It appears as a massive, goat-like biomechanical head on a wall, with an exposed brain that allows it to spawn endless scores of demons. Although only its head is visible, the endgame text indicates that the entity has a gigantic body as well.
In Doom II, the boss is not referred to by any specific name. It is referred to in the Final Doom manual's introductory stories as Baphomet and Gatekeeper. In the text screens of TNT: Evilution and The Plutonia Experiment, it is called the demon-spitter and the Gatekeeper respectively. The graphic and sound files refer to it by a series of different names such as "wall demon", "face", "boss brain" or "boss".
A corresponding enemy character in Doom II RPG is called the Icon of Sin, and has a virtual avatar known as VIOS, which has taken control of the UAC's computer systems.
The final boss is not a monster in the technical sense, since it does not count towards the KILLS percentage at the end of a level, and is not affected by the command line parameters that affect standard monsters. Additionally, monsters are a single Doom thing, but the final boss is made up of a number of these:
- Romero's head is the thing that must be destroyed. It starts with 250 hit points, but it is hard to hit due to its location deep in a hole, therefore it can only be damaged and killed by the blast radius of a rocket when playing levels that put the monster in the original location behind the wall. However, modern source ports allow for aiming freely and so can allow direct hits with any weapon.
- A monster spawner in front of the head launches spawn cubes.
- Several spawn spots are located around the map. These are where the skull adorned cubes land and spawn a monster.
- Wall textures ZZZFACE1 through ZZZFACE9 are arranged to construct a demon face with a hole into its brain. This is what the player sees as the boss, but it has little to do with its functioning.
It spawns a potentially endless series of monsters of demonic ilk, except for boss monsters (cyberdemons and spiderdemons), lost souls, and all three kinds of possessed humans. See this walkthrough for a gameplay description of the boss in its original level.
- Every monster spawned by the final boss counts towards the player's end-of-level kill percentage. However, they are not counted towards the total amount of monsters in the level, relatively to which the said percentage is calculated; this is also the case with arch-vile resurrections. This can result in a kill count going over 100%, although in the presence of the final boss the result can be far more severe. For example, if the level contains only one monster or none at all (e.g. MAP30 of Doom II), every monster spawned by the final boss adds whole 100% to the kill percentage. To remedy this, certain source ports employ "smart" kill counts, which account for boss spawns and enemy resurrections.
- The sound effects associated with the Icon are:
- DSBOSSIT (wake-up noise)
- DSBOSPIT (cube is fired)
- DSBOSCUB (cube in flight)
- DSTELEPT (cube turning into monster)
- DSBOSPN (Romero's head takes damage)
- DSBOSDTH (Romero's head dies)
- DSBAREXP (explosions just before level ends)
A quote from Robert Prince:
The final boss originates from a sketch that Adrian Carmack drew for the original Doom game. The picture made it into the MARBFACE texture, and was later used as the basis for the ultimate opponent in Doom II. This image of a goat circumscribed within a pentagram is a European occult tradition commonly associated with the demon or deity referred to as Baphomet, an archetype of the pagan Horned God.
According to Sandy Petersen, who was involved with the design of several of Doom II's monsters, the concept came about as a result of development constraints. Failing to get permission to create an entirely new boss monster due to the effort that would be involved, which he felt the game needed to distinguish it from the first title in the series, he settled on the idea of a demonic creature hanging on a wall which could be implemented using only textures. He states that he was inspired by tales of the supposed idolatry of Baphomet by the Knights Templar.
The Doom II final boss has become a recurring character in the series, usually under the name "Icon of Sin."
Doom II RPG
In Doom II RPG, a similar entity can be found with its entire upper body visible, revealing a biomechanical bulky build attached to a wall. A virtual version of it known as VIOS, which has infected the UAC's computer systems, can also be encountered frequently within the game. It forces the player to make decisions which will affect the outcome of the game and the strength of the creature when it is finally faced one-on-one in combat. Its digital avatar has arms and goat-like legs.
In the 2016 Doom, the Icon of Sin appears as a dormant demonic entity which can be found in the Necropolis in Hell. It was previously used as an infernal weapon of mass destruction against the people of Argent D'Nur during the end stages of the demons' battle to conquer that realm. As an Easter egg, it can be provoked into firing a spawn cube just like its Doom II counterpart, which leaves behind a collectible item.
In Doom Eternal, the Icon of Sin is resurrected by the Khan Maykr after the Doom Slayer stops her plan of corrupting the Earth using the Hell priests. She creates it a powerful suit of armor and attempts to control its actions; however, the Doom Slayer destroys the heart of the Betrayer's son, which unleashes the Icon from all control, sending it on a rampage across the Earth. In order to save the universe, the Doom Slayer must destroy the Icon of Sin in the game's final battle.
- Reversed, the DSBOSSIT is a distorted recording of John Romero saying "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero!".
- The launch sound of the spawn cube (DSBOSPIT) comes from Sound Ideas' General series sound library: Disc 6015, track 28-1: "Fire,Ball - Impact and large fire burst, rumble." It is a very widely used sound effect that has also been used in several movies (such as Dragonheart) television series (for example, ReBoot and Xena: Warrior Princess) and documentaries (like The Hawking Paradox from BBC Horizon).
- The Freedoom equivalent of the DSBOSSIT sound is a reversed and pitch-shifted recording of Freedoom contributor Fredrik Johansson saying "My name is Fredrik Johansson. I come from Sweden".
- The manner in which the boss spawns monsters from its head is reminiscent of how Satan gives birth to his daughter Sin in John Milton's Paradise Lost in that she is born out of his head (a parthenogenesis originally based on Zeus and his own daughter, Athena). It is also possible that the large stature of the demon was inspired by the introductory passage of the same work, in which the fallen Satan and his companions are described as "in bulk as huge/As whom the fables name of monstrous size/Titanian or Earth-born.../So stretched out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay". Though unconfirmed by Doom's creators, these connections would be in line with other references to Milton in Doom, including those made to Erebus, Pandemonium, and Limbo as areas of Hell.
- John Romero continues to refer to the demon as Baphomet in his unofficial fifth episode for The Ultimate Doom, SIGIL.
- (0,0) respawning bug
- Spawn cube targets not preserved in saved games
- Spawn cubes miss east & west targets
- Lopsided final boss explosions
- Saral, Mahmut (5 December 2018). "An interview with legendary Sandy Petersen (Call of Cthulhu, Doom, Quake, Age of Empires and much more!)." Donanım Günlüğü. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
- Sound Ideas, General series sound library, Disc 6015, track 28-1. Retrieved on April 17, 2008.
- Milton, John. "Paradise Lost." The Complete Poetical Works of John Milton (Cambridge Edition), edited by William Vaughn Moody, 105, 123. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1899.
|Monsters from Doom and Doom II|
| Doom: Baron of Hell | Cacodemon | Cyberdemon | Demon | Imp | Lost soul | Shotgun guy | Spectre | Spiderdemon | Zombieman|
Doom 2: Arachnotron | Arch-vile | Commander Keen | Heavy weapon dude | Hell knight | Mancubus | Pain elemental | Revenant | Wolfenstein SS | Final boss