The Artifact


Hell's Artifact. Notice the corruption in the user's hands (this is only a visual effect and has no effect on the player).
This article is about the item found in Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil. For the items found in Heretic and Hexen, see Artifact. For the Top 100 1995 level set, see The Artifact (WAD)
"Hell reaches out for what is ours!"
― The Maledict [source]

The Artifact, also known as the Heart of Hell and the Bloodstone, is a demonic device available to the player in the Doom 3 expansion pack, Resurrection of Evil. This Artifact, as a powerful device of non-Human origin, is the equivalent of the Soul Cube from Doom 3. It is a demonic heart-shaped device that was initially designed to aid the forces of Hell, but is used by the marine. It also acts as a gateway between Hell and our dimension. The Ancient Martians captured the Artifact during Hell's first invasion, but were unable to destroy it, so they locked it away in a secret chamber.

When the UAC returns to Mars at the beginning of Resurrection of Evil, a Marine unit, Red Team, calls for an explosive charge to access the sealed Artifact's chamber. The game's protagonist places the charge, and, examining the Artifact, accidentally awakens it. This kills most members of Red Team and enables the forces of Hell under the command of Malcolm Betruger, in his new form as the Maledict, to invade once again. Betruger also sends the three Hunters to kill the Marine and retrieve the Artifact for himself.

Much of the game's plot revolves around the Marine learning the truth about the Artifact and ultimately setting out to return it to Hell where it can be destroyed. At the end of the game, the Marine brings the Artifact to Hell and uses it to destroy the Maledict. The Artifact itself is destroyed in the process.

In the PDA weapon information display, the Artifact is notably incorrectly described in a manner that seems more fitting of the Soul Cube:

"Created by the ancient civilization to defend against the forces of hell."
PDA description


The Artifact uses human souls as opposed to demonic ones. When used near human corpses, it charges up by absorbing souls (visible as a red glow on a corpse) and destroying the bodies. The Artifact will absorb souls automatically when needed so long as it is being held over the corpse; it will not absorb a soul if it is already fully charged. Three charges can be held at maximum. One charge is gained each time a Hell Hunter is defeated.

The Artifact itself has no attack capabilities, but is more strategic than the Soul Cube. It has the ability to give the player a period in which he manipulates time, gains super strength (similar to the Berserker powerup), and becomes temporarily invulnerable. These abilities become available each time the player defeats one of the three Hell Hunters, respectively.

A human heart-shaped object with a large curved handle, you will gain this at the start of the game but it will be useless until you defeat the Helltime Hunter, at which point the Artifact will absorb its Helltime abilities. Defeating the Berserk Hunter and Invulnerability Hunter allows the Artifact to absorb their abilities as well.

  • Helltime allows the player to move very fast, represented by time appearing to slow down to the point that enemies can not react to your movements.
  • Berserk roughly triples the damage output of the player's ranged attacks, and gives an even larger boost to the player's melee attack damage to the point where a Hell knight or mancubus can be killed with a single punch (apparently multiplying the punch's damage by at least fifty). It also slightly increases the reach of the player's melee attacks.
  • Invulnerability is literally that, rendering the player immune to enemy attacks, although remaining vulnerable to some environmental hazards such as fatal fall zones and crushing surfaces.

All powers possessed by the Artifact are activated simultaneously when invoked, meaning someone with a charged Artifact later in the game has the potential to become a lightning fast, invulnerable death machine that can rip apart a Hell knight with his bare hands. The weapon is not completely without disadvantages, however minor they may be - while in use, the Marine's vision is partially obscured by a swirling vortex of hellish materials, and his sense of hearing is impeded, both in a basic sense and by the constant whispering of unintelligible speech that continues for the duration of activation.

Depiction in tablets[edit]

The Artifact is depicted in a number of ancient Martian civilization tablets recovered from Site 1 both during its original excavation and during Dr. Elizabeth McNeil's research expedition. Amongst them are the following:

  • Shards of a tablet which show revenant-like armored demons appearing out of the Artifact, a reference to the fact that it contains a portal to Hell.
  • A large piece of a tablet depicting what may be the origin of the Artifact, where it appears to be integrated into the gateway to what later becomes the Maledict's domain.
  • A shard which displays the Artifact housed within a containment unit, possibly the same device in which it is found in the game.
  • Full tablets which display the Hell Hunters and icons associated with the power which they impart to the Artifact, and a tablet shard displaying the Invulnerability Hunter seemingly striking down terrified humans.
  • The Primitive, a small tablet serving as a cipher key for the glyphs on the other tablets, simply depicts a picture of the Artifact itself.


The HUD icon.

When spawned, it appears as a black box. This is because Nerve never made a world model for it.

In the game's coding, there are actually 4 artifacts: the dormant one you get in the beginning (weapon_bloodstone_passive), and the three Hell power ones (weapon_bloodstone_active#, where # is either 1, 2, or 3).

  • Clip Size: 3 Souls
  • Reloading: Instant, once the effects wear off
  • Ammo: Human Souls (Note: If a human corpse does not have a red glow to it, it's probably not completely dead; it may actually be a Zombie.)

When playing on Nightmare difficulty, the Artifact will already be fully powered with all three abilities, but it will still be unusable until the Helltime Hunter has been defeated because no Artifact charges are to be found until then (the corpses do not have the telltale red glow). Defeating the second and third Hell Hunters do not give any additional benefit to the Artifact except for the one additional soul charge gained by defeating a Hell Hunter as normal. Also, there are noticeably fewer corpses available as Artifact charges on Nightmare difficulty.

As an aside, the Doom 3 Berserk artifact could be considered an allusion to the Artifact, as its powers are very similar to the ones given by a fully-powered Artifact. However, the Berserk artifact gives you a bloodshot red view and screams can be heard in the background while it's active, while the Artifact doesn't have either of these effects on use.

Unlike the Soul Cube, the Artifact is not technically necessary to complete the game. It is certainly helpful in combat, as well as traversing the Proving Grounds and the crushing machine, but the game can be completed without using it. The Soul Cube, however, is the only means to defeat the cyberdemon, and Doom 3 cannot be completed without using it.