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He won't be screaming long... but that's a very cold comfort.
"In this universe, there's only one absolute... everything freezes!
An Impossibly Cool Weapon
— literally. A Ray Gun
that almost always generates Instant Ice
. Sometimes causes Harmless Freezing
, sometimes not
The mechanism varies from gun to gun. Some freeze rays operate by spraying a target with a sheet of ice or snow, like an icy version of a flamethrower
. Some spray a stream of liquid, e.g. liquid nitrogen. Most commonly though, freeze rays fire blasts of coldness as Frickin' Laser Beams
to freeze the target.
Note that coldness doesn't quite work that way
; coldness isn't energy, but rather lack of it (from the point of view of our environment's parameters). As such, you can't transfer coldness; you make things cold by transferring heat away from them. But, it isn't really worth getting into heated debates
over the mechanics of the Freeze Ray
. So what if it's another example of writers giving Conservation of Energy
the cold shoulder? They've been getting along just fine over the years thanks in part to the Rule of Cool
Real world physics experiments which require extreme cold near absolute zero use lasers
to perform 'atom trapping', slowly punting the target with photons to stop it bouncing around uncontrollably. If your target isn't a blob of already-supercold gas comprising a few dozen atoms though, you'll find this technique less than useful.
Frequently toted by An Ice Person
, dressed in An Ice Suit
, in order to Kill It with Ice
Does anyone else feel cold?
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Anime and Manga
- Mr. Freeze from Batman.
- The exact size and shape of Freeze's Freeze Gun has varied wildly over the years; when it first debuted, it looked more like a teakettle than anything◊. Since then, it's been portrayed as everything from the standard futuristic-pistol design to a massive two-handed cannon connected to a backpack to a tiny, unassuming-looking device mounted on the wrist of his armor.
- Captain Cold from The Flash comics claims to be an exception. He doesn't use a freeze ray, he uses a cold ray. The difference is largely semantic though, as for all practical purposes it does the same thing a freeze ray does.
- Batman and the Outsiders #6, "Death Warmed Over!". The team battles the Cryonic Man, a villain with a backpack full of liquid nitrogen attached to wrist-mounted sprayers that he uses to freeze the Outsiders solid.
- In Empowered, Thug Boy used it against Willy Pete, an Ax-Crazy fire elemental. He got better.
- On the cover of Wonder Woman #162◊, Minister Blizzard has frozen Steve Trevor with his freeze ray gun and is about to do the same to Wonder Woman.
- Golden Age Green Lantern foe the Icicle wielded a freeze way. His son internalized the cold powers and became An Ice Person.
Film - Animated
- Gru from Despicable Me wields a freeze ray he invented, making for a comical opening scene of him casually walking down the city street freezing various people while shouting, "Freeze ray!!" Conveniently, the Harmless Freezing effect allows him to be a villain without actually killing anyone and crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
Film - Live Action
- Predator 2. Peter Keys' team had "nitrogen guns" (liquid nitrogen backpacks attached to sprayers), which they planned to use to freeze (and thereby capture) the Predator.
- There are some examples from the Godzilla series, tanks that shoot freeze rays, the Super X-3 has freeze missiles and beams, and Kiryu had a Absolute Zero cannon in his chest. They are the few weapons to actually work on Kaiju.
- Will Stronghold had to build one for a Mad Science class in Sky High.
- Suburban Commando has a freeze weapon that two hoods find and use to rob a bank. It's the source of the Memetic Mutation "I WAS FROZEN TODAY!"
- Mister Freeze (again) from Batman & Robin.
- In David Gerrold's The War Against the Chtorr series of novels, the protagonist is scouting with his commander. The commander has a flamethrower while the protagonist has a weapon that shoots liquid nitrogen. Which comes in handy as they're trudging through huge dunes of alien plant dust. The spray weapon is able to compact the dust so they can walk on it. The flamethrower, as it turns out, has a more explosive reaction to that environment.
- George Zebrowski and Charles R. Pellegrino's The Killing Star has a weapon of mass destruction that's the inverse of an atomic bomb. Instead of converting matter into energy, it does the opposite, which means sucking huge amounts of heat out of the ambient environment to form a tiny amount of matter, leaving behind a frozen hell.
- Castle Brass in Michael Moorcock's The History of the Runestaff has such a defensive weapon. Among many others.
- A handheld (or hand-mounted) weapon in Mikhail Akhmanov's Fighters of Danveys called the Freezer fires a shot which, at a specific point, creates a micro-singularity (i.e. a tiny black hole), which instantly drains the area within a several-meter radius of all heat. Yes, Space Is Cold. Oh, and there's a rapid-firing version of the weapon.
- In Cordwainer Smith Instrumentality universe, there is a staff-like weapon which drains heat from the opponent, freezing him or her on the spot and then slowly releasing the absorbed heat via radiation. In the short story The Dead Lady of Clown Town an Instrumentality soldier kills Underpeople and robots with it during a riot.
Live Action TV
- A Comedy programme on the BBC had a man come in with an invention where he froze the dragons (of Dragon's Den) after they refused to fund production of his gun which heated chicken instantly (and also did the reverse). He then nicks their cash.
- A few Super Sentai/Power Rangers weapons have had this.
- Warren's freeze ray in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which turns people into popsicles.
Guard: What are you boys doing?
Warren: Uh, we're with a tour group. The Get-the-freeze-ray tour group. Must've gotten separated.
Guard: Museum closed five hours ago.
Warren: Huh! Guess we just lost track of time, we should probably get the *freeze ray* out of here.
- Mr. Freeze's standard weapon in the 1960's Batman series. It usually took the form of a stream of freezing gas.
- Warehouse 13 has a variation in Claudia's insta-freeze snowglobe.
- Champions supplement Classic Organizations, "Red Doom" section. The NPC Cold Warrior has a power pack backpack that can condense water out of the air to create ice. He uses it to create ice bolts and entangle opponents.
- GURPS Warehouse 23. The Greys (space aliens) have a Freeze Ray device that can fire a beam of focused cold at the target, freezing it solid and coating it with ice.
- Space 1889 has freeze ray as a possible invention.
- The Freezethrower from Duke Nukem 3D.
- The Ice Beam from Metroid games. Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has a Palette Swap of the beam in the Dark Beam (which only freezes with charged shots).
- Like everything else, it's summonable in Scribblenauts. It temporarily traps things in blocks of ice. Freezing is harmless, so it's a good way to deal with hostile creatures you're not allowed to hurt.
- The shotgun in Painkiller has this as its secondary fire mode: Ideally, this can be used to first freeze an enemy, and then fire the shotgun to instantly shatter the monster, often sparing lots of time.
- Different attacks from the Ice type in Pokémon, like Ice Beam or Blizzard, have the chance of freezing your opponent solid.
- In BioShock, one of the plasmids your character can pick up is called Winter Blast, which allows you to temporarily freeze an enemy, allowing you to shatter him with another weapon, although usually you won't be able to take any items they were carrying.
- Freezing enemies can also be done via the chemical thrower when using liquid nitrogen. However, this only freezes the target in place, dealing no damage.
- In the first stage of In the Hunt, you submarine had to navigate a series of icebergs with these attached. They couldn't kill you, but they would make your character temporarily immobilized. Interestingly enough, they could do this to enemy subs too.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 has the appropriately named Cryocopters and later Cryo Legionnaires. There is also superweapon version Cryoshot/Cryoblast/Cryogeddon. These are mostly harmless, but frozen objects will shatter if hit with the slightest damage, and for air units (done by cryo legionnaires garrissoned in a multigunner turret/IFV) the result is not something to laugh at since they will immediately come crashing down when frozen.
- War Front Turning Point: an earlier example. The Soviet Union, with their can deploy air-dropped freeze bombs and "Ice Spitter" Tanks in advance of an attack force; the metaphor used in-game is "canned Siberian weather". Like in Red Alert 3, frozen units recover after a time, but are very vulnerable to damage and immobile.
- One of the bosses in Final Fantasy Tactics had a magic gun that shot blocks of ice.
- Mass Effect not only has Cryo Ammunition, but the appropriately named M-622 Avalanche heavy weapon from Mass Effect 2 is essentially a hand held ice cannon.
- In Crysis, the aliens have freeze rays, and Prophet makes a human-usable weapon out of one of them. In addition, the Ice Sphere flash-freezes the island, creating a cold wasteland.
- The Freeze Ray Gun is one of the martian weapons that can be found in Ultima Worlds of Adventure: Martian Dreams. It's powered by raw radium and immobilizes the targets.
- Crusader: No Regret has the BK-16 "Crystallizer" Molecular Inhibitor Rifle which works in a different manner from other freeze rays. The aptly-named Crystallizer instead fires a self-contained field that brings the molecular motion of any target to a screeching halt, effectively exposing them to a few minutes in Absolute Zero. The kill animation is bloodless yet still looks and sounds painful to emphasize how it is not Harmless Freezing. The corpsicle can then be shattered with additional weapons fire or an explosion.
- Purple hands out freeze-rays late in the game (starting at the appropriately themed World 5). Their function is to freeze enemies for use as a stepping stone. No side effects! Unless it's a boss, or a breakable block.
- The Medusa Gun in Will Rock is a variation: it shots a strange, blue gas that turns enemies into stone statues and break them.
- In Luigi's Mansion, this was one setting that the Poltergust 3000 was eventually upgraded to. The freeze ray setting is necessary for fighting Drippy Ghosts, and the Boss Battle with Boolossus.
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game features the Stasis Beam, whose effects are similar to the Crystallizer above. Good thing it only works on ghosts...
- More of a Freeze Rod/Bomb, but the Thermal Tazer and Thermal Shok Bomb in X-COM: Terror From The Deep both use intense cold to render their targets unconscious.
- In Riddle School 5, this is the ultimate plan of Viz. He planned to freeze all the planets using a ray that harnessed Zack's coldness. Fortunately, it backfired on him.
- The Creonites' freeze weapons in Total Annihilation: Kingdoms. They have a similar effect to the Taken for Granite petrifying spells, except that the target turns to ice rather than stone.
- Toki Tori's Freeze-o-matic turns enemies into blocks of ice. On land, they can be used as platform but underwater they float up. Either way they can block your path if you're not careful, causing a need for a reset.
- A staple of Dr. Eggman's winter-themed weapons.
- In LEGO Rock Raiders, you can arm your Rock Raiders with freezer beams to defend your base. They don't work very well against rock or ice monsters (the laser beam works much better), but they're devastating to lava monsters.
- The puzzle game Dr. Brain: IQ Adventure had a freeze blaster you could use to freeze enemies in place temporarily.
- Simon of Rogue Galaxy has flamethrowers as his Weapon of Choice, but some of his guns shoot ice instead.
- The Ice elemental damage in BLOODCRUSHER II slows enemies and can turn them into a Human Popsicle
- Fracture features one, the appropriately named ALM-37 Deep Freeze.
- Spelunky has a Freeze Ray. While not as powerful or long ranged as many weapons, once frozen an opponent can be shattered for a OHKO (including the Shopkeeper). Also, anyone frozen in midair will be shattered by falling.
- Blizzard Buffalo from Mega Man X3 uses a huge one as his Desperation Attack. This doesn't damage X, but will freeze him in place, allowing Buffalo to ram him and shatter the ice for extra damage.
- In Kirby Squeak Squad, the leader of the titular gang, Daroach, has a fancy cane that serves as one of these.
- Warframe The Glaxion, a freeze ray released in update 14.5. It turns enemies into ice statues when killed, which easily shatter upon impact from repeat attacks and other weapons.
- Gunnerkrigg Court. Just because if you release laser cows (robots), it's a good idea to equip them with something fire-suppressing as well.
- Adventurers!: Tesla, the party's gun-wielder, gets a freeze gun at one point (she refers to being in the party as "the Gun-of-the-month Club"). It shoots flames. Karn doesn't see what the problem is.
- In Our Little Adventure, Emily has a magic spell called 'Frozen Ray' which does just this. It's an ice version of Angelika's 'scorching ray'.
- Dr. Horrible has a "freeze ray", although of course his freeze ray stopped time; it was Johnny Snow who had the "ice beam."
- Mr. Freeze from Batman (restating it because Mr. Freeze as we currently know him was created for Batman: The Animated Series)
- Reappears in Batman Beyond. Once, Bruce himself uses an old freeze gun, which he keeps as a memento, to against Inque. The second time, Inque is Genre Savvy enough to destroy the gun first. In another episode, Derek Powers clones Freeze and implants the villain's memories into the clone. When Freeze has a relapse of his condition, he dons an upgraded suit, which has built-in freeze rays.
- Subverted in The Batman. Here, Mr. Freeze is (per his description) "a walking cryonic miracle" whose powers allow him to literally shoot freeze-rays from his hands.
- Then he appears again in Young Justice where the pilot featured 4 ice themed villains aside from Mr. Freeze, namely Killer Frost, Icicle Jr. and Captain Cold. Like Mr. Freeze, Captain Cold has a freeze ray gun. Killer Frost doesn't have a freeze ray gun, but generates a freeze ray through her hands.
- Robot Chicken had a sketch parodying a similar situation to the Young Justice example above. Several different cold-themed villains with freeze-rays show up, one after another, to steal the same priceless giant gem and they all start bickering over who has a better thematic claim to it. Eventually, yet another villain destroys a wall with his freeze-ray in order to burst in, and the combined structural damage they've all done making their entrances collapses the entire building on top of them.
- There's a freeze weapon of some sort in Hanna-Barbera show Speed Buggy, prompting Speedy to complain, "who put the anti-freeze in my carburetor?" I'm pretty sure there's an episode to go along with it.
- Variation: The Arborians' ice arrows in Filmation's Flash Gordon.
- Space Ghost. The title character fires one from his Power Bands in "Lokar - King of the Evil Locusts" against Lokar's metal-eating locusts.
- The physical impossibility of such a device is mentioned in an episode of ChalkZone, but Rudy draws one up anyways, reasoning that imagination overrides logic in a realm composed of animated chalk drawings.
- Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes has one. Among its uses: freezing Jimmy to keep him around.
- Blitzwing can do this in his Icy and Random personalities.
- The 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Return of The Fly" has Bebop and Rocksteady equipped with freeze guns.
- The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Baby-Sitter Jitters" features Robotnik's "Reversible Melt-O/Freeze-O Ray", pairing this trope with its inverse. However, the two modes aren't used in tandem to any significant effect: early on, Robotnik is hit by the "Freeze-O" mode and trapped in a block of ice, while in the climax the "Melt-O" mode makes a hole in a thick metal door that's trapping Sonic and Tails.
- Filmation's Ghostbusters had a gizmo called the Fright Freezer. Sometimes it was a handheld gun, while at other times it was mounted on the Ghostbuggy.
- Young Samson & Goliath episode "The Colossal Coral Creature''. The villain Darvo uses a freeze ray to solidify a cloud in an attempt to destroy a plane that Samson and Goliath are riding on.
- "The Pirate Plot". The pirates use a freeze ray to encase in ice several armed officers of the ship they're attacking.
- "Skon of Space''. The title villain uses a "cold ray" to freeze Birdman solid.
- Using directed energy to lower temperatures may sound absurd, but on a molecular scale, cold is just slowness. Lasers have demonstrated an ability to produce cold, given very, VERY specific circumstances. See: Atom Trapping.
- Specifically, a photon is more likely to be absorbed by an atom if it's just the right wavelength. If you make the laser just a bit redder, it will be blueshifted from the point of view of the atoms moving towards it, and hit them, slowing them down.
- Not exactly an energy ray, but if you hold a can of compressed air upside down, the can sprays a jet of very cold liquid. It's fun as a novelty, but that's about it.
- Lasers can super-cool plasma. Find a way to launch the plasma, and you've got this.