The Doom Slayer as he appears in 2020's Doom Eternal
|First appearance||Doom (1993)|
|Created by||John Romero|
|Designed by||Adrian Carmack, Kevin Cloud|
|Voiced by||Matthew Waterson (Doom Eternal)|
|Alias||Marine, Corporal Flynn Taggart, The Hell Walker, Doom Slayer, DM1-5, DOOM Marine, The Slayer, Unchained Predator, Doomguy, The Great Slayer, BJ Blazkowicz III, The Beast|
|Affiliation||Union Aerospace Corporation, Mankind, Armored Response Coalition, Night Sentinels|
Doomguy, also referred to as the Doom Marine and Doom Slayer in later installments of the franchise, is a fictional character and the protagonist in the Doom video game franchise of first-person shooters created by id Software, and its sequels and spin-off media. Doomguy is a space marine dressed in green combat armor who rarely speaks onscreen.
Considered a symbolic and iconic protagonist, the original depiction of the Doom Marine has an intentionally vague personality and backstory. According to designer John Romero, the Marine is meant to represent the player. In 2017, Romero stated that he was the original model of the character for the cover box art.
Concept and creation
The Marine is not referred to by name in the original game. Romero described this choice as increasing player immersion: "There was never a name for the [Doom] marine because it's supposed to be YOU [the player]".
Tom Hall's original design draft, "The Doom Bible", described several planned characters, all of whom went unused in the final version. The sole non-playable character, Buddy Dacote, bore the most similarities to the original game's eventual protagonist. "Dacote" is an acronym for "Dies at conclusion of this episode", and Buddy was supposed to be killed by a boss at the end of the planned third episode. In the finished product, this nearly happens to the Marine in the final level of the first episode, but the player survives. Later, when asked, Tom Hall and John Romero confirmed that the Marine was, at least originally, a descendant of B.J. Blazkowicz.
On the box art for the original Doom, the Marine is portrayed as a muscular man standing 6 ft 2 in (187.96 cm) tall and weighing 230 pounds (104.326 kg). His face is seen in the game's HUD, where it is shown as a Caucasian male with light brown hair, a buzz cut, and blue eyes. In single-player mode, the Marine wears green armor and a light grey space helmet that conceals their facial features. In multiplayer mode and in the ending of Doom II: Hell on Earth, the player's in-game avatar is based on this depiction, wearing green, red, brown and indigo. The Marine is firing a machine gun that doesn't make an appearance in the final game and fighting a CyberDemon. This image, with the addition of a shotgun, clutched in their left hand, is carried over to the introduction screen of Doom. The Marine appears without a helmet in the cover art of Doom II and in the ending to The Ultimate Doom episode IV, "Thy Flesh Consumed".
In Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom, the Marine expresses little emotion at the horror unfolding around them, maintaining a stern and alert glare, eyes constantly darting left and right. When the Marine takes damage, their reaction is a mixture of pain and anger. The Marine grins upon picking up a new weapon, and the most emotional face is seen when the Marine suffers 20 hit points or more taken away during a single attack, showing a shocked face.
The Marine is often referred to in the fan community as the Doomguy. However, whilst id Software chose a somewhat generic, male pictorial representation of the Marine for the box art, as well as gameplay purposes (damage feedback, story transitions), the true identity of the Doom Marine is meant to be the player themselves and so these depictions should only be considered illustrative. John Romero has been quoted as stating, "...the [Doom] marine ...it's supposed to be YOU [the player]".
The Marine in Doom 64 is less muscular, with slightly modified green armor with black highlights, a black helmet with an antenna, and a blue visor. In Wolfenstein RPG, it is hinted that the Doom 64 Marine is a descendant of William "B.J." Blazkowicz, to whom the Marine's helmetless look in the original games bears a striking similarity. In a reference to the Marine's confrontation with the Cyberdemon, when Blazkowicz defeats the "Harbinger of Doom", the creature states that he will return in the future to confront his descendants.
In Doom 3, the Marine's appearance is similar to that of his classic Doom incarnation as he wears green armor with exposed arms, but it is unlikely the character is meant to represent either the player or the original Doom Marine. The Doom 3 Marine's facial features are not concealed, his muscular build is less exaggerated, and he has black hair. During the game the player can interact with several characters, most of whom, like Sergeant Kelly, give the player some briefing regarding his mission. The player character remains silent throughout and is portrayed as tough and fearless in the game's cut scenes; generally only glaring at the demons he sees. When he discovers the towering Cyberdemon for the game's final battle, however, he steps back in fear.
Contrary to previous incarnations, Doom 2016's Marine is more vaguely characterized: the Doom Slayer is never seen nor heard other than from the first person, and other than gameplay at the beginning of the game that shows him having a Caucasian skin color and the muscular masculine suit seen in the introduction, practically no details are revealed. However, the Doom Slayer's eyes and nose can be made out through the visor of his helmet on the game's box art, the 3D model viewer, and his Quake Champions appearance. It has been also noted for its visibly irreverent tone conveyed by its hand gestures, fist bumping a small Doomguy figurine, and a late-game moment where the Doom Slayer decides to make a backup of a friendly AI rather than erasing it.
Doom Eternal is more specific about The Slayer's characterization relative to the previous episode: Doomguy is seen without a helmet in first-person, and for the first time in the series' history, he also speaks, voiced in flashback by Matthew Waterson. According to the character description, he is 6'8" (203.2 cm) and weighs 360 lbs. (163.293 kg). He also follows the streak for irreverence: a room in his Fortress of Doom is filled with comic books, collectible figurines, guitars and a gaming computer.
In Doom 3, the Marine had recently arrived on Mars and is the newest member of the Marine detachment sent to the planet; his past remains a mystery other than that he holds the rank of Corporal and was sent to replace one of the marines that have mysteriously disappeared. The game begins as Sergeant Kelly briefs him to track down a missing scientist, who warns him of the UAC dabbling into Hell just a moment before the demon invasion begins.
Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil
In Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil the protagonist is also a different Marine who remains nameless and silent as the other Marine protagonists. He is a combat engineer who is trained to operate a remote manipulation device known as the "Ionized Plasma Levitator" or "Grabber". He wears dark blue armor, has a shaved head, and appears to be older than his Doom 3 counterpart, based on his heavily weathered facial features. This Marine is part of a detachment under the command of Dr. Elizabeth McNeil, sent to investigate the Mars UAC facility in the aftermath of the demon invasion. While investigating the ancient Martian ruins, the Marine finds and touches "the Heart of Hell" artifact, which released a wave of energy that disintegrated the rest of his squad and opened another portal to Hell underneath the UAC base. This Marine seems to be more of an anti-hero, given that he appears to derive pleasure from using the artifact, which kills almost everyone at the base.
Doom RPG series
In Doom RPG a computer acknowledges Doom Marine as B.J. Blazkowicz, a reference to protagonist of Wolfenstein.
In Wolfenstein RPG, the B.J. fights the Harbinger of Evil the demon who becomes the Cyberdemon in the future. The curses that B.J. descendents are fated to fight him again in the future. A reference to the protagonists of Doom RPG and Doom RPG II.
In the 2016 Doom, the identity of the silent protagonist referred to by Hell's forces as the Doom Slayer is ambiguous.
There are several lore pieces (Slayer's Testaments) of his possible origins. One origin states that he is the sole surviving member of an order of paladins known as the Night Sentinels, who were tasked with protecting their home and native deities, the Wraiths, from Hell. The Doom Slayer was considered particularly special, as the seraphim had given him the ability to grow more powerful from the destruction he caused. He has been wreaking murderous havoc on Hell in retribution for a transgression they made against him that is yet to be revealed, but heavily suggested to be the murder of his beloved pet rabbit, Daisy.
Another possible origin, solicited in Quake Champions, states that the protagonist is the same Doom Marine from prior games. Such a story might explain why the title character still carries around the foot of his dead pet rabbit, Daisy, as a reminder of what he lost and why he fights.
According to the "Slayer's Testaments" in the 2016 game, the being known as the "Doom Slayer" has been tormenting Hell and its armies for an eternity, and once "wore the crown of the Night Sentinels" in the "first age". He was given an Argent energy-charged exomantle of controversial design known as the Praetor Suit by a rogue demon, who was reviled by his own kind as a traitor called The Wretch for aiding the Doom Slayer's bloody cause. Additionally, at some point the "seraphim" further enhanced the Slayer with superhuman strength, durability, and speed.
The Doom Slayer, as he appeared in the 2016 Doom, is present in Doom Pinball, the virtual pinball adaptation of that game developed by Zen Studios as one of the three tables of the Bethesda Pinball pack, an add-on for Zen Pinball 2, Pinball FX 2 and Pinball FX 3. He is a 3D animated figure placed on the left side of the table that fights the leaders of demon waves on the opposite side of the table, which are also 3D figures, when the player encounters one. The table's dot-matrix display also occasionally shows the face of the original Doomguy from the 1993 game.
The Doom Slayer returns in Doom Eternal, the 2020 sequel to the 2016 Doom, in which he sets out to continue his war against the legions of Hell as they expand their presence into various realms in the universe, including Earth, Heaven and Phobos. In Doom Eternal, it is confirmed that the Doom Slayer is the same Doomguy from the original games, having been brought to the world of Sentinel Prime and given unimaginable power by a rebel servant of the Khan Maykr. Prior to the events of the previous Doom, his rage for the demons becomes so great he stops speaking and only utters curses and guttural screams, which the player can hear during combat gameplay.
As the story progresses, more of the nameless Marine's time spent as a Night Sentinel is revealed, including about how he was made one of their great warrior kings and of the betrayal his new people suffered at their own hands due to lies, deceit and misguided faith. On the ravaged Earth, alien to the hellwalker himself, his name is spoken in hushed whispers by the few surviving pockets of humanity left alive planetside.
To many amongst the ARC (Armored Response Coalition), he is often colloquialized as a fleeting myth passed around by lingering remnants of modern society being a one-man army who singlehandedly stands alone against the invading demons, while others amongst the now-corrupt UAC cult and seditious bureaucrats amongst the ARC attempt to rebuff claims of his existence and prowess on the battlefield as superfluous rumors to demoralize the resistance and anyone left who hadn't yet been slaughtered by the hordes of Doom. From his personal headquarters, Doomguy receives radio wave broadcasts from ARC ground sanctions detailing his exploits as an unknown savior to mankind. Succeeding in his lone crusade against the demons where the latest in cutting-edge technologies devised by the Allied Nations could not, a great many amongst their scientists seemingly praise and worship the Slayer as a vengeful wargod who descended upon the broken world in Man's greatest hour of need.
It is decidedly vague on whether or not the Slayer has retained any humanity. While many of the coalition's analysts who've examined him from within and without his tomb determine he is human from various blood samples of the subject that were taken and studied, one such technician notices trace amounts of exotic material in his genetic makeup that makes him decidedly something else. This is confirmed in his final battle with the Khan Maykr, who admonishes him as a once-mortal man who dared to deny her people's way of life. His ascendance to a living force of nature stems from the empowerment given by the rogue servant of Urdak known as Samur Maykr (or the Seraphim) in Doom 2016, who used his race's technology to vastly empower him.
In the 1990s Doom novels, the main character is referred to as Flynn "Fly" Taggart. For the Doom 3 novels, the Marine's name is John Kane. His past is similar to that of the protagonist in the original Doom, having been demoted after disobeying command to save some of his fellow marines. He is a combat veteran of wars raging on Earth for its remaining resources, including one between the United States and Russia. After arriving on Mars, he is resigned to his fate as a "glorified security guard". While there he befriends fellow marines such as Maria Moraetes, a marine with a similar fate.
During the Hellish invasion Kane is forced to take command of several of the surviving marines despite his stripped ranking. He battles the demons singlehandedly or with a few other marines. He is depicted as compassionate to his fellow survivors, working to save the child Theo, and to save the damned in Hell. After volunteering to enter Hell to retrieve the soul cube, Campbell is shown as very impressed by him. He and Maria start to feel romantic ties to each other. During the end of Doom 3: Maelstrom, Kane's leg is blown off and he is admired as the "man who saved Mars City".
In the film adaptation of Doom, John "Reaper" Grimm (Karl Urban) is the son of UAC scientists who were killed in an accident during the early excavation of a Martian dig site. Reaper abandoned his scientific heritage and joined the military to forget about this personal tragedy, eventually becoming a member of the elite Rapid Response Tactical Squad. Grimm, his commanding officer Sarge and the other members of the RRTS are dispatched to the UAC Mars facility to investigate the disappearance of several scientists, where they confront humans who have mutated into monsters after being injected with an artificial 24th chromosome. Near the end of the film, Grimm is fatally wounded and injected with the chromosome by his sister to save his life. Instead of becoming a monster, Grimm is granted superhuman strength, reflexes, and regenerative abilities. These new abilities allow him to single-handedly mow down a small horde of monsters and zombies. After killing the now-mutating Sarge, Grimm leaves the base with his nearly-unconscious sister in his arms.
The Marine's corpse appears in a secret area in Duke Nukem 3D; they are seen halfway through their Classic Doom death animation clutching their throat and gurgling, surrounded by various Satanic iconography. Upon seeing them, Duke Nukem says, "That's one doomed space marine".
In the Saturn version of Quake, the Marine briefly appears at the end of the bonus feature "Dank & Scuz". He is voiced by David Locke. In the Microsoft Windows version of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, the Marine is a secret skater, added by developer Gearbox Software, who ported the Windows version. This was included because Activision, publisher of the Tony Hawk series and Doom 3, wanted to promote the latter, which was still in development.
In Quake III Arena, the Marine appears in three levels under the name "Doom". He's described as 6 ft 8 in (203.2 cm) tall and weighing 360 lbs (163.293 kg). The character "Phobos" is also a Doom Marine, though his skin is darker and his armor is orange rather than green. The third Doom Marine in the game, a woman named "Crash", is mentioned as being Doom's training instructor before arriving at the Arena.[better source needed]
In Doom: Annihilation a dead Doom Marine named William J. Blazkowicz had a keycard.
In 2009, GameDaily included the Marine on its list of "ten game heroes who fail at the simple stuff" for their inability to look up and down in the original series. UGO Networks ranked the Marine fourth on its 2012's list of best silent protagonists in video games, noting his courage to continue in silence even when faced with Hell's army. In 2013, Complex ranked the Doom Marine at number 16 on its list of the greatest soldiers in video games for being "the original video game space marine" and "one of the classic silent protagonists". Both CraveOnline and VGRC ranked the Marine the fifth most "badass" male character in the video game's history.
The Doom Marine's 2016 incarnation has received special acclaim for its characterization and how the game presents the player character as a representation of the player playing Doom: writing for GamesRadar, David Houghton called the presentation "incidental, not explicit", which allows the players to immerse completely in the character. Christian Donlan writing for Eurogamer theorised that "the guy in Doom is playing Doom", and explained that the main character's impatience with exposition is analogous to "the temporary frustration of being inside Doom while not being able to play Doom". In his column Extra Punctuation Ben Croshaw wrote that the game "establishes the player character as someone who doesn't give a flake of dried Marmite for the larger context, and only cares about ridding the planet of demons. Which is hopefully representative of the player's motivation." Additional praise was given for the subtlety of Doomguy's expressions: Jim Sterling noted that both the "glory kill" moves and additional pieces of animation "reinforce his consistent sense of irreverence", Sterling, along with a number of other reviewers including Houghton, Conlan, and Croshaw (in his Zero Punctuation review) noted the initial moment of the game with Doomguy throwing away a communications monitor while a mission briefing plays as a minimalistic, but effective way to convey the entire character's motivations.
- Interdimensional being
- B.J. Blazkowicz
- Gordon Freeman
- Master Chief (Halo)
- Duke Nukem (character)
- Samus Aran
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Frustrated, I threw my shirt off and told him to give me the gun and get on the floor – grab my arm as one of the demons! Defeated, he deferred. I aimed the gun in a slightly different direction and told Don, "This is what I'm talking about!"
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