Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / Doom

Go To
This isn’t gonna be pretty…
For games with their own pages, see:
NOTICE: All spoilers will be unmarked, per wiki policy. Read ahead only at your own risk! You Have Been Warned.
    open/close all folders 

    Doom and Doom II 
  • The face in the HUD keeps getting bloodier as you take more damage. In some versions, a big hit when low on health makes the head explode.
    • Not only that, the 3DO version always explodes the head when you die. And since the framerate of that port is notoriously crappy, you will get a pretty good look at the first frame, which is the infamous "ouch face".
    • If you pick up a new weapon when his health is in its lowest range possible, Doomguy will still smile with blood all over his face and even running down his teeth, which is unnerving, if still badass.
  • One's first time seeing a Former Human or Imp getting turned into giblets may be a shock the first time. When the Shareware version of Doom is started, you get to watch the Attract Mode demonstrate how to play the game. Version 1.2 even had a demonstration of E1M7 where you can pick up a Rocket Launcher and turn Former Humans inside-out. The demo shows this off acutely when a Rocket is launched into a group of enemies a few time and they proceed to turn to a bloody mess, with the level's grand but ominous theme "Demons on the Prey" playing. For 1994, this was potentially shocking to watch, and didn't beat around the bush about how bloody the combat got.
  • The Cyberdemon. What's worse than a hulking 20-foot abomination with horns like a goat and red wires where its abdomen should be? One with a rocket launcher for an arm, and a robotic leg that makes a loud clunking noise with each step it takes. The moment you hear its blood-curdling roar in the distance, you know things are going to get serious real fast. The Cyberdemon has only one attack, but it's potent enough by itself to make this beast the deadliest enemy in the entire game - it shoots three high-velocity rockets in direct succession of each other, aimed directly at their intended target. Depending on where you're standing relative to the Cyberdemon, you might have up to three seconds to evade the ensuing blasts, which can and often will take over 100 health points in a single hit. And with a grand total of 4000 hit points and imperviousness to splash damage, the Cyberdemon is by far the toughest creature to take down in the original game.
    • The opening of E2M8, the infamous Tower of Babel where you first fight this bastard, gives you a nice taste of what's to come in the form of dead and fucked up Barons of Hell on walls. You know those big badasses that you fought in Phobos Anomaly and occasionally in Episode 2, who were the toughest monsters in the game thus far? Yeah. What you're about to face is much worse.
    • The Cyberdemon's roar was intentionally made to be so loud that it can be heard clearly in any far distance. Meaning that you can hear it even when he's nowhere to be seen. Meaning that he can probably now see you from afar. Meaning that he will fuck you up, very soon.
    • The Sega Saturn and PlayStation Updated Re-release take the atmosphere of the Tower of Babel to another level. Like all maps, the level has the music of Aubrey Hodges as a backdrop and this time, Babel is the final level of the "Inferno" episode maps. Once you open the door(s) to access the arena, your gun fire will wake up the Cyberdemon or you'll go exploring and run into the beast yourself. Their roar is arguably even more haunting as is the clanking they make as they walk; in addition, the sky is engulfed in fire as if to remind you that you're certainly in Hell.
  • You've defeated the Spider Mastermind and in the act proving yourself too tough for hell to contain, so the demons give you an easy break and open a portal to let you back to your home world. Cue a grassy field with golden skies and a bunny, Daisy, roaming around to a blissful flute-and-birds tune. The screen then scrolls and the tune becomes more off-key, distorted, and evil as a burning city comes into view and the bunny's severed head is impaled on a spike, the music fully transformed into blasting metal. It does not help that the bunny's eyes seem to be glowing red both before and after the impalement, even staring right at you in the latter. For those who played the original versions of Doom, this was the end of the game!
  • The Spider Mastermind. A creepy-ass demon with a brain that's far too big, on a mecha platform with four spider-like legs and a powerful chaingun that will tear you apart if you're too close. And you can't dodge the thing like you can with the Cyberdemon's rockets — your only option is finding cover, and FAST.
  • The first time you enter E3M9, you will feel a sense of strong deja vu. Basically, the first half of this secret level copies E3M1, including layout and enemies. But when you reach the "exit", things go completely different. The walls lower around you, and the game decides to unleash a fucking CYBERDEMON upon you, with cube structures provided for cover. Just a simple thought that you can encounter the Cyberdemon again after you killed him on E2M8 is chilling. And this is without talking about the fourth episode of Ultimate Doom, which also has the cyberdemons on some levels.
    • And if you decide to backtrack to start of the level (and you must do this in order to exit this nightmare), you will quickly discover more alcoves that you didn't see at first. And they contain enemies, of course.
    • Another chilling moment comes when you enter the gray room with red skull. Without any warning, you are teleported to the far corner of the room you were about to enter. Thankfully, the enemies don't spot you immediately.
  • In Doom II's map "Dead Simple", once you killed all the Mancubi, the walls would come down, surrounding you with hordes of Arachnotrons.
  • At the end of the first major episode (MAP11) of Doom II, the room containing the master control switch has walls entirely comprised of stitched together corpses.
    • In the same map, upon grabbing a key you have a first encounter with the most powerful non-boss monster in the series: the Archvile. An incredibly fast and tough skin-and-bones humanoid that towers over you and can easily resurrect the demons you used up so much lead to put down, the Archvile should be your top priority in any firefight where one is present. It also roams around with a deep, evil laugh, and lets out a high-pitched shriek upon being alerted to your presence. When it engulfs you in flames, you better hope you find cover before they flicker out...
    • The Archviles make some creepy sounds; evil laughter and weirdly pleased moans.
    • Note that we said when it engulfs you in flames. There is almost absolutely no escape from the Archvile's attacknote  once he spots you; you WILL get hit, EVERY time. And any time when you aren't in his view, he'll check for valid demon corpses any time his sprite changes, meaning that if left unchecked, every demon you've gunned up will reemerge, and you'll have to essentially repeat the entire room and also deal with that lanky bastard.
  • So many of the wall textures are downright creepy. There's giant stone demon faces, red-eyed horned gargoyles (which sometimes spew blood from their mouths), scrolling walls made of distorted, anguished faces, pictured above, to switches that look like laughing harlequins... and that's not even getting into the Meat Moss walls. The crown jewel would have to be the Icon of Sin's head itself, grinning maliciously as it gazes at you with its white empty eyes.
    • In the Suburbs level (MAP16) of Doom II, there's a house where one of the gargoyle faces is behind a wall that covers the entire face except for the eyes. Just two glowing red eyes, eternally peeking into some guy's living room.
  • The Suburbs level in general is just eerie. In one part of the level, there is a small rectangular red brick building with four doors - you can open any of them... only to see that it's completely overfilled with bones and corpses, so you can't enter. Just what happened in there? It's actually possible to get into the building via a hidden entrance, and what you see inside isn't much better. There's a big pool of blood, and what looks like intestines all across the floor...
  • The "pantry" you encounter near the end of Doom II's MAP27 (Monster Condo), which is filled wall to wall with hanging and skewered corpses. The level's eerie music (think an even more somber take on the already sinister-sounding hook from Pantera's "This Love") makes it that much worse.
  • Despite their relative weakness compared to other monsters, the noise made by former humans as they wander around is quite disconcerting. If you are extremely low on health and hiding from a Chaingun Guy or a horde of Zombiemen, imagining them marching toward your hiding spot while making those horrible groans is enough to make you panic. And much like Spidey, you can't dodge their attacks.
  • The scream the Big Bad of Doom II makes when you fire a rocket into the hole in his head that the monsters come from.
    • And that's only the half of it: as soon as the noclip cheat reveals the True Big Bad, whose head is actually residing in a small room, while it's impaled on a stick... Hey, the hint to the beast's real identity is even here, in his only spoken quote (consider reversing that):
      Oremor nhoj, em llik tsum uoy, emag eht niw ot...
    • According to the post-level narration, the beast, the Icon of Sin, wasn't just a gigantic head mounted on a wall; he had a body that you couldn't see. Meaning that if his skull alone was large enough to create a portal for more demons to pass through, his full build must be monstrous.
    • And the kicker, the real cherry on top of this? His head's out of walls come DOOM Eternal, and his body is as colossal as advertised 20+ years ago. Even worse; he's got Powered Armor on top of all of that mass. What you fought in Doom II was but a fraction of what was to come eventually...
  • MAP05 of TNT: Evilution qualifies as Nightmare Fuel and makes the developers into Trolling Creators. The level starts in a thin hallway with other, shorter ones protruding out from the sides. Walk to the end of one hallway, the wall behind you opens to reveal another hallway, this one filled with monsters. Clear them out, go down the next hallway, sequence repeats. When you go down the third hallway, you've probably caught on by now, so you go down that one backwards... and then the hallway extends and you still get ambushed from behind.
    • MAP11 from The Plutonia Experiment. Start off with the music from the ending of the original game, see a backpack and a switch in the room ahead of you. And then you look to the left and see a ton of Archviles frozen in place behind a fence — and when you hit the switch, they un-freeze and teleport out into the maze you're just about to enter. The level is quite fittingly named "Hunted". And if you choose the wrong teleporter at the end of the level, you will end up facing four Archviles at once in a room where you have no hope of taking cover. Even worse, should you manage to kill all of them, you will still keep taking damage until you run out of health and the level ends, just like in the below-mentioned "Phobos Anomaly".
  • It's bad enough that the red key maze in "Halls of the Damned" (E2M6) is nearly pitch dark, but it gets worse when you realize that it's dotted with Monster Closets, which open with no warning.
  • The side maze that eventually leads to the chainsaw in "Nuclear Plant" (E1M2) is very dark with fairly erratic lighting, along with the unsettling moaning of former humans as they search for you.
  • E1M3 contains one of your first tastes of the insidious tricks the game can and will pull on you. See that conspicuously-placed keycard on the dais? Grabbing it causes the lights to go out and a Monster Closet to open right behind you, forcing you to fight off a crowd of baddies in near pitch-black darkness.
  • The final level of the first episode of Doom, "Phobos Anomaly", ends with your marine stepping on a teleporter that plunges him into a black abyss where you are constantly losing health either from simply touching the floor or being assaulted by a barrage of barely-visible monsters. You stay there being ravaged by these things until you run out of health, at which point the next episode begins. It truly becomes nightmare fuel if you only have the Shareware version as this is where the game would end, leaving you to wonder what exactly happened to your hero when he stepped on that teleporter.
    • The level itself is very unsettling. It's dark, the music is creepy, there are no enemies to be found (at least on lower difficulties), and you start in an area filled with ammo and power-ups — which makes it pretty obvious that a big fight is coming up. Then you take an elevator up into a big pentagram-shaped room and are greeted by a loud, scary demonic roar as two of the biggest and scariest-looking creatures you've encountered yet appear to fight you.
  • The Soul Sphere contains a haunting, silently pulsing face, implied to be an actual trapped human soul.
  • Title theme from Doom II is a creepy, chaotic melody that sounds like something from classic slasher movies.
  • E1M5, Phobos Lab. The level itself really isn't that unusual compared to other levels in the episode, but as its background music, it has the aptly-named Suspense. The four (or five, if counting the secret) maps before this one had upbeat tunes fitting well with either run-and-gun shootouts or action-thriller standoffs. Then this song comes on, fully intent on scaring your pants off. The kicker? This map is the setting of the first title screen demo in every version of the original Doom. Imagine being a small child and seeing it (and the demo player's inevitable demise) as one of the very first things upon booting the game up for the first time.
  • E2M4, Deimos Lab. Not only is the music incredibly spooky with its low-key sense of dread and foreboding, but the level is very dark, often claustrophobic, and several walls are covered with creepy imagery, one of which is an endless band of human faces seemingly melted together, all frozen in expressions of pain and terror.
  • In the first Doom, there are a few levels that have mutilated Marines hanging by chains from the ceiling...and still moving. They're somehow still alive, but there's nothing you can do to help them, and nothing they can do but struggle in vain to escape. Unless you're playing Brutal Doom or any other mod that allows you to put them out of their misery.
    • Speaking of Brutal Doom, there's also the poor bastards you encounter in one level near the end of the Hell on Earth Starter Pack wad. They've been captured and horribly tortured, and scream and cry out for you to help them. The only thing you can do for them is end their pain the only way you know how.
  • While Lost Souls are hardly the deadliest enemies in the game, the way they rush at you with their fangs bared and a horrible hiss is pretty unsettling. On Nightmare!, they become a greater threat, flying at you constantly and hurting you alarmingly fast if you are careless.
  • The PlayStation and Saturn versions of Doom are no slouches either. Like their sibling, Doom 64, the rockin' music has been replaced by a dark, creepy, and unnerving soundtrack from the same composer, and the demons literally sound hellish. The PlayStation version goes the extra mile by giving these games a much darker atmosphere with its colored lighting.

    The Movie 
  • The opening scene. The movie opens up with a scientist and his lab assistants getting attacked by monsters. They all get slaughtered one by one until only the scientist and one assistant remains. The scientist closes a door on the last assistant and leaves her to die. We don’t see the monsters yet, but we DO see what they do to the assistant along the way...and the assistant’s blood-curling dying screams don’t help in the slightest (gotta give props to the actress who played her, because her performance was chillingly convincing). Afterwards, the scientist has just enough time to make one last message while the demons break down his door...and the message ends there.
  • Later on, the marines find the scientist from the opening scene...luckily, he’s still alive, but he’s shaking, he’s covered in blood, he’s wounded, he’s still holding the assistant’s severed hand and he’s so scared out of his mind that he rips off his own goddamn ear! Seriously, what did the monsters do to him?!

To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero