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Doomsday Device

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"Only a few select personality types, outlined in the attached report, have any desire to re-activate the device. Most notable are the D-class sociopaths who show similar amusement when presented with a big red button that says 'kill everything.'"

The Doomsday Device is the crowning achievement of any self-respecting Omnicidal Maniac and Mad Scientist. He is usually in the process of creating one at all times, dreaming of the day he can use it to Take Over the World.

Obviously, to build something this high on the Sliding Scale of Villain Threat, he needs a ton of unobtainium or cosmic keystones to make it work, which the villain will have to steal in a string of smaller crimes that will draw the hero's attention to him long before it is complete.

You may notice that in story terms, a Doomsday Device is one big MacGuffin powered by several smaller MacGuffins. Having one in a story is essentially giving a villain a "Collect The Plot Coupon" quest and having the hero stop them.

The nature of the Doom this device will unleash on the world does not matter until the device is actually activated. It rarely is, outside of deconstructions or backstories of ruined worlds. It can essentially do anything, as long as the end result is global or near-global destruction. An Earth-Shattering Kaboom, an army of nanomachines, a Zombie Apocalypse, Weather Control, Frickin' Laser Beams, or a particularly large Horde of Alien Locusts. It's the scale that makes it a Doomsday Device. Typically, a villain will construct one that best reflects his personality.

Also keep in mind, that the entire point of a Doomsday Device is lost... if you keep it a secret, nein?

Compare with Lost Superweapon, Weapon of Mass Destruction and Artifact of Doom. See also Pointless Doomsday Device, where a world-destroying device is made with no clear means to benefit the creator. The method of many Apocalypse How and Apocalypse Wow events. Nearly always a Sub-Trope of Superweapon.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Rumiko Takahashi wrote a short story in the early 1970's called Katte na Yatsura (with many of the plot elements later ending up in Urusei Yatsura). In this tale, three alien races all decide to blow up Earth for their own reasons and launch tiny planet-busters, all of which end up in the same person. Then they discover each other and compare notes. The Horrible Truth: Their planet-busters all work by different principles, and if they go off together in one person, they will literally destroy the universe. So the aliens, knowing of the prospect of Mutually Assured Destruction, all set about making sure nothing bad happens to the person with the Doomsday Devices inside him, resulting in an age of galactic peace and unity.
  • Dr. Hell from Mazinger Z loves built them (and in the manga of Gosaku Ota, he stated he was already working on them when he working for Hitler, but he kept them for himself. He also claimed if he would have revealed all his inventions, Germany would have won the war).
  • The Mystical Laws: The appropriately named "Ultimate Destruction Weapon" creates a fireball 400,000 times as hot as the sun's core and throws it behind enemy lines. The Godom board of directors even explains that with this weapon, they can wipe out an entire continent at will. However, Leika Chan warns that the weapon will affect the Earth's crust and core, slowly rendering it uninhabitable, but Tathagata doesn't believe her.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers (Jonathan Hickman) has the Illuminati having to make the hard choice of destroying Earths from parallel universes to stop both universes from being destroyed in a metaphysical collision called an Incursion. To this end they develop devices capable of injecting antimatter into a planetary core to detonate the whole thing. They begin stockpiling these devices.
  • In The DCU series called L.E.G.I.O.N., a horrific conflict is neutralized with the application of a potential destructive device. Anyone gets uppity, the device goes off and everyone suffers. Seemingly... the device is just a bunch of shiny bits. It does nothing.
  • Empyre reveals that the Skrulls have such a device called "The Pyre". It detonates stars, intending to wipe out their system of planets in a desperate attempt to stave off the spread of genocidal Cotati.
  • Meanwhile has a booth called a Killitron which, at the press of a button, will kill every human outside. This, combined with the weird intricacies of quantum mechanics, allows it to be used for practical purposes, like making ice-cream.
  • Missile Mouse has The Star Crusher from the first book.
  • Paperinik New Adventures presents in Pikappa the Evronian Empire's Planetary Coolflamizer. What it does is pretty simple: in an instant, it drains an entire planet's worth of creatures dry of their emotions, winning the Evronians billions of Obedient Slave Mooks and a giant reserve of food.
  • Shakara:
    • The Succubi harvest worlds by drilling into the core of a planet with the Apocalypse Cores on their cosmos crafts.
    • The Infinity Engine that the Big Bad orders the construction of in the final arc is actually known as the God Engine, a galaxy-sized device that will destroy all of reality and make its creator a God.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) had the Ultimate Annihilator, which could erase anyone or anything from existence. Robotnik used on Knothole, but was adjusted beforehand by Snivley, trapping it in a temporal pocket dimension for a while. He then used it to erase Robotnik forever.
  • Spider-Man: Doctor Octopus likes to build Atomic Doomsday Devices.
  • At one point in Star Wars (Marvel 1977), the protagonists find a device that is supposed to be able to devastate the entire galaxy. It's never been tested and even its creator didn't know if it would work as designed, but when it gets triggered they destroy it anyway before it can fire. Just in case.
  • In the Superman story War World, Superman and Supergirl face up to Warworld, a star-sized satellite packed with enough firepower to incinerate entire worlds, built by a race of warmongers. Martian Manhunter even calls it "a Doomsday weapon".
  • The Ultimates: The Chitauri have a bomb that can destroy the whole solar system, as a backup plan in case they can't harmonize the world.
  • Wandering Star: President Andrews destroys Earth by secretly activating the Weapon Armageddon, an old doomsday device believed to have been disarmed, to prevent Earth from being enslaved by the Bono Kiro.
  • X-Men: Magneto's cataclysmic plots usually consist of trying to alter the rotation of the Earth or a friggin' huge meteor.

    Fan Works 
  • Peter Chimaera's DIGIMON SAVEZ THE WROLD!!1111 features an "evil scintist" who created a machine that could destroy the world. It is up to Digimon to stop this from happening. Because the story is written in Beige Prose, the exact nature the machine isn't explained. It is, however, powerful enough to destroy a road, trapping people on an island.

    Films — Animation 
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Castle of the Undersea Devil deals with the logical outcome of an ancient Dead Hand system (see Real Life section below) outliving its creator civilization. Long time ago, there were not one but two Atlantis-like undersea civilizations: the aptly-named Atlantis, and Mu. They went to war with each other, and either Mu won, or Atlantis collapsed on its own. The Dead Hand system of Atlantis, called Poseidon, is located in Bermuda Triangle and is still fully functional. Its activation will render the world "unhabitable even for the smallest and most resilient insects", and the increase of severe undersea volcanic activity will be interpreted by Poseidon as "the Mu are attacking our last line of defense". So the Mu people beg Doraemon and friends in a suicide mission to destroy the core of Poseidon with Doraemon's future gadgets.
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies has one, initially labelled as a movie-streaming device by Jade Wilson. Later Revealed to be a Mind-Control Device that brainwashes people into doing Slade's bidding.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The cobalt bomb at the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
  • Johan Schmidt's Valkyrie Amerikabomber from Captain America: The First Avenger also counts. It carried a large arsenal of city-busting WMD's and had the ability to traverse the Atlantic in a few hours, at speeds and altitudes that would make it dificult to intercept. It was also powered by the Cosmic Cube. Its intended use was to destroy most of the world's major cities, starting with New York. Schmidt was also targetting Nazi Berlin as well. His "superiors" were not happy.
  • Whether he counts as a "weapon" or a "character" is hard to say, but the robot Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) might qualify. Never mind the fact that he defeated a whole unit of the U.S. Army by himself; according to Klatu, he could have destroyed the Earth if he had to.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Man of Steel: The World Engine is a Hostile Terraforming machine that can reshape a planet into a clone of Krypton. It's used on Earth in the climax by General Zod, which means humanity will perish in the process as they wouldn't be able to survive with the gravity and atmosphere of Krypton.
    • Zack Snyder's Justice League: Once completed by Steppenwolf, the Unity of the Mother Boxes detonates, and the blast is powerful enough to disintegrate everything in its path on Earth.
  • The Doomsday Device starts with one of those, which is an excuse to launch seven people into space (and a bad movie).
  • Dr. Strangelove features an automatic doomsday device that will fire if Russia is hit with a bomb. The rest of the movie revolves around stopping the bombing some maniacal general ordered. They don't. Truth in Television: Dead Hand. Also note that the movie highlights the foolishness of keeping such a device secret (it was recently completed and was supposed to be announced within a week; they just got really unlucky with the timing).
  • In the Mark Gatiss adaptation of The First Men in the Moon Professor Cavor suggests that his Anti-Gravity paste Cavorite could be used as one. A sheet of Cavorite pasted on the ground would make the air above it weightless, causing it to shoot out into outer space. More air would rush in to fill the vacuum until the entire atmosphere was gone. Cavor ultimately uses this idea to exterminate the Selenites (and himself) before they can force him to help them conquer the Earth.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Cobra's Zeus satellites, which can easily devastate an entire city at will, as seen with the destruction of London.
  • From laser weapons in space powered by diamonds to stolen nuclear submarines to life-ending biological weapons, James Bond villains have made this trope as their raison d'être.
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again features a giant laser weapon which former Chief Inspector Dreyfus commandeers in order to blackmail the world into assassinating Inspector Clouseau. He uses it to make the UN Building vanish, but Clouseau's antics later cause it to malfunction, making Dreyfus and his castle lair disappear.
  • The solaronite (spelling problematical) from Plan 9 from Outer Space. The aliens warn that if humanity ever invents it, it could destroy the universe by exploding atoms of sunlight. But then the aliens get killed, apparently leaving humanity free to invent it...
  • Quite a few in the Star Trek films:
    • The Genesis Device. It is designed to reshape a dead world into one habitable for humanoid life. However, Dr. McCoy and others realize, if used on a planet where life already exists, it would wipe out that life in favor of its new matrix. This sets up a hook for the sequel, where the Klingons try to acquire the device for themselves.
    • Dr. Soren's trilithium probe. It stops all fusion within a star, causing it to collapse and generate a shockwave that destroys all planets in the solar system.
    • Red matter. A single drop of it is capable of creating a black hole. Nero uses it to destroy Vulcan.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Death Star is an iconic example. (In fact, if there's a weapon in a work of science fiction that can destroy planets, fans will compare it to the Death Star in some way.)
    • In The Force Awakens, the First Order, being The Remnant of the old Empire, build Starkiller Base, a planet that is hollowed out on one side and fitted with a superlaser that absorbs the power of a star to wipe out an entire solar system.
  • Tenet. The Algorithm causes temporal inversion of the entire world, destroying the past. The scientist who invented the Algorithm tried to hide the components in the past and committed suicide so she couldn't be forced to build another, but the components have been found and reassembled by Andrei Sator in the present day. It's not revealed who Sator's sponsors in the future are, but either they believe they won't be affected by a Grandfather Paradox or they're too desperate to care in a future Crapsack World.

  • If you choose to play a villain in the interactive book Thrusts of Justice, you find yourself in a position to blackmail the world with the weapon the invading aliens were going to use to terraform the planet. Unfortunately, your minions are smart enough to know this approach never works and will turn on you if you decide to go for it.


By Author:

  • A short story by Edmund Cooper has teams of American, Russian and British scientists all building incredibly elaborate Doomsday Devices that will destroy the world completely if anyone tries to use nuclear weapons or invade their countries at all. This ends up causing world peace; in a subversion the scientists reveal to each other at the end that none of the machines actually work, but are just impressive collections of cables, strange chrome things and flashing lights, with the exception of the Russian doomsday device, which will blow up anyone who tries to use it..

By Work:

  • A Discussed Trope in After Doomsday when the surviving humans are trying to establish how the Earth was destroyed while they were away on a space expedition. A report comes in that an alien trader sold disruption bombs to a couple of Earth nations that would go off automatically if the nation was attacked. After discussing the issue, they decide the report is a fake as the nation concerned would surely establish an off-world colony as a precaution, and the idea is just plain insane anyway.
  • Older Than Television: In Auf zwei Planeten ("On Two Planets", 1897) by Kurd Laßwitz Oss, the leader of the Antibat (anti-Earthling) party on Mars proposes a device called the "Earth-Brake" (Erdbremse) to get rid of the pesky humans on Earth following their successful revolt against the Martian protectorate over the planet. The device would halt Earth's rotation, with the Pacific Ocean ending up permanently exposed to the sun and the most densely populated areas permanently in the dark, with catastrophic results. Happily the construction and implementation of the Earth Brake is prevented by the electoral defeat of the Antibats and the subsequent peace treaty between Mars and Earth.
  • Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonegut has a fairly potent, if unintentional example of Ice Nine, a seed crystal polymorph that converts all water it touches into duplicate crystals of Ice Nine. It has a melting point of 114 degrees F by the way. "Keep away from moisture" indeed.note 
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe: The Tear of Isha from the New Series Adventures novel Engines of War, which can collapse anything into a single compressed gravitational singularity.
  • Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain:
    • The System Killer was a bomb so powerful that it could destroy the solar system (and all nine planets within it) that was held by the Saturnites. While the possibility that it could accomplish such devastation was plausible given the Saturnite's trigger-happy dispositions, they never got the chance to use it since Mollusk nearly destroyed Saturn during surrender negotiations with his own doomsday weapon.
    • Using schematics sent to them by a future version of Emperor Mollusk and the various objects they steal throughout the book (the anti-time radio, the Eiffel Tower, Shambala's molluskotrenic engine), the Council of Egos build a Quantum Certainty Generator, a device that controls the universe on a quantum level and turns possibilities into certainties. It's subverted of course, as Future-Mollusk tricked them into building a telepathic ecstasy field-generator that traps them all in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • In For All Time, Kim Jong-Il develops an impossibly enormous nuclear bomb called the "Glorious People's Revolutionary Hammer" (and announces it to the world while stroking a fluffy white cat). Said bomb is a fusion device with a magnitude of 250,000 megatons, and he threatens to use it if he is not allowed to annex Manchuria and Japan. This results in the world's other nuclear powers nuking Korea back to the stone age.
  • In Gary Gygax's Gord the Rogue novels, the villains are on a quest to find three parts to a doomsday device that will free Tharizdun, a universe-destroying insane god who was imprisoned by the rest of the gods for eons. However, the villains do not want to use the device — instead they want to make sure the three parts are kept as far away from each other as possible. That doesn't work out too well.
  • The Mouse That Roared (first a book then later a movie starring Peter Sellers in the three top roles) had the plot centering around the "Q-Bomb", a football-sized weapon capable of vaporizing an entire continent and finishing off the rest of the planet with its fallout. Only after the World's Smallest Nation has bullied the world into disarmament is it revealed (only to the readers) that the bomb was a dud.
    • In the movie we discover that an actual mouse has been nesting inside the bomb. Once it leaves the bomb may be live again.
  • Revelation Space has the Hell-Class weapons that the Nostalgia For Infinity found in a hidden asteroid base. Their effects vary, but all of them are a Wave-Motion Gun at the very minimum, and the weapons are effectively miniature independent spacecraft in their own right. Ilia Volyova uses one to raze an uninhabited area of Resurgam to coerce the colony into turning over Dan Sylveste. In the sequel Redemption Ark, Volyova uses another to slice a lighthugger in half from several light-minutes away, and the weapons' nature is revealed as Conjoiner-designed weapons built with plans from the future to fight off an unknown threat.
  • Doctor Impossible's current scheme in Soon I Will Be Invincible — most of his part of the story involves collecting a series of MacGuffins that he assembles into a doomsday device.
  • A few pop up in Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars, both in Khans hands.
    • A biologically engineered strain of streptococcus that he and his fellow superhumans are immune to was originally engineered by the scientists at Chrysalis to cleanse the world of inferior humanity so their new breed could take up the mantle. Khan gains the formula and manufactures enough for large scale germ warfare. He was foiled and the research base was nuked by another band of superhumans.
    • A scientist engineers a device that can close holes in the ozone layer. Khan realizes that it can be used to open holes in the ozone layer over enemy nations or even the entire world, allowing him to "slit the world's throat".
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Last Shot features the Phylanx Redux Transmitter, a device capable of broadcasting a galaxy-wide signal that turns droids into raging homicidal maniacs.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Sun Crusher
    • The World Devastators
    • Centerpoint Station
    • The Galaxy Gun
    • The Darksaber (not to be confused with the black-bladed lightsaber) deserves special mention; it was supposed to be just the "giant planet-destroying laser" part of the Death Star, but the builder cheated his contractors and it was shredded in an asteroid field without ever firing a shot.
    • The Eye of Palpatine.
    • The Nostril of Palpatine. (Okay, this one is a joke. It was the name Han gave to a hypothetical superweapon with alternatives including the Nova Colossus and the Galaxy Destructor, as part of a great speech lampshading the incredible number of useless superweapons the Empire tended to build. And also a giant Take That! to the Bantam novels, aka the Superweapon of the Month Club, who brought you the majority of the above.)
  • Temple (Matthew Reilly): The Supernova is absolutely massive and powerful enough to actually destroy the world.
  • The Zap Gun by Philip K. Dick has a similar premise, where a weapons genius from NATO and one from the USSR are constantly coming up with super weapons in an arms race — which are all, to a one, non-functional hooey, the pieces of which are instead made into harmless commercial items. It keeps the peace and works all right... until aliens invade and the leaders on both sides suddenly need actual weapons.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lyta Alexander from Babylon 5 could technically be considered this:
    Garibaldi: My turn. You want me as a partner? Then I have to be in all the way. So I need to know, Lyta, Something's happened to your abilities. You're not a P-5 anymore. Hell, you're not even a P-12. You're the strongest telepath that I've ever seen. What did the Vorlons do to you, Lyta? Who... What are you?
    Lyta: I've only recently begun to understand it myself. You know the Vorlons used telepaths as weapons in the Shadow War...but what no one stopped to consider was that in a war, you have a certain number of small weapons, a certain number of medium sized weapons, and one or two big ones. The kind of weapons you drop when you're out of small weapons, and the medium weapons, and you've got nothing left to use.
    Garibaldi: Someone like that the telepathic equivalent of a thermonuclear device. A....a doomsday weapon.
    Lyta: (eyes glowing) Pleased to meet you, Mr. Garibaldi.
  • The Uthenium/cobalt bomb in The Bionic Woman (1970s) episode "Doomsday is Tomorrow". A scientist creates a Doomsday Device in the hope of scaring the population into peace. He never intended to use it, even if his plan failed, but his supercomputer, whom he programmed to "win", attempts to destroy the world when the original plan fails.
  • Blake's 7:
    • In "Countdown", the Federation have hidden a solium bomb that will kill everyone on the planet with radiation poisoning if they rebel. The rebels attempt to seize the control room before it's activated but fail, and the plot involves a Race Against the Clock to locate and disarm the bomb.
    • Another such weapon is used to protect a society of pacifists in "Volcano". They threaten to detonate the device if any aggressor attempts to land on their planet.
    • In "Orbit", a Mad Scientist offers his Tachyon Funnel to Avon, a device that can destroy any planet at any range, enabling him to crush the Federation with ease. Of course, it's never that easy...
  • Played for Laughs in the Community episode "Pillows and Blankets", where Pierce prepares a mighty doomsday device (even called such) for the pillow war: a full-body suit made of pillows and held together with duct tape.
  • Danger 5: Stalin has one that will destroy the world if the Nazis conquer the USSR.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor regularly encounters villains that revel in these.
      Fourth Doctor: [while typing on computer terminal] The trouble with computers, of course, is that they're very sophisticated idiots. They do exactly what you tell them to at amazing speed, even if you order them to kill you. So if you do happen to change your mind, it can be very difficult to stop them obeying the original order, but... [taps a few final keys, countdown stops] Not impossible.
    • Heck, the Daleks themselves are a sort of sentient version of this trope. The Doctor warned their creator exactly how dangerous they were when they were first being created, but he finished them anyway because he always kinda wanted to destroy everything.
    • "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End":
      • Sometimes even the good guys, as witnessed by UNIT's Earth-destroying Osterhagen Key, intended for the purposes of a Mercy Kill if necessary.
      • Which is small potatoes compared to the Multiverse-extinguishing Reality Bomb built by the Daleks, which required several solar systems' worth of stolen planets to amplify.
    • "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang": The TARDIS itself became one inadvertently when it exploded and set off a chain reaction that detonated every star in the universe, although this was undone by Big Bang II.
    • "The Day of the Doctor": A sizable fraction of the War Doctor's on-screen dialogue is an extended conversation with a sentient doomsday device called the Moment.
  • In Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars the Wormhole Weapon that the Peacekeepers and Scarrans have been chasing John Crichton for turns out to generate an exponentially-expanding black hole that doesn't stop until the user chooses to shut it off or it devours the universe. John demonstrates it to both fleets, and refuses to stop it until they agree to a ceasefire.
  • In the "Project Spoilsport" episode of The Greatest American Hero, America has a secret nuclear launch system which, 24 hours after a nuclear attack, will automatically launch 30 randomly-chosen ICBMs at our enemies. It accidentally deliberately gets tricked into thinking such an attack has occurred.
  • In a way, Serpenterra from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was this - a truly giangantic Zord in the shape of a Chinese dragon that had enough firepower to obliterate a planet. It was probably a good thing Lord Zedd couldn't keep the thing charged properly or the Rangers would have had problems.
  • In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the first episode deals with the crew of the Enterprise learning a pre-warp species has learned to make a warp core and decided to use it as a bomb. The episode deals figuring out how they did that and stopping it before they blow themselves and their planet to Kingdom Come, as a matter/antimatter warhead is orders of magnitude more potent than a "mere" nuclear one.
  • The "Doomsday Machine" from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode of the same name, an ancient, almost impervious, save for its Weaksauce Weakness, a planetoid-sized tube of neutronium which fires a beam of pure antiproton and which literally eats planets for breakfast.
  • The Strada Brac (note the actual spelling was never revealed) on Tracker (2001). It could destroy an entire planet anyway, and it had the power to destroy the entire planet in a backwash of energy if taken through the wormhole as Zin wanted it to be. Hence hiding it at the Watchfire deep underground.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): In "The Man Who Made Volcanoes" from Season 2 (1977), the Amazon uses her whole body to block a ray from a massive volcano-inducing raygun, ending a threat to countries around the world. Another doomsday device from that series involved a character named Andros whose spaceship would destroy the world if he was not released from Nazi custody in time to defuse it ("Judgment from Outer Space", Season 1).

    Professional Wrestling 

  • Bleak Expectations: In the fourth series finale, Mr. Benevolent tries to take over the world with a doomsday device made out of cheese (it's that kind of series; scientists figure it has a good chance of working, roughly on 8 out of 10. Maybe 9 if they've been drinking). He and Pip Bin use it to hold the entire world hostage for years, until mankind gets fed up and calls Benevolent's bluff... at which point the cheese turns out to have gone runny. Pip Bin is given a What the Hell, Hero? by God himself, and sent back to prevent these events from happening in the first place.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pandorym, one of the Eldritch Abominations outlined in the Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Elder Evils was summoned to act as a living Doomsday Device, with the potential to slay gods.
  • Filled quite nicely by Eldtrich Machines in the Eberron Dungeons & Dragons setting. What does an Eldtrich Machine do? Anything your plot demands it does, really.
  • Exalted:
    • The Sword of Creation (aka the Realm Defense Grid). Once fired up you can use it to obliterate entire armies of powerful supernatural monsters. It does also chew up the landscape though, so it is not fit for everyday use.
    • There's also the Daystar, the gigantic flaming mecha that serves as Creation's sun and the Unconquered Sun's base of operations. It has a cannon that, if fully powered up, will destroy all of Creation. The Unconquered Sun has only used it once - during the days of prehistory, to destroy the blighted copy of Creation a Primordial tried to use to replace the genuine article - but it's noted that, should the world fall to the Yozis, he may have to use it again.
  • In Genius: The Transgression a high level Genius can build one of these, making it an option for players.
  • Magic: The Gathering has several of these; one example would be the Plague Boiler. Three turns after it's played, everything in play that's not a land is destroyed.
    • Doomsday devices has a long tradition in Magic, going all the way back to Nevinyrral's Disk, which was a direct allusion to Larry Niven's The Magic Goes Away.
    • Within the game mechanics, Oblivion Stone has much the same idea behind it, appearing to operate by radically altering the fate of the permanents on the battlefield.
    • In a more story focused context, the Golgothian Sylex was activated at the end of the Brother's War, and was responsible for cleansing the island of Argoth, catastrophically damaging the weather patterns of Dominaria leading to an age of Dark and a subsequent Ice Age, and and shattering the fabric of the multiverse to create the Shard of the Twelve Worlds.
    • Even the joke sets got in on this, with the World-Bottling Kit.
  • The premise of the board game Mwahahaha is to collect the items needed to activate your Doomsday Device on a global scale and use it to take over the world.
  • One mode of play from the Paranoia rulebook for High Programmers is Doomsday, where each player has a Doomsday weapon and the ability to use it. Paranoia indeed.
  • In Ravenloft, Azalin the lich-king constructed an arcane mechanism that's actually called a "Doomsday Device" ... only it's intended to let Azalin break out of the Land of Mists, not destroy it or hold it for ransom. (Its side effects did wipe out a major city, though.)
  • The Planet Killer Rocket in Rocket Age, created by the Ancient Martians to destroy Eris. The Rocket was so powerful it also knocked Mars out of it's original orbit. The Nazis also are building one in the Asteroid Belt.
  • In Sentinels of the Multiverse, Luminary, a heroic version of the mad scientist villain Baron Blade, has this as part of his playstyle. His deck contains three cards marked as Device, Doomsday - Explosive Reconstructor, Orbital Death-Laser, and Terralunar Translocator - that can be activated if he has a certain number of cards in his trash.
  • Tech Infantry has these, both by name in its Backstory. The Three-D, or DoomsDay Device, is a device that can send a star into supernova, destroying an entire solar system. It was used to defeat a particularly nasty alien invasion, and through the armament of huge mile-long FTL starships that can fire miniature black holes. Several races can toss around asteroids big enough to wipe out the dinosaurs.
  • In Traveller, the Sun Trigger of the Darrians, which can cause solar flares in a star and devastate its planets.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has these. Lots of them, actually. In every size, shape, and means of destruction imaginable.
    • However, you have to consider, that most of them won't even scathe a tank of that universe.
    • Chaos has an actual Doomsday Device strategic asset for Apocalypse. It tends to hurt a lot of people when activated.

    Video Games 
  • Attack of the Mutant Penguins has the Doomscale, a giant scale for balancing penguins on. If too many alien penguins pile on and set it out of balance, it's Game Over.
  • Dwarf Fortress. Build your own doomsday machine. Envelop the world in fire and water and then mix them both and bury the world under a bed of obsidian. The type of doomsday device you make is limited only by your imagination and how many pathetic minions you kill trying to build it. The most infamous example would be Project "Fuck the World" of Boatmurdered, which flooded the surface map with magma.
  • EVE Online actually has a weapon called the Doomsday Device, used to wipe out fleets of ships. Later it was updated to act as a Giant Frickin Laser Beam to target and destroy large ships such as Capital Ships or Titans.
  • Evil Genius: Your win condition is to build a Doomsday Device that will hold the whole world hostage. There are three possible devices to build: a Gravity Disruptor (uses some kind of moon-tethered ray to force anti-gravity over a large area), an Earthquake Ray (strong enough to crack open the tectonic plates and erupt lava), and an ID Eliminator (that basically turns everyone into your minion, most of whom are genetically overwritten to a single phenotype).
    • In the sequel, there's one for each Genius and ties into their vile personality.
      • Max's M.I.D.A.S., which can turn entire nations into gold, reflecting his belief that money controls everything and his desire to own everything.
      • Red Ivan's H.A.V.O.C., which is a Weapon of Mass Destruction Wave-Motion Gun that rains down atomic fire, reflecting his despotic tactics and desire to build a new Ivania from the world's ashes.
      • Emma's V.E.N.O.M., a Hate Plague that can plunge the world into permanent anarchy, reflecting her views on humanity and wish to destroy the world.
      • Zalika's V.O.I.D., a Mind-Control Device that collects the thoughts of humanity (and turns them into brainwashed zombies), reflecting her belief that humanity is already complacent and needs someone brilliant to rule them.
      • DLC character Polar has Z.E.R.O., a gigantic Freeze Ray designed to plunge the world into a Glacial Apocalypse; which reflects her fascination with winter and her extreme hatred of global warning.
  • Vegnagun in Final Fantasy X-2 was created during the Machina War between Bevelle and Zanarkand, but was never used. The antagonist, Shuyin, wants to use it to wipe out the world so no one can put him back in the absolute hell he spent the past millennium suffering. If you take too long to win the final battle, it goes off, and Spira is obliterated.
  • In Half-Life 2, the Citadel becomes a bit of one, since it explodes - solely and completely because the energy from the explosion would help tear open a portal between Earth and the Combine home dimension. If that were to succeed, the human race would be utterly obliterated in minutes, once and for all, no rematches no second chances.
  • One of the premises of the Halo franchise is that all sentient life in the galaxy will end if the titular Halo rings are fired. It was used to starve a galaxy-spanning Eldritch Abomination of viable hosts, as a last resort. The Halo system's second function is to recreate most of the sentient species it killed, though civilization had to start over.
  • In the Impossible Mission games, Mad Scientist Elvin Atombender's doomsday device attempts to crack the world's nuclear launch codes and cause an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
  • One of the songs in Mega Man ZX is even called Doomsday Device. It's a pretty awesome track. Have a listen.
  • The Sons of the Patriots system in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Every weapon, military vehicle, and even soldiers and mercenaries are integrated with a system that allows any piece of equipment to be used only by designated operators. Stolen equipment is completely useless, and commanders can selectively revoke soldiers' permissions to equipment when they disobey orders. The system also includes a limited form of mind control that makes soldiers almost fearless and immune to pain. While it's presented as an effective solution to put an end to the activities of warlords and rogue units, as well as making armies more efficient, things look completely different once the terrorists get the master password to the main server. With the press of a button, Ocelot shuts down every organized military force in the world with only his personal mercenary companies having a complete monopoly on military capability. The first three of five levels the heroes try to stop him, but ultimately fail as Ocelot takes control of SoP and effectively rules the entire world.
  • In Metroid Prime: Hunters The Alimbic built the Omega Cannon to stop the monster Gorea, but decided against using it for fear that Gorea would be able to mimic the cannon's power. In the game proper the Omega Cannon is the only thing that can harm the otherwise invincible Gorea.
  • The "ICBM" mod from the Voltz Mod Pack for Minecraft features several powerful bombs and missiles you can craft, including an Antimatter bomb which destroys literally everything in an 100-block radius. In previous updates it could even destroy the normally indestructible Bedrock.
  • The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants: The machine that the aliens are looking to power, although they don't reveal what it does unless Bart loses in the final level. It mass produces robotic Homer duplicates.
  • Singularity has the E99 Bomb, an explosive device the size of a football that represented the Soviet Union's answer to America's military superiority. In an Alternate History, Nikita Khruschev deployed it against the US East Coast in a preemptive attack. There was no more East Coast after that.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 centered around Eggman trying to get the Chaos Emeralds to power the Eclipse Cannon, which packed enough punch to blast a chunk out of the moon. Things went From Bad to Worse when it turned out gathering all seven activated another program that turned the entire ARK Space Station into a Doomsday Device by initiating a Colony Drop.
  • The Galactic Armory mod for Star Ruler adds in several flavors of doomsday devices, most of which belonged to the Remnants. Massive battle stations that can drain the energy of an entire fleet from several AU away, causing the ships to go derelict. There are also stations that can remotely detonate planets. Good luck taking them over though, because they are typically guarded by an entire fleet of Remnant ships. Players can also build a variety of superweapons, such as the Superlaser or the Planet Buster missile, which are more than capable of razzing the surfaces of worlds in an instant - or making them simply explode. Once ship scale begins to exceed five hundred, pretty much any weapon is capable of killing everything on a planet, instantly. Build a ship big enough and it can destroy stars, or the obliterate quasar at the center of the galaxy, destroying pretty much everything in the galaxy
  • In Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Kirk and his crew have to deal with an asteroid that is an orbiting nuclear missile base that threatens to bombard a planet it previously devastated centuries ago. The solution proves to be using a computer virus found in its computer system to interfere with its launch program to make sure it misses the planet.
  • In Stellaris, you can build Colossus which is this, and there are 5 different flavors of doom to pick from, depending on your empire ethics. Global Pacifier, Neutron Sweep, Nanobot Dispersal, God Ray or vanilla flavor Planet Cracker? Take your pick! The Nemesis DLC ups the ante by allowing empires to become a crisis and existentially threaten the entire galaxy with two more doomsday devices. The first is the Star-Eater, which consumes entire stars and collapses them into black holes, harvesting a vast amount of dark matter and destroying every planet in the system and every non-Star-Eater ship in the system. This dark matter is vital to the other doomsday device, the Aetherophaesic Engine, which when fully completed wipes out all life in the galaxy and snuffs out every star to destroy the barrier between reality and the Shroud, allowing its builders to enter the Shroud, conquer it, and become gods, thus winning the game.
  • The System Killer in Sword of the Stars is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Given that the playable factions can only scour planets clean of life, it's very much an Outside-Context Problem. Supplementary material states that it was a tool of war by some Precursors that... "lost its way".
  • The Team Fortress 2 maps Gravelpit and Nucleus are fought over these. The former is a Ray Gun. The latter is...a gigantic spinning whirligig of light. Hanging over a radioactive pit. It's quite pretty.
  • In Within a Deep Forest, your goal is to stop a bomb designed to freeze the entire world. There is a time machine in the game. Guess where it leads?
  • In X-COM: Interceptor, you eventually discover that the aliens are building a giant, invincible Doomsday Machine, one shot from which will raze the Earth, killing everything and everyone there. Of course, it's invincible, so you can't directly harm it. The only solution X-Com scientists can come up with is the Nova Bomb, a human Doomsday Device that instantly causes a star to explode, wiping out everything in the solar system. Of course, there's nothing preventing you from using it on solar systems that aren't harboring the alien Doomsday Machine...

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Nasuverse, the alchemists of Atlas are said to possess a rather large stockpile of doomsday devices, built to fight back against whatever they predict will end the world. And, later, against their previous doomsday devices which are now part of how the world will end.
  • Sunrider has two examples:
    • The Paradox Core is a giant PACT space station that can destroy entire systems by collapsing a star into an artificial black hole. The Solar Alliance reverse-engineers a downscaled version called the Tactical Paradox Warhead, a bomb capable of blowing up a planet.
    • The Sharr’Lac is an ancient Ryuvian dreadnought that can destroy everything within a half-lightyear radius via a powerful energy pulse. Sola reveals that there used to be entire fleets of similar ships, and that they could potentially destroy the universe if they all fired at once. To prevent this, the Ryuvian Emperors installed safeguards so that only a daughter of the royal bloodline could activate a Sharr’lac, at the cost of her life.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in The Demented Cartoon Movie: Evil Blah puts his "weird evil machine thing o' doom" into operation, even though nobody knows what it does. Its true purpose seems to be spitting out green sludge that's not actually useful for anything.

  • Schlock Mercenary introduced long-guns in Book 11, and spent most of the next seven books trying to keep them secret from the greater galactic community because a weapon that can fire through hyperspace at any target with a hypernet connection in the Milky Way galaxy with no indication of where it came from could utterly destroy galactic civilization. In Book 18 the dark matter entities of the Andromeda galaxy turn out to have one that can shoot other galaxies.

    Web Videos 
  • The Mercury Men try to pull the Moon down to crash into the Earth using a Gravity Engine.

    Western Animation 
  • This is occasionally a problem on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius; fortunately, Professor Calamitous is unable to finish anything he starts, leaving Jimmy a way to somehow save the day.
  • Ben 10: Animo's telescopic Transmodulator, the Loboan's makeshift receiver designed to spread Corrodium over the Earth, etc..
  • Ben 10: Omniverse has the Anihilaarg, a device created by the Contemelia. It can destroy an entire universe (containing multiple dimensions and timelines) with ridiculous ease. In the final episode, it's revealed out that if there isn't a universe for it to destroy, the Anihilaarg will create it instead.
  • Nimnul from Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers loved to make these ("Nobody takes a Mad Scientist seriously until he levels a city or two," he tells his nephew), and every time they were powered by something more and more bizarre. His first one was powered by petting cats.
  • In Exo Squad, the Big Bad Hitler-wannabe Phaeton constructs an antimatter bomb to blow up the Earth, should the Terrans come close to recapture it. Bat-shit insane as he may be, he actually has a good motivation for this, as destroying Earth is his way of retaliating for the accidental destruction of Mars, the de facto Neosapien homeworld.
  • The Annihilatrix from Frisky Dingo is a giant rocket engine built to send the Earth into the Sun. Inverted when it instead burns off greenhouse gases, completely reversing global warming when activated.
  • In Futurama, the Professor has around a dozen of these on a shelf at Planet Express. His personal favorite being the Sphere-o-Boom. Occasionally he even uses them.
    Prof. Farnsworth: I suppose I could part with one and still be feared...
  • The plot of most of the G.I. Joe mini-series involved Cobra attempting to make a doomsday device out of parts scattered all over the world. The Joe team then tries to keep Cobra from obtaining the parts. (Arise, Serpentor, Arise also followed this plot, where Cobra was genetically engineering a human being.)
  • In Gravity Falls, the author of the journals unwittingly builds one of these under the influence of Bill Cipher.
  • Kim Possible: Busting these kind of devices is pretty much the titular heroine's hobby, with Dr. Drakken the major builder of them. The best is the machine that can suck the entire planet dry of breathable oxygen. It's activated once, is quickly destroyed, never referenced ever again, and didn't make any sense in the original episode at all.
  • The one and only time the League of Super Evil was considered a true danger was the time their Mad Scientist came up with a device that would've backed up every toilet in the city and had the military rushing out to tell him not to do anything rash. That might seem like a lame example, but consider a major city knee-deep in fecal matter...
  • On The Great Space Chase, a serial on Filmation's Mighty Mouse reboot, a Doomsday Device is coveted by the villain Harry the Heartless (Oil Can Harry) while under delivery of Queen Pearl (Pearl Pureheart) and the protection of Mighty Mouse.
  • Motorcity: The Genesis Pod, which could wipe out all of Motorcity.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar special "Blowhole's Revenge", Dr. Blowhole creates a Doomsday machine that draws heat from the Earth's core to melt the polar icecaps and therefore raise the sea level and destroy all life on Earth that cannot swim.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: In "Dawn of the Driscoll", a temporarily-revived Jerry Driscoll's goal is to complete the "destroy the world" doomsday device he was building in college. According to his chief academic rival Viceroy, this is because successful completion of such a device guarantees valedictorian at Mad Scientist University. It's apparently been never done, however, because (as Randy points out), the only way to successfully test such a device is to destroy the world. Jerry eventually gives up on using the device after finding out from his (still-living) wife, Randy and Howard's science teacher Mrs. Driscoll, that he can no longer become valedictorian — only to then claim it's time to get started on his "destroy the universe" doomsday device. It's at this point everyone, even Mrs. Driscoll, decides to undo his revival and turn him back into an inanimate skeleton.
  • Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends: The EMP bomb, and the Shadoen fleet.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power it's eventually revealed that the First Ones were xenophobic imperialists who invaded Etheria and modified its natural magic with technology to convert the entire planet into a superweapon against the rest of the universe. The climax of the final season involves disarming it once and for all, freeing up the restrained magic and restoring the world to what it should have been all along.
  • The first season episode "Double Doomsday" of Sonic Boom involved Dave the Intern attempt to show up his idol Dr. Eggman by building and using his own doomsday device. Eggman countered with his own doomsday device. The climax of the episode revolved around Sonic and Tails attempting to get the two devices to cancel each other out.
  • The Series Finale of Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), appropriatedly titled "The Doomsday Project", was the culmination of the show's climatic story arc. The titular device was a gigantic tower-like machine that produced UFO-like pods and dispursed them around Mobius in order to subjugate the remaining pockets of resistance on the planet.
  • In the season 4 finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks, Nick Locarno protects his emerging Nova Fleet with a Ferengi-made, black market bought Genesis Device. Mariner steals the device and tries to detonate it elsewhere to prevent Locarno from using it. It ultimately blows up in Locarno's face when Mariner activates it and when Locarno tries to deactivate it, it turns out the Ferengi put a Cash Gate behind it.
  • Steven Universe:
    • The Cluster, a big artificial fusion of thousands of Gem shards which, if it forms, it will destroy Earth from the inside. Fortunately, Steven manages to befriend it and help it bubble itself instead.
    • In the movie, the villain shows up on Earth with a giant Kindergarten Injector filled with poison that will kill all life on Earth in less than two days if not stopped. Subverted when it ends up injecting it's entire payload at the climax which, while wreaking devastation, is damage Steven is eventually able to fix over time.
  • In the "Turtles in Space" arc of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Professor Honeycutt never intended his teleportation device to be a super-weapon, but two warring empires saw the potential for it to be one, as they could use it to teleport nuclear bombs into the cores of planets.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • In the first season finale has Slade unveil his chronoton detonator, a machine that can permanently stop time across an entire city. It turns out to be a fake; making the Titans think he had such a device was all part of a Batman Gambit.
    • In "X", Professor Chang uses the stolen Zynothium to power a giant laser cannon, which he intends to use to destroy the city because... reasons.
    • In "Employee of the Month", the Source has a bomb that can blow up a planet, which it has labelled "The Destructotron".

    Real Life 
  • Apparently, the Soviet Union had a semi-autonomous system set up during the Reagan years called Perimeter. The purpose of this system was so that, in the event of nuclear war, the country's nuclear arsenal could be deployed quasi-automatically in response to a nuclear attack on Soviet soil, regardless of whether or not the Soviet leadership was even still alive - thus allowing the Soviet nuclear arsenal to function as a doomsday device. Sound familiar?
    • While it's sinister and Russian, the Perimeter system is not that different from the contingency plans of every Cold War era nuclear state - preserving a second strike capability was seen as essential to discourage opponents from making a surprise first strike. This is why ICBM-carrying submarines were developed and refined by all five major nuclear powers. The most charming contingency plan is certainly the UK's Letters of Last Resort.
    • The automated systems used by the US and USSR gave false fire orders more than once, each time disaster was barely avoided by someone refusing standing orders because they didn't trust the system. Most were due to the systems misidentifying natural phenomena as incoming missiles.
      • The problem with systems designed to respond in the event of a decapitation strike is making sure they won't respond unless there is a decapitation strike. Since a decapitation strike is generally intended to paralyze the target long enough to ensure total defeat before it can organize a coherent response, this makes the window for the system to correctly detect and respond to such a strike very small.
  • At one point, the scientists at Los Alamos entertained the possibility that a single atomic bomb could turn out to be one. Before the detonation of the first nuclear bomb, Trinity, bets were taken about the yield of the explosion. Predictions ranged from a dud to the ignition of the atmosphere itself and the total destruction of the planet. Although calculated to be almost impossible, the almost was enough to cause some anxiety among some of the physicists all the way up to the moment of the detonation. The moment of detonation is what is today called a "Fermi moment".
    • According to the book Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, the closest estimate was from a visiting scientist who hadn't actually worked on the bomb at all. The reason was that apparently most of the scientists who had worked on the bomb "lowballed" their estimates to avoid looking foolish, and the visitor felt that "as a guest, I supposed that I should name a flatteringly high figure."
    • There was also some concern that a thermonuclear device detonated in the ocean would cause a chain reaction of nuclear fusion, which proved even less founded.
  • A cobalt bomb (similar to the aforementioned one in Dr. Strangelove), which would "salt" the surface of the earth with fallout and render it uninhabitable, was hypothesized by the progenitors of the Manhattan Project, but never attempted.
  • Project Orion was meant to send a large spacecraft into space using a series of nuclear explosions, for peaceful exploration purposes. In order to help with military funding, the scientists working on the project had to come up with military applications. One of the ideas was that since it could carry really heavy loads into orbit, they could give it a massive hydrogen bomb payload without the weight constraints of other delivery systems. It could then hover over the Soviet Union and be dropped if needed, wiping out the USSR and probably destroying the climate of the northern hemisphere in the process.
    • Another version placed the entire US retaliatory arsenal on Orion-powered ships operating as far out as the orbit of the Moon. At such a distance, it would be impossible to launch a surprise attack on the retaliation capacity and on targets on Earth (the missiles would take at least one day to reach the ships, which would be immune to any anticipated strike by a single warhead, since they could simply take the hit on the pusher plate and sustain no damage). In the even of an enemy first strike, the ships would proceed to make their attack runs to launch their own warheads in retaliation, secure in the knowledge that if they had received incorrect information, the fact it would take about one day to get into launch position would give plenty of time for the error to be detected and corrected (preventing an accidental first strike).
  • The Israeli The Samson Option, which basically is a nuclear missile programmed to hit every European and Middle Eastern capital should Israel ever find itself in a losing war. (The Middle East is understandable, but why Europe? Revenge for 2000 years of persecution and pogroms. And as an "incentive" to help Israel before they lose the war.)
  • Hermann Kahn, a defense analyst who was an inspiration for the character of Dr. Strangelove, proposed a doomsday device to the Strategic Air Command officers as a rhetorical device to illustrate how this idea was but a slight exaggeration of their primary nuclear warfare strategy.
  • Project Pluto was a doomsday device proposed by the United States military in the late 1950s. Pluto was a intercontinental nuclear-ramjet powered automated nuclear bomber/cruise missile. Pluto used an unshielded nuclear reactor to help power its ramjet, which caused radioactive debris to spew out of its exhaust. The missile would fly at extremely low height at Mach 3, which would create a pressure wave powerful enough to destroy buildings. Pluto also had effectively no maximum range; it could fly for weeks at a time (and then when it does run out of fuel, it would come crashing down, spewing nuclear waste in every direction). To top it off, Pluto carried multiple nuclear warheads, allowing it to bomb multiple targets with almost no warning. Because of its extremely low operational height, Pluto would be effectively impossible to kill using conventional weapons; the only way to stop it was to drop nuclear bombs in its path. The project was canceled (after building the engine) when the brass began to realize that it was not a particularly good idea to build a doomsday device that the Soviets could copy, and the notion that Pluto was "too provocative". Pluto even appeared in The World's Worst Weapons, not because it was a bad weapon, but because it was such a horrific killing machine, with an individual Pluto being capable of killing tens of millions of people.
  • Some people are afraid that the Large Hadron Collider or LDH could potentially become one. In this article that lists five possible doomsday scenarios, it is a key component in three of them. (Of course, the article was written in 2009, and since then, they've done a lot more research on it.)


Video Example(s):


Ferengi Genesis Device

Locarno threatens to use the Genesis Device as a weapon to make sure the other galactic powers don't attack his nascent organization.

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Example of:

Main / DoomsdayDevice

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