The berserk powerup (called berserk pack in the manuals) is an item that looks like a dark gray medikit. Picking one up greatly increases the damage the player inflicts with his fists, and boosts the player's health to the full normal amount (100 percent, unless it was already 100 or more). It also fills the screen with a gradually diminishing red haze.
The effects can also be gained with the cheat code idbeholds.
Of Doom's items, it is the only one to enhance the player's attack ability in a direct way, and it can thus be considered as an additional attack mode, akin to a weapon. However it is an item in the sense that, when it is obtained, the sound effect for a powerup is played and the HUD message displays the pickup name only. Further, it is counted in the items percentage displayed at the end of each level.
The berserk pack increases the strength of the player's punch attack tenfold, typically until the current level ends or the player dies. The damage increase is powerful enough to often smash humanoids to a pulp, or even sometimes kill a demon with a single blow.
The red haze lasts approximately 20 seconds, except in Doom 64 where it is 3 seconds. This haze is relatively intense (applying palette 3) for seven or eight seconds, and then less so (now palette 2) for the rest of the period. In addition to representing the character's altered state, this haze is a slight drawback of the powerup, due to the reduced visibility. This effect might confuse new players, who often believe that the berserk pack's effects last only as long as the red haze is on screen, through analogy to the radiation suit or invulnerability.
When a berserk pack is collected, the player's current weapon will switch to the fist. While giving the impression that the player has "gone berserk", this may be seen as another disadvantage meant to balance the power of the item. Alternatively it may be an indication or hint as to what the powerup actually does, as an uninitiated player may not otherwise guess that his fist damage has been increased. Players grabbing the powerup quickly may find themselves suddenly unarmed and forced into melee combat until they have the opportunity to switch weapons again.
The precise duration of the berserk effect is 122,713,351 seconds, or around 3.9 years. The berserk counter, which is stored as a signed 32-bit integer, is used to time the duration of the red haze and continues to increment every tic (1/35th of a second) once the berserk is activated, even after the red haze has faded; it turns the power-up off again once it wraps back to zero after 4,294,967,296 increments.
Berserk punching is somewhat more damaging than the chainsaw, since it kills quicker and does not "latch" on enemies. Berserk however has the disadvantage of not doing continuous damage, which leaves the player more open to counterattacks, and requires relatively careful aim.
Due to its power, the berserk punch is best used for hit-and-run situations, running up to the foe to throw a punch and then quickly retreating or dodging. Since punching requires good movement skills to avoid attacks at very close range, newer or slower players tend to save this powerup for healing purposes, while more proficient ones often pick it up earlier to save weapon ammo.
- Most levels of Doom, The Ultimate Doom and Doom II include a berserk powerup (excepting Knee-Deep in the Dead, because it is one of the various items excluded in the shareware version).
- A berserk-powered player carrying a chainsaw is able to switch to the fist by pressing 1 on the keyboard. That is, instead of the chainsaw preempting the normal fist attack, the key press will toggle between the two types of attack as long as the berserk is active. When switching from another weapon slot (2 or more) the chainsaw is still produced first.
- The berserk graphic is rendered with full brightness, making it glow in the dark. While this seems to be a general property of demonic artifacts (e.g. a soul sphere), a glowing medkit looks somewhat strange.
- The manuals for The Depths of Doom, the Doom Collector's Edition, and Steam releases incorrectly list the Berserk as a timed pickup. The original paper manuals state the item lasts the whole level, which in practice is more accurate but this is also technically incorrect. Rather, the game's code defines the Berserk state to have an exceedingly long timer that in practice no one will ever exceed at somewhere around 4.3 billion "tics" which translates to nearly 4 years of in-game time.
- Prima's unauthorized strategy guide to Final Doom also declares the pickup is timed, claiming the red haze lasts a couple of minutes and that the berserk effects run out when the haze disappears.
- The Doom II Survival Guide, by Ed Dille, contends that the red haze will remain for the whole level.
|Thing type||2023 (decimal), 7E7 (hex)|
|Appears in||Registered Doom|
The Ultimate Doom
Doom II/Final Doom
The IWADs contain the following numbers of berserk packs per skill level:
In the Xbox 360 and BFG Edition versions of the IWADs, the cross graphic is replaced with a red-and-white pill. This is due to the red cross symbol being protected under a treaty which disallows use in commercial products.
In the 2020 Doom Classic port, the cross is green.
In Doom RPG, the berserk powerup is called a berserker and looks like a red supercharge. Unlike the original, it increases the damage done by all weapons by a factor of 3, and does not heal the player. The increased damage lasts for 30 turns.
|Items from Doom, Doom II and Doom 64|
|Health:||Health bonus • Stimpack • Medikit|
|Armor:||Armor bonus • Armor • Megaarmor|
|Powerups:||Berserk • Computer area map • Invulnerability • Light amplification visor • Megasphere • Partial invisibility • Radiation shielding suit • Supercharge|
|Keys:||Keycard • Skull key • Demon Key|
|Weapons:||Fist • Chainsaw • Pistol • Shotgun • Super shotgun • Chaingun • Rocket launcher • Plasma gun • BFG9000 • Unmaker|
|Ammo:||Backpack • Clip • 4 shotgun shells • Rocket • Energy cell • Box of bullets • Box of shotgun shells • Box of rockets • Energy cell pack|