This article is about the Imp in the original Doom games. For the monster in Doom 3, see Imp (Doom 3).
An imp fighting our hero in E1M1: Hangar

The imp is a human-sized humanoid monster, the most common opponent encountered in id Software's IWADs. It is leather brown in color, with red eyes, a number of white bony spikes on its body, and equally white claws on its hands and feet.

The Doom instruction manual says:

You thought an imp was a cute little dude in a red suit with a pitchfork. Where did these brown bastards come from? They heave balls o' fire down your throat and take several bullets to die. It's time to find a weapon better than that pistol if you're going to face more than one of these S.O.B.s.

Combat characteristics[edit]

An imp will make a loud, serpentine hiss in two different pitches when it spots a player. An imp attacks by hurling a single fireball, which inflicts direct projectile damage. At melee range, it employs a clawing attack. When killed without being gibbed, an imp will randomly emit one of two distinct low-pitched snarls.

Tactical analysis[edit]

The imp moves slowly, as do its fireballs. The player should practice until evading both sorts of objects becomes completely straightforward (except perhaps under highly unusual circumstances, such as a teleportation trap, in close quarters, or when surrounded).

An imp can usually be killed by a single shotgun shell and often by six bullets. As the citation above implies, facing multiple imps with a pistol takes concentration, but it can be done, given sufficient maneuvering room and adequate footwork on the player's part. In fact, the imp's relatively high pain chance sometimes makes it difficult for it to retaliate when damaged often.

Imps often come in packs, and the super shotgun or rocket launcher are both particularly effective here. While the standard shotgun is not completely reliable in dispatching an imp per shell, a blast from the super shotgun usually brings two down and, in rare cases, even three. The rocket launcher can take out entire crowds with little difficulty if used carefully. When killed, it either lets out an animalistic moan of pain or a distorted gurgle as a hole opens up in its mid-section, unleashing plentiful amounts of blood as it falls onto its back.

Melee against an imp should usually be avoided by novices as it is much trickier than against a demon, as the imp is quicker with its clawing attack than the generally less dexterous demon. The chainsaw takes only a bit of time to dispatch an imp, so it is convenient against a single enemy, but the player risks being surrounded if there are several imps. If the encounter takes place in a large open area, hit-and-run tactics with the berserk fist are safe and effective, as long as the player is not under fire from different sides.

Although its ranged attack and hit point total give it an advantage against the lesser zombies, the imp can easily find itself outmatched during monster infighting. A single imp fighting a shotgun guy may yet call victory, but a demon or spectre can almost always overpower the first two or three imps they engage in melee, and a couple of blows from any even larger monster will more than likely put an imp out of its misery.

Imp fireballs move fifty percent faster than usual when either the Nightmare! skill level or the -fast command line parameter are used, and these are hurled rather persistently by the monster as long as a target is in sight.


  • The Doom source code gives the object name MT_TROOP and the sprite root name TROO to the imp, arguably because imps were called "demon troops" in the Doom Bible, being the main and more common force of monsters of a directly demonic origin in the invasion. According those early plans, the imps were meant to belong to a different species than the demon troops and were described as more traditionally impish in design; small flying demons, possibly like those eventually found in Heretic, which were apparently called gargoyles mainly to distinguish them from the existing Doom monster, since they look like commonplace imps.
  • Imps are the only other monsters aside from zombies that emit two different alert sounds when spotting the player.


ID # 3001 (decimal), BB9 (hex)
Hit points 60
Speed 8 map units per frame
(93.3 map units per second)
Width 40
Height 56
Reaction time 8
Pain chance 200 (78.13%)
Pain time 4 tics
Mass 100
Bits 4194310
Bits list

1: Obstacle

2: Shootable

22: Affects Kill %

Sprites & sounds
Sprite name TROO
Alert sound DSBGSIT1 or
Action sound DSBGACT
Pain sound DSPOPAIN
Death sound DSBGDTH1 or
DSBGDTH2 (normal)
DSSLOP (gibs)
Melee attack
Damage 3-24
Ranged attack
Type Projectile
Speed 10 map units per tic
(350 map units per second)
Damage 3-24
Width 6
Height 8
Sprite name BAL1
Sound DSFIRSHT (firing)
DSFIRXPL (impact)
Damage done by an imp's attack (either type)
Scratches needed to kill1 Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
8.05 1.41 5 12
Player (100%
health, security armor)
11.65 1.67 8 16
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
29.11 2.22 24 34
Barrel 2.04 0.79 1 4
Trooper 2.04 0.79 1 4
Sergeant 2.77 0.78 2 5
Wolfenstein SS 4.30 1.03 3 8
Imp 4.97 1.09 3 9
Chaingunner 5.88 1.20 4 10
Lost Soul 8.05 1.41 5 12
Commander Keen 8.05 1.41 5 12
Demon 11.65 1.67 8 16
Spectre 11.65 1.67 8 16
Boss Brain2 19.27 1.92 14 23
Revenant 22.81 2.10 17 27
Cacodemon 30.37 2.33 25 35
Pain Elemental 30.37 2.33 25 35
Hell Knight 37.80 2.58 31 44
Arachnotron 37.80 2.58 31 44
Mancubus 45.09 2.84 39 51
Arch-Vile 52.64 2.85 46 58
Baron of Hell 74.97 2.91 69 81
Spider Mastermind 223.72 3.17 217 231
Cyberdemon 298.48 3.71 290 307
Fireballs needed to kill Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
8.09 1.36 5 11
Player (100%
health, security armor)
11.68 1.70 8 16
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
29.19 2.26 24 34
Barrel 2.04 0.77 1 5
Trooper 2.04 0.77 1 5
Sergeant 2.75 0.78 2 5
Wolfenstein SS 4.30 0.99 3 7
Chaingunner 5.87 1.21 4 9
Lost Soul 8.09 1.36 5 11
Commander Keen 8.09 1.36 5 11
Demon 11.68 1.70 8 16
Spectre 11.68 1.70 8 16
Boss Brain2 19.25 2.10 14 24
Revenant 22.80 2.24 17 28
Cacodemon 30.42 2.51 24 36
Pain Elemental 30.42 2.51 24 36
Hell Knight 37.79 2.79 30 44
Arachnotron 37.79 2.79 30 44
Mancubus 45.16 3.09 36 52
Arch-Vile 52.64 3.04 46 60
Baron of Hell 74.95 2.64 70 81
Spider Mastermind 223.64 2.66 217 230
Cyberdemon 298.47 2.97 290 305

  1. These tables assume that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, blood splats, impact animations, and backfire checks are consecutive. In real play, this is never the case: counterattacks and AI pathfinding must be handled, and of course the map may contain additional moving monsters and other randomized phenomena (such as flickering lights). Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
  2. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.
  3. Hardcoded exception to infighting negates damage (excepting indirect damage caused by exploding barrels).

Appearance statistics[edit]

In classic Doom, the imp is first encountered on these maps:

Ultimate Doom E1M1: Hangar E1M1: Hangar E1M1: Hangar
Doom II MAP01: Entryway MAP01: Entryway MAP01: Entryway
TNT: Evilution MAP01: System Control MAP01: System Control MAP01: System Control
Plutonia MAP01: Congo MAP01: Congo MAP01: Congo

The IWADs contain the following numbers of imps:

Ultimate Doom 487 771 974
Doom II 488 905 1223
TNT: Evilution 861 1206 1357
Plutonia 371 406 436

Other games[edit]

Doom 64[edit]

The Doom 64 imp at close range.

The imp is featured in Doom 64, though with a sleeker appearance, only having noticeable spikes along its back.

A more powerful variant known as the Nightmare Imp is also one of the new monsters in the game.

This version of the Imp also features discrete animations for melee attacks versus ranged attacks, similar to the Revenant in other games. This means that unlike other versions of the game, the Imp will not throw a fireball if his melee attack misses the player (since in other versions, the attack type - fireball or melee - is determined by the victim's proximity at the end of the attack animation).

Doom RPG[edit]

In Doom RPG, the imp appears as a class of monster. There are three variations, identified by color:

  • Impling (green)
  • Imp (normal colors)
  • Imp lord (red with green eyes)

Imps are most susceptible to attacks from shotguns.

See also[edit]