Heavy weapon dude

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(Redirected from Chaingunner)
A heavy weapon dude begins firing at the player in MAP03: The Gantlet of Doom II.
This article is about the monster in the classic Doom series. For other games, see:

The heavy weapon dude, referred to as the former commando in the Doom II manual, and often called the chaingunner, is the third and most powerful type of human trooper which has been turned into a zombie during the invasion of Earth by Hell. It is the first of the new enemies introduced in Doom II to make an appearance in the game. The heavy weapon dude is a robust, red-eyed bald man with a bloody mouth, wearing bloodstained, red body armor and boots over slate-gray pants, and carries a chaingun with its accompanying ammo belt. Its skin tone is darker than other zombies, and it is larger in breadth and stature. Its attack behavior of firing until its target is out of view, shared with the arachnotron and spiderdemon, can make mincemeat out of the toughest of Doom marines. The official description of the heavy weapon dude follows:

"Geeze, weren't shotgun zombies bad enough? At least when you fade these jerks you get a cool chaingun."
― Doom II instruction manual, page 12 [source]

Combat characteristics[edit]

The heavy weapon dude attacks by firing its chaingun, which does slightly less damage per bullet than the player's chaingun and has a rate of fire that is also slightly lower. However, once it begins to fire, it continues firing while standing still until its target either dies or leaves its line of sight, or the monster is stunned (causing it to move immediately afterward) or destroyed.

When killed, its right side rips apart, with the head exploding, and the right arm falls off as the other half of the body collapses backward. It drops the chaingun, which contains 10 bullets, or 20 on the "I'm too young to die" and "Nightmare!" skill levels. If the monster subsequently respawns or is resurrected, the chaingun remains. In common with other monsters, although the chaingunner's weapon is shown in his right hand, the bullets emerge from his middle.

Tactical analysis[edit]

Because heavy weapon dudes employ a ranged attack that starts quickly and continues in rapid succession (even the spiderdemon pauses briefly in its tracks before firing, giving the player a fraction of a second to take cover), which cannot be dodged, the player must avoid spending any time within short or medium range of them, if possible.

Compared to the zombieman and the shotgun guy, the heavy weapon dude is exceptionally more dangerous, as the higher hit points mean it can survive a shotgun blast if the numbers come up low (the shotgun does 35 damage minimum, which is always enough to take out one of the other zombies if all the pellets hit). Continuous fire from the player's chaingun at close range almost always prevents the zombie from firing, while chaingun "tapping" normally limits it to retaliating with a couple of shots during the remainder of its existence. If there are multiple chaingunners in a clustered formation, usage of the rocket launcher or plasma gun is recommended. Since, like all monsters, heavy weapon dudes do not have any limits on ammunition used, multiple chaingun zombies at any good distance can quickly drain the player's health in the time it takes to cross a large room.

The heavy weapon dude's high rate of fire makes it a formidable presence in monster infighting; provided it survives the initial blow (given their 70 hit points, this is usually the case with an unharmed one), one of these zombies can often take down a healthy cacodemon or arachnotron with continuous stunlocking if they get to return fire. A heavy weapon dude can also sometimes defeat a mancubus or a revenant at close range with some luck when it manages to continuously stun its opponent, preventing any return fire. They will usually be unable to do much though to enemies with low pain chances like the Hell nobles without extreme positional advantage, and their low durability can make them unreliable in general for taking out other monsters, as they usually can not take more than 2-3 hits and it is not unheard of for even an imp to kill an unlucky chaingunner. Additionally while they will cause infighting easily due to their rapid fire attack, their attack being hitscan can make it dangerous for the player to try inducing infighting with them if they are not already behind other monsters. Like all hitscan-firing enemies, heavy weapon dudes can damage each other and will eagerly turn on each other if provoked.

Because of their unrelenting automatic fire, and their tendency to appear in large numbers, they are not enemies to be taken as lightly as the other former humans. They should be considered a high-priority threat in cases where there are many in an enclosed area, even when there are more powerful enemies nearby. Close-range encounters with heavy weapon dudes can rapidly get you killed if they are not disposed of quickly.

Heavy weapon dudes can be found in some stock maps on distant ledges or alcoves, usually across the room from the player, or to the side of the player. This allows them to attack from a distance and attempt to restrict the player's movement. However, they can also be placed above the player's view, where they can freely fire at the player at a steep elevation along which the player cannot aim. This creates a very dangerous, constrained region of terrain, in which the player must neutralize the monster to pass with no additional damage. In the "Nightmare!" skill level, taking damage in such situations is almost guaranteed.

Final Doom is noted for presenting a large number of these foes, especially on the "Ultra-Violence" difficulty.


  • The heavy weapon dude was intended to fire almost exactly like the player's chaingun, however due to a idiosyncrasy of the source code it takes a tic to check if the player is still in its line of sight. Since the check occurs each time two bullets are fired, the heavy weapon dude also fires in bursts of two pellets like the player.
  • While the zombieman and shotgun guy are much less powerful than the corresponding player weapons, the heavy weapon dude is close to the same power as the chaingun weapon. Taking into account damage and rate of fire (but ignoring accuracy), the chaingun fired by a heavy weapon dude has 80% of the overall power of the player's chaingun.
  • Internally the Doom source code gives the heavy weapon dude the type name MT_CHAINGUY, in reference to the chaingun.
  • When the heavy weapon dude dies, its chaingun can still be seen as part of its corpse, despite it also dropping the gun upon dying (which arguably makes more sense when the player is only grabbing the included ammo, and less when the player also equips the chaingun).
  • Final Doom's The Plutonia Experiment has the highest amount of commandos found in a single canonical Doom title: almost every single level has them, with the sole exclusion being MAP11: Hunted, a set piece deliberately employing only arch-viles as enemies.
  • The heavy weapon dude is one of the three enemies whose machine gun sounds like a shotgun being fired rapidly, along with the Wolfenstein SS and the spiderdemon. However, the spiderdemon fires three bullets per shot similar to the shotgun guy's shotgun, whereas the same audio was perhaps accidentally applied to the heavy weapon dude and SS. In the PlayStation[citation needed], Sega Saturn[citation needed] and Game Boy Advance versions, the commando's gunfire noise is "corrected" to sound the same as the player's chaingun.
  • The chaingunner is one of the Doom II monsters to not appear in Doom 64, cut due to restrictions on ROM cartridge size.
  • It is called a "Clyde" in the Doom novels.
  • The official French name of the monster is mec super-armé.
  • The riot soldier included in The Ancient Gods, Part Two bears some resemblance to the heavy weapon dude, with its red armor and chaingun.


Damage done by a heavy weapon dude's bullet
Shots needed to kill1,2 Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
12.29 2.16 9 19
Player (100%
health, security armor)
17.86 2.79 13 26
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
44.18 6.03 37 59
Barrel 2.93 0.83 2 6
Trooper 2.93 0.83 2 6
Sergeant 3.91 1.04 2 7
Wolfenstein SS 6.37 1.39 4 11
Imp 7.43 1.53 5 13
Chaingunner 8.80 1.74 5 15
Lost soul 12.29 2.16 9 19
Commander Keen 12.29 2.16 9 19
Demon 17.86 2.79 13 26
Spectre 17.86 2.79 13 26
Boss brain3 29.78 4.39 25 42
Revenant 35.44 5.22 30 50
Cacodemon 47.41 6.88 40 64
Pain elemental 47.41 6.88 40 64
Hell knight 58.95 8.61 50 82
Arachnotron 58.95 8.61 50 82
Mancubus 70.57 10.22 60 96
Arch-vile 82.52 12.01 70 114
Baron of Hell 117.61 17.02 100 159
Spiderdemon 351.57 51.06 303 473
Cyberdemon 468.91 68.19 405 631
  1. This table assumes that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, blood splats, and bullet dispersal 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. The target must be close enough to compensate for the monster's inaccurate aim.
  3. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.

Appearance statistics[edit]

In the IWADs the heavy weapon dude is first encountered on these maps per skill level:

The IWADs contain the following numbers of heavy weapon dudes per skill level:

Of the maps covered on the Doom Wiki, the following have the highest numbers of heavy weapon dudes in single-player on skills 4-5:

Map Count
MAP31: Cyberdemon Defense (NoReason's Speedmaps 3) 2880
Holy Hell Revealed 2701
Nuts 3 2611
Holy Hell MAP05 1957
Nuts 1394

This data was last verified on December 21, 2023.

Doom RPG[edit]

In Doom RPG, the chaingun zombie appears as the "commando" monster class. There are three variations, identified by color:

  • Troop (yellow)
  • Commando (blue)
  • Assassin (normal colors)

Their attacks are capable of destroying jammed doors, much like the axe does, and they will attack three times consecutively. They are weakest against plasma weapons.


Monsters from the Sony PlayStation version of Doom