STRAIN (STRAIN.WAD and STRAIN.DEH) is a 32-level partial conversion for Doom II released in 1997 by the Alpha Dog Alliance. STRAIN features a new cyberpunk aesthetic accomplished through the use of many new custom graphics and sound effects. It also features nine new or modified monsters through the use of DeHackEd, modified weapons, and a brand new soundtrack written by David "Tolwyn" Shaw, Mark Klem, and Jon Landis. The project had a sporadic development history, exceeding a year due to cyclical interest and disinterest[1].

In 2003, STRAIN was named as one of the Top 100 WADs of All Time, as one of the top 10 WADs of 1997. In 2023, STRAIN was included in Doomworld's Doot Eternal music feature for Doom's 30th anniversary.

Release formats[edit]

The WAD was originally released as a self-extracting LHA file split into four segments, each meant to fit in the 1.44 megabyte storage of a 3½-inch floppy disk, alongside a batch file named unpack.bat. This can only be run in DOS or Windows. Using it creates a DOS program named strain.exe which must be run to unpack the WAD. Because it requires DOS, strain.exe cannot be run in 64-bit versions of Windows, requiring the use of DOSBox. However, the batch file must not be run in DOSBox, as the emulator does not interpret the file-combining feature of the DOS and Windows "copy /b" command correctly. This package is available on the idgames archive in

On June 24, 2015, Eric Baker created and uploaded a separate "repackaged edition" of STRAIN to the idgames archive that consists simply of the contents of the LHA, including the required WAD file and DeHackEd patch, with the original bundled with it for copyright reasons. This package was made due to the difficulty of unpacking the original release for users without either DOS, Windows, or the knowledge of DOS and Windows necessary to do so. When the files are extracted from this version, the WAD and DeHackEd patch can be loaded directly into a source port without any further user interaction. It is available on the archive as A similar repackaging was also created by Andy Olivera for the Doomed Speed Demos Archive in 2008, but without the original release bundled with it, and is the version provided for download on its demo page.

Doom Wad Station provides a version fixed for certain source ports at their STRAIN Page (see Other notes for details).

Both the original and unpacked-for-convenience initial + sourceport-fixed releases are available at STRAIN ModDB page.


STRAIN occurs after the events of Doom II. A military officer in a secret base on the Earth's moon has been engineering demons, creating a new breed of Hellspawn which breaks free of its confines, making an initial landing on Earth. The Doom marine undergoes an experimental treatment to increase his combat potential. Its side effect is that it leaves virtually all of its subjects in a state of perpetual, murderous aggression.[1] The in-game story follows four episodes as the marine fights to an infested spaceship that has landed on Earth, afterward battling his way deep into the heart of the secret installation where the demons originated from.



STRAIN modifies the original Doom weapons as follows.

Twin fists
A one-two punch. Both hits are boosted by the berserk powerup.
Fires slightly faster than the regular pistol.
A pump-action shotgun with some the barrel removed. Functions mostly the same as the regular shotgun, only firing faster.
A large raygun that shoots red plasma charges that deal roughly 2.5x the damage of the plasma gun (meaning the damage dealt by each projectile ranges from 12-96 as opposed to 5-40), at the expense of an increased cooldown time and greatly diminished ammo supply.
Psychic blaster
A giant, shoulder-mounted rocket launcher that consumes three rockets per shot. It fires faster than the regular rocket launcher, and its invisible projectiles are more powerful (damage ranges from 200-1600 plus blast damage), but in exchange they're slower. It also has a slight delay upon firing the first shot.

STRAIN makes several other core gameplay changes.

  • Players begin with no ammo at pistol start.
  • Cells are capped at 50 (100 with the backpack). In addition, energy cells and energy cell packs are now called mini-battery and battery respectively. The number of cells provided by the ammo pickups is also reduced, with the mini-battery and battery giving the player 3 and 15 cells each.
  • Picking up the megaarmor increases armor to 300 percent, absorbing half of all damage like normal.


STRAIN features a number of new monsters. The most basic monsters (zombieman, shotgun guy and imp) are unchanged, as is the arch-vile, the cacodemon, the Hell knight and the baron of Hell. The heavy weapon dudes have new sprites and are now called Subverted Guard but are otherwise unchanged.

Class 2 imp
Appears identical to the standard imp, differentiated only by a higher-pitched alert noise. They move incredibly fast. Attacks begin with a brief pause, after which they stand still and throw fireballs at a steady pace. They're able to infight with regular imps. They have 60 hit points and replace arachnotrons.
Skinless demon
Deep-red pinky demons. They have exactly 217 health points and replace demons.
Flying one-eyed robots shaped like wheels. They fly very slowly and fire both types of revenant missiles, which travel at a much slower pace. They have 200 health points and replace pain elementals. They also have a partially invisible variant that which can infight with non-invisible holobots. These also have 200 hit points and replace the revenant.
A lost soul with blue fire on the top half of their head and blue eyes that flash green when in pain. They launch an imp fireball before charging and are also able to use the imp melee attack. They also count towards the kill count. They have 100 health points and replace lost souls.
Minister of Hate
A miniature cyberdemon. They fire normal rockets (only one at a time, as opposed to a regular cyberdemon's three-rocket salvo) and retain the blast damage immunity. They have 300 health points and replace the cyberdemon. Known as "Cyberdemon Jr" [sic] in the .DEH file.
Pale green spawn cubes. They attack with the spiderdemon's super chaingun. Their corpses are fiery wrecks that damage the player at close proximity. They have 160 health points and replace the spiderdemon.
Demon lord
Hell nobles with bright white skin and pale-green "pants". They attack by shooting a volley of six Hell noble projectiles. They can infight with other Hell nobles. They have 1400 hit points (the highest health of any custom monster in STRAIN) and replace the mancubus.
BFG trooper
A zombieman packing a BFG9000. Aside from their reduced speed, they look identical to regular zombiemen. They have 20 health points and replace the spectre.
Decompression daemon
Goes unused. An invisible, incredibly fast monster that can instantly kill the player, even in god mode. The STRAIN team made it to simulate death due to exposure to the vacuum of space in certain sections of the story's moonbase, but did not implement it in the final product. It has 8000 hit points and replaces the SS trooper.

Other notes[edit]

  • MAP07: En Route is impossible to complete in ports based on old versions (prior to 2.3.0) of ZDoom, as the level relies on the occurrence of a spechits overflow in order for the exit to work. Recent versions of ZDoom identify the map and automatically apply the required compatibility flag. There are also problems with the DeHackEd patch when it is used with Doom Legacy. Doom Wad Station provides a fixed version at their STRAIN Page. The fixes are mentioned to have been done by Zorcher @ Doom Connector, as the description says, the DEH having been packed into StrainJive.wad. including both the fixed and the original WAD versions was compiled and submitted to the web by WinstonSmith6079.
  • MAP09 originally appeared as MAP04 of Dystopia 3.
  • MAP23 originally appeared as MAP10 of Dystopia 3.
  • Holger Nathrath's levels were likely donated outtakes from the cancelled Serenity IV project, according to Sam Woodman's notes in SER3LV11.ZIP. Nathrath attempted to donate such maps to the Eternity TC and Sam Woodman's megawad, Testament of Judgement.
  • There are a few examples of continuity. MAP18 begins in the same hall as MAP17 did. The door that was locked in the previous map can now be entered, and the opposite door that was entered previously is now locked. In MAP22, the player visits the corridor that overlooks the hall. Finally, in MAP24, there is an accessible teleporter in the center of the hall, and the player needs to use it in order to progress.


Current records[edit]

The DSDA episode records for STRAIN are:

Run Time Player Date File Notes
UV speed episode, MAP01-MAP10 24:28 vdgg 2013-06-20
UV speed episode, MAP11-MAP20 35:19 vdgg 2013-06-21
UV speed episode, MAP21-MAP30 33:22 vdgg 2020-05-30

The data was last verified in its entirety on July 28, 2022.

External links[edit]





  1. Scott Cover (Covaro). "S * T * R * A * I * N - Interview." Ricrob's Place. Retrieved 19 November 2020.