The Unmaker has its origins in the Doom Bible, and was originally intended to be in the pre-planned commercial sequel to Doom itself. According to the Doom Bible, the Unmaker was intended to be a "demon-tech weapon that hurts pure demons a lot, demon-humans very little, tech demons some. Made of demon bones. (...) The Dark Claw and Unmaker feed on human souls. Killing possessed humans or hellslaves allows the weapons to feed".
Doom 64 version
The Unmaker is the only new weapon in Doom 64. It begins as the second strongest weapon behind the BFG9000, with slightly better damage but a slower firing rate than the plasma gun. It is especially rare and can only be found in a few levels, the first one being MAP29: Outpost Omega (a secret level). The first regular level where it can be found is MAP12: Altar of Pain. However, uniquely amongst Doom weaponry, the Unmaker can be upgraded by finding the three mysterious and well-protected Demon Key artifacts:
- The first one increases the laser speed.
- The second key adds a second laser
- The third one makes the weapon fire three simultaneous lasers.
The fully equipped Unmaker critically increases the chance of pain-stun, dispatching the Cyberdemon and even the mighty Mother Demon with impunity. While the BFG can dole out higher damage and strike more targets at a single time, the Unmaker arguably surpasses it in utility in the late game when it is at its full strength, strong enemies come in singles or small groups, and cell ammo is at a premium.
The weapon is never officially named within the game itself, and is kept a secret by the instruction manual. When the weapon is collected, the marine exclaims, "What the !@#%* is this!"
- The Unmaker weapon sprite is called LASR and the pick-up sprite is named LSGR. It is likewise referred to as the "laser rifle", "alien laser", and "superlaser" in reviews as well as the "laser gun" in a preview and "demon laser" in a postrelease walkthough.
- One pre-release screenshot shows what is presumably an early version of the Unmaker. The publication itself mentions there could be "possibly new weapons and monsters" in Doom 64.
- The reaper in Doom (2016) has a charged attack which fires a similar laser-like beam of Hell energy.
As a weapon in the Doom alphas, the Unmaker appears only in Doom v0.2, and there only in the form of two unused lumps for the game's helmet visor HUD: WBOXUNM contains the name of the weapon, and WPICUNM contains a silhouette. After this, there are no further references to the weapon concept. It was meant by Tom Hall to occur as a new weapon in the commercial sequel to Doom and not in the first game itself, which is likely why its concept was quickly dropped.
- Original source graphics for the Doom v0.2 HUD, as released by John Romero in 2015. The Unmaker icon begins in column 30 at row 14, and resembles a skull and spine with various bony projections extending from it which form vague grips and a stock.
- Hall, Tom. "Doom Bible - Chapter 14. Stuff: Weapons, Items, Etc." Doomworld. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- The Official Nintendo Magazine. Issue 60. September 1997.
- 64 Extreme. issue 3. June 1997
- 64 Extreme. issue 8. December/January 1998
- 64 Magazine. issue 05. October 1997.
- Computer and Video Games. Issue 185. April 1997
- Nintendo Magazine. issues 59-61 February-April 1998.
- Gamepro. Issue 86. September 1996.