Secret level


A secret level is an optional level accessed from a generally concealed alternate exit. Since the secret level uses this second, less accessible exit, the game or episode it forms part of can be completed from start to finish without progressing through the level. A super secret level is a secret level accessed from a previous secret level, as seen in Doom II.

While secret exits could only be set up as switches in Doom, walkover lines and switches were both supported in Doom II and Ultimate Doom. The Boom source port also added exits triggered by impact weapons, including secret exits, which are consequently available in any Boom-compatible port.

Games and ports with some manner of MAPINFO support or equivalent feature allow to modify the hardcoded behavior detailed in this article. Level scripting, such as ACS or FraggleScript, can also be used to reach secret levels by other means than using a secret exit line type.

Secret levels in Doom[edit]

Doom has four secret levels:

The actions of the secret level linedef types have been hard-coded into the engine. If the player activates a secret exit elsewhere than in one of the four aforementioned levels, the player will go to the secret level as usual. However, upon completing it, the player will be taken to the level immediately following the one they were meant to access it from. Depending on the specific episode and level this occurs on, the player may end up either skipping several maps, repeating the level they just left, or being sent back to an earlier level.

For example, MOUNTAIN.WAD reaches E3M9 from E3M5, and continues on to E3M7, skipping E3M6 entirely. Inversely, DARKHELL.WAD reaches E2M9 from E2M6, and loops back to it when exiting the secret level. As a corollary, activating a secret exit within a secret level resets the level (following the usual intermission screen). EP.WAD contains an example of this. This allows to revisit the secret level an unlimited number of time, a quirk that permitted to demonstrate the armor percentage rollover bug.

Secret levels in Doom II[edit]

Doom II has two secret levels:

Both TNT: Evilution and The Plutonia Experiment, being originally designed as Doom II megawads, follow the same pattern.

If the player uses a secret exit outside of MAP15 or MAP31, the next level will be the one that was last entered via an intermission screen. If such a level is not available, the player will be warped to MAP01: this effect is created by the secret level information not having been initialized. Some source ports change this behavior to something more consistent: for instance in ZDoom the Doom II secret exits outside of MAP15 and MAP31 merely lead to the same level as the normal exit.

Console versions of Doom[edit]

The various console versions of Doom and Doom II contain a different admixture of secret levels, in some cases reached from different locations than in the PC version.

Jaguar-based ports[edit]

In the Atari Jaguar, Sega 32X, 3DO, and Game Boy Advance versions of the game, only a single secret level exists, MAP24: Military Base, which is the analogue of the PC version of E1M9 and is reached via the same manner from MAP03: Toxin Refinery.

Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn[edit]

The Sony PlayStation port of Doom and Doom II and its port to the Sega Saturn retain the Military Base level, but also add the following:

Ultimate Doom episode[edit]

Doom II episode[edit]

Super Nintendo[edit]

The Super Nintendo version of Doom retains the three secret levels from the PC version, but in two cases changes their methods of access:

  • E1M8: Military Base (no change from PC)
  • E2M6: Fortress of Mystery, which is now accessible from a hidden area added to the game's E2M2: Refinery. This is due to the fact that the Command Center level does not appear in this version.
  • E3M8: Warrens, which is still accessible from Mt. Erebus; however, a rocket jump is no longer required as the game's physics do not allow it.


The Vicarious Visions-developed ports of Doom and Doom II to the Xbox include, besides the normal set of PC secret levels for both games, the following exclusive secrets, which were adapted from PWADs previously released by employees who worked on the game:

Ultimate Doom[edit]

Doom II[edit]


The formerly console-exclusive No Rest for the Living expansion pack developed for the XBLA version of Doom II included a secret level. This secret exit is also supported by the Doom Classic component of Doom 3: BFG Edition and the PSN version of Doom Classic Complete.

Doom 64[edit]

As a unique entry in the series, Doom 64 included numerous original secret levels and deliberately made them an important part of the game play by utilizing three of them to hide the Demon Keys. A fourth offers access to the game's cheat menus when it is defeated, and three additional "fun" levels exist to provide an extra challenge beyond that of the game's canonical campaign:

The "fun" levels accessible only via the Features menu warp cheat include the following:

Secret levels in Heretic[edit]

Heretic uses the same system as Doom. There are five secret levels, one per episode:

Heretic also features three hidden levels which are not reachable through normal gameplay and do not have automap names: E6M1, E6M2, and E6M3.

Secret levels in Hexen[edit]

Hexen, thanks to ACS, hubs, and MAPINFO, offers a lot more flexibility in its secret levels than the various Doom games and Heretic. Each hub features a secret level:

In many cases it is necessary to perform actions in other maps as well before the access to the secret level is opened. Desolate Garden in particular will be impossible to visit unless both Bright Crucible and Sacred Grove were completed.

The Hexen: Deathkings of the Dark Citadel expansion pack features secret levels in each of the single-player hubs:

Secret levels in Strife[edit]

While Strife does not feature any officially secret levels, and the concept of a secret exit switch does not exist in its variant of the Doom engine, some of the maps in the game are unofficially considered to be secrets due to limited access, a lack of explanation given to them in the game, or their remote and optional nature which requires exploration by the player. Maps usually classified in this manner include:

  • MAP22: Factory: Forge. An out-of-the-way area of the Factory which contains moderate resistance and a number of power-ups and inventory items to collect, but does not serve to advance the plot in any way and is not required to progress. Unused NPC characters located here indicate that the level may have originally played a larger role in the game.
  • MAP30: Abandoned Front Base. After defeating the Programmer, the Front Base is replaced by this map, and many goods can be found which were left behind by the Front.
  • MAP31: Training Facility. It is reached from MAP07: Castle, and becomes inaccessible once the Programmer has been defeated. Though not required, the player can earn stamina implant and accuracy stat upgrades by completing its obstacle course.

In Strife: Veteran Edition, a "super secret" level is added to the game as part of its talisman quest. Accessing the map requires that the player find a blue chalice for Timothy and then speak to the Master Smithy in the Forge.