– Dane Mercer
DOOM, id Software’s baby and the daddy of the first-person shooter video game genre, ripped and tore its way onto PCs back in 1993 and has since made its way to games consoles, and pretty much everything with a screen. I’ve loved this game since I was a kid, and while I’ve only just really started to dig deep into the series, it’s become an absolute staple of my game’s library and kept me (questionably) sane over the Covid lockdown.
DOOM puts you in the blood-soaked boots of a heroic space marine affectionately known as the “Doomguy” in the fan community (and officially named the “Doom Slayer” in the newer games). He’s a man literally too angry to die (“Rip and Tear!”), despite the best efforts of Hell… and the movie industry. He’s the silent, nameless protagonist that is always depicted as the first to grab a shotgun and get things done. In DOOM Eternal you can even go into the Doom Slayer’s “man cave” to discover the softer side of Earth’s hero. When he isn’t slaughtering the forces of Hell, the Doomguy is also a video game-loving, comic book-reading, toy-collecting nerd… with a beloved pet rabbit named Daisy.
While Doomguy may be the protagonist, it would be a really short game if he didn’t have something to shoot. Always one for the bad guys, I’m gonna give you a run through of my favorite DOOM monsters that you get to introduce to the noisy end of a Super Shotgun…
1 – ZOMBIEMAN
The classic Zombieman is the first enemy you encounter. While the pistol-packing Zombiemen are a joke, the more advanced units armed with either a shotgun or a chain-gun will quickly remind you what the death screen looks like if you don’t put them down fast.
A true fodder demon, these undead UAC soldiers haven’t evolved much in DOOM’s nearly 30 year history. They are there to distract you and whittle you down while bigger demons bear down on you, though they can provide that much needed clip of ammo if you’re a sadist who pistol starts classic DOOM levels. In more modern DOOM titles, an all but harmless “zombie” variant has been added who staggers around like a drunk and is literally just there to chainsaw for ammo when you run dry.
The worst of these guys is the chain-gunner who first appeared in DOOM 2. They have scary accuracy and will happily remind you very quickly that DOOM is here to punish you…
2 – IMPS
Up next is the Imp, ground level demons who infest lower levels and throw fireballs like it’s your wedding day. I have a soft spot for these guys. As a war gamer I’ve bought more of the DOOM board game than I dare to admit in order to pad out my demon units with Imps.
The Imp has gone through a few changes since the early days, but have largely stayed true to the basic formula. Getting a little more agile with every new game released, Imp’s currently zip around the battlefield dodging gunfire and flinging fireballs from every possible angle, though they aren’t above getting up close and personal.
A cool variant was the blue hued, semi-translucent Nightmare Imps of DOOM 64 that were a little tougher than the regular guys and would later seem to inspire the Prowler demon found in DOOM Eternal.
As with all DOOM monsters, there aren’t many collectibles of the Imp. However, TUBBZ recently released a collectible Imp in adorable rubber duck form and it is significantly less likely to throw a fireball at you.
3 – PINKIES
I love Pinkies – dumb as a post, strong as an ox, and adorable to boot. Based on in-game lore, they are also quite a tasty snack for larger demons to munch on. As a DOOM enemy to fight, Pinkies equal a rabid brick wall of a monster that needs to be put down fast.
Pinkies have always been the attack dog of Hell’s hordes; a powerhouse that will get right in your face and mess you up in a hurry if you’re not paying attention. A fun thing to do with these guys in the older games is to use them as a meat shield against heavier monsters with ranged attacks. DOOM has this fun mechanic where if a monster is hit by another type of monster they start infighting. So if you want to save some ammo, keep these Hell-piggies between you and the bigger stuff and laugh when your enemy gets a screaming mound of Hell bacon charging at them because they hit the wrong target.
There’s also a mostly invisible Pinky that can be an absolute nightmare when facing off against hordes of other demons. Invisible Pinkies are especially nasty when encountered in a dark corridor – which, of course, is where you typically find them. Fortunately, both Pinky types in the older games go down rather easily with one close-up Super Shotgun blast in the face. For the newer DOOM titles, you’re best strategy is to shoot ’em in the butt.
4 – REVENANT
I hate Revenants. I’m currently playing through the infamously cruel DOOM 2 add-on “The Plutonia Experiment” and I’ve seen enough of these monsters to last a lifetime. Introduced in DOOM 2, these things are the shambling remains of dead demons wired into armor and armed with shoulder-mounted rocket launchers, sometimes with meat-seeking missiles.
The Revenant’s basic form of attack hasn’t changed much over the years, although in DOOM 2016 they decided this monster needed a jetpack, and a devastating missile barrage. Like I said, DOOM is designed to punish you.
The Revenant’s backstory changed a little in 2016 as well, making them human subjects wired into armor and exposed to the energies of Hell – a painful process which causes bones to grow; stretching and tearing the flesh around them. This gruesome image sent shivers down my spine when I first read it in the game lore and added to the ever-present body horror that is rife throughout the DOOM franchise.
An awesome statue of this creature was included in the special edition of DOOM 2016, including a cool fan cover base that lit up from below.
5 – MANCUBUS
To me the Mancubus is the quintessential “big guy with big guns” enemy trope. These lumbering behemoths are demons which take a lot of damage… and dish out just as much. Mancubus’ (Mancubi?) are armed with a pair of flamethrowers surgically grafted to their arms, all while screaming nonsense as they try to cook you.
These dudes have gone through some significant design changes over their video game career. Starting as a vaguely human, ogre-type monster, the Mancubus took a more Lovecraftian, Cthulhu-inspired look in DOOM 3. DOOM 2016 gave them a more biological look with a purple-blue carapace that resembled a crustacean before returning to their classic hulking humanoid appearance in DOOM Eternal. Of them all, I prefer the 2016 Mancubus as it looks like an actual biological demon that evolved naturally into what it is.
Another variant of this creature is the Cyber-Mancubus. This creature has gone through a fair amount of augmentation; equipped with better armor and new arms which trade-in flamethrowers for long range chemical cannons which have an added area of denial effect to keep you moving.
6 – ARCH-VILE
The DOOM 2 manual tells you “there aren’t enough bad things to say about this guy” and after you’ve meet one, you’ll quickly agree.
Arch-vile’s are the closest thing Hell has to a field medic and mage. They move pretty quickly, resurrect dead demons and can summon a hellfire blast that will take off most of your health in one hit. Rule of thumb: if you see an Arch-vile raise his arms in the air like he just don’t care, get the hell out of Dodge or you’re toast. The later games replaced the Arch-vile’s resurrection abilities with the ability to summon demons, while in DOOM 3 the monster is treated as just a lesser demon or two. DOOM Eternal, on the otherhand, has the Arch-vile summoning a whole platoon of VERY powerful monsters to get in your way, all while he laughs at you from behind a wall of fire.
The Arch-vile took a vacation for DOOM 2016 and were replaced by their little cousins, the Summoners. They had basically the same kind of attacks and obvious summoning ability, but those creatures were easier to kill at the expense of teleporting around the battlefield and launching severely punishing hell waves at you from afar.
Unfortunately, no Arch-vile collectibles exist of this at time of writing, which is a damn shame. The DOOM Eternal iteration would make a killer statue or action figure.
7 – CACODEMON
Part of the OG 1993 crew, Cacodemons are angry flying meatballs with massive fanged mouths that spit energy balls. Tactically, these creatures haven’t changed much over the years, however they have gotten faster at closing the distance to you. This really puts their man-munching maw to use, leaving you wondering where the hell your health went.
Visually, Cacodemons have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride. DOOM 64 saw them develop arms and horns, while DOOM 3 gave them six eyes, tentacles and an exposed brain. Currently, Cacodemons have gone back to their classic red, horned meatball look. They even have an endearingly grumpy expression, which has drawn the affection of many fans.
Worth mentioning is this demon’s relative, the Pain Elemental, another angry flying meatball that launches ever irritating Lost Souls at you from afar. Take these down fast or you’re gonna end up surrounded by more flaming skulls than a biker tattoo parlor.
8 – BARONS OF HELL
The Barons… a pair of these things acted as the final bosses for Episode One in 93’s original DOOM and they became a regular enemy type soon after. They are big, hit hard and WILL rip you apart if you get careless around them. Taking a break during DOOM 3 (leaving their little brothers the Hell Knights in charge), the Barons of Hell returned in all their brightly colored, green fireball-throwing glory in DOOM 2016. They are a solid and painful reminder that standing still equals death.
Visually, Barons have remained the same; a pinkish red and brown demon that definitely stands out from the hordes of Hell. The most recent iteration saw them take on a black, charred appearance with flaming blades protruding from the backs of their arms… because being a towering, horned demon just wasn’t metal enough.
I still tend to lump in Hell Knights with the Barons of Hell. Initially a recolored Baron in DOOM 2, the Hell Knight was made a smaller, weaker enemy type that appeared in larger numbers. In DOOM 3 they really set themselves apart. Briefly becoming the mascot for the game, they took on the size and strength of a Baron before returning to their smaller role as a heavy bruiser demon. Thankfully they retained their distinctive hornless, Alien-esque appearance to further set them apart.
Aside from the model of the Baron found in the DOOM board game, the Hell Knight is also available in devilish duck form!
9 – MARAUDER
Marauders were formally elite warriors aligned with the Doomslayer. That is until they threw their lot in with Hell and were resurrected in new and corrupted forms. As agents of Hell, Marauders now relentlessly hunt the Doomslayer; severely punishing inattentive or distracted players with a battle axe, double-barreled shotgun AND summoned Hell Wolves.
Personally, I like Marauders as they break up the spray and pray feel of the game. While they demand your complete attention and combat prowess, taking one down feels incredibly rewarding… even more so if you manage to tackle two at a time.
The Marauder is available now as an action figure by McFarlane Toys. This badass figure comes with his Argent axe and a DOOM-branded display base. You can also get the Marauder as an adoarble TUBBZ rubber ducky!
10 – CYBERDEMON
Hoo boy, this guy… The Cyberdemon gets the honor of initially being a boss and then becoming a more frequent enemy type down the line. The first time you encounter a Cyberdeom is in the second episode of the original DOOM game. The TON of rocket ammo scattered around the map was a big clue that this was gonna be a heck of a fight. The Cyberdemon is one of the quintessential “Boss” demons of DOOM and definitely stands as a test of your dodging ability.
DOOM 3 saw the Cyberdemon take on a far more mechanical and alien appearance and the fight itself was somewhat disappointing as you just ran around dodging him and powering up a super weapon that killed him in three hits.
DOOM 2016 gave us, in my opinion, the best Cyberdemon. While visually he was a significant departure from the old cow-like demon of old, he definitely had character. Wearing dark green armor and armed with a massive hooked blade on his remaining arm, he stood apart. It even had a back story that he was once the corpse of a “Baal’gar” demon before being resurrected and loaded with enough artillery to wipe a small country off the map. He was a prototype and the Cyberdemons we know and love were the end result. In DOOM Eternal, the Cyberdemons returned to their classic appearance. While far more numerous, they were still exceptionally satisfying to bring down with a brutal glory kill.
HONORABLE MENTION – ICON OF SIN
As you can probably tell by now, I absolutely love DOOM and its monsters. As such, it’d be a shame to leave off the iconic Icon of Sin. The final boss of DOOM 2, the Icon was more of a set piece that launched monsters at you. You won by getting on an elevator and timing your shot just right to fire a rocket directly into its exposed brain three times.
The sheer size of the beast was intended to be massive, but all you fought was the head. Iconic, for sure, but we wouldn’t see the true scale of the Icon of Sin until DOOM Eternal. In this game we got to fight the Godzilla-sized demon atop a skyscraper in an epic final boss battle that I will NEVER forget…
That’s it right? You’ve reached the end of the list, maybe you clicked some of the links above and helped yourself to a cool collectible or two. Maybe you even went back and played some more DOOM… or maybe you’ve found this article’s (not so) Secret Boss!
Much like this list, the Spider Mastermind is the final boss of DOOM (original and 2016); a surprise enemy kept out of the manual as this demon is literally the brains of the operation. Responsible for Hell’s invasion, this was the big bad responsible for causing all your problems. Much like other bosses (see Cyberdemon), the Spider Mastermind would later appear as a recurring enemy alongside much smaller versions – the Arachnotron – which debuted in DOOM 2.
DOOM 2016 would see this beast get a massive upgrade to the visuals, as well as it’s arsenal. Trading in a chain-gun for a plasma gun and telekinesis, the Spider Mastermind put you through Hell before you finally brought it down and gave it one of the most satisfying endings I’ve seen in a video game.
– Dane Mercer
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