Doom's protagonist

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A rendition of the protagonist on the Doom cover art

Doom's protagonist (often called Doomguy by fans, and now officially in Doom Eternal) is the main character of Doom and its sequels or offshoots, who is also known as the Doom marine or the Marine, Doom Slayer in Doom (2016) and Doom Eternal, as well as our hero at the end of Doom II. In all the games, this protagonist is a futuristic marine that is never specifically referred to by name.

A different way of referring to the protagonist is as the player, although this is a technical designation similar to that of player character in role-playing games.

The Doom 3 sub-series of games include an array of their own separate protagonists.

Biography[edit]

The only thing known about the Doom marine's life prior to the events of the Doom games is that he was stationed on the Mars base in the first place because he had assaulted a superior officer who ordered him to fire upon innocent civilians. He owned a pet rabbit named Daisy, although the rabbit was left on Earth for reasons not explained.

In the introductory story for TNT: Evilution, the Final Doom manual claims the marine is part of the United States Space Marine Corps, a play on the non-fictional United States Marine Corps.

It is implied in Wolfenstein RPG that the original Doomguy is a descendant of William "B.J." Blazkowicz destined to confront and finally defeat the Harbinger of Doom (later known as the cyberdemon), after Blazkowicz had successfully destroyed its left arm and right leg after it had been summoned at Castle Wolfenstein during World War II.

Name[edit]

Understandably, many arguments have been made over the proper name for the player character, or as to whether a name would be appropriate at all. The original story and in-game cut scenes by id Software are composed in the second person, suggesting that there is no definable "Doom guy" and that the character simply stands for whoever is incidentally playing the game. John Romero has pointed out the main reason for the lack of a name for the game character by stating the following: The less you know about him, the more likely you as the player will feel free to invent your own personality for him.[1] There was never a name for the DOOM marine because it's supposed to be YOU.[2]

Probably for the same reason, one notably applied in many other game franchises such as Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid, the protagonists of the Doom series almost universally adhere to the literary device of the silent protagonist, never speaking intelligible words even in situations where silence would be inappropriate or awkward in real life. Vocalizations are limited at the most to grunts, gasps of pain, and death screams of varying intensity. This is taken so far in Doom 3 that the marine can be seen to visibly swear at one point, but remains unheard regardless. This helps to maintain a level of immersion in the character, as the player is free to interject his or her own thoughts. The only exception to this is certain Doom games such as Doom VFR (featuring a different protagonist) and, at one point, during the flashback cutscenes of Doom Eternal, where subtitles of the game officially named the protagonist "Doomguy" as he speaks. The lore of the game states that he again ceased to speak later on after his transformation into the Doom Slayer.

In the early Doom Bible, a character named Buddy Dacote is described in a way that, of all the characters described, makes him most similar to the game's eventual protagonist. The Doom Bible notes that Dacote stands for Dies at conclusion of this episode, and correspondingly the marine in the finished game seems to die or to be close to dying at the very end of Doom's first episode, Knee Deep in the Dead, as a result of the final ambush in the dark room after taking the anomaly's demonic teleporter.

Other products that extend the Doom franchise do provide a name for the main character. The Doom novels roughly based on the classic games give the marine the name of Flynn Taggart, and in the Doom movie, the name of the protagonist is John Grimm, nicknamed Reaper. Another game from id Software, Quake III Arena, includes a playable character named Doom that is presented as an incarnation of the so-called Doomguy (as well as a female version named Crash, and another distinct marine character named Phobos). In Doom II RPG the playable marine character is named Stan Blazkowicz, who is a descendent of William "B.J." Blazkowicz of Wolfenstein 3D. John Kane is the marine of the Doom 3 novels.

Versions[edit]

Spoiler Warning: Plot details follow.

Original Doom[edit]

The Doom marine.

The original box art portrays the protagonist as a rather muscular man wearing green armor as well as a light brown space helmet that partially conceals his facial features. The player's in-game avatar, as seen in multiplayer mode and in the ending to Doom II, is based on this depiction, along with additional colors in multiplayer.

The marine's face is seen in the game's status bar, where he is shown as having light brown hair and a buzz cut. The protagonist also appears with his head uncovered in the title screen for Doom II and in the final screen for The Ultimate Doom, but in both cases displaying a more unusual haircut and wearing armor and pants of a darker hue of green.

The character's personality is never examined to any extent in any of the games, though it could be said he is passionate about battling hell's hordes as, after a new weapon is picked up, the protagonist grins devilishly, and also grits his teeth intensely when firing a weapon continually. When taking damage, the marine similarly clenches his teeth in anger and pain, and otherwise his eyes are constantly and alertly darting to and fro.

At the end of The Ultimate Doom there is a playful tidbit about our hero, saying that the severed rabbit head shown at the end of the third episode, Inferno, is the protagonist's pet rabbit, Daisy. After completing the fourth episode, Thy Flesh Consumed, a battered marine is shown outside of a burning city on Earth, a not too seemly look of vengeful defiance on his face, with the rabbit's head clenched in his fist by the ears, and ready to wreak yet more violence on the hellish invaders.

Doom 64[edit]

The Doom 64 marine.

The Doom 64 marine looks almost identical to the original except that his armor is black instead of being of the same green as his clothes, his boots and helmet are black too instead of grayish beige, and his visor is blue rather than gray. Also, his helmet features a radio antenna on the side in a way somewhat reminiscent of Boba Fett's helmet in The Empire Strikes Back.

His face is never shown in Doom 64 since there is no status bar. The game's background story text implies that he is the same person from the first games, denoting him as "the only experienced survivor of the DOOM episode". He is shown in full in the game's ending, where he determines that he will remain in Hell forever to ensure that no demon ever rises again.

The ending screen for The Lost Levels directly quotes the Slayer's Testament regarding him, suggesting that it was at this time that his one-man war against Hell began in earnest.

Doom 3[edit]

Main article: Doom 3 protagonists

The primary protagonist of Doom 3 has several characteristics which call back to the original marine, including his status as a new transfer to Mars, his green armor, and his sole survival of the invasion of Mars City. These elements reflect the original intention behind development of Doom 3 as a reboot or remake of the original game. In addition, the Xbox version of Doom 3 contains an additional protagonist character for cooperative multiplayer who physically resembles the original Doom marine.

Doom (2016)[edit]

The protagonist features prominently in this Doom concept box art released in early 2016.

The protagonist of the 2016 Doom game is again a character mostly defined in terms of the player. Elements of the game's back story indicate that he is a legendary warrior, a member and leader of the Night Sentinels of Argent D'Nur, whom the demons fear for his capability to draw strength from their destruction. Demonic texts claim that he has personally wrought this destruction across multiple dimensions and eons of time.[1] He has regained his powered exoskeletal suit of armor called the Praetor suit, which has built-in electronics including an artificially intelligent highlighting HUD, codex database, kinetic impact compensation system, thruster-boosted double jumping capability, and more. As a unique turn in the series, the protagonist of this game is able to modify and upgrade his weapons, learn new skills through Praetor tokens, and progress in statistics, sometimes by finding important items such as Argent cells and also by meeting goals such as defeating a required amount of enemies in order to unlock a weapon mastery. He is able to harness demonic runes to gain unnatural, superhuman abilities such as higher speed, air control, and gaining additional awards through performance of glory kills.

This version of the protagonist is known to be extremely ruthless, literally ripping monsters apart with his bare hands, tearing apart corpses with total disregard in order to gain access into restricted areas, and seeming to relish in the destruction of everything that moves around him. He is vehemently opposed to Samuel Hayden's research into Hell and is evidently aware that it is a hopeless endeavor based on his past experiences. Notably, he looks at a corpse during Hayden's second speech in the game where the cyborg claims his research is in the best interest of mankind, just before punching out the monitor. This seems to indicate that he empathizes with and seeks to protect humans from the ravages of the demons, but otherwise cares very little about the UAC and their interests, evidently expressed by him destroying key equipment in his quest to stop demons. Despite his ruthlessness, the Doom marine is remarkably intelligent and knowledgeable of the high-tech weaponry and machinery of the UAC. He also seems to express a degree of compassion, when he decided to make a copy of VEGA before destroying the original in order to stop the demons. This hints the Doom marine can sympathize with those willing to sacrifice themselves for the real greater good, as VEGA offered to do to help the Doom marine.

Beside the Night Sentinels of Argent D'Nur, the Doom marine is said to have interacted with other mysterious entities either from Hell itself or with the ability to access that realm. According to the Helix Stone and runes found in Hell, the Doom marine's eons-long fight against the demons began under the supervision of a mysterious hooded and godly figure referred to as the Seraphim, whom the forces of Hell credit with granting him his immense powers for their single-handed destruction. Another figure referred to as "the wretch" and "the traitor" is said to have enhanced or created his Praetor suit, and is probably responsible for its ability to harness the energy of the demons.

The game heavily suggests but never states with certainty that this version of the protagonist bears some relationship to, or may even be, the same protagonist that featured in the original series. Elements of his backstory, such as a choice to remain in Hell, surviving an event known as Armageddon, and repeatedly fighting against the demons across dimensions and great stretches of time, suggest a possible unification between the various story lines. This is, however, left intentionally vague and open to interpretation, and is later clarified in Doom Eternal.

According to the lore codex of the Doom Slayer in Quake Champions, where he is a playable character, his artifact is the left hind leg of his pet rabbit Daisy, who is explained in the item description to have been killed by "marauding demons when their invasion of Earth began." Since the episode four ending of The Ultimate Doom has the classic Doomguy finding that the demons have already invaded Earth and killed his pet rabbit Daisy, it can be considered further evidence that the Doom Slayer is the same space marine from the classic games.

He is known by the UAC variously as the "Doom Marine" and the "Doom Slayer." Other names and epitaphs for this protagonist, mostly given to him by the demons, include the "Hell Walker," the "Unchained Predator," and the "Scourge of Hell."

Doom VFR[edit]

Main article: Abraham Peters

In Doom VFR, the main character is not the Doom Slayer, but is a UAC scientist named Abraham Peters who avoided demonic corruption but was killed shortly after the Argent wave unleashed by Olivia Pierce. Upon his death, his consciousness is transferred to a "combat chassis" which he uses to fight the forces of Hell until Samuel Hayden remotely deactivates him at the end of the game.

Doom Eternal[edit]

The Slayer's collectible toy.

In Doom Eternal, the Slayer returns in an upgraded and redesigned Praetor suit. Some of the new enhancements include the Doomblade and the shoulder-mounted flame belch and Grenade launcher, as well as an upgraded arsenal of weapons. It is also revealed that the Slayer operates from a space station known as the Fortress of Doom. Much of the Slayer's backstory is revealed. He is in fact the original Doomguy, who was found by the Night Sentinels on their homeworld of Sentinel Prime badly injured, ranting about what he saw in Hell and covered in demonic viscera. After being found worthy of an honorable death as part of the Argenta military in a trial by combat, the Slayer was eventually inducted into the Night Sentinels (despite being an outlander) after the demons invaded Sentinel Prime. His superhuman abilities were granted to him by the Seraphim, in truth the Khan Maykr's rebellious chancellor Samur Maykr, through the use of the Maykr device called the Divinity Machine. The exact reasons for the Seraphim's empowerment of the Doom Slayer remain unknown.

Little is made clear about the Slayer's personality save for the mention in a Codex entry that he stopped talking after the demonic invasion of Sentinel Prime and that he despises the demons so strongly that he will never stop fighting them until they are completely wiped out; when he speaks during his flashbacks, he sounds as if he is barely clinging to sanity (and indeed, the few coherent sentences he manages to utter are inspired by the Doom comic). It is implied that he still considers himself loyal to King Novik, despite the latter being long dead and wary of the Doom Slayer's willingness to kill the Hell Priests in spite of Sentinel law protecting them. As before, he remains indifferent to even the most extreme amounts of collateral damage (most obviously in the Mars Core level, where he gains access to the slipgate within the core of Mars by firing the BFG-10000 at the planet, obliterating a large chunk of Mars, followed by shooting himself to Mars' surface using a surviving artillery emplacement).

He also displays a near-complete absence of social skills, such as when he drags a scientist by the keycard he is wearing around his neck to open a locked door in the Phobos station and nearly strangles him in the process of doing so. Unsurprisingly, most of the humans the Slayer interacts with are almost as afraid of him as they are of the demons, and after the defeat of the Icon of Sin he is viewed as a demigod by most of Earth's population. Though nominally allied to the Seraphim, he is visibly irritated by the latter's arrogance and condescension.

A log found in the ARC Complex shows that his blood type had been analyzed as AB+. His genome is confirmed to be that of a normal human, but unidentified foreign bodies are also present in his bloodstream, which may explain his superhuman strength, speed, and endurance. Said foreign bodies are likely the byproduct of the Divinity Machine.

Doom II RPG[edit]

Sergeant Blazkowicz in Doom II RPG.

In Doom II RPG one of the three playable characters, named Sergeant Stan Blazkowicz, bears a striking resemblance to the protagonist of the original Doom. In the game's storyline he is a descendent of William "B.J." Blazkowicz, the Wolfenstein 3D hero. The other playable characters include space marine Major Kira Morgan, who resembles a character from Quake III Arena, and scientist Riley O'Connor.

Technical information[edit]

See Player for details on the character entity from a technical perspective.

Trivia[edit]

  • In Doom's opening splash screen, and in the game as a sprite, the protagonist is shown to be wearing a helmet with a visor. In the earliest known alpha version of Doom, the visor framed the screen, and was planned to be used in the way the status bar works, much like the Metroid Prime series.
    • The Doom Slayer's helmet visor in the 2016 Doom and Doom Eternal is used to provide the heads-up display. The frame of the helmet vanishes when the visor finishes its calibration.
  • The marine in the original Doom games is seemingly ambidextrous since he punches and fires the pistol with his left hand but fires every other weapon with his right hand.
  • The player sprites in both Doom and Doom II depict the marine wielding a rifle regardless of whatever weapon the player is holding. The only time where the marine uses a different weapon is in the action credits included in the re-released versions of Doom which are part of the Doom Classic Unity port.

Other games with references to the marine[edit]

Quake III Arena character "Doom"

Duke Nukem 3D[edit]

In Duke Nukem 3D, the Doom marine appears as a dead body, having been cut in half, in a secret area of the prison level.

Quake III Arena, Quake Live[edit]

In Quake III Arena and Quake Live, the marine appears as a playable combatant and goes by the name Doom. Two other space marine characters with distinct backstories also appear, Crash and Phobos.

Quake Champions[edit]

The Doom Slayer as depicted in Doom (2016) is a playable combatant in Quake Champions, with a special attack based on the berserk power-up and a passive ability to double jump courtesy of his Delta V jump-boots.[2] Variations of the player model include the original Doom protagonist ("Doomguy"), the Quake III Arena character ("Arena") and the Doom 3 protagonist ("Doom marine").

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3[edit]

The Quake III Arena version of the Doom marine is featured in the PC version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 as a secret skater. Doom Eternal later makes reference to this in turn by including a skateboard on the Fortress of Doom.

Extended universe[edit]

Doom movie[edit]

Main article: John Grimm (Reaper)

John "Reaper" Grimm (played by Karl Urban) is the son of UAC scientists who were killed in an accident during the early excavation of the Martian dig site. Reaper abandoned his scientific heritage and joined the military to forget about this personal tragedy, eventually becoming a member of the elite Rapid Response Tactical Squad (RRTS). Grimm, his commanding officer nicknamed Sarge, and the other members of the RRTS are dispatched to the UAC Mars Facility to investigate the disappearance of several scientists, which ultimately pits them in a confrontation against genetically engineered monsters created by an ancient Martian retrovirus released by the UAC. Grimm also differs from most of the protagonists in the games due to having an actual name and interacting with other characters via his own dialogue.

Grimm's personality can be seen as rather angsty, as he is still dealing with his guilt over his parents' deaths and his concern for his sister, Dr. Samantha Grimm (also known as Sam), a researcher at the UAC Mars Facility. However, like his computer-game renditions, he has no problem killing multiple demons and even his own commanding officer, Sarge, after the latter begins to murder unarmed civilians in order to contain the outbreak.

Notably, at the end of the film, Grimm is injected with the Martian genetic material. Instead of turning into a monster, he instead gains superhuman strength, reflexes, and regenerative abilities. These powers allow him to stride through the infested base singlehandedly mowing down a small horde of demons including many zombies, several imps, a hell knight, and a demon (all seen by the audience in the game's classic first person perspective). This plot device is apparently the film's way of incorporating the berserk powerups in the games (see Berserk pack and Berserker).

Doom: Annihilation[edit]

Main article: Joan Dark

Lieutenant Joan Dark (played by Amy Manson) is a space marine with a backstory similar to that of the unnamed protagonist from the classic games, sent to the Phobos base as punishment for disobeying direct orders.

Spoilers end here.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • This article incorporates text from the open-content Wikipedia online encyclopedia article Doomguy.
  • Interview with John Romero and Sandy Petersen in Jonathan Mendoza's The Official Doom Survivor's Strategies & Secrets (Sybex, 1994).

References[edit]

  1. GameSpot (27 April 2016). "15 Minutes of Single Player Hell EXCLUSIVE Gameplay." YouTube. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  2. Bethesda (17 August 2017). "Quake Champions – Early Access Starts Soon." Bethesda.net. Retrieved 18 August 2017.