Wolfenstein SS

From DoomWiki.org

An SS Nazi in MAP31: Wolfenstein of Doom II. If you look in between its legs, you will notice magenta pixels instead of the expected background.
More SS officers, in action.
"You wonder who the inmates of this corner of hell will be."
― Intermission

The Wolfenstein SS (also referred to as the SS Nazi in DeHackEd) is a Nazi Schutzstaffel officer in blue uniform originally from Wolfenstein 3D, who makes an appearance in the secret levels of Doom II, which are re-creations of levels from Wolfenstein 3D. The SS officer appears as a blond, blue-eyed, square-jawed man wearing coveralls and a sidecap, and carries a submachine gun resembling an MP 40. When wounded, the Wolfenstein SS sounds like the former humans.

The SS Nazi inhabits only two maps released by id Software, the Doom II levels MAP31 and MAP32, and is furthermore absent from the latter on the "I'm too young to die" and "Hey, not too rough" skill settings. The SS officer is not mentioned in the Doom II instruction manual, presumably because his presence is an Easter egg.

The Wolfenstein SS is also present in the Final Doom data files, but is unused in all included levels.

Combat characteristics[edit]

The SS Nazi attacks by firing two bullets at a time, which are slightly less powerful than the player's bullet; like the heavy weapon dude, he fires repeatedly as long as his target is in sight. When killed, the Nazi drops a clip containing five bullets (or 10 on the "I'm too young to die" and "Nightmare!" skill settings). If he subsequently respawns or is resurrected, the clip remains; note however that no official id Software map contains both Nazis and arch-viles.

Wolfenstein 3D did not feature multiplayer or monster infighting, and as a result, all enemies encountered in-game only had front-facing graphics for attacking. id Software's artists did not bother to make new attacking graphics for the other angles when they converted the SS Nazi's graphics to Doom II, so the SS Nazi always appears to face the player when firing, no matter where its actual target is. This can be confusing because the Nazis are just as likely to engage in infighting and killing each other as the former humans are. A fix for this technical limitation is available in the form of the Doom Minor Sprite Fixing Project, which also fixes issues (such as offsets) with other NPCs.

Tactical analysis[edit]

In Wolfenstein 3D itself, the SS Nazi is a feared marksman whose high rate of fire, accuracy, and large hit point total force the player to take care when fighting them. In Doom II, on the other hand, his stats are not as impressive, turning him into a somewhat weaker counterpart of the heavy weapon dude, with fewer hit points and a slower rate of fire.

Although a single SS Nazi at close range can inflict significant damage (its rate of fire is about a third that of a heavy weapon dude), his main distinguishing feature is now its inaccurate aim, which sometimes allows a skilled player to clear a good part of a large room without even pulling the trigger, due to infighting, especially considering the way the monster is grouped in the secret levels of Doom II.

If the chaingun is used against a group of SS Nazis on the "Hey, not too rough", "Hurt me plenty", or "Ultra-Violence" skill levels, the player should watch his character's bullet stock carefully, since one is usually expending at least five bullets for every five-bullet clip recovered. The plasma gun dispatches Nazis fairly rapidly, while a single shotgun blast is often fatal. However, a chainsaw can be reasonably useful against the monster, but only at corners or narrow rooms and dead ends, because of its hitscan attack.

Inspiration and development[edit]

The Doom engine considers SS Nazis as tall as former humans and the player. However, the Nazis appear to be shorter on the screen because their sprites are unchanged in size from the originals from Wolfenstein 3D. This is likely because in Doom, Doomguy's point-of-view is at head-level, as opposed to Wolfenstein 3D's chest-level view.

The monster's alert and death sounds are spoken in German. When encountered, they say "Schutzstaffel!", identifying themselves as members of the SS; literally, "protection squad". When killed, they yell "Mein Leben!", a popular line from Wolfenstein 3D that means "My life!". The sounds have also been re-recorded for Doom. In the 2019 Unity port, their wake-up sound has been changed to "Schutzkämpfer!" ("protection warrior") so as to avoid directly referencing Nazi Germany.

The Schutzstaffel (commonly known as the SS) was a notorious paramilitary organization active during Hitler's tenure in Germany, responsible for a large part of the war crimes committed by the regime.


  • The SS is the tallest of the regular enemies in Wolfenstein 3D, and the closest to the constitution of the player and zombies.
  • There is a delay every two shots fired by a Wolfenstein SS, giving the impression that the submachine gun is being fired in bursts. In the original game he would fire a barrage of four shots.
  • The Wolfenstein SS was intended to have exactly one third of the rate of fire of the chaingun fired by the player or a heavy weapon dude, however due to a idiosyncrasy of the source code it takes a tic to check if the player is in its line of sight.
  • The SS is one of the three enemies whose machine gun sounds like a shotgun being fired rapidly, along with the heavy weapon dude and the spiderdemon. However, the spiderdemon fires three bullets per shot similar to the shotgun guy's shotgun, whereas the same audio was perhaps accidentally applied to the heavy weapon dude and SS.
    • Ironically, a similar mistake is also present in Wolfenstein 3D. Bullets fired by the SS or Hans Grosse have more accuracy, cause more damage and each play a unique sound. However, this does not apply to the other bosses, despite them also using a chaingun, making their shots identical to the enemies armed with pistols.
  • One of the aiming graphics of the Wolfenstein SS's sprite, SSWVF0, has magenta pixels between the legs, due to a palette conversion error. In Wolfenstein 3D, this magenta colour is not used in the game and is reserved as a "null" color to represent transparent pixels in graphic editing tools, so the artists must have missed the section between the legs when they converted the image to the Doom picture format, which does not have a transparent colour. This is fixed in the Doom Minor Sprite Fixing Project (see Combat Characteristics above for link).
  • The SS Nazi does not appear in the German release of Doom II due to the absence of the two secret levels. These levels were removed due to Germany's long-standing ban on Nazi symbolism, which extends to computer games and other entertainment media. For the same reason, Wolfenstein 3D itself was never offered for sale in Germany.
  • In the version included with Doom 3: BFG Edition, all Wolfenstein SS have been replaced with simple zombiemen. This has been know to cause multiplayer network game synchronization issues with the original Doom II when playing this level due to the difference in enemies. A patch to uncensor the BFG Edition version is available at this ZDoom forums thread.
  • The original SS from Wolfenstein was extremely accurate and able to cut the player down in a matter of seconds. The rate of fire for the Doom II version has been greatly decreased, rendering them less lethal than Doom II's own heavy weapon dudes. While this makes them less threatening by themselves, their main threat comes from their large numbers and phalanx-style positions.
  • While in the original game they had as many hit points as the player, in Doom they have only half of it. They also move faster in Wolfenstein 3D, at 58% of the player non-running speed.


Damage done by a Wolfenstein SS's bullet
Shots needed to kill1,2 Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
12.29 2.16 9 19
Player (100%
health, security armor)
17.86 2.79 13 26
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
44.18 6.03 37 59
Barrel 2.93 0.83 2 6
Zombieman 2.93 0.83 2 6
Shotgun guy 3.91 1.04 2 7
Wolfenstein SS 6.37 1.39 4 11
Imp 7.43 1.53 5 13
Heavy weapon dude 8.80 1.74 5 15
Lost soul 12.29 2.16 9 19
Commander Keen 12.29 2.16 9 19
Demon 17.86 2.79 13 26
Spectre 17.86 2.79 13 26
Romero's head3 29.78 4.39 25 42
Revenant 35.44 5.22 30 50
Cacodemon 47.41 6.88 40 64
Pain elemental 47.41 6.88 40 64
Hell knight 58.95 8.61 50 82
Arachnotron 58.95 8.61 50 82
Mancubus 70.57 10.22 60 96
Arch-vile 82.52 12.01 70 114
Baron of Hell 117.61 17.02 100 159
Spiderdemon 351.57 51.06 303 473
Cyberdemon 468.91 68.19 405 631

  1. This table assumes that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, blood splats, and bullet dispersal are consecutive. In real play, this is never the case: counterattacks and AI pathfinding must be handled, and of course the map may contain additional moving monsters and other randomized phenomena (such as flickering lights). Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
  2. The target must be close enough to compensate for the monster's inaccurate aim.
  3. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.

Appearance statistics[edit]

In the IWADs the Wolfenstein SS is first encountered on these maps per skill level:

The IWADs contain the following numbers of Wolfenstein SS per skill level:

Of the maps covered on the Doom Wiki, the following have the highest numbers of Wolfenstein SSs in single-player:

Map Count
MAP33: Nazi Revenant Orgy (Doomworld Mega Project 2017) 1685
IDDQD Arena 1672
MAP20: Wolfenfels (Doomworld Mega Project 2017) 728
TAT31: Return to Wolfenstein (Dark Tartarus) 450
MAP23: Nazi Prison (WOOO) 384

This data was last verified on December 21, 2023.