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Doom Troops

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Surrender now, and we'll kill you painlessly.

"What the enemy cannot see, they cannot fight. What they can see, they will soon learn to fear..."

Generally speaking, Mooks are not meant to be truly scary. Their numbers may seem fierce, and they may come in several different varieties, but mooks are usually there to serve as disposable enemies to be defeated by the heroes.

So you can tell just by looking that the Doom Troops are no ordinary Mooks. Every aspect of them is designed for maximum intimidation; their boots strike the ground with a despair-inducing tromp and their loud breathing sends chills up the enemy's spines. Their uniforms are black, possibly emblazoned with skulls, and almost always have a mask that makes them seem less human. Enemy soldiers would rather surrender than fight them, but they are trained to show no mercy. Every action they take is meant to induce Mook Horror Show in the Red Shirt Army and civilian populace.

In short, scary mooks, elite or otherwise. Expect a lot of Putting on the Reich.

Has nothing to do with the Web Comic Troops of Doom, the SNES game Doom Troopers, Doom Tropes or the Legion of Doom.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Protect Gear troopers from Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. They're based on SS troops, wearing full suits of low-level Powered Armor with German-style helmets and full-coverage face masks with glowing red eyes. Clearly the soldiers of a peaceful regime.
  • Hellsing:
    • The Catholic Church still secretly fields Papal Knights for open warfare: they wear armour and face-covering robes complete with conical hats of the kind traditionally worn during certain Catholic festivals — most commonly the burning of heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. This is clothing that citizens of the United States have come to associate with the Ku Klux Klan.
    • There's also the main villains, a group called Millennium. Even the lowliest mooks of that army are baby-eating Nazi troops turned into artificial vampires.
  • ANBU in Naruto are supposed to be this. They are masked, nameless elites who carry out assassination missions and who hunt down rogue ninjas and dispose of their bodies to keep village secrets. The silliness of their masks and being the repeated victims of The Worf Effect somewhat ruins the effect, however. They're more of an example of Early-Installment Weirdness and don't really serve this trope after the arc that introduces them.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Tiberium Wars presents the Black Hand as these; when a GDI infantry squad encounters a squad, the corporal in command completely flips out in terror at the sight and the entire squad locks up in fear. Later on, when a Black hand unit ambushes a GDI convoy, the mere sight of the Hands is enough to terrify a GDI officer into paralysis. The reputation is well-deserved. Between the weapons the Black Hand use and the ridiculously strong armor they wear, the fact that the corporal survived the engagement at all and managed to kill one of the Hand in single combat is seen as impressive.
  • The 4Chan 40k parody army "Scary Marines".
  • In Queen of Shadows, the Gani tribe (Crab Khan) are primarily used as guards to frighten human slaves out of trying to escape, and as shock troops to send specific messages of fear at the enemy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • While Imperial Stormtroopers are generally considered to be just Mooks, in-universe they're greatly feared. In fact, the reason they're armored in white is to conjure up mental images of bleached bones. It's the black uniformed Imperial Army soldiers in bell-shaped open-face helmets that are the standard poor bloody infantry, and we see stormtroopers so much because we see Vader so much.
    • Their predecessors, the Separatist battle droids, were made in the likeness of alien skeletons. However, their stupidity and incompetence made them fail as Doom Troops utterly and completely (it didn't help that technical limitations resulted in the aliens in question being shaped differently enough from the droids that it wasn't obvious from the films that the droids were supposed to look like their skeletons). In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the common "Roger-Roger" battle droids are, in fact, comic relief.
    • Then they introduced the B2 super battle droids, which are much bulkier and more menacing than the B1's. Namely, their blasters are mounted on a Super Wrist-Gadget and they can march and shoot with their right hands outstretched, which gives them the appearance of zombies and Nazi troops giving a Sieg Heil salute. The red eyes and scowling faceplate don't help either.
    • There's also the Droidekas, three-legged insectoid-looking droids dual-wielding blaster cannons that can curl up into a ball for fast travel and deploy personal shields capable of stopping conventional blaster fire. In their first appearance, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan have to make a retreat as soon as they show up, as even deflecting their own blaster fire back at them won't work.
    • Revenge of the Sith introduces the anti-Jedi MagnaGuards, used as Dooku and Grievous' personal bodyguards and featuring a more humanoid skeletal appearance and face that invokes Gas Mask Mook imagery. For extra intimidation factor, they have a backup processor inside their body, allowing them to keep fighting even if their head is cut off.
    • In Rogue One the Imperial Death Troopers carry this role with their sleek jet black armor, green headlights and spec-ops like appearance. Even their name spells death.
  • The movie SS Doomtrooper (which directly inspired the Ubersoldier videogame) had a Super-Soldier prototype meant to be one of these. He'd have preferred to stay dead and breaks out.
  • Hydra Soldiers in Captain America: The First Avenger are clearly meant to evoke this trope. Huge, heavily armored, scary masks and high-tech weaponry.
  • The German zombie troops in gas masks in the trench warfare sequence of Sucker Punch.
  • Superman's army in Batman's horrific Bad Future nightmare from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Black-clad, World War 2 German-like helmets, heavily armed, wearing gas masks and supported by Parademons.
  • The Sardaukar in both cinematic incarnations of Dune are presented in this manner. In the 1984 film, they wear what seems to be heavy hazmat suits with face-concealing masks; like almost everything in that movie, it's an odd mix of impressive and silly. In the 2021 film, while their armours aren't really remarkable, they look like Viking berserkers while acting like methodical killing machines; the Harkonnen troops actually play the trope straighter in uniform terms (face-concealing helmets and black leather trenchcoats), despite being much less impressive on the battlefield. Only Fremen warriors are a match to them.
    • For completion's sake, Frank Herbert's Dune has them wear comparatively no-nonsense military uniforms, which are however topped with flamboyant Renaissance-era headgear (it's called "the funny hats version" for a reason). Interestingly, it kind of works: the Sardaukar of the miniseries do project dread, in a no-need-to-look-scary-to-be-scary kind of way.
    • In Dune: Part Two, the Harkonnen soldiers who are equipped for the desert have intimidating black armors, but otherwise they don't fare that well against the Fremen.


  • In the short story The Dragons Of Summer Gulch by Robert Reed, the protagonist is a veteran of a doom squadron from an old war. The troops were fitted with scary, fantastically expensive armor crafted with Kevlar and fossilized dragon bones, making it effectively immune to bullets. The squadron would simply pick up a big scary guns and walk toward enemy positions to scare them off before slaughtering anyone dumb enough to not run away. However, the protagonist said that by the end of the war, those who hadn't been gibbed by cannon fire, lucky shots, or hit with dragonbuster ammo were paranoid, broken men.
  • The Elenium: Otha attempts to Invoke this by combining the most fearsome aspects of warriors he'd heard about secondhand into a palace guard of skeleton warriors in spiked armour. However, he's completely ignorant of actual warfare, so their armour is completely impractical, their war cries are just random screaming, and their only combat ability is "swing sword at anything that approaches them."
  • The Wheel of Time: The Trollocs are bogeymen to much of the world because of their unnatural mishmash of human and animal features, their love of slaughter, and their taste for human flesh. However, despite their size and strength, they rely on fear and numbers; a trained, level-headed human can usually win in a fight.

    Live Action TV 
  • Blake's 7. The black-clad Gas Mask Mooks of the Terran Federation are introduced massacring a meeting of rebels, and conduct several more massacres over the course of the series. You won't see those gas masks come off except when a pair of mooks discuss politics or the local situation before being drawn into the action.
  • Kamen Rider: The Destron Combatmen of Kamen Rider V3 wear full-face masks and bodysuits that give them the appearance of skeletons and are played much more seriously than the Shocker Combatmen before them.
  • Squid Game: The Pink Soldiers who enforce the rules of the titular Deadly Game are creepy Malevolent Masked Men with Psycho Pink suits, and are greatly feared by the players. Most of them do not speak to the players and coldly execute losers, never speaking or showing emotion, and only a few characters are shown barely able to fight back against them, making them a major source of fear both in and out of universe.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 gives us two examples, the Death Korps of Krieg for The Imperium and all the Space Marine chapters (both good and evil; it's explicitly stated that they eschew camouflage in favor of scariness).
    • Some sub-units take this even further: the Night Lords Legion of Space Marines have this as their hat, going into battle covered in the remains of their enemies, whilst the "Destroyer" units of regular Space Marine Legions were black armored chemical and biological weapon specialists. The reason they wore black? Because their weapons corroded the paint off their armor. Not nice.
    • The new Primaris Marine elite unit, the Reivers, amplify the intimidation factor of regular Marines. The faceplates of their helmets are crafted to resemble skulls and have vox amplifiers built in that turn the Reivers' battle-cries into ear-shattering howls, and the Reivers themselves use grav-chutes and Grappling Hook Pistols to infiltrate behind enemy lines and wreak havoc with rapid-firing bolt carbines, oversized heavy bolt pistols, and enormous, wickedly sharp combat knives. They're essentially the modern Imperium's answer to the old Night Lords Terror Squads.
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus get in on the act with their Skitarii. Depending on the Writer, they're sometimes Servitors (lobotomized techno-zombies), and in all cases they wear metal masks with Glowing Eyes of Doom, as well as bionic legs so they can pursue their enemies forever without tiring. The Iconic Outfit of the Martian Skitarii is a hooded red robe worn over their armour, which gives them an extra dose of creepiness.
  • In Strike Legion, not only do we have the Imperial Space Marines, who deck out their armor in Spikes of Villainy and bones and blood of their enemies, we also have the Doom Legion, made up of the most elite and well-armed soldiers in the Imperium.
  • The Coalition States of Rifts used to distribute suits of black body armor with an intimidating gas-mask stylized like a skull. Then they replaced those with suits of body armor sculpted to LOOK like a human skeleton. There's a reason why they're colloquially known as "Dead Boys."
  • BattleTech has the various special operations groups, but particular note goes to the Death Commandos of the Capellan Confederation and the Manei Domini of the Word of Blake. The Death Commandos have the authority to execute any Capellan citizen and even nobility in certain circumstances. Their battlemechs are painted flat black with occasional green trim, and do not utilize the Capellan flag, instead using only their skull unit insignia. The Manei Domini are all heavily augmented, brutal and fanatic warriors from a nation famed for its brutality and fanaticism. The Manei utilize their own series of battlemechs armed with the best technology available. Bonus points go to those units who utilize the AS7-D Atlas, a mech designed for intimidation with a white, skull-shaped cockpit and often fitted with glowing red eyes.
  • In Blue Rose the Lich King of Kern is served by the Knights of the Skull, who wear black armour with silver skull-shaped helmets. He also has a Secret Police, who normally don't draw attention to themselves (being secret and all) but who evoke great fear when they do wear their official red leather uniforms.
  • Magic: The Gathering has two keyword mechanics that denote this on creature cards, both shared by red and black.
    • Intimidate is most on-brand for the trope, and only creatures of the same color or artifact creatures (read: creatures who understand something of the creature with Intimidate or are an emotionless robot) can block them when they attack. Intimidate is actually a minor tweak to a much older mechanic, "Fear," which was the same ability but keyed specifically to black or artifact creatures—meaning only emotionless robots or other monsters could bear to face them.
    • Menace is a new name for an old mechanic that has largely supplanted Intimidate (because Intimidate becomes drastically better or worse based on the opponent's deck, while Menace is pretty flat). Creatures with Menace are too scary to be faced alone, and can only be blocked by at least two defending creatures.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The Consortium's Task Force are an elite squadron that wear armored helmets with specialized metallic suits that make them heavily-armed strong and agile. Armed with rigorous weapons such as rail-guns, sledgehammers, and laser swords, effectively making their intimidation well-built to serve against security intruders.
  • Battalion Wars' Xylvanian Iron Legion. They even went so far as to make the already terrifying flamethrower emit a maddening, shrill wail.
  • Helghast from Kill Zone, although there's a large amount of evidence that points to them actually not being much worse than the supposed good guys, considering the circumstances.
  • Blackwatch soldiers from [PROTOTYPE]. Possible infectees are shown no mercy. In Prototype2, it's a Zig-Zagged Trope. They're given a makeover to make them even scarier, but they are also humanized a lot more. So they're scarier for civilians, but less scary for the player.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront introduces the 501st, Vader’s personal legion. In the movies you might remember them as the blue-striped troopers that Anakin led to the Jedi Temple. They also include the Dark Troopers, hulking cyborg troopers that wear armor similar to the Iconic Stormtrooper Armor, but painted black.
  • The Replica in FEAR. They're designed from the ground up to be implacable, fearless shock troops, and their armor makes them look greatly intimidating, especially when compared with ATC's baseline human soldiers.
  • Cerberus troops in Mass Effect 3. In the Omega DLC, the Rampart Mechs are meant to weaponize this trope for the purpose of policing the locals on Omega after Cerberus took over: they commandeered a load of cheap mechs from a mercenary outfit, up-armored them to make them bulkier, painted them black, and fitted them with infrasound and scent markers that are "fight or flight" triggers for several species. The mechs even have a function to vent excess heat for further intimidation.
  • Almost all the mooks in the remake of Syndicate are some flavour of disturbing. The mooks of the syndicates go for full-face helmets with opaque faceplates and all-concealing armour, and Elite Mooks include Lean and Mean to the point of Creepily Long Arms and Glowing Eyes of Doom. The Subverters go for the more low-tech but still sinister scarves over the face and In the Hood.
  • The Janissaries in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, with their frowning masks.
  • Fallout:
    • The series mainstay: The Power Armor. Initially starting as the standard armor for higher-ranking members of the Brotherhood of Steel (low-ranking members have to make due with simple combat armor) the Power Armor is a huge and bulky suit of armor vaguely resembling the plate mail of a medieval knight with a gas mask helmet. Fallout 2 then introduced the Enclave's more advanced model of Power Armor, complete with a more sinister helmet design and, depending on the game, gigantic pauldrons that stretch around the back of the neck or a completely unnecessary pauldron chain.
    • Several examples in Fallout: New Vegas. The Legion Centurions who possibly are also Mook Lieutenant and the rarely seen Legion Vexillarii with their iconic armors. Then there is also the even scarier looking NCR Veteran Rangers with their ominous black armor and gas masks who send even the drugged fiends running for their lives, subverted that Veteran Rangers are the good guys and are some of the nicest NCR soldiers if you are in good terms with the NCR. If you count destroyed units, the old American Army Riot Troopers had even spookier armor, with extra padding, glowing eye lenses, thicker armor, and black leather dusters that were hybrids of LAPD riot gear and US Army Mechanized Infantry uniforms.
  • Scribblenauts makes these when you request an "Enemy". You can turn Max into one of these by summoning a Greatcoat, a pair of jackboots, and a gas mask.
  • The Terran Marines, Firebats and Marauders in the Starcraft series all wear Powered Armor that evokes this.
  • Space Station 13 is occasionally visited by Central Command's officially nonexistent Death Squad, who fit this trope perfectly.
  • The Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series:
  • Ghestal Empire Elite Mooks and Magitek Armor pilots from Final Fantasy VI.
  • Saints Row:
  • Globex troops from Strike Force Heroes wear hulking black armor with a red One-Way Visor and gas mask. The only things that keeps them from being intimidating is the cartoony graphics and Side View perspective. The Juggernaut class from the sequel manages to be intimidating despite this.
  • NEO Umbrella's J'avo soldiers from Resident Evil 6 have all the standard Doom Troop gear, from full body suits to masks with ominous glowing eyes and puffy-face-organ-things. Thankfully they're only Doom Troops in appearance; in combat they're not any tougher than the other J'avo.
  • Russian Shocktroopers from the C&C Generals Game Mod Rise of the Reds. They're actually given Training from Hell to make them Sociopathic Soldiers; burnt-out husks of men running on nationalism and hatred.
  • PlanetSide 2: The Terran Republic. The TR aesthetic blends red and black/grey and Gas Mask Mooks, which is ramped up with the Player Studio cosmetics; red Glowing Mechanical Eyes, gas masks, faceless blank visors, and skull motifs are common. The Terran MAX in particular always sports either glowing red eyes or a featureless red visor, Shoulders of Doom, and twin rapid-fire arm cannons in many flavors. However, the TR are no more dangerous than the narmy spandex-wearing Vanu Sovereignty or the denim-wearing space hillbilly New Conglomerate.
  • Order Soldiers in Silent Hill: Homecoming, though their gas masks and thick padded clothing are actually repurposed mining equipment.
  • ZZ Troopers from Relic of War have Glowing Eyes of Doom, Red and Black and Evil All Over uniforms, and superior weapons to baseline Axis troops.
  • Medal of Honor: Airborne has the Waffen Storm Leaders and the Nazi Storm Elites. Both of them are SS troops that wear all-black uniforms and wield automatic weapons with precision accuracy.
  • Metal Gear
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: The Tengu soldiers guarding Arsenal Gear are a special commandoes unit that wear scary masks, wear suits that make them superhumanly strong and agile, and armed with P90s and high frenquency blades that block bullets.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: The Haven Troopers (AKA FROGS) are an all-female unit who guard Outer Haven. Visually, they are look similar to the Tengu soldiers, and have the ability to leap high and cling to walls.
  • Subverted in SWAT 4. The player character and their teammates always wear dark blue uniforms, black body armor, and balaclavas with helmets, on top of speaking in a Radio Voice and usually toting black assault rifles, giving them a similar appearance to stereotypical FPS Faceless Goons. Meanwhile most of the suspects walk around in their street clothes with their faces uncovered. Truth in Television. Notably, despite their intimidating appearance, they would very much prefer not having to shoot anyone at all; as they're police officers, not soldiers, and are primarily concerned with getting everyone out alive, as the suspects are still American citizens.
  • In Destiny 2, the Cabal were redesigned to have a more sinister, sleek “tip of the spear” aesthetic to represent the Red Legion’s status as Elite Mooks compared to the beleaguered grunts fought in the first game. Watch out for rage helms and a color scheme heavy with blood red, bone white, and gunmetal grey.
  • Jak and Daxter:
    • Jak II: Renegade: There's the Krimzon Guard, goons carrying huge rifles and masks with circular red eyes and a place covering the mouth and nose. The Elite KG fulfill this trope by being Elite Mooks: they have double the health!
    • In Jak 3, the Freedom League subvert this trope as they're the good guys, despite using the same armour as the old Krimzon Guard. This is likely because Haven City is in the middle of a war, so instead of re-designing everything they just painted all the KG stuff blue.

    Web Comics 
  • Zap!: GEF troopers wear their trademark evil-looking helmets against a background of blood-red sky, in case the reader didn't believe it's The Empire.

    Web Original 
  • In Perpetual Players The Axiunian Elites who save squid mart wear mirrored face masks that don't present any facial features. When we get to see what they look like under the mask we learn they have entire strips of glass embedded into their skin.
  • The "legions of Terror" from the Evil Overlord List, although face-concealing headgear is discouraged for security reasons.
  • The Trope Namer: our own Additional Evil Overlord Vows page provides the name. Doom Troops are mentioned in a warning against making only some mooks into Super Soldiers.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: The Extermination team are Frobots equipped with flamethrowers, tasked with quick purges of settlements, and they give no quarter.
  • Aku created a whole horde of robot assassins like this in the Samurai Jack episode "Samurai versus Samurai", but despite their ghastly appearance (skulls for heads with gems as eyes, using knives as weapons), they really weren't much better than the rest of his Mecha-Mooks. (After Jack destroyed them all, the pieces pulled themselves together into a giant junk-monster, but that was only slightly more formidable.)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars introduced the BX-series Commando Droids, which are essentially Elite Mook versions of the standard Battle Droids. However, they have much darker-colored plating, more human-like frames (which not only allows them to fit in Clone armor, but shortens their snouts to give them a more gas mask-like face), deeper voices, and Glowing Mechanical Eyes. In addition to their more imposing design traits, they have ninja-like agility, stronger armor and are much more competent fighters (also used as infiltration units). While they are more of a nuisance to Jedi (they are outclassed by Destroyer Droids and MagnaGuards when it comes to threatening Jedi), they are The Dreaded to Clone Troopers and are not subject to comic-relief like the standard Battle Droids.
  • Wander over Yonder: Lord Dominator’s minions double as this and Mecha-Mooks. Armed with a variety of deadly weapons, able to regenerate from damage, and being much more competent and coordinated than Lord Hater’s Watchdogs, they outclass not only them, but pretty much every other type of Mook in the series at every level. Even a single one of the larger variants is enough to send the main characters running.

    Real Life 
  • Possibly the Ur-Example is "Marius's mules," otherwise known as the Roman Legions of the late Republic period: thousands of soldiers marching in near-perfect unison, all wearing identical metal armor and carrying identical weaponry, trained to use those weapons with devastating effect. A well-trained legion on the move was more like a single creature with a thousand teeth than it was like any contemporary army.
  • Hitler's Waffen SS is the Trope Codifier.
  • The modern image of the Doom troops can also be traced on the elite German Sturmtruppen or Stormtrooper units of First World War. Highly motivated troops, they fought in the later stages of the war using infiltration tactics, forgoing mass assaults in favor of attacking weak enemy points in trenches. The Allies were dumbfounded and disoriented by these tactics before they were eventually able to counter them. Naturally, the above SS and the earlier Sturmabteilung or SA considered the Stormtrooper units to be their spiritual predecessors.
  • The "Winged Hussars" of the Polish Army through the 1500s and 1600s perfected the concept of "terrifying and badass": professional heavy cavalry wearing heavily decorated armor with half-spread angels' wings on their backs. They were known to their enemies as "the Angels of Death". It's said that they rarely lost a battle, even when they were heavily outnumbered.
  • Guard regiments of XVIII Century and the Napoleonic era were often meant to look imposing, which was achieved by means such as enlistment of exceptionally tall men into their ranks, and uniforms including broad pauldrons and tall caps.
  • British Royal Marines. And the Parachute Regiment.
  • The Saddam era Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard.
  • Just... take a look at these pictures. Dear god, Denmark, France, Iran and Taiwan...
  • The Italian Bersaglieri are a Subversion: they were intended as this and have the combat record and reputation to match, but their Nice Helmet (created to help them aim their weapons, what with their name being Italian for sharpshooters) and propensity to run all the time, even when playing brass (established by their regulations increase their stamina), make them look more ridiculous than scary until Fridge Horror sets in when they unveil their true purpose on the battlefield.
  • The United States Marine Corps has such a reputation in some circles. They've spent the last hundred years fine tuning their reputation as a force to be feared on the battlefield, both by deed and by urban legend. You'd never suspect that they are the second-smallest branch of the US military (with the newly-formed Space Force being much smaller). Within the Marine Corps, there is Marine Force Recon and MARSOC (which traces its roots to the Marine Raider Battalions of World War II), for the more elite troops. They also are usually allowed to get away with doing much more horrific actions than the other branches of the military.
    • Certain formations of the US Army similarly are known for being particularly fearsome, especially some of the more storied units like the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, infamous for their history of dropping behind enemy lines to generally make a mess of things. Probably best known for this trope however, are the Army Rangers, the Light Infantry component of the Army's Special Operations Command, which traces its roots to the original Ranger battalions formed during WWII (and trained by the British Commandos, who presented them with their trademark berets) and Merrill's Marauders, a jungle warfare unit that fought in Asia during the same war.
  • Red Latvian Riflemen during the Russian Civil War. While not amping up the terror factor in appearance, they inspired a saying "If you want an executioner, find a Latvian" solely by following ANY order they were given and their skill and experience from World War I, including iconic battles like Machine Gun hill and the Death Island.