The Unmaker is a weapon in Doom 64 of demonic origin, inscribed with a pentagram and made up of parts of the spine and rib bones of a demon. It fires powerful red lasers by consuming cells as ammo. The original name of the weapon is unknown and unverifiable, the community-given name "Unmaker" has long been applied to the weapon due to analogy with a similar concept in the Doom Bible. This name was made official by the 2020 re-release of the game, in an achievement.
The Doom Bible concept for the Unmaker 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".
The concept and mechanics of the Unmaker are strongly referenced by a weapon in Doom Eternal known as the Unmaykr. The nature of the relationship of the two weapons is unclear; the Unmaykr fires three bolts in a similar manner to the fully powered Unmaker, and uses firing sounds from the Doom 64 weapon when the classic weapon sounds option is enabled.
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. In The Lost Levels expansion, the Unmaker can only be found on MAP39: Final Judgement.
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.
Each laser of the Unmaker can do between 10 to 80 damage (10x+10 where x is a random value of 0 to 7). The damage of an individual laser is not directly affected by artifact count. Each laser fired uses 1 cell of ammo. Having more lasers fire by having 2 or 3 artifacts thus increases ammo usage of each additional laser fired. (3 artifacts means 3 lasers means 3 cells used total per shot).
The fully equipped Unmaker critically increases the chance of pain-stun, dispatching the Cyberdemon and even the mighty Mother Demon or Sister Resurrector 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 original game itself, and is kept a secret by the instruction manual. The Unmaker weapon sprite is named LASR and the pick-up sprite is named LSGR. It is likewise referred to by several unofficial or tentative names in pre-release previews, walkthroughs, reviews, and the game's official strategy guide. These include the following:
- "alien gun"
- "alien laser" (a name also referenced by level designer Tim Heydelaar)
- "alien weapon"
- "crazy laser"
- "demon laser"
- "gros laser qui tue" (English: "big fucking laser", literally "big laser that kills")
- "high powered laser"
- "laser action machine gun"
- "laser beam"
- "laser cannon"
- "laser gun"
- "laser rifle"
- "laser weapon"
When the weapon is collected, the marine simply exclaims, "What the !@#%* is this!"
The 2020 re-release officially uses the name Unmaker for the weapon in achievement descriptions and promotional materials.
- The reaper in Doom (2016) has a charged attack which fires a similar laser-like beam of Hell energy.
- 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. Though Tim Heydelaar believes this picture is of an early rocket launcher model, earlier screenshots which display the rocket launcher sprite as it appears in the final game would seem to contradict that notion.
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.
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