Doom is unflappable. Not just because it’s the original influential FPS (even more than Wolfenstein 3-D) that paved the way for Quake, Unreal and Half-Life, or even because it has the best name for a shooter ever. It’s always reveled in its simplicity, too — Doom is demons and hell and gore, and that’s all it’s ever needed to be. The same could be said of its weapons, which, aside from slight upgrades, tweaks and cosmetic changes made over the years, haven’t changed much since 1993.
So while it may not be reasonable to properly rank and order the series hardware — the sliding damage scale going from a pistol to a rocket launcher is pretty obvious — evaluating Doom’s arsenal on its level of badassery certainly is. With Bethesda’s newest DOOM out in a matter of days, now seems like the perfect time.
Don’t underestimate your fists. Even in the original games Doomguy was tough enough to down a zombie or an imp in a flourish of blood with a few brass knuckled swipes. In DOOM, your fists (and feet) can also finish weakened monsters off with a glory kill, which is as violent a reward as you can get outside Brutal Doom. Way to ratchet things up, id.
Doom’s chainsaw is exactly what it appears to be: a power tool that doubles as a horror movie staple, a motorized killing device (well, in video games anyway) covered in little metal teeth designed to chew through anything it touches. Quite possibly the most satisfying of all the series’ weapons, Doom 3’s gets the nod for sheer explosive gore, while DOOM’s weathered everyman design and graphically-stylized dynamic cutting action is a good evolution.
Doom and Doom IIs plasma guns sport a cool ‘80s, Blade Runner-chic industrial design that fit well with the visual of blue bursts spewing out, annihilating most anything in your path. Compared to the tube design of the original, Doom 3 and DOOM’s are closer to Aliens’ pulse rifle — fine for one of Cameron’s space marines, but definitely not as cool.
Another pretty self-explantory piece, the super shotgun has a double barrel (usually sawed-off) for extra damage. The super shotgun’s antique design gives it more of a personality than a black hunk of metal, but what really makes it feel great is the sound and kickback — especially with Doom 3’s disintegrating body particle system.
I thought Doom 3’s chaingun looked sweet, then I saw DOOM’s. DOOM’s wins.
Now this is a weapon! Just look at it. Originally meant for the first Doom, the Unmaker was cut but was able to see the light of day for its first and only official outing in Doom 64. This thing fires lasers that tear through flesh and it’s made from demon bones, which is probably why it looks like the worst kind of arcane nightmare, complete with skull and pentagram. (The name feels like a giveaway, too). Tom Hall’s Doom Bible says it feeds on human souls — hardly surprising, since it looks ready to suck the marrow from its user, leaving them a lifeless husk.
The Soul Cube is sort of the spiritual successor to the Unmaker, if the architects of its profaned parts were H.R. Giger and, given its love for blades, probably Clive Barker. (Alternately, it’s Doom’s very own Cronos device.) Like its predecessor, the Cube also feeds on souls, replenishing some of Doomguy’s health from its kills. The weapon only appears in Doom 3 but it’s not a face you’ll soon forget.
The BFG makes what appears to be a triumphant return in DOOM. That Baron of Hell didn’t know what hit it.