Doomguy, as he appears in 2016's Doom
|First game||Doom (1993)|
|Created by||Tom Hall|
|Designed by||Adrian Carmack, Kevin Cloud|
|Affiliation||Union Aerospace Corporation, Mankind|
The Doomguy, commonly known as the Marine and referred to as the Doom Slayer in the rebooted portion of the series, is the unnamed player character in the Doom video game franchise of first-person shooters created by id Software, and its sequels and spin-off media. He is a space marine dressed in green combat armor who does not speak onscreen.
Considered a symbolic and iconic protagonist and character, the original depiction of Doomguy does not have a defined personality and barely portrays a predefined character. According to designer John Romero, he is meant to represent "the player itself". 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 game; in the books he is referred to as "Flynn Taggart". The original game's co-designer John Romero said this was to increase player immersion. Romero said, "There was never a name for the [Doom] marine because it's supposed to be [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 he continues his adventure.
In 2018, John Romero and Tom Hall confirmed on Twitter that Doomguy is the son of Commander Keen protagonist Billy Blaze and the great-grandson of Wolfenstein protagonist William "B.J." Blazkowicz, and through him he is of Polish and Jewish descent.
The Marine in Doom was a soldier who, after being ordered to fire upon unarmed civilians, fatally punches his commanding officer and is transferred from Earth to Mars. He would go on to be the only survivor after battling on Phobos, Deimos and through Hell, ultimately teleporting to Earth where he discovers that Earth has been invaded by demons.
On the box art for the original Doom, the Marine is portrayed as a muscular man wearing green armor and a light grey space helmet that conceals his facial features. He is firing a submachine gun and fighting a Baron of Hell. The introduction screen of Doom shows him holding a machine gun and clutching a shotgun in his left hand. The player's in-game avatar, as seen in multiplayer mode and in the ending of Doom II: Hell on Earth, is based on this depiction. In multiplayer mode, the character wears green, red, brown and indigo. The Marine's face is seen in the game's HUD, where he is shown with light brown hair, a buzz cut, and blue eyes. The Marine appears without his helmet in the cover art of Doom II and in the ending to The Ultimate Doom episode IV, "Thy Flesh Consumed", where his armor and pants are a darker shade of green.
In Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom, the Marine expresses little emotion at the horror unfolding around him, maintaining a stern and alert glare, his eyes constantly darting left and right. When he takes damage, his reaction is a mixture of pain and anger. He grins upon picking up a new weapon, and his most emotional face is seen when he has 20 hit points or more taken away during a single attack, showing a shocked face.
The Marine in Doom 64 is less muscular, with slightly modified black armor, a black helmet with an antenna and a blue visor. In Wolfenstein RPG, it is hinted that the Marine is a descendant of William "B.J." Blazkowicz. 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 his facial features are not concealed, his muscular build is less exaggerated, and he has black hair. 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 a 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.
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.
Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil
In Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, the protagonist is a different Marine, also nameless and silent. 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.
In the 2016 reboot of Doom, the silent protagonist is referred to by Hell's forces as the Doom Slayer; said to be an ancient warrior and sole surviving member of an order of knights known as the Night Sentinels, tasked with protecting their home and deities, the Wraiths, from Hell. The Doom Slayer was considered particularly special, as he had been given the ability to absorb the souls of those he killed by the seraphim. Contrary to previous incarnations, this version 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.
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 demons 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; he is seen halfway through his Classic Doom death animation clutching his throat and gurgling, surrounded by various Satanic iconography. Upon seeing him, 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 is described as 72 inches (1.83m) tall and weighing 180 lbs. (81 kg), according to the character description from the game. 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.
In Rage, after the first cut scene, the player enters a dune buggy with a bobble head of the Marine on the dashboard. The Easter egg in the game's Gearhead vault level is the first room from the Doom game, where the player can pick up a Doom Marine bobblehead.
Doomguy is a playable character in the game Quake Champions. His appearance is based on the 2016 reboot of Doom, with alternate costumes based on the classic Doom titles, Quake III Arena, and the Marine from Doom 3.
In 2009, GameDaily included the Marine on its list of "ten game heroes who fail at the simple stuff" for his inability to look up and down in the original series. UGO Networks ranked him fourth on its 2012's list of best silent protagonists in video games, noting his courage to continue in silence even when he faces Hell's army. In 2013, Complex ranked Doomguy 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 him the fifth most "badass" male character in the video game's history.
Doomguy'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 as a minimalistic, but effective way to convey the entire character's motivations.
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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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