Hell knight

From DoomWiki.org

A Hell knight guards the partial invisibility sphere in MAP16: Deepest Reaches of TNT: Evilution.
This article is about the monster in the classic Doom series. For other games, see:

The Hell knight is an enemy introduced in Doom II, a weaker version of the baron of Hell. This new monster has a tan torso, as opposed to the baron's pink coloration. The manual for Doom II describes the Hell knight as follows: "Tough as a dump truck and nearly as big, these Goliaths are the worst things on two legs since Tyrannosaurus rex". The same description was previously used for the baron in the original Doom manual.

In terms of gameplay, the Hell knight is identical to the baron of Hell, merely with half the hit points. As a result, it is a medium strength monster that is more vulnerable than the baron to small arms fire (eg., the shotgun or chaingun), but much more durable than an imp. It allows Doom II maps to host a weaker monster, albeit with high attack power, giving the player a decent amount of challenge without slowing down the action.

Combat characteristics[edit]

Hell knights emit wake-up and death cries similar to those of the baron of Hell, though higher in pitch (and in the case of the death cry, shorter in length and raspier). Possessing 500 hit points, Hell knights present a significant challenge to the player, although less than that of a boss monster. Hell knights have both melee and distance attacks, scratching at close range and throwing green fireballs from a distance. Their attacks are identical to and just as lethal as those of the baron.

Tactical analysis[edit]

Hell knight fireballs are faster than imp and cacodemon fireballs and inflict heavy damage. They have a low pain chance that makes the rocket launcher, plasma gun and super shotgun the most effective weapons against them. The chaingun and shotgun are also effective at close range. It is not recommended to use a melee attack due to their own scratching melee attack; however, five punches from a player powered up by a berserk will usually kill one. A player attempting such an attack must move in quickly to attack and quickly withdraw to avoid the counterattack.

Roughly speaking, killing a Hell knight requires either 50 bullets, 6 seconds with the chainsaw, 8 close range shotgun blasts, 3 point-blank super shotgun blasts, 3 rocket hits or 23 energy cell shots. A single close range hit by the BFG9000 easily dispatches a Hell knight but it is usually a waste of ammo unless attacking several simultaneously.

Hell knights are less of a threat than weaker monsters because attacks are simple and generally easier to predict. With sufficient distance, the projectiles can be dodged without much difficulty, but at closer range they can be more difficult to avoid and potentially lethal.

Since Hell knights have half the hit points but the same amount of potential damage to the player, two barons of Hell would be significantly easier than four Hell knights. Most maps will avoid "packs" of Hell knights for this reason.

They are good at monster infighting because of their amount of health and damaging attacks despite not being as good as barons. They usually dominate in fighting against cacodemon, revenant and weaker monsters and sometimes can kill the same level monsters like arachnotron.

Hell knights and barons of Hell throw the same projectiles. Contrary to popular belief, this has nothing to do with the fact that Hell knights and barons do not infight with one another in the PC version of the game. Rather, there is a hard-coded exception for these two enemies which causes them to consider each other as belonging to the same species. This exception was overlooked when the Doom II source code was combined with the Atari Jaguar code base to create the Sony PlayStation port of Doom II, and as a result, barons and knights infight in both that game and its offspring, Doom 64. The only way for barons and knights to infight in the PC version of the game is for one to damage the other with a barrel.


  • The Hell knight's death sound is based on a recording of a jaguar with extra effects added.
  • All of the Hell knight's animation sprites are identical to the baron's. While the color changes between the two could have been accomplished by applying a palette swap, the limited palette translation feature present in Doom, used to recolor players' sprites during multiplayer games, does not allow for the translation of colors as needed, so a full second set of sprites is instead included with the recoloring already applied.
  • There is a coloring mistake in one of the Hell knight's attack frames: while most of the Hell knight's frames depict the creature with brown hooves, the errant frame depicts the Hell knight with gray hooves instead.
  • The official French name of the monster is chevalier de l'enfer.


Damage done by a Hell knight's clawing attack
Blows needed to kill1 Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
2.77 0.78 2 5
Player (100%
health, security armor)
3.87 1.02 2 7
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
9.41 1.48 6 13
Barrel 1.12 0.33 1 2
Zombieman 1.12 0.33 1 2
Shotgun guy 1.25 0.46 1 3
Wolfenstein SS 1.61 0.70 1 4
Imp 1.81 0.76 1 4
Heavy weapon dude 2.04 0.79 1 4
Lost soul 2.77 0.78 2 5
Commander Keen 2.77 0.78 2 5
Demon 3.87 1.02 2 7
Spectre 3.87 1.02 2 7
Romero's head2 6.12 1.19 4 10
Revenant 7.22 1.33 5 11
Cacodemon 9.41 1.48 6 13
Pain elemental 9.41 1.48 6 13
Hell knight 11.65 1.67 8 16
Arachnotron 11.65 1.67 8 16
Mancubus 13.84 1.72 10 18
Arch-vile 16.07 1.78 12 20
Baron of Hell 22.81 2.10 17 27
Spiderdemon 67.42 2.81 61 74
Cyberdemon 89.66 2.76 83 95
Damage done by a Hell knight's fireball
Shots needed to kill Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
3.37 0.88 2 6
Player (100%
health, security armor)
4.78 1.04 3 8
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
11.68 1.70 8 16
Barrel 1.27 0.51 1 3
Zombieman 1.27 0.51 1 3
Shotgun guy 1.44 0.60 1 4
Wolfenstein SS 2.04 0.77 1 5
Imp 2.25 0.76 1 5
Heavy weapon dude 2.56 0.73 2 5
Lost soul 3.37 0.88 2 6
Commander Keen 3.37 0.88 2 6
Demon 4.78 1.04 3 8
Spectre 4.78 1.04 3 8
Romero's head2 7.66 1.32 5 11
Revenant 9.04 1.46 6 13
Cacodemon 11.68 1.70 8 16
Pain elemental 11.68 1.70 8 16
Hell knight3
Arachnotron 14.55 1.88 10 19
Mancubus 17.27 2.00 12 21
Arch-vile 20.10 2.11 14 25
Baron of Hell3
Spiderdemon 84.14 2.60 79 93
Cyberdemon 112.12 2.48 107 117

  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 the IWADs the Hell knight is first encountered on these maps per skill level:

The IWADs contain the following numbers of Hell knights per skill level:

Of the maps covered on the Doom Wiki, the following have the highest numbers of knights in single-player:

Map Count
MAP05: Cosmogenesis (Cosmogenesis) 6168
Holy Hell Revealed 5486
Okuplok Slaughter Map 3923
MAP28: fun2 (POOGERS) 2862
MAP26: Eviscerate (SlaughterMAX) 2326

This data was last verified on March 13, 2024.

Other games[edit]

A Hell knight in Doom 64

Doom 64[edit]

Though overall similar to the standard Hell knight, the variant found in Doom 64 is less pale in color, and more closely resembles Doom's baron of Hell.

One quirk of the game is that they can deal and receive missile damage to and from barons of Hell, so infighting between the two monsters is possible.

Doom RPG[edit]

In Doom RPG, the baron of Hell and the Hell knight both belong to the "baron" monster class. There are three variations, identified by color:

  • Ogre (green torso, red hands, brown legs)
  • Hell knight (brown torso, green hands, purple legs)
  • Baron (pink torso, orange hands, brown legs)

As in the original, the Hell knight is not as powerful as the baron, though both are more powerful than the new "ogre" variation. Unlike the original, his legs are purple. This class of monster is especially weak against attacks from shotguns.