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An Attack Animal is useful, but sometimes what nature provides is lacking. So you create your own attack animal, genetically engineering existing organisms or creating your own. Maybe add some cybernetics just to make it even stronger. Needless to say, this often backfires, proving that Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke. Maybe this new organism would rather just be left alone, and refuses to actually fight. Maybe it goes feral and becomes a dangerous monster roaming the wilderness. Maybe it actually works perfectly, but those in charge of it are far from ethical.

A sub-trope of Living Weapon and Creating Life. For the people who make these, see Maker of Monsters.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: This is the true nature of the Evas; they're giant mutated versions of the monsters they try to kill, all wrapped up in armor to make them look like giant robots. For bonus points, the armor is a Restraining Bolt because they are too good a killbeast.
  • Pokémon: Mewtwo's origin. He was cloned from the DNA of the mythical and nigh-all-powerful Pokemon Mew by scientists for Giovanni, the boss of Team Rocket. Right after his birth Cloning Blues sets in, but Giovanni did manage to trick him for a while into serving as his attack animal.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Corrupt Corporate Executive Tarukane breeds a giant beast intended for use by the military from several of Earth's top predators. He asks Younger Toguro to demonstrate how tough he actually is by fighting it. (He was actually expecting Toguro to chicken out, since it was much bigger than him, which would've given Tarukane an excuse to pay Toguro less for his services.) Toguro says he'd rather not because he has a soft spot for animals, but he kills it easily.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: One crossover with Alien has the head of a weapons manufacturing company think it's a good idea to hybridize the xenomorphs with Batman's Rogues Gallery (The Joker, Poison Ivy, etc.), with some kind of genetic manipulation so they won't attack her, and Take Over the World. This backfires spectacularly when the truly gigantic alien/Killer Croc hybrid runs loose, having no reservations about killing her.
  • O.M.A.C.: In issue #4, a court of justice located on top of Mount Everest comes under attack from an enormous spider-like "Avenger". It was genetically engineered by the criminal currently being held there; in the event of his capture, the beast is meant to track him down and self-destruct at the place of his imprisonment, killing everyone else in the vicinity.
  • Venom: Donny Cates' Venom reveals that the symbiotes were created by the dark god Knull to facilitate his conquest and destruction of the cosmos.
  • Watchmen: The giant squid monster, created by Ozymandias to devastate New York City. Curiously, its purpose is not to wage war but end it, by unifying all of humanity against the perceived common threat of psychic squid aliens.

    Films — Animation 
  • Lilo & Stitch: While cuter than most and he eventually has a Heel–Face Turn, Experiment 626, aka Stitch, was created as an illegal genetic experiment to be a virtually indestructible and super-strong Weapon of Mass Destruction. Many of the previous experiments are revealed to be designed with this trope in mind.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien:
    • An ongoing plot point throughout the entire Alien franchise is people (either a Mega-Corp like Weyland-Yutani, or Colonial Marines black-ops, or religious fanatics, to give some examples) trying to harness the Xenomorphs to turn them into bio-weapons. And never, ever learning that those things are a murderous blight upon any inhabited location that is unlucky enough to get them, no matter how many security measures are allegedly in place, and can never be controlled by anyone.
    • In Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, it's revealed that the Engineers created a mutagenic black goo called Chemical A0-3959X.91 — 15, which was designed to gestate predatory monsters called Neomorphs to eradicate undesirable species. It's revealed in Covenant that David used the Chemical A0-3959X.91 – 15 to hybridize various Neomorph specimens and created the Xenomorphs seen in Alien, with the intent of using them to wipe out humanity.
  • Bats: It's eventually revealed that the U.S. government asked Dr. McCabe to create omnivorous, intelligent and murderously vicious bats as a weapon for an unspecified purpose. The doctor eagerly took the task just to see if it could be done.
  • The Blob (1988): The Blob in this version is revealed to be the accidental result of an American military experiment conducted on a space satellite. Although the military scientists responsible didn't expect it, they're very pleased with the result and talk about deploying it against the Soviets. (In the original, it's just an alien who visits Earth to find food.)
  • The Deadly Spawn: The wormlike creatures are revealed in Word of God to be this for an invading alien race, Tyranid-style.
  • Gamera: During the Heisei era, Gamera and the Gyaos had this origin as opposing Atlantean bioweapons. Notably, Gamera is a rare benevolent example as he was created to destroy the Gyaos after they Turned Against Their Masters and is willing to protect humanity from other threats as well.
  • Godzilla (1994), which never actually aired, would have given Godzilla a similar origin to the abovementioned Gamera, where he would have been created by an ancient civilization from dinosaur DNA to combat hostile aliens.
  • Jurassic Park: This trope comes into play as the corporate minds behind the in-universe Jurassic Park franchise decide that, since they can and have created numerous complex organisms more or less from scratch, there might be more money to be made from that in the arms industry than in vacation parks.
    • Jurassic World: The Indominus rex , the park's would-be star attraction, is revealed to have been created from the DNA of several dinosaurs — including Tyrannosaurus and raptors — as a living weapon capable of immense destruction. As it turns out, creating a highly intelligent, tyrannosaur-sized killing machine and then emotionally neglecting it into psychopathy does not make for a very easily controlled monster...
    • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: The Indoraptor is a second take on the I. rex with most of the original flaws ironed out. It's smaller, although still quite large, and in order to be controllable it's conditioned to attack living creatures targeted by a sniper rifle's laser sight. It's still a barely controlled, viciously dangerous beast, although this is stated to be due to it still being a flawed prototype — its makers' intended next step is to create a new, improved batch based on the knowledge gained from their first try and to have Blue the raptor raise them, in order to create more mentally stable and easily controlled war monsters.
  • Mimic: The Judas Breed — large, predatory insects something like a termite and something like a mantis — were originally designed as this against cockroaches, and were meant to be sterile to keep them from becoming an issue themselves. But then they managed to reproduce, evolve, and start hunting people...
  • In Pacific Rim, it's revealed that the Kaiju are actually manufactured (a scene shows one being knitted into existance by robotic arms) by aliens from another dimension to wipe out humanity as part of their plot to claim the Earth.
  • Piranha: The original film by Roger Corman (and its Showtime remake) had this as the reason the titular piranha exist: they were genetically engineered as a riverine denial weapon by the U.S. Government to be unleashed in Vietnam (or any area invaded by the Russians in the remake), but the project was dismantled when the wars ended. The remake made in The New '10s changes this to prehistoric piranha that survived to the present day.
  • The Relic: The Kothoga is actually this: the tribe uses the plants to mutate someone into the Kothoga, then cut them off from the plant they now need to survive so that will have to kill their enemies to get the hormones from their brains.
  • Syfy Channel Original Movie: This is the usual origin of many monsters.
    • Boa vs. Python plays with this by having two super-snakes developed, an "evil" python specifically bred for big game hunting and a "good" boa which responds to human commands. When the python goes rogue, the boa has to fight it.
    • Sharktopus was developed as a weapon by the U.S. government, but they also made it psychotic so when its Restraining Bolt malfunctions, it starts actively hunting humans, even going inland in search of prey.
    • Python: The snake was designed to be a weapon. However, because the guys who designed it are idiots, it was transported with a minimal security complement, so it kills the crew and starts terrorizing a small town.
  • In Tokyo Gore Police, the Engineers are sort of this, given their Lovecraftian Superpower of being able to sprout fleshy weapons from the various areas where their various bits are severed. Though, the first of the key-tumors that give them their abilities are technically of supernatural origin, they seem to be biologically copied and grown by the film's villain.

    Literature 
  • The Hunger Games: During the rebellion which led to the creation of the titular Games, the Capitol bred a number of genetically engineered animals called muttations (commonly abbreviated to mutts) which were used as living weapons against the districts. From the Tenth Hunger Games onwards, they became a regular feature in the arena, with the Gamemakers using them either to kill the tributes directly or to drive the tributes together and force them to fight each other. Examples of mutts seen in the Games include poisonous snakes which are programmed to attack anyone whose scent is unfamiliar, carnivorous squirrels which attack in packs and werewolf-like creatures which have been created to resemble fallen tributes.
  • Into the Looking Glass: The space spiders (Organism 8198) were created as a weapon against the Dreen. Normally they eat as little as they can live on (eating anything but Dreen flesh actually causes them pain), but if they do have Dreen to eat, suddenly they become Explosive Breeder, Friendly Fireproof land piranhas.
  • In Known Space, the laws of kzinti internal warfare restrict all combatants to muscle-powered weaponry in order to prevent nuclear holocaust. In Destiny's Forge, the Tzaatz clan attacks the ruling clan using bioengineered "rapsari" (battle-beasts are legal), armed with things like implanted Razor Floss or modified legs for carrying and operating catapults. Of course, there's an obscure law specifically banning rapsari, but unfortunately the Tzaatz's victory was too complete (everyone thought) to drop the hammer on them without creating a colossal power vacuum.
  • Leviathan: The Allied forces are made entirely made out of these, counting things like airships created from very heavily modified whales, house-sized war bears, ship-sinking krakens and behemoths, and the amphibious flesh-eating kappa. There's even mention of fabricated beasts derived from dinosaurs. Some are created for more mundane activities than open combat, however, such as elephant and mammoth derivatives used as beasts of burden.
  • The Silmarillion: The dragons were bred by Morgoth to serve as living engines of war, a role they excelled at.
  • Star Wars Legends: Sithspawn is a term denoting the various monstrous creatures created by the Sith to serve as living weapons. Notable examples include Naga Sadow's Sith Wyrm, mutated from a space slug to serve as a guardian for his temple-lair; the immense Leviathans meant to act as living siege engines; Exar Kun's two-headed battle hydra; armored and force-sensitive terentateks bred to hunt Jedi; Palpatine's strain of chrysalid rancors; and Darth Krayt soul-eating Sea Leviathan released as a terror weapon against the Mon Calamari. These creatures tend to be killed off en masse in their masters' wars when they aren't one-off creations to begin with, but several strains outlive the conflicts they were bred for — several Leviathans were unearthed over the centuries, and terentateks and battle hydras endured in the wild until well into modern times.
  • Super Minion: The protagonist is an escaped bioweapon capable of reshaping itself at will.
  • Twig: These is the specialty of the Academy of Evil. The Empire that the Academy works for is constantly demanding newer and more exciting monsters for use in its wars of conquest, and over the years the Academy has developed all kinds of methods for making new Living Weapons, from Mix-and-Match Critters to mutagenic cocktails to genetic engineering.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Keepers used by the Drakh were developed and bred with the sole purpose of bonding with a target host's nervous system and controlling their actions as directed by the Keeper's Drakh master, not directly but through sending intense pain signals through the host's body if they didn't comply.
    • The Vorlons introduced telepathic genes into various younger sentient races in an effort to developed weaponized beings that could jam Shadow vessels among other things. Lyta, who was a culmination of that long project, was described as "a weapon of mass destruction."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 4 introduces the Initiative, a secret government group studying demons for their potential use as weapons. They have created a Mix And Match Critter out of assorted demon parts; naturally, as soon as it is activated it turns on its creator and kills her, becoming the Big Bad of the season.
  • Farscape: The Peacekeepers endeavored to breed a variation of the sentient Leviathans that had weapons, with Moya's son Talyn being the prototype. (It was more than simply building a Living Ship per se, as it was at least implied that these normally gentle giants were naturally occurring, with Talyn's weapons being the result of some sort of genetic tampering from when the Peacekeepers commandeered his mother Moya.)
  • Stargate Atlantis: When the mutated wraith Michael starts pursuing his own agenda and becomes an Evilutionary Biologist, his first experiments to create an Ultimate Lifeform, namely by feeding humans to the parasitic Iratus bugs, ends up creating creatures closer to the bugs than to Wraith (who are themselves an intermediate state between humans and Iratus bugs). They look like large, black humanoids with exoskeletons and obey his commands, but he later replaces them with Hybrids, who are closer to human.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In 3.5E, the Spawn of Tiamat were created by the evil dragon goddess in order to tip the Dragonfall War in her favor. They are monstrous humanoids and magical beasts that have a clear relation to chromatic dragons. They do attack one another, but the beastial spawn are known to be more tractable to the humanoid spawn than other creatures. They have no trouble listening to Tiamat herself, either, which makes them a successful example of this trope.
    • In 5E, behirs — powerful, many-legged serpents who can breathe lightning — were created by the storm giants to serve as living weapons in the giants' war against the dragons. The behirs have long since outlived the war they were bred for and the empire that made them, fleeing into the wild to become widespread badland predators. They retain a seething hatred of dragons, however, and will attack any dragon that enters their territory.
    • Nentir Vale: The kruthiks, a type of reptile-insectoid hybrid monsters that can spit acid and burrow through stone, were created by the tiefling empire of Bael Turath to be living siege engines. They proved impossible to control, however, and quickly escaped into the wilderness when Bael Turath fell.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Phyrexia created hordes of these during the fight for Mirrodin, particularly the green-aligned part; Phyrexia's war wasn't just with the Mirran people, it was with the Mirran ecosystem. Part of the reason the infested Tangle is so dangerous is that now that the war has mostly stopped with Phyrexia's overwhelming dominance of the plane, all those living weapons have simply been left around to fight each other and see which one is best.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The alghollthus created numerous types of monsters to serve as soldiers, war beasts and guardians, including the chuuls and the immense deep walkers. While many still serve their creators, others were turned loose or escaped into the wild as they outlived their purposes and the alghollthu empire declined, becoming enduring threats through the physical power and active sadism that their creators bred into them.
    • Alaznist created the spider-like shriezyx to be living weapons and guardian monsters, and they lingered long after Thassilon's fall in the ruins of her empire, remaining a constant threat to others into the present day.
  • Shadowrun: Paranormal Animals of North America describes two instances of this:
    • Fideals are creatures resembling a cross between a jellyfish and an amoeba, and often infest shallow waters and try to eat anything that touches them. They're generally believed to have been deliberately designed as bioweapons of some sort and then released into the wild, although nobody agrees on precisely who created them.
    • Sirens, creatures resembling small Ptero Soarers and possessing hypnotic calls, are believed to have been artificially created as guard animals from unknown reptilian source animals. They weren't suitable for these purposes due to their highly aggressive natures, however, and now live as aggressive predators in wildernesses worldwide.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Some Dark Eldar Haemonculi specialize in this. Their creations, known as Grotesques, are hulking multilimbed Frankensteinian horrors able to go toe-to-toe against Tyranid melee organisms like Carnifexes, which happen to be something like Xenomorphs on steroids that can flip over tanks, and win.
    • The Tyranids themselves are a Horde of Alien Locusts where every individual locust is one of these. New Tyranid weapon-beast breeds are unleashed all the time in pursuit of more food for the Hive Mind, often using DNA assimilated from the last planet's biosphere while it was eaten.
    • The Orks are theorized to be an out of control bioweapon left behind by the Old Ones from the War in Heaven. They're a particularly impressive example, given that they've been engineered to bring their own ecosystem with them and have a surprising amount of instinctive technological know-wots coded into their genes.

    Video Games 
  • In AdventureQuest, the Drakels bred a couple types of creatures they call warbeasts. These were originally harmless herbivores that went extinct thousands of years ago, but the Drakels armored them and gave them energy weapon attacks.
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: As revealed in the various journals, virtually all creatures on the arks were created to both challenge the humans living on them to make them stronger as well as serve as war mounts in the fight to take back the element poisoned earth. The two that exemplify this the best are the wyverns and mantises of the Scorched Earth ark, they were created directly by the ark's overseer to destroy large permanent settlements and if you manage to domesticate them, they are some of the most deadly tames in the expansion.
  • In Civilization: Beyond Earth, factions following Harmony-related affinities can use genetic engineering to create mutated versions of the alien planet's native fauna, which might be used in tandem with human (or semi-human) troops.
  • ClayFighter: Of Dr. Kiln's creations that usually turn against him, the only monster that stays loyal to him is Lockjaw Pooch, once Dr. Kiln's pet bull terrier that transformed into a killbeast thanks to the meteorite goop and stays as his bodyguard. Lockjaw Pooch appears in Sculptor's Cut as a selectable character, but he made an Early-Bird Cameo in the past game, 63 1/3 but reported as "dead".
  • Fallout: If a given species of monster isn't a Nuclear Nasty, it's almost always some kind of bioweapon engineered by the pre-War government that escaped and went feral after the nuclear apocalypse. Most of them created through the Forced Evolutionary Virus.
    • Super Mutants were designed to survive the wastelands better than humans in the event of a nuclear apocalypse. Humans exposed to the FEV transform into giant hulking brutes, almost always at the expense of their higher functions of intelligence, though focusing on staying educated during the process can avoid this. They're also extremely violent, profoundly antisocial to anything besides Super Mutants, and ultimately sterile.
    • Chimeras are a writhing amalgamation of various human body parts with no forms of higher functions. They're what humans turn into when a super mutant transformation fails or goes wrong.
    • The deathchlaws were created from an unknown mixture of things (mostly the Jackson's Chameleon) to serve as ideal shock troops. The result was a species of ten-foot tall horned monsters capable of fighting multiple armed humans at once and have good odds of killing them all and with hide thick enough to shrug off small arms fire. Once they escaped and started breeding in the wild, this easily made them one of the most dangerous and powerful creatures in the wastelands.
    • The cazadores (wasp-like insects with the wingspan of a large bird of prey) and night stalkers (coyotes with the heads and tails of rattlesnakes) were both artificially created by Dr. Borous, one of the researchers at the Big MT scientific facility, largely for the hell of it. They were supposed to be sterile, but naturally enough they weren't and spread like wildfire.
    • In Fallout 3, it's revealed that the mole rats were created as a subtler take on this trope. The pre-War U.S. government engineered them to be the ultimate invasive species, with their extremely fast breeding, subterranean habits, indiscriminate diets and aggressive natures all being tailored to allow them to spread quickly and be extremely difficult to eradicate. The idea was to introduce them in Chinese territory to sabotage their war efforts and kill them off with a secret chemical kill switch once U.S. troops moved in. Of course, once the bombs fell and this knowledge was lost, their nature as a species tailored to go invasive with ease meant they thrived and quickly spread everywhere.
    • Floaters are giant worm-like creatures that inhabit the southwest wastes. They're the result of the U.S. Government exposing flatworms to FEV.
    • The Wanamingos/"Aliens" that are encountered in California in Fallout 2 are actually this, despite their Starfish Alien appearance and the wasteland rumours surrounding them. Word of God says that they have a built-in "genetic clock" and they're effectively a Dying Race.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, tons of biomechanic duplicates of Gran Pulse animals and beasts have been produced and are deployed against the heroes by the Cocoon.
  • Iconoclasts reveals that the Starworm is one of these once its head opens up to reveal that a birdman was piloting it all along.
  • Pokémon:
    • Mewtwo, an artificially-created Pokémon made from the DNA of Mew (the common ancestor to all Pokémon, and gifted with powerful psychic abilities) by a group of scientists funded by Team Rocket to create the ultimate battle Pokémon. It naturally broke loose and fled into the wild. Unlike its anime version, in the video games Mewtwo typically isolates itself in hard to reach areas, as it seeks to be left alone.
    • Genesect was created by Team Plasma as a biologically and cybernetically enhanced version of an ancient predator Pokémon. It was given a cannon on its back, but production was shut down by N due to finding it unnatural before it could reach its true potential.
    • In order to combat Ultra Beasts if they invade Alola, the Aether Foundation commissioned the creation of three Pokémon known as Type: Full. Inspired by the Mythical Pokémon, Arceus, they were created using the genetic material of Pokémon of all types as well as a piece of tech known as the RKS system, which allows Type: Full to freely change its type to be as flexible in battle as possible. However, all three Type: Full reacted badly to the RKS system and went berserk. With the project deemed a failure, they were then fitted with heavy helmets to control them, cryogenically frozen and their names were changed to Type: Null.
  • In Resident Evil, anything that isn't a zombie is almost certainly one of these. Umbrella specializes in using its viruses to manufacture all manner of bio-organic weapons, from the reptilian Hunters to the highly-intelligent Implacable Man Nemesis. Once the company is brought down for its role in several outbreaks, their bio-organic weapons begin appearing on the black market and ending up in the hands of terrorist groups.
  • Star Fox Adventures: Drakon is a dinosaur mutated into a Draconic Humanoid killing machine by General Scales.
  • The Telethia from Xenoblade Chronicles are the natural evolution of the High Entia. The High Entia are born with a Telethia gene that lays dormant for most of their life. When they reach the end of their life cycle, or if a pure-blooded High Entia is exposed to high-energy Ether, they transform into a Telethia. The Telethia were specifically designed by Zanza to be killing machines meant to exterminate all life on Bionis.

    Webcomics 
  • Battle Kreaturez: The titular Mons are grown in laboratories rather than captured.
  • The Greening Wars has "Hunter-Seekers", six-limbed Immune to Bullets guard-dog monsters the Greening made. From violent criminals, apparently.
  • Gurral the Smasher: The titular character was bioengineered to be a gladiator by a hedonistic and greedy alien species called the Arena Lords, as were several other supporting characters. Those who didn't past muster — Gurral included — were sent to mine a rare mineral called Impervium, but a quirk of Gurral's bioengineering caused the Impervium dust to mutate him, turning him into a bulky heavily-armored fifty-meter tall behemoth.

    Western Animation 

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