Updated: Jan 25
Welcome back, everyone. In the previous article, we investigated Doom’s development, its inspirations and its diverse bestiary of demonic enemies. In particular, we saw how each enemy type was designed to fill a specific mutually supporting role with the other enemies. This resulted in combat that required tactics and target prioritisation as much as it required split-second reflexes.
In this, the second article in this three-part investigation of Doom 1993, its sequels, expansion packs and offshoots, we investigate Doom’s iconic and influential arsenal of weapons and abilities.
The game’s purposeful variety in enemies was matched by an equally purposeful variety of weapons with which to fight them. These weapons had a distinct hierarchy, with more and more powerful death dealers being acquired as the game progressed. This helped to balance out the increasingly dangerous demons you encountered, their ever-increasing numbers and the fiendishly challenging level designs they populated.
Each weapon had distinct pros and cons, and victory over the demonic hordes often depended on choosing the right tool for the right job - in the right situation. The list below explains this in greater detail. Note that the list is more-or-less in rank order of the weapon’s firepower - from lowest to highest - and the order in which you obtained them during gameplay;
Your bare fists were your default starting melee weapon. Pretty much useless, but became devastating when paired with the berserk power-up.
The chainsaw was great for dispatching weaker enemies at close range, but was useless at a distance and all but suicidal to use against the larger enemies.
The pistol was both accurate at long range and economical with ammo but had a relatively slow rate of fire and its per-shot damage was rather anaemic.
4. Pump-Action Shotgun
The shotgun was very effective at close-to-medium range and its supply of ammo was plentiful, but its effectiveness was questionable against long-range targets. The inclusion of the shotgun may have been another of Aliens’ inspirations.
5. Chain Gun / Minigun
The Chain Gun fired rapidly which was great against the easily stun-locked Cacodemons. However, its need to keep an enemy in your line of sight made it dangerous to use against enemies that were less easily stun-locked - especially if they were armed with hit scanning weapons themselves.
6. Rocket Launcher / RPG
The rocket launcher’s explosion was devastating and caused splash damage. This made it effective against both larger enemies and whole groups of weaker ones; however, its splash damage made it dangerous to use close up. At long ranges, enemies could evade its relatively slow-moving rockets.
7. Plasma Rifle
The Plasma Rifle was great all-round, but its ammo was both in short supply and shared with the BFG, and thus had to be used sparingly.
8. BFG - Big Frickin' Gun
Dooms ultimate weapon - the BFG - used up a lot of its already scarce ammo per shot and thus had to be saved for when you really needed it. However, one shot from it was capable of clearing whole rooms of enemies. It could be considered Doom’s equivalent of a ‘smart bomb’.
Doom 2 Weapons - The Super Shotgun
Doom 2 added a new weapon to Doomguy’s arsenal - the Double Barrell ‘Super Shotgun<