Romero's head


(Redirected from Boss brain)
John Romero's head on a stick

Romero's head is a thing that looks like the severed head of John Romero impaled on a pole. It appears in Doom II MAP30: Icon of Sin, where it must be damaged with the rocket launcher to finish the level. It is located in a room that cannot be reached or looked into from the outside; the only way to see it is to use the idclip cheat code and go behind the face of the final boss.

The head is deliberately placed in a small pit to prevent it from being attacked with means other than the splash damage of the rocket launcher. However, unintended exploits have been discovered that allow the player to hit it with any weapon from the lift.

The head has 250 hit points meaning it is usually killable in two to three rockets. The head alone is harmless, but usually with these heads come spawn shooters. The head roars in pain when damaged, but it is the spawn shooter, not the head, that initially speaks backwards in Romero's voice.

When the head dies, the sound DSBOSDTH is played, explosions are spawned and the level ends. The explosions are created 320 units south from the Romero's head at heights between 128 and 640 units.

Romero's head has a sprite prefix of BBRN, and is also known as the Boss Brain,[1] or Big Brain (an interpretation by the DeHackEd author before the Doom source code was released). The former name can be taken as part of an insider joke, as the "boss brain" of the level would be the head of one of the bosses at id Software.


Appearance statistics[edit]

The IWADs contain the following number of Romero's heads per skill level:

Game 1-2 3 4-5
Doom II 1 1 1
TNT: Evilution 1 1 1
The Plutonia Experiment 1 1 1

Of the maps covered on the Doom Wiki, the following have the highest numbers of Romero's heads in single-player:

Map Count
MAP32: The Womb Etched into Time (1x1) 775
MAP30: ??? (Claustrophobia 1024 2) 116
MAP30: The Final Destruction (Mock 2: The Speed of Stupid) 70
MAP31: I Dare You To Fuckin' Try Bitch! (Doomworld Maximum Project 2022) 46
MAP30: Resurrection (Cyberdreams) 40

This data was last verified on March 13, 2024.


Jay Wilbur, John Carmack and John Romero in a photo that appeared in Wired Magazine.
  • In source ports that remove the infinite Z height quirk from a rocket's splash damage in vanilla Doom, it may take considerably more shots to destroy a Romero's head than intended. Most such ports, including ZDoom and Doomsday, now remove the infinite Z height splash damage from rockets but also include an exception via mobj flags which causes the Romero's head to be damaged as if it had an infinite Z height.
  • The source image for the sprite was a photo taken for a magazine photoshoot in 1994. This photo appeared in July edition of Wired Magazine, though Romero himself has stated that it was taken for a photoshoot for BusinessWeek.


  1. id Software (23 December 1997). "Doom source code, p_setup.c line 324." Retrieved 15 September 2017.

External links[edit]