appear on the ground. However, there are still a few ways to accomplish something similar- the Earthquake spell can cause a cave in if cast in an underground cavern, while enemies can be buried alive by using Transmute Rock To Mud or Transmute Rock To Lava on a cave's ceiling.
      • The spell Cometfall exists explicitly to do the summon rock trick as an actual attack spell.
      • Dimension Door (4th level teleport, self + about 200lbs) + Feather Fall (2nd level, 'take no falling damage'). Choose your rock. Touch it. Dimension Door. Drop the rock. The Forgotten Realms setting allows Fey'ri (half-succubus elf) characters to do this at level one, with an innate ability and wings.
    • There is a Tiger Claw technique in the Tome of Battle named Death From Above. You jump over your enemy, attack For Massive Damage, and then dismount anywhere next to the enemy.
  • Warhammer Fantasy gave us the spells Comet of Casandora, Forked Lightning and Uranon's Thunderbolt. Pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Previous editions also had a particularly impressive exploit based around this trope: anything which went from "Flying High" to ground level without going through the intermediate steps did an impressive number of high strength wounds to itself and whatever it *ahem* "landed" on. This was bad enough with Gryphons, Dragons and Giant Eagles and so forth, but some creatures (like Greater Daemons) were immune to non-magical damage (including falling damage)...
  • Nuclear War. 'nuff said.
  • Even space-combat game Starfleet Battles has a few in the Marines supplement for planetary combat. You can use Transporter Artillery (teleport a load of anti-personnel and anti-vehicular bombs over the enemy), or, should transporters not be feasible, load the bombs into a missile casing and have a fighter drop it as a cluster bomb. Then there's the fighters that can make strafing runs, and the dedicated ground-attack shuttles...
  • Shadowrun: the MegaCorps maintain Thor systems (see Real Life below). Rumor has it that the Corporate Court will only permit a corporation to drop a Thor shot on a target with an Omega Order sanction. The last time they were openly used was during the offensive against Winternight immediately before Crash 2.0. One was also deployed specifically to kill Art Dankwalther, who had been using his bequest from Dunkelzahn's will to attack Novatech.

    Video Games 
  • Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII. Both by almost obliterating the world with Meteor, and he pops out of nowhere by the end of Disc 1 to deliver Death From Above to Aeris.
    • There's also the Bahamut ZERO summon spell, wherein the eponymous dragon blasts the user's unfortunate adversaries from orbit.
    • As well as one of Cid's Limit Breaks: he calls in an airstrike from the Highwind.
  • Act of War, being a Real-Time Strategy game set Twenty Minutes into the Future, brings loads and loads of opportunities to unleash death upon your enemies from above, bonus points since the mechanics and visuals have a sense of realism which is reinforced with Real Life units like B-2 and the Tu-160 bombers, just to give two examples, oh, and if you want the game has no population limits for building them or Tactical Weapons.
  • Of note here are the A.I. characters from Marathon, one of whom described a plan to destroy the power station of the Pfhor on the planet Lh'owon as, effectively, "Step one: drop an asteroid on the roof of the (underground) power plant. Step two: drop the Bad Ass protagonist down the hole." This is about 25% of the way through Marathon 2: Durandal, and similar plans occur elsewhere in Bungie games (The Master Chief in a drop pod is more dangerous than a warship)
    • In Marathon 2, the titular Durandal tells you he is "Introducing the Pfhor (the main enemies at that point in time) to the joys of orbital bombardment." Of special note is that throughout this level, as you progress, the occasional distant and muted rumbling boom can be heard. Presumably Durandal enjoys what he's doing a little TOO much. Then again, he is QUITE rampant.
      • It's worse. That's Durandal once he's STABLE.
  • The Big Bad proves herself able in Drakengard when she launches fireballs that explode with the force of a nuclear blast against the recently victorious army of the protagonist.
  • After having become the incarnation of magic; Big Bad, Monster Clown and nihilistic whack-o Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI picked up the nice little hobby of annihilating any- and everything he didn't like with the "Light of Judgement", a massive, magical beam from the skies.
  • "Death from Above" also happens to be the name of a giant bee Notorious Monster in Final Fantasy XI, which fits under the Giant Flyer subsection.
    • The Dragoon class from throughout the series qualifies, since their main ability is just to jump up into the air and crash down into enemies with their spears.
    • The Yovra enemies in Al'Taieu also qualify for this trope. They hover around in the sky and can't be targeted...until they hear you, promptly dropping down to dispense death to the unlucky party.
    • The recurring Comet and Meteor spells certainly count.
  • Although all the biggest lightning spells come from above, Final Fantasy IX's Thundaga definitely looks the most impressive, almost like a small-scale reverse-Eden.
  • In Final Fantasy XII, the esper Exodus' ultimate attack drops a meteor the size of Texas on your enemy's head.
    • Its a reoccurring theme in almost all of the big summons in Final Fantasy. Examples are almost all of Bahamut's summonings, one of which involves him firing a Moon Killer which blasts through the moon to reach its target. Other notable ones are Eden from Final Fantasy VIII and Ark from Final Fantasy IX, which combines Kill Sat with Cool Airship. It is as cool as it sounds.
    • Final Fantasy IX might be the number one for most Death From Above scenes in one game. There's Odin who Zantetsukens an entire city into ash, The Invincible which nukes Alexandria and Alexander simultaneously not to mention having done the same to the Maiden Sari in a flashback. Plus there's Kuja whose Ultima Spell is a horrifying combination of Planet Killer, Nuke 'em, and Rocks Fall Everybody Dies.
  • In the later Dynasty Warriors games, jumping into a group of enemies from a high enough elevation (usually on horseback) results in an 'Ambush' situation, where the enemies are temporarily terrified (causing them to attack rarely, while also reducing their defense.)
  • Appropriately enough, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has a level called Death From Above in which you provide close air support from an AC-130U gunship. For the uneducated, the AC-130U has a left-side-mounted 25mm GAU-12 Equalizer, one 40 mm L/60 Bofors cannon and one 105 mm M102 howitzer. The Bofors was usually used as an AA gun, and the M102 is usually used in an indirect-fire artillery role. Using it as a direct-fire weapon from the side of a large cargo plane was something of a stroke of genius. Check The Other Wiki for more.
    • You can also call in airstrikes and gunships during missions like Safehouse and Heat, or during multiplayer if you can kill enough people without dying yourself.
    • Sequel Escalation gives Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer sentry guns that drop for you to place, a missile from a Predator drone for you to control as it falls, a targeted air strike, a Harrier airstrike followed by a fourth Harrier that loiters in the area, launching missiles and firing its Vulcan, a Cobra or Hind (depending on which side) helicopter to fly around the battlefield attacking enemies, a heavily armored (two missiles to kill instead of one) Sikorsky MH-53 Pave Low to fly around attacking enemies even more effectively, a B2 Spirit bomber which delivers an airstrike that the enemy cannot see coming, an AH-64 Apache with you in the gunner seat, an AC-130 gunship with you again at the guns, and if you can get a 25 kill streak... you can launch a tactical nuke which kills everyone and ends in game in your favor. For balance reasons, you may only use up to 3 unique killstreaks per match. You may also call in care packages for you in Modern Warfare 2 for help which don't kill anyone alone — unless the crate falls on someone.
      • The Care Package or the Emergency Airdrop (4 Care Packages in one go) however may randomly contain any of those killstreak rewards, meaning you can get Death from Above in your Death from Above. Yo Dawg.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops adds such killstreaks as calling in a Huey and firing a minigun mounted at its side door, or call in an Apache or Hind gunship with you at the controls.
  • Worms has plenty of powerful airstrike Superweapons. Mail Strikes, MB Bombs, Mike's Carpet Bombs, French Sheep Strikes, Concrete Donkeys, and Armageddon all rain death on opposing worms. OK, that last one, as you might expect from the name, rains death on everyone, but the point stands.
  • In Dawn of War, the Space Marines special unit - Assault Marines has this phrase as a battlecry. The same faction also uses drop pods in a planetary assault. The commander unit can call in an Orbital Bombardment as well.
    • In Dawn of War 2, the Assault Marines actually do damage in the single-player by dropping down - in the multiplayer, they knock infantry down.
  • In Company of Heroes the paratroopers have this as a battlecry, as well.
    • They can also use the more direct version of this trope with the ability to call in strafing runs and bombing runs from P-47s. Meanwhile, the Panzer Elite Luftwaffe tactics can order Henschel Hs-129s to patrol a point, wiping out whole fleets of Allied vehicles with their 75mm cannon, and the Brits can call in gliders full of Commandos. And let's not even get started with the artillery...
  • Chrono Trigger's Big Bad destroys the future by burrowing from the ground, and then pelting the globe with its spines. While fighting it, it also does something similar with a move called "Destruction rains from the heavens!"
    • When Lavos first falls from space during the prehistoric age it is also certain death for the Reptites and dinosaurs. As in extinction by ice age.
  • Halo Wars lets players who are playing as the UNSC faction call down fire from the MAC gun (Magnetic Accelerator Cannon) of an orbiting warship, or, mixing this with It's Raining Men, they can drop ODSTs (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) on enemy positions. In addition the Covenant Prophet faction can call down an orbital laser beam which can be left active indefinitely (and steered around) assuming you have the resources.
  • The Bard class in the text game Achaea has an ability named Death From Above, which allows them to jump from the trees directly onto a target to deliver significant damage. (they even scream out "Death From Above!" when they do it).
  • Golden Sun has several varieties, mostly in the form of summons:
    • Giant Flyer - the Fusion Dragon, more or less. Also, the Eclipse summon, which is essentially a dragon which breathes lasers.
    • Kill Sat - Judgement and Catastrophe; arguably also the unleashed attack of the Phaeton's Blade, sending Frickin' Laser Beams down on the target.
    • Meteor - the Meteor summon, and a more localized version in the Sol Blade's "Megiddo" unleash.
    • Nuke 'em - would be several, if the party didn't mysteriously disappear at the beginning; most egregiously Charon
      • Or alternatively, the Doom Dragon's attack, Cruel Ruin, which appears to shoot a chain of exploding beams, each destroying massive areas of land. Also, the Daedalus summon, which brings out a giant ancient-looking robot that shoots several small missiles that hit immediately and a final, huge one, which three turns later, hits for a large explosion.
    • Rain of Arrows - Atalanta.
  • The aptly named "Galaxy Drops" in perpetual MMOFPS Planetside are carefully organized raids involving a fleet of Galaxy transports, each carrying a full squad of troopers, exosuit warriors, and a fully staffed vehicle, along with the Galaxy's own gunners and other air support.
    • In Planetside 2, the Galaxy makes a comeback, along with the Liberator gunship, which can carry a quad 30mm gatling turret or a 150mm cannon for bombarding ground targets.
  • One of the most dangerous scenarios in Battlefield 2142 is a fully-loaded Air Transport. Though less menacing than planetside drops (since there are at most two transports available per side), there is more than enough destruction aboard in the form of two vehicle-mounted cannons for infantry, engineers with anti-vehicle weapons and mines, as well as two engineers designated as mid-flight repairmen (who can easily repair most damage). Only a concerted attack by the enemy (or an extremely lucky kamikaze transport pilot) can hope to stop the assault.
    • Battlefield 2's "cartillery". Air-dropped ground vehicles crush the shit out of anything it lands on. Also done supply crates.
  • The Ground Pounds, like Bowser's Bowser Bomb in the Super Smash Bros. series certainly applies as a certain kind of Death From Above, as does Link's Down Air attack.
  • In Metroid Prime 3, Samus can call in an air strike from her Cool Ship once she has acquired the correct Power-Up and is in an open area. This kills most ordinary Mooks and is needed to destroy certain objects her suit weaponry cannot destroy.
    • The Screw Attack usually functions this way.
  • The Orcish Wind Riders of Warcraft III will sometimes scream "Death From Above!" when given an order to fly in and throw envenomed spears at enemies below.
    • Rawrbomb.
      • For the ignorant, a "rawrbomb" is a maneuver pulled off by Druids; shapeshift into a flying form, find a convenient location over your target, then shift into bear form and drop like a stone. When you get within range of the target, pop "CHARGE!" and hurl yourself at the target, smashing into them and landing without damage. Tricky to do, easy to fail, and impressive to see.
      • Warriors can pull off the same trick.
  • Massed artillery in Wargame: European Escalation is an extremely effective tactic. Building an entire army out of artillery, on the other hand, almost never works, but is, on occasion, hilarious.
  • Before the development patch that changed the mechanics of the archetype, a common method of garnering a high amount of damage very quickly for a Blaster in City of Heroes was to gain altitude (either through a flight-based power or by ascending a skyscraper) and to drop to the ground below, near the enemy. The original Blaster design included an advantage wherein more damage would be dealt by suffering damage, and since the game doesn't let you die from falling damage directly, you were assured to ring off at least one good blast before you inevitably were torn to pieces.
  • Sakura's THE CREATE super in Magical Battle Arena has her dropping a ton of King Penguin playground slides all over the battlefield.
  • Storm's snow storm super in the Marvel vs. Capcom games. Or, as this video would say, MAKE IT RAIN!
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the Soviets can drop orbital debris ranging from satellites to space stations on their enemies, along with any vehicles they picked up with their magnetic satellites.
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, um... Ion cannon.
    • And Nod's nukes. And chemical missiles. Or the Scrin's Overlord's Wrath and the Rift Generator. Command & Conquer sure likes their superweapons.
    • The three factions of Command & Conquer: Generals uses often this trope: scuds / nuke / Ion cannon, paratroopers drops, huge bombs dropped from bombers, artillery shells, planes and helicopters (missiles, machine guns, napalm)... Requires superpowers or standard units, depending of which you want.
      • In the Zero Hour expansion, there's especially a US subfaction which sticks deeply to this trope : an US general specialized in air forces. He also uses the phrase "death from above" as a taunt.
      • And then there's the Harrier from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 who sometimes says "death from above" when ordering it to attack something.
  • Phantasy Star Online loves doing this with the final bosses of Episodes 1, 2, and 4 with each boss having an attack that rains destruction on the party. Dark Falz has "Heaven Punishment," in which he puts a slow-down effect on the party before firing skywards, raining beams of light down randomly (which are somehow dodgeable), Olga Flow has "God's Punishment" which is an instant kill if it connects, and the snake trio in Episode 4 has "Divine Punishment" which fires down a single beam that causes a shockwave that can't be avoided, but does less damage the farther away you are.
    • Player characters can do this as well with the "Divine Punishment" special, which targets up to 16 enemies in front of them and blasts them with light-elemental beams. Of course, since it's the player using it, it's nowhere near as effective... unless it's tagging enemies for experience points, or an area that's extremely allergic to holy rays of death.
  • Gears of War includes the Hammer of Dawn, the targeting laser for an Orbital Death Beam. The sequel adds the Mortar, which has a nearly vertical arc allowing the player to wreak death from above. Then you include the gunships, the Kryll, and the razor-sharp killer ''rain'' and it just goes bananas.
  • Unreal Tournament has an ion painter, a targeting laser for two flavors of Death From Above; either an Ion Cannon from a Kill Sat, or a bomber that cruises across the sky and splodes the whole place up.
  • Doctor Weil holds the world hostage by way of Kill Sat in Mega Man Zero 4. When that plan gets foiled, he decides to use the space fortress for a Colony Drop - two versions of the trope for the price of one villain.
  • In the Halo verse, the Covenant fleet plasma-bombards planets into molten glass.
    • Halo: Reach brings us the target locator, in which you can laze targets for artillery.
      • At the end of Tip of the Spear, the supercarrier Long Night of Solace delivers a DFA attack on the frigate Grafton.
    • Halo 4 introduced targetable ordinance drops. While intended to supply the user with a weapon, the drop will also insta-kill most players if they're standing under it.
  • Meteos revolves around this; every populated planet and non-planet in the universe is being bombarded by multicolored meteors that, if left by themselves, will make the planet explode.
  • An Umgah representative in Star Control 2 mentions doing this for the lulz: "It so much easier to make good jokes without boring old Ur-Quan slave laws! We wanting to pull a real good one on those stupid nosers from Draconis for long time but since they battle thralls too, we not allowed do even small pranks on them like, say... dropping planetoid in their ocean. Big waves! Big waves! Har! Har! Har!"
  • StarCraft not only features the many, many kinds of aircraft (such as Zerg Guardians) that can gun down your poor defenseless Protoss Zealots from above, but there's also the Terran nuke, which does either 400 points of damage straight up or two-thirds of the target's max health (enough to kill the Overmind itself in two shots). And in the upcoming sequel, the Protoss Mothership will possess the ability to concentrate vast amounts of damage straight down, crispy-frying anything not able to run away.
    • If you could get the resources together to build them, nothing was more awesome than tooling around with a squadron of battlecruisers (except possibly tooling around with a squadron of carriers).
      • Trump Card: On certain levels, a squadron of battleships AND a squadron of carriers.
  • The Tasen and the Komato in Iji have what is called the Alpha Strike, which involves a bunch of ships firing lasers at a planet. The Tasen use it before the game (at half power!) to kill almost all of humanity (along with most other life), and the Komato almost fire it at at full power near the end, which would have destroyed the planet.
  • In World in Conflict, half the point of the game is calling in a truly vast array of support firepower - small mortar strikes, large artillery barrages, cluster bombs, smart bombs, chemical strikes, carpet bombing, and even the infamous nuke.
  • Destruction Derby-like game Demolition Racer has this: when a car lands on top of another car, the bottom car is immediately destroyed, resulting in the Death from above bonus, which gives you substantially more points than any other attack. It's also the hardest move to perform and only a handful of tracks give you the opportunity to perform a high enough jump to crash on top of your opponents.
  • Pokémon has a number of attacks that fit this. Doom Desire sends up a wish that, after a few turns, results in an enormous blast of silvery-purple light that completely annihilates the opponent. Judgment is similar, but it requires no charge time, is much stronger, can be any type, and is only learnable by Arceus, the creator of the universe. Thunder calls forth a bolt of lightning from the heavens to strike down the foe, and Draco Meteor creates a catastrophic meteor storm. Weather Ball sends up a small ball of energy that absorbs the power of the current weather, charges up, and falls back down to hit the enemy. Solarbeam (currently) drops an enormous column of weaponized sunlight on the enemy.
  • Far, far, far too common in Armored Core arena fights against the heavies near the first rank. Most players have more trouble getting to the dude at rank 1 than beating him. The grenade happy psycho ex-con in AC2 destroyed many a PS2 controller.
    • Permaflight has been a viable tactic since the very first game; what flavor of death being rained down varies from good ol' rifles, grenades, MMM-style barrages, and even some snipers take to the air and pelt you with precision sniper rounds. This all was thought to end with Armored Core V's heavy reliance on buildings to even achieve height at all, but as it turns out, some ACs are just better at staying afloat and rain death upon the poor sods below. Except when the one below is a tank AC that is ready to rain bullets up...
  • There's a tactic called "Death From Above" in the MechWarrior games, which involves using your jump jets to levitate your 'Mech and then crashing it down on top of an enemy 'Mech. Obviously, since this will damage your 'Mech as well (and requires very precise piloting to pull off), it's viewed largely as a last-ditch desperate gambit... but Ramming Always Works.
  • Mercenaries 2 lives and breathes this trope, allowing the player to call in everything from Tomahawk missiles to Tac Nukes... for the right price.
    • So much so that Yahtzee calls the game "Airstrikes 2: Hooray for Airstrikes" and this article's Quotes page has no less than three quotes involving it.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has a partial example with the Goomba Storm technique. Bowser orders a squad of Goombas to Zerg Rush the enemy. The player must then tap at the Goombas with the stylus to make Bowser set them on fire, upon which they leap into the air, raining fiery death upon the enemy at the end.
  • In the opening sequence to BioShock 2, your character jumps off a balcony, right foot first. Did I forget to mention that an enemy's head is directly below your right foot when you do it? If you're curious, 500 pounds of force on someone's head via a diving boot tends to end a conflict.
  • Syndicate Wars has a weapon called Satellite Rain, which is a fictional version of Project Thor mentioned in the Real Life section.
  • EVE Online Fan Vid Day of Darkness II features Gallente Sentry Drones performing an orbital bombardment. Also, Admiral Tovil-Toba performs a Colony Drop with his multi-kilometer spaceship.
    • And EVE players can provide orbital fire support to their allies playing Dust 514.
  • Once you reach DEFCON 1 in Tom Clancy's EndWar, you can deploy a WMD, which for the JSF and EFEC means calling in either a kinetic strike or a frickin laser beam from either faction's Kill Sat.
  • Prototype's Alex Mercer does this repeatedly, except he does it with his own body. So it's kind of It's Raining a Man and Goomba Stomp. Not that he cannot also hijack aircraft with an unusually large supply of ammunition and use them.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: Laharl's ultimate attack,Meteor Impact is exactly what it sounds like
    • Generic Star spells, especially at mid- and high-levels, fall under this, too. In Disgaea 2, other characters had variations—Sword users, Spear users, Adell, Rozalyn...
  • The Bounty Hunter class in Star Wars: The Old Republic gets an ability called Death From Above, which involves carpeting a small area with missiles.
  • Mass Effect:
  • Air Strike mode in Split Second has you racing down the track while a helicopter rains down missiles on you. In the airport race, one Power Play drops an airplane on your opponents - and it's not just a small plane dropping from a crane. A jumbo jet crash lands on the runway.
  • In the DBZ Games (Raging Blast at least) Base Super Buu has a move that could be called this. He stands still, one hand in the air, and fires Ki blasts straight up. He's only vulnerable for a few split seconds before the ki blasts come back down, stunning you and knocking you to the ground.
  • In Fire Emblem we have the Bolting (Anima), Eclipse (Dark) and Purge (Light) magical tomes, allowing the user to attack a target far from their normal one space reach. If a boss has them as one of their weapons, expect them to use it to let you know that they're not to be trifled with. Specially if we're talking about Ursula from Blazing Sword, whose Bolting is infamously strong — to the point of "giving birth" to the "FUCKING BOLTIIIIING" minor meme.
    • This was also how the Battle of Barhera finished in Genealogy of the Holy War. Death by a "fire rain" via the Meteor spell, courtesy of the court magicians under the orders of the Magnificent Bastard who has just killed your leader. Aaaaaahhhhh!!!
  • Dune II. The Harkonnen can launch a Death Hand missile from their palace(s). It can devastate an enemy complex.
  • In the 2009 Bionic Commando Spencer has a ground pound named after this trope. It can only be executed by jumping from great heights.
  • Tales of Symphonia has the Judgment spell used by Collette, Mithos, and Kratos that rained holy light all over. In the OVA Kratos wipes out a dragon riding army of Renegades with Judgment beams from the clouds.
    • Many different spells throughout the Tales Series in general like Burn Strike, Meteor Storm, and Indignation come down from the sky. A more bizarre recurring example is the Pow Rain spell, which rains toy squeaky hammers that stun (And in some games damage) whatever they land on.
  • Ezio learns how to assassinate from above partway through Assassin's Creed.
  • Battles against enemy colonies in Sword of the Stars often culminate in orbital bombardment. Interestingly, for early and part of the midgame trans-atmospheric Assault Shuttles are more effective at dealing anti-colony damage.
  • World of Warcraft's Druid class has 2 spells that shoot a beam of energy from the sky down onto the target.
    • Warlocks came make it rain fire. Mages can make it rain ice. And they team up and do it at the same time.
  • Star Fox Assault's Multiplayer mode features a rare, but incredibly powerful weapon which invokes this Trope. It is a cylinder that, when planted in the ground, fires a multitude of colored rockets that spread out and bombard the local area. This weapon achieves the widest spread but lowest density if you plant it on the nose of an Arwing you're flying high in the air.
  • Fallout, despite the fact that it's literally taking place in a world that had been in love with nukes, has very few instances of this. Specifically coming to mind are the Kill Sat facilities you can commandeer in Fallout 3 (Broken Steel's first mission is titled "Death From Above", and Liberty Prime is destroyed this way during that quest) and Fallout: New Vegas. Vegas also has the Boomers, a formerly-Vault-dwelling tribe that ended up taking over an air force base loaded with artillery cannons. If you befriend them and complete their quests, they not only help out in the Assault on Hoover Dam with their cannon, but with a fully restored B-29 Superfortress, against a bunch of guys in leather armor with machetes.
  • In Double Dragon Neon, one of the late-game enemies, the levitating sorcerer Bao Boshi, has one of his most devastating attacks named after this trope.
  • Team Fortress 2: Having the higher ground affords a tactical advantage to pretty much all of the classes, but the Soldier in particular earns an achievement called "Death From Above" by killing enough enemies in that fashion.
  • Ace Combat. Many missions are ground attack missions, and you usually can pick how to rain death the enemy. Comes in flavors of multi-targeting missiles, Fuel-Air Explosive bombs (just picture a very small nuke explosion), anti-ship missiles, fire-and-forget bomblet dispensers, more bombs of other sizes, bomblet dropping, and rocket spam. That's not counting the death ray of a machine gun the A-10A has. Did I mention even a fighter can use many of these? It's not just multiroles or attackers anymore.
    • In Ace Combat 5, there's also the Kill Sat variant. The "Ark Bird" is a white huge manned aircraft that flies in the upper atmosphere layers, and is armed with a laser weapon that can shoot down and destroy everything in a large radius. Ace Combat 3 gets you to use one. The Kill Sat in that iteration will kill anything in one hit, unless when you're indoors (yes, you get to go indoors every once in a while).
    • Ace Combat Assault Horizon ups the ante using the ASM, or Air Strike Mode. Attackers and Multirole-type planes can perform ASM to basically rain death with their special weapons, that gets a much faster reload and hence a literal rain of bombs can occur. This can also happen in multiplayer with many players ASMing the enemy base all at once.
      • From the same game, Bomber planes does this in ASM, raining loads of dumb bombs a lot at once, or switching to lock-on capable Guided Precision Bombs. The Bomber is also available in Multiplayer, but with the limitation of only being selectable when the friendly base is below 30%, has no defenses aside from flares, and cannot attack unless a proper ASM point has been established, making it Awesome, but Impractical.
  • One of the reasons why the default missile warheads in Sword of the Stars are nuclear (the other being that conventional explosives are useless in space). And by no means the only method, assault shuttles, biowar missiles, siege drivers, and to be honest nearly all starship weapons are devastating to planets.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess introduced a combat technique called the Finishing Blow, a One-Hit Kill that involves Link jumping very high in the air and coming down to impale the foe on his sword. The same technique reappears in Skyward Sword. In both games, it is used to finish the final boss.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising:Viridi is fond of using Reset Bombs (designed reset the Earth to its natural state) as meteors to kill the humans or strike down the Aurum.
  • Brain Dead 13: In the main entryway scene, Fritz will jump from the top and land on top of Lance, killing him and making a grave. This is easily avoided.
  • This is one of Sicthe Meister's new moves in RosenkreuzStilette Freudenstachel; she stops time, leaps up, resumes time and comes crashing down on the player's head with a giant block from nowhere that shatters upon impact with the floor. We guess she must've learned a lot from Dio lately.
  • The Big Bad of Skyrim, Alduin, has a unique Dragon Shout that only he can perform. The effects are telling: the sky turns darker, a vortex of cloud appears in the sky, and meteors start falling down. This is so effective that, in a Fan Vid, 100 archers can easily kill three Elder Dragons, but all of them were annihilated by this move alone by Alduin.
    • Note that the Dragonborn can call forth a thunderstorm with similar "cloud vortex in the sky" effect. The main difference is the fact that the effect's cooldown takes ages, while Alduin can cast his version back-to-back.
  • Splinter Cell series loves this. One of Sam Fisher's signature move it to climb onto overhead pipes and such to drop on enemies or strangle them, etc.
  • At one point in Spec Ops: The Line, you have to clear out a hostile camp with mortars. Your first shot is an aerial recon camera that you use to direct your fire. The game takes a turn for the dark when you discover that your only ammunition is white phosphorous. The game then takes an even darker turn when you have to cross the now burned-out camp on foot and get an up-close look at your horrific handiwork. The game manages to go even darker when you find a mass of dead refugees, all burned beyond recognition.
  • In BioShock Infinite, the player has a nightmare vision of Manhattan under attack by the sky city of Columbia, emerging from moonlit clouds to rain righteous fire on its heathen streets. Later, the dream turns out to be a premonition of a Bad Future timeline in which a brainwashed Elizabeth assumes power over the city and uses it and her vast transdimensional powers to conquer the world (and possibly the Multiverse)
  • Rage opens with 99942 Apophis slamming into Earth.
  • One of the Bounty Hunter's class abilities in The Old Republic is called "Death From Above". It involves popping into the air on a Jet Pack (or jet boots) and raining missiles down, one after the other, on a fairly large target zone. At lower levels it's capable of single-handedly slaughtering entire packs of enemies, assuming you can fit them all in the reticule, and the impacts knock down and stun common foes to boot.
  • Wolf will teach you to fear planes and helicopters; human snipers armed with Instant Death Bullets prowl the skies with them, just looking for a wolf to shoot. If you see one coming, don't even bother barking to alert your packmates; just tuck your tail between your legs and scram, because if that shadow touches you, you're going down in one hit.
  • "Meteor Strike" is one of the most expensive spells in vanilla Clonk. It can be modified to drop liquid granite or monster eggs.
  • Monster Hunter's Bow class has the Arc ability, which shoots an arrow up into the air, which then falls back down as one of several different special attacks, such as a Rain of Arrows or an explosive blast, depending on the bow's listed Arc skill.
  • In The Adventures of Lomax, there are enemies in the first world who fly in balloons and throw bombs at you.
  • Warframe provides players with a few ways to employ this trope:
    • The Zephyr Warframe excels at this trope. One of her powers launches her high in to the air, where players can take advantage of her lowered gravity to rain rockets and gunfire on helpless enemies below. She also has the Dive Bomb power that immediately launches her straight in to the ground where she produces a damaging shockwave garunteed to knockdown almost all enemies in the game. And the damage out of this power grows the further she falls.
    • All melee weapons in the game feature drop attacks in some form but certain weapons have special moves that embody this trope. The Prova, an electrified baton, radiates electricity from the point of impact in, Heat Sword variants create a blast of fire, and the Jat Kittag, a jet hammer, creates a shockwave so strong it can launch crowds of enemies extreme distances along with easily killing them.
    • A modification players can equip on their Warframe, Heavy Impact, applies a damaging shockwave to players who fall sufficiently fast enough. But when combined with Zephyr's aforementioned Dive Bomb power they become a devastating crowd-clearer.
  • Gruntz:
    • The birds in "Trouble In The Tropicz" drop giant bird poop that kills any gruntz in a 3x3 radius.
    • The aircraft in "High On Sweetz" drop exploding packages that kill any gruntz in a 3x3 radius.
    • The spotlights in "High Rollerz" force your gruntz to sing if any of those spotlights catches on them. Since your gruntz can't sing properly, a trapdoor opens up underneath them and removes them from the game.
    • The UFOs in "Gruntz In Space" have two searchlights that instantly melt any gruntz that come into contact with it.

    Webcomics 
  • The cry "Death From Above!" occasionally appears in the webcomic Dominic Deegan. Dominic's cat, Spark, uses it as his catchphrase when dropping himself onto the head of a (usually much larger) enemy. The same series inverts the entire idea during one story arc, as a villain notes how the city he's threatening was designed to defend against aerial bombardment... then calls up an attack from beneath the earth.
  • This incident from Dresden Codak. Admittedly, it's proven later that this thing is a giant walker and not a giant flier, but it's taller than most buildings. I think that qualifies as "above," don't you?
  • Inverted in this strip of Least I Could Do, wherein young Rayne has been waiting somewhere (on the ceiling?) for his mom to wake up so he can give her a hug.
  • An odd version in The Order of the Stick, where Vaarsuvius is saved from a death knight by the severed head of a zombie dragon falling on it. Also the eternal fate of the Flumphs, although they always survive it.
  • The orbiting "Clean Sweep Platform" Wrath Of God in Dave Hopkins' Rework The Dead. The undead have taken over L.A? Call in WOG and vaporise them from orbit. Jack also by Hopkins has Angels, particularly Reckonin', doing this on a regular basis.

    Western Animation 
  • Done in grand fashion in X-Men: Evolution, the animated series on the WB. Apocalypse is running amok somewhere in Mexico, all other X-Men around have failed to dent him. Enter the new fully evolved Magneto, cape billowing behind him. He proceeds to use his powers to slam man-made satellites into Apocalypse.
  • Not strictly Death From Above, but in DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt the fiery hail is gloriously rendered as a serious, sky-lighting event.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender , Aang and the inhabitants of the Northern Air Temple defeat a vastly more powerful Fire Nation army by having complete domination of the skies. They manage to rout the whole force using no ground troops at all.
    Sokka: They may have tanks and firebending, but we have the skies. Which means we're gonna win this battle the way battles ought to be won. By bombing the crap out of 'em!
    • Occurs in the finale when The Fire Nation decides that it'll be easier to rebuild after wiping out the Earth Kingdom with their fleet of airships and the powerboost from the Comet than ruling over it.
  • Invoked word-for-word by Amanda Waller after the Justice League's Binary Fusion Generator has been fired on Cadmus Headquarters, with disastrous consequences for buildings all around.
  • Max's catchphrase, word for word, from the 1990s Sam and Max cartoon.

    Real Life 
  • Severe thunderstorms definitely qualify, because of three major threats they often contain:
    • Lightning. A "bolt from the blue" from a thunderstorm's anvil can strike up to 30 miles from the storm, and lightning from any thunderstorm is one of the biggest weather killers every year, often racking up a bigger death toll than tornadoes unless there was a particularly deadly tornado outbreak in the year. Severe thunderstorms often have even more frequent and positive charge lightning, which makes them an even deadlier lightning hazard.
    • Hail. Hailstones the size of golfballs can cause major injury especially if falling at high enough speed or blown about by high winds. Once hail reaches orange/tennis ball size, it is fatal to humans and animals trapped out in it unless they can find immediate cover for their head. Baseball size and beyond is even worse, in that it can both smash through vehicles and any glass (just as golf ball or higher can), and is big enough to kill anyone who, say, gets out of the car to check out the damage or who survived the glass fusillade in their greenhouse.
    • Tornadoes, though they technically half spin up from the ground and half come down from the storm mesocyclone. Either way, when a funnel cloud "touches down" it is visually, if not technically, one of the most frightening natural invocations of the trope.
  • Project Thor (also called either "Rods from God" or "The Sword of Damocles") would have placed bundles of power pole-sized tungsten rods into Earth orbit, with a retrorocket and guidance system attached to each one. The idea was to call down the poles at need, with the rear-mounted guidance system assuring pinpoint accuracy. Sort of a modern-day Rain of Flaming Arrows, save each hit at terminal velocity would have been in the kiloton range. Note that tungsten is the densest metal except for a few that are horrifically expensive (it's nearly twice as dense as lead), and has an incredibly high melting point. That's right, it's Colony Drop, used as a weapon.
  • This trope applies to many machines of the U.S. Air Force. A number of USAF aircraft are joked about (fairly or otherwise) just because they might fall on you. The Vietnam-era F-105 Thunderchief supposedly derives its nickname of "Thud" from this bit of humor. some more straight examples:
    • The AC-130 "Spectre" Gunship - A conversion of a C-130 cargo plane that replaces the cargo with a 25mm Gatling Gun, a 40mm automatic cannon, and a 105mm howitzer field artillery piece. All can be (and often are) equipped with explosive rounds and the Air Force is considering increasing the caliber of all weapons now that they have ways to compensate for the recoil.
    • The B-52 "Stratofortress" strategic bomber - It holds 70,000 lbs. of BOMBS. With software upgrades, each of these bombs can be as accurate as any precision bomb dropped by a strike fighter. This allows the B-52 to act as close-air-support, dropping 70,000lbs of bombs exactly where they're needed.
    • The A-10 "Thunderbolt" attack aircraft (A.K.A. the "Warthog") - Basically a flying tank capable of holding over a dozen bombs or missiles and flying in very low, but its main feature is a 30mm gatling gun that fires 65 depleted uranium slugs EVERY SECOND. The plane had to be specially designed with a low stall speed and two very powerful engines just to keep it from dropping out of the sky every time the pilot pulled the trigger. It can still do this with about half of everything blown off.
      • The main cannon of the Warthog produces more recoil than its engines do thrust. Continual fire of the cannon would eventually stop the forward momentum of the airplane entirely, save that it would run out of ammunition long before that point.
    • GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast "MOAB" bomb - The largest conventional explosive device known to man (unless you ask the Russians, who have yet to prove otherwise), this bomb has to be dropped from a cargo plane because it's too big to be dropped by a B-52.
    • The F-104 Starfighter was referred to as the "Missile with a man in it", partially due to its missile-shaped profile and partially due to its horrific safety record (due to a combination of pilot error and being an unforgiving design).
    • Also from the United States Air Force is the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP). These Airmen are trained and deployed with the Army, whether they be standard infantry, airborne, air assault, or in some cases Rangers. Their job description basically boils down to: If the enemy shoots at you, drop a 2,000 pound bomb on the enemy's head. Individual TACPs have "dropped" upwards of 200,000 lbs of bomb in the Iraq War alone. If the enemy is too close for said action, the enemy will likely get shot in the face.
  • This is the point of indirect-fire artillery. Born on Western Front of World War I and refined between the wars, by the end of the Second World War United States artillery was known for its lethally accurate barrages and rapid response time, while the Soviets massed their artillery by division and corps, unleashing thousands of guns whose combined fire could convert huge swathes of terrain into cratered wastelands. In the modern era it has only gotten worse, as a battery of modern rocket artillery with just six vehicles can wipe out a battalion of tanks or regiment of infantry in a single firing cycle.
  • This is pretty much what killed the dinosaurs (although recent research indicates that the earth was trying to become a Lethal Lava Land at the time [again] and that the asteroid was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back). The Cretaceous Extinction was a Class 4 on the Sliding Scale Of Complete Destruction. The impact was explicitly called Death From Above by a History Channel special about the geologic history of the Earth.
  • Any aerial predator that feeds on ground-dwelling prey. Special mention goes to eagles.
  • During the Cold War the Strategic Air Command (or SAC for short) was this racked up to eleven. To put things into perspective these guys where in control of the nuclear arsenal of the United States of America, our strategy in the event of a nuclear war would be to drop calculated and precise B-52 nuclear strikes to weaken the Soviet's ability to mount a counter-attack and then all of our nuclear warheads from our submarines and Military bases would be launched for an all out assault. As some experts would recount SAC was probably the most powerful Military Force ever known to Mankind, but after the Cold War it had to be shut down because a nuclear threat from the Soviet Union had more or less ceased. The motto of the bomber wing (the guys who flew the B-52s and other tactical fighter planes) was "Death from Above" which makes sense as dropping a nuclear bomb on you definitely counts.
  • Project Pluto was an early attempt by the US to design nuclear-armed drones missiles. Propelled by a Nuclear powered ramjet, the missiles would theoretically have near-unlimited range, and be able to fly around on standby mode for years before needing to be refuelled. The project was cancelled due to a combination of the missiles potentially irradiating the atmosphere wherever they went, conventional ICBM rockets being easier to build, and fears that the Soviet Union would develop a similar superweapon of their own in response.
  • Historically, Dive Bombers get some special credit for invoking this trope by diving on their targets before releasing their bombs in order to gain better accuracy (making them a very important part of a carrier's one-two punch against enemy ships, alongside Torpedo Bombers attacking from low altitude). During World War II, the Germans, Americans, and Japanese all fielded famous examples in the form of the Stuka, the Dauntless, and the Val. They were phased out at the end of the war (along with Torpedo Bombers) in favor of fighter bombers and heavily-armed ground attack planes such as the A-1 Skyraider.


Bubbly CloudsIndex in the SkyEverything Makes a Mushroom
Area of EffectAntagonist AbilitiesFlight
"Dear John" LetterMilitary and Warfare TropesDeath Notification
Dead to Begin WithSpeculative Fiction TropesDeath of Personality
Bonus Stage CollectablesImageSource/Video GamesExpansion Pack

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