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Video Game / DRL

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DRL, originally known as Doom, the Roguelike or simply DoomRL, is a simple and fast-paced game, with an emphasis on ranged combat as opposed to most roguelikes' melee focus. The monsters paint the ground and walls red as you riddle them with bullets, dismember them with chainsaws, and pulverize them with shotguns. Rocket launchers and explosive barrels create flaming balls of death that destroy walls just as easily as they kill you and your enemies. Only a few levels into the game you will be turning hordes of zombies into red goo.

By no means is the game easy, however. That horde of zombies is eager and willing to shoot right back at you, along with all the monsters you remember from the FPS, including their iconic growls.

On February 28, 2012, version was released, which marks some major updates to the game. DRL now has a full tileset by Derek Yu (you know, the Spelunky guy) that uses Doom-style graphics for everything (the original ASCII graphics are still available in Console mode), interface improvements, mouse support, and high quality audio upgrades to music and sound effects.

On March 19, 2013, version was released, which added several new special levels (including recreations of classic Doom levels like Phobos Lab), added Dual-Angel challenges (where you combine two challenges into one), and Archangel challenges (extra hard versions of existing challenges), new Uniques, as well as general gameplay/balance tweaks and bug fixes.


The game can be downloaded for free here, though the site appears to be non-functional as of January 2022, though the pages for the spin-offs still work, such as Aliens, the Roguelike. In addition, there is a .wad for actual Doom that reasonably replicates the uniques and monsters to the FPS itself: DoomRL Arsenal.

Kornel is working on a Spiritual Successor titled Jupiter Hell. It has a trailer on YouTube. It has since been released on both Steam and GOG.

Compare Teleglitch.


This game provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: There's a lot of stuff that wasn't in the original. For example, the Jackal Anti-Freak Hand Cannon.
  • Animate Dead: Arch-Viles, as always. The Apostle that you fight at the end of an Angel of 100 run if you have Dragonslayer and Berserker Armor can also do this.
  • Ascended Glitch: The tactic of corner shooting was initially possible because of a bug that made enemies unable to see the player around a corner while they came up to the player against the wall, thus allowing it to be as ridiculously safe a tactic as it is. However it became such an integral part of DRL play that the developers kept it in and consider it a mechanic of the game, while new additions and adjustments were made with corner shooting in mind.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Exotic and Unique weapons will often be this if they're of a weapon type not used by your build, as most weapons will be ineffectual without associated traits. For example a pistol Unique like the Trigun is for sure an awesome find, but if you're not investing in Pistol traits they'll still be what amounts to a slow peashooter that requires frequent reloading.
    • The Napalm Launcher. On one hand, you're drowning everything in lava. On the other hand, you're drowning everything, including powerups, items and the path to the exit, in lava. Get yourself a pair of boots that makes you immune to lava to go along with it however, and you'll be able to ignore the detriments of covering the level in lava while reaping all the benefits that most enemies not being immune to lava will bring with it.
    • The Acid Spitter is twice as powerful as the Napalm Launcher (it does up to 100 damage!), but it only has one shot before requiring reloading, and can only be reloaded by walking into acid squares and manually scooping the acid into your Spitter, which has to be done a whopping ten times before it can be fired again. Even if you have boots that make you immune to acid so you don't get damaged by reloading it, this reloading process takes way too long to be able to safely reload it with enemies onscreen or nearby, and is extremely tedious otherwise.
    • The Tristar Blaster lets you blow up absolutely everything in one turn, yes, but it chews up fifteen plasma cells per shot and you just have to guess where two of those explosions will be. Oh and each blast doesn't even do much damage. It is an Exotic so it can be modded however, and can be made Nanomachic to give it infinite ammo, so if you're lucky enough to find it and a Nano mod, you can make it into a "click to win" weapon.
    • The Cybernetic Armor is a Unique armor with a 7 protection rating, nearly twice that of Red Armor, but once equipped, you cannot ever unequip it and it cannot be destroyed. Additionally, it does not self-regenerate like other "cursed" armors. So an unwise player equipping it can put themself in what is essentially a death trap, as the armor inevitably gets worn down and loses its protection, while they're unable to remove it for fresher armor. The armor is fully moddable by Technicians however, so a Technician with the right mods and enough investment in their Whiz Kid trait could make it into something extremely powerful (for example, a Nanonskin Armor that regenerates and has an additional 25% resistance to everything, or a Cybernano Armor that has 11 protection and infinite durability).
  • BFG: Yes, it's that one.
    • Serial Escalation: Thought the BFG was the biggest your guns could get? Think again. From version onwards, with the adequate mods and one level of the Whizkid trait, you can make the BFG into the VBFG, which works like the Nuclear BFG, but packs even more of a punch than the regular one. What? Not satisfied yet? Don't worry, we've got the thing for you! With a bit more work and two levels of the same Whizkid trait, you can make the Biggest Fucking Gun, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • BFS: The Dragonslayer, which renders you permanently berserk, and which receives a damage boost when paired with the Berserker Armor.
  • Boring, but Practical: The tactic of corner shooting, which involves hiding behind a corner, and shooting at an approaching enemy as they come near, with a weapon that knocks them back. The corner keeps you out of their line of sight (thus they will not fire on you), and they'll keep coming back up against the wall until they die. This involves a lot of waiting in the same spot, and you can't use bigger weapons like Rocket Launchers, as they'll destroy your cover. However, this is the safest way to kill any enemy that's not immune to knockback without sustaining damage.
    • The most consistently useful assembly in the game that every knowledgeable player will aim to make immediately on every playthrough? Plain old Tactical Boots. They provide absolutely no protection to acid and lava whatsoever nor have any special effects. But all that is required to make them is a pair of Agility mods on a pair of common Steel Boots, which you can easily obtain by the first few levels, while they provide a very valuable 15% boost to your movement speed. Since you can usually just avoid walking in harmful fluids, there's no real downside to wearing them, leaving no reason to not wear them nearly all the time unless you're lucky enough to get boots with an even greater movespeed bonus. Pre- versions of the game even had them grant you a 10% bonus to your dodging rate, but Tactical Boots were deemed so ridiculously low cost and effective that the dodge bonus was removed.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The "Nuclear" mod for energy weapons makes them recharge ammo, at the cost of not being able to reload normally, kind of like the Recharger series from Fallout: New Vegas. Simply slapping a nano mod on a weapon works similarly, and a "nanomanufacture ammo" assembly eliminates ammo consumption and any need to reload. Too bad that this assembly doesn't work with BF Gs ...
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Some Red Stairs lead to these (others are closer to Breather Level).
    • The Mortuary and Limbo are the most infamous case: Five (or more, on higher difficulties) Arch-Viles, and hundreds of randomly selected corpses (which could be anything from Former Humans to Mancubi).
    • The entrance to Hell's Arena is on level 2, which means the player will only have one level to get experience and equipment before entering it. Bad luck with that single level can leave the player woefully unprepared to take on Hell's Arena, especially for Pistol and Melee builds that really need levels in Son of a Gun/Brute asap and any equipment/items they can find this early in the game. The spawning locations of enemies during each wave is additionally random, so an unlucky player may end up surrounded right away by enemies faster and tankier than them, and the pillars in the arena can randomly be either squares or crosses, which the latter makes corner shooting and running around the pillars to evade enemies a lot less effective. The luck-based difficulty is so bad, that it's a common complaint among players that Hell's Arena shows up on level 2 instead of 3; players would rather it spawn on level 3 like it had a chance of doing so in prior versions, as that extra level of preparation made it a lot more consistently manageable.
  • Chainsaw GOOD: Not only does it deal incredible damage, you get a free berserk pack effect the first time you pick it up. It gets even more powerful with various assemblies and a good melee build.
  • Class and Level System\Character Class System: As of version, you can choose among 3 different classes for your player character: The tanky Marine (who has 10 more base HP and powerups will last 50% longer for), the agile Scout (who has 10% more base speed and will be able to see the location of stairs outside certain challenges), and the resourceful Technician (who can use items nigh-instantly, any Computer Map they use will act like a Tracking Map, and they can mod a few certain Uniques that the other classes can't). They each additionally have their own set of master traits, as well as each having immediate access to a specific advanced trait without needing to fulfill its prerequisites (Marines get Badass, Scouts get Intuition, and Technicians get Wiz Kid).
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Lava does a lot of damage, but only if you run over it.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Exotics, Uniques, and Artifacts bear respective purple, green, and yellow colors while on the ground, and will have the same colors when listed in the player's inventory. Unique versions enemies also have their own colors; in what might be a Shout-Out to Doom 64, the Nightmare variants of enemies appear dark blue.
    • With the graphical update in, the same special items will have color-coded auras before they are picked up, extending to special armor that your player wears and is actually visible on the player's character in-game.
  • Crippling Overspecialisation: Arachnotrons, in a sense. With their plasma guns and rapid-fire abilities, it's hard to tank or dodge them, but if you can get into melee range, they're practically helpless, and a melee build with a chainsaw or even a chainsword can one-shot them with ease.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Since version, certain combinations of equipment and mods can result in special equipment being created. Some of them are so-so upgrades for your normal gadgets of destruction, others are true behemoths that will help you greatly in raining fiery death on the hordes of hell. The more ranks you have in Whizkid, the more mods you can put on something and the better gear you can create.
  • Death In All Directions: The Mancubi launch three rockets - one directly at you, and two to either side. If you are along a wall when this happens, you may as well kiss your ass goodbye (though their rockets have been weakened in, eliminating the sudden one-hit kills that were common from them).
    • The special weapon called the Tri-Star Blaster gives you an energy weapon version of the Mancubus attack.
  • Degraded Boss / King Mook: On the Angel of 100 challenge, you can find most boss monsters in the lower levels as normal enemies, exceptions being the Arena Master, Angel of Death, Spider Mastermind, and John Carmack.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: When the player has the run command active, their shots will have about half the accuracy they normally would. Having the Scout's Gunrunner trait will prevent this penalty however.
  • Do Not Spoil This Ending: Anyone reading spoilers knows about the True Final Boss, and the official wiki provides the full details on how to get a full win instead of a standard win. However, a couple of the secret items, the Dragonslayer and the Berserker Armor, require the player to meet specific conditions to pick up and use, and the few people in the community who have figured it out have all agreed not to reveal the secret in accordance to Kornel's wishes. In earlier versions how to pick up the Dragonslayer (which then just required the player to be berserked) was spoiled outside the Chaosforge forums, so in response Kornel changed the conditions. However Kornel gave his blessing to finally revealing the secret, which is the player must be berserk, and they must not have anything equipped in any of the four slots.
  • Doom Doors: A deliberate use of the stock sound effect, being as it's literally based on Doom.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: You can go crazy with this, especially by pumping six rounds into the chamber of an empty tactical shotgun.
    • Also, picking up or readying any weapon, including the combat knife, produces a cocking sound.
  • Dual Boss: The Bruiser Brothers, two buffed up Barons of Hell, at the Phobos Anomaly (formerly called the "Hellgate").
    • In Deimos Lab, the player must fight two Shamblers at the end of the level.
  • Dual Wielding: The Malicious Blades master trait allows you to dual-wield one-handed melee weapons with deadly precision and with a sizable defensive boost.
  • Duel Boss: The showdown with the Cyberdemon, as per the original game. No mooks, no fancy tricks, just you against a T-rex sized demon lord with an armful of rocket launcher and a head full of mad.
    • The Spider Mastermind as well. Unless you brought a nuke.
    • There's also the Angel of Death, which you fight in the Unholy Cathedral. All ranged weapons are disabled in the Cathedral, meaning this level must be taken on with a melee weapon and (ideally) a melee build.
  • Early-Bird Boss: The Arena Master is pretty much an ordinary Arch-Vile, just more durable and his attack dealing a bit less damage. But he has to be faced in a sidebranch from level 5 in Phobos. For reference, on normal difficulty Arch-Viles don't start showing up until you reach Hell.
  • Early Game Hell: In the Angel of Berserk challenge (where you're restricted to melee weapons only), the game tends to be at its hardest early on, where the lack of equipment and levels really hurts a pure melee build, though the difficulty tapers off greatly once you get the Chainsaw and some levels with which to build your traits. This was especially bad in early versions of DRL, where the player didn't get a guaranteed Combat Knife at the end of the first level (and would thus have to go through the first two or so levels with just their fists).
    • The Angel of Markmanship challenge (where you're restricted to just Pistols) and Pistol builds in general will have it rough in the beginning, as Pistols are very weak without a lot of investment in Pistol-specific traits, and unlike with other weapon types there is no guaranteed upgrade from the standard Pistol you start out with, you just have to hope you're lucky enough to come across an Exotic or Unique Pistol to have anything better than your starting peashooter.
      • The Sharpshooter build specifically probably has the hardest early game of any build; unlike other Pistol builds they cannot learn Dualgunner, which serves as a major midway powerup to their mastery, and Son of a Gun 3 with a single Pistol is still very lacking; prospective Sharpshooters at this stage will really struggle to kill anything bigger than a Pinky with their Pistol in a single clip before it gets to them. Then besides three levels of Son of a Gun, the other requirement for Sharpshooter is three levels of Eagle Eye; one level of EE is helpful as Pistols without it can miss a bit frequently at long distances, but the second level has seriously diminished returns when Pistols are rarely missing after the first level, and the third level is just flatout superflous. Having to pick up three levels of Eagle Eye really makes Sharpshooters so weak before their mastery, as they're left with a weak weapon while if they don't want to delay getting Sharpshooter they can't learn Whizkid yet to mod their Pistols for desperately needed extra firepower nor can learn something like Hellrunner to help them survive, and if not on Angel of Marksmanship these traits aren't helping them much with other weapons, in particular Shotguns, the main supplemental weapon, aren't being helped at all. But if they can survive long enough to get Sharpshooter, they will get what is possibly the most busted mastery skill in the game, while they can then start investing in other very useful traits like the aformentioned Whizkid and Hellrunner to become really powerful, at which point the later game becomes a cakewalk for them.
    • Angel of 100/Archangel of 666 is at its hardest in the first 10-15 levels, especially on the harder difficulties. With no bonus levels, the player will be lacking the nice guaranteed loot they would have in the normal game such as the Chainsaw and Missile Launcher unless they get lucky with exotic/unique drops early, and will be a few levels weaker when stronger enemies like the Barons and VRM start showing up; melee builds will again have it especially rough when with no guaranteed Chainsaw, they will have to rely on Combat Knives and its assemblies for weaponry unless they get lucky, while lacking those very needed levels. The deeper levels will have nightmare enemies and most of the bosses as regular encounters, and the RNG is gonna hand you some really unfair levels at some point, but by then you'll be overflowing with traits as your level will go far beyond normal game standards, while you'll be loaded with modded out equipment, exotics, and uniques. So the majority of failed Ao 100/666 runs end in the early levels, and its smoother sailing after one can get past that initial hump, with the threat no longer being about just trying to survive but about not doing something fatally stupid over so many levels.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: On the easiest difficulty level, I'm Too Young To Die, some special levels cannot be accessed. Additionally, you cannot play any of the challenges on I'm Too Young To Die.
  • Exploding Barrels: Most of them are just Fuel Barrels that simply explode and could take out doors or a wall if pushed near them. A later update introduced 2 more types of barrels, Acid and Napalm, that could leave Acid or Lava tiles after they explode.
    • Some levels have levers that could have a number of effects when pulled; one of these is detonating all barrels present in a level at the same time. Which can be great if the resulting explosions damage or kill enemies...not so much if rare weapons/items get destroyed. There's additionally a special level type that happens occasionally, where a ridiculous amount of barrels are spawned throughout the level.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: The Angel of Death, as the arena it spawns in, the Unholy Cathedral, only allows melee weapons. Piece of cake if you're specialized in melee, not so much otherwise.
    • If the Doomguy has fast enough attacks and movement, it's possible to nibble the Angel of Death with fists or a knife without him having a chance to retaliate. When using a knife, this almost literally invokes Death of a Thousand Cuts - you'll be damaging him for 1HP per hit and on higher difficulties, he has over 400HP.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In version, a bug nullifies the effect of the Fireangel master trait. Normally this trait would make you completely immune to explosions, but in this version this trait is rendered completely useless. so an unsuspecting player will not only have their master trait wasted, but will also very likely have their game ended when they unintentionally get blown up thinking they were immune. This bug was fixed in
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The Shambler in Hell's Armory and Deimos Lab, which teleports to lick its wounds in between shooting at you. Between its high HP, respectable Armor stat, resistance to explosions, and its innate regeneration, it can be a real bitch to kill before it kills you.
  • Giant Spider: Arachnotrons, just like in the original - cybernetic demon spiders equipped with rapid-fire plasma cannons, and some of the worst foes to fight in a pack. As of version, the original game's Final Boss, the Spider Mastermind, has made her return - and as might be expected, she's much worse than the Arachnotrons.
  • Glass Cannon: The Former Commandos. While they are armed with a Plasma Rifle even more powerful than the one used by Arachnotrons, their HP isn't much higher than the other former humans, and is much lower than the HP of all the demonic enemies besides Imps.
    • The Doomguy can easily become this, when playing the Angel of Humanity challenge. The "glass" factor is present right off the bat, with only 10HP. The "cannon" factor comes in upon finding some decent firepower - if Doomguy survives long enough.
  • Gun Kata: It's a Master Trait that gives you a free shot every time you dodge, and an instant reload every time you kill an enemy with your pistols.
  • Gorn: While it's no Dwarf Fortress, the gore is still impressive for a text-based roguelike.
  • Guns Akimbo: The "Dualgunner" trait lets you shoot two pistols at once.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: How DRL will play for Melee builds. Boss fights tend to be solitary affairs, while melee builds boast incredible DPS and can get berserked to make them hit a lot harder, attack a lot faster, and take a lot less damage. So Melee builds will be able to just run up to the bosses and steamroll them with little strategy. The levels on the other hand will be a lot harder for them, as getting into an enemy's melee range tends to leave the player open to getting fired on by other enemies, while they will be taking a lot more damage in general, and even when berserked are quite prone to being killed by a Death of a Thousand Cuts. These problems are exemplified in the early game, where the lack of traits and lackluster weaponry will leave them especially weak.
  • Harder Than Hard: Nightmare! Along with the standard respawning enemies this difficulty is known for, the DRL take on this cuts the player's speed by 10%, gives enemies an additional 50% chance of attacking, and prevents the player from saving. That exclamation point is there for a reason.
    • That's not all! Powered up, dark blue versions of these standard enemies will appear with a Nightmare prefix: Imps, Demons, Cacodemons, Arachnotrons, and Arch-Viles. The in-game description of Nightmare Arch-Viles likely mimics players' reactions upon seeing them: "Oh God... *WHY* do they come in the nightmare version too?"
    • In version, there are now Archangel challenges, which take existing challenges and make them ridiculously harder. Enjoy such conditions such as having only two inventory spaces, having absolutely no source of healing outside the Vampyre mastery skill, and only having 10 HP while getting no benefits from levelling up.
  • High-Pressure Blood: You'd be surprised how messy an ASCII game can get.
    • Played straighter with the graphical tileset introduced in
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Arena Master will only be faced if you beat Hell's Arena earlier, which means he will only be faced if he already handed you a bunch of valuable items including a good weapon. On most runs those items include a rocket launcher and a bunch of rockets, which turns out to be an ideal weapon for fighting him.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Inherited from Doom.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Lance of Longinus is the second-most powerful melee weapon after Azrael's Scythe and the Dragonslayer. However in order to get it you must defeat the Angel of Death in single combat - and restricted to melee weapons only. Hope you brought your chainsaw!
    • Infinity +1 Sword: Azrael's Scythe, as mentioned above, is the most powerful melee weapon in the game. The catch to get it? Like above, you must defeat the Angel of Death in single combat, and you can only use melee weapons. Unlike above, you must do it in, at least, Hurt Me Plenty difficulty. And you must have killed all enemies in your way to the Unholy Cathedral.
      • There's also the Dragonslayer, a weapon as strong as Azrael's Scythe, and when equipped, grants you permanent berserk. Unlike the above two weapons, it can found as a random drop if the player is very lucky. However, it has secret conditions to picking it up as covered prior, and in order to get it as a guaranteed drop in the Unholy Cathedral, the player must be playing on Nightmare difficulty and clear Hell's Arena earlier in the game without sustaining any damage.
  • Magikarp Power: The Pistol is the earliest and weakest weapon in the game, and better weapons become available very quickly. However you can invest in the Son of a Gun trait, which for each level increases the damage from any Pistol you fire by 1 point while also decreasing their firing time by 20%. With two levels of Son of a Gun you can then learn Dualgunner, which lets you wield and reload two Pistols at the same time. You can then eventually learn a Pistol mastery skill and invest in up to five levels in Son of a Gun, which when maxed out will make your Pistols take only 0.1 seconds to fire. With all these Pistol traits, the Pistol suddenly becomes a surprisingly deadly weapon with incredible DPS, and of course, you can still mod those Pistols to make them even deadlier...
    • This is most exemplified in the Sharpshooter Pistol build. You start off like other Pistol builds but you're barred from getting Dualgunner and have to invest in excessive levels of Eagle Eye as a prereqeuisite for Sharpshooter instead of other more useful traits, leaving Sharpshooters pathetically weak before they get their mastery. If you can survive long enough to learn Sharpshooter, your Pistols will then always deal their maximum damage, which ends up making them extremely powerful, with very high DPS, incredible ammo efficiency, the ability to knockback enemies with your Pistol, and since you're not dualgunning you can still have an Ammo Box in your prepared slot to have incredibly fast reloads, a problem which plagues other Pistol builds. Sharpshooter is considered easily the best Pistol mastery and one of the best mastery skills in the game period, but it's very hard to get and you're probably going to have many Sharpshooter builds die before you reach it, especially on harder difficulties.
  • Marathon Level: The Angel of 100 challenge, which removes all the named and special levels, and makes you run through 100 randomly generated levels to win.
    • Taken to the extreme in the Archangel of 666 challenge, where the player must descend 666 levels to win.
  • Mook Maker: Pain Elementals, which as per the original Doom spawn Lost Souls. New to this game is the Agony Elemental, which can spit out both Lost Souls and Pain Elementals, and the True Final Boss John Carmack, who in addition to being as robust a tank as the Spider Mastermind, also has the nasty ability to summon eight mooks around himself at the same time. Depending on how hurt he is, they can range from measly Lost Souls all the way to Barons of Hell and Revenants.
  • More Dakka: The usual suspects such as the Chaingun (and its upgrade, the Gatling Gun) and Plasma Rifle are here, but the BFG 10K takes the cake. In addition to the standard weapon, with the Bullet Dance master trait a Marine class character can rapid fire with his pistols and take full advantage of both Son of a Gun (which works with pistols) and Son of a Bitch (which works with all weapons) damage.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: A "Single Monster" level will be populated entirely with a certain monster type, which is indicated by the 'Feeling' the player's character has when entering. If the game is feeling extremely cruel, there's 10% a chance that the level will be filled entirely with Bruiser Brothers, Shamblers, or even Cyberdemons. Hope you got one of those Homing Phase Devices with you.
  • Multiple Endings: There are three ways to win DRL. The first is by killing the Spider Mastermind normally, which is considered a "standard win". The second is using a Thermonuclear Bomb on her without some means of surviving the blast, where you're said to have sacrificed yourself and is considered a "partial win". If you have a means of surviving the blast, you get to go fight the True Final Boss. Losing to him is considered roughly the same as sacrificing yourself, but if you defeat him, you will get a "full win".
  • Mythology Gag: The True Final Boss John Carmack is named after one of Doom's developers, and the fortress you meet him in is a giant id Software logo. In addition, the Bruiser Brothers, a pair of unique Barons of Hell guarding the Phobos Anomaly, are named after the original pair of Barons that appeared at the end of Doom Episode 1.
  • Nintendo Hard: Much like any other roguelike, DRL can get murderously hard, particularly if you're on Ultra-Violence or Nightmare.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: While the various challenges are meant to be harder than the standard game, the Angel of Max Carnage challenge is infamously easier, and some players will recommend newer players to try harder difficulties on this challenge first before playing them normally. In this challenge, all attacks will have maximum accuracy and will always deal their maximum possible damage, from both the player and all enemies. The player however can use the guaranteed dealt damage to plan their tactics accordingly, and can exploit the maximum accuracy with maximum damage on all their attacks to utterly break the game.
    • A couple of the special levels are more difficult on lower difficulties. The beginning ambush on Phobos Hellgate on HNTR difficulty consists of a bunch of Lost Souls, which will near-instantly surround the player and deal heavy damage, leaving the player severely weakened for the Bruiser Brothers fight if they survive it, while harder difficulties replaces them with the much-easier-to-escape Demons and Imps. This was especially bad in pre- versions, where Lost Souls functioned as ridiculously fast melee enemies.
    • Difficulty in The Vaults doesn't change the amount of enemies, just the type of enemies that appear. And on HNTR, it's Arachnotrons and Barons of Hell, while the harder difficulties have some combination of Mancubi, Revenants, and Archviles. First thing, when you're just fighting VMR, you can just don a fireproof red armor and have little worry. Second, the level structure provides little cover against the Arachnotrons' attacks. Third, each of the vaults have armor inside them, that the Barons will inevitably pick up and wear before you can get to them, depriving you of your reward and making the Barons a lot harder to kill, especially if an exotic or unique armor spawned (which has a five times increased probability of happening here).
  • Oh, Crap!: If you see the message "Suddenly you have a great urge to turn back! You scream in TERROR!", it means that every single enemy in the level has been replaced by a Cyberdemon, which means unless you are very, very lucky, good or both, you can kiss your run goodbye.
    • There's also the message you get if you're unfortunate (or stupid) enough to hit a lever that floods the entire level with lava: "Oh shit, oh shit, OH SHIT!!!!"
  • Player Nudge: Finding the True Final Boss requires some careful combination of rare or hard-to-find items. However, the most common of those items, thermonuclear bombs, contain a big hint in their description. And after you beat the normal Final Boss, if you look carefully at the post-mortem for your character (particularly after nuking him), the final screenshot will provide a big hint.
    • Beating Angel Of 100 mode gives a hint that you missed doing something that had some relation to the Dragonslayer secret.
  • Point Build System: How the level ups work; upon levelling up you can invest one level in one of the available traits, which then grant certain stat bonuses or other effects.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Longinus Spear.
  • Rare Guns: A lucky player may find guns like the Pancor Jackhammer or a Minigun, or even rare fictional guns like the aforementioned Jackal.
  • RPG Elements: You get to pick a "trait" every level, which have effects ranging from "more HP" (Ironman) to "reload your shotgun while you move" (Shottyman).
  • Secret Level: There are "special levels", signified by their entrances having red stairs, that are completely optional for entering and completing for a standard win. These levels are non-random (or have a few spots of specific randomness) with a gimmick that the player must overcome (such as Hell's Arena having three different waves of enemies the player must defeat), often having a boss at the end, and great rewards for the player should they complete the stage. In difficulty, they run the gamut from Breather Level (Halls of Carnage), to Brutal Bonus Level (The Mortuary and Limbo), to being unwinnable if the player did not come into the level with the required items (The Wall), though in this case, unwinnable just means the player can't get 100% kills and the level's max reward. The difficulty of a special level can also greatly depend on the build a player is running (City of Skulls is a Breather Level for Shotgun and Berserker builds, while being a Brutal Bonus Level for Pistol builds).
  • Sequel Hook: The game's ending outright states there will be a "DoomRL 2: Hell on Earth", implying the demons made it to Earth as in the original Doom 2. However, as covered in the game's aforementioned Development Hell section, it seems like it'll indefinitely remain Vapor Ware, with the developers instead deciding to make an original IP they could profit from, with whatever conceptual ideas they had for the sequel being used for Jupiter Hell.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Archviles have the power to revive dead enemies. 'Nuff said.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Shotguns in this game fire a cone-shaped area of effect attack that damages all enemies within its spread, while damage drops off the farther an enemy is. There are four type of spreads shotguns can have; normal, focused, wide, and plasma. Focused spreads are reasonable, being able to hit up to 15 tiles away with only a 5% reduction in power for each tile away, and plasma spreads are the same, except with a wider spread. The normal spread also isn't bad, hitting up to 15 tiles away and a wider spread, but with a bit worse 7% damage dropoff per tile. The wide spread of the Double Shotgun however plays this trope straight, being able to hit only up to 8 tiles away, while having a severe 10% dropoff per tile, that will make it ineffective and wasteful against enemies that are more than a few tiles away.
  • Shock and Awe: The Shambler's main attack consists of hurling lightning bolts at your soon-to-be-fried Marine.
  • Shout-Out: Some of the traits are headed by quotes from the infamous Doom comic; many of the unique weapons such as the Grammaton Cleric Beretta or the Railgun.
  • Skippable Boss: Surprisingly, the Bruiser Brothers can be skipped by just running into the portal they're guarding without killing either of them. Doing so all but requires getting lucky with a phase device however, and even then the terrain is narrow enough that you'll take some hits.
    • Normally in the Tower of Babel, the Cyberdemon must be killed to advance, as there is no exit on the level. However in the Angel of Pacifism challenge, where the player has to make it to the end to nuke the Spider Mastermind while being unable to attack at all, they can skip the Cyberdemon, as there are stairs on the other side of the arena during this mode.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Very important, since there's many things which have audio cues but no visual ones (most importantly hitting an enemy who is out of sight without killing them, enemies using healing items or teleporting, enemies reloading their guns and sounds which indicate that each type of demon is nearby). Playing without the sound would make the game even more difficult.
  • Standard FPS Guns: The exact lineup from Doom II along with a knife and a combat shotgun, along with some additions.
  • Stuck Items: "Cursed" items. They usually regenerate themselves to offset their Power-Up Letdown status. Except for the Cybernetic Armor.
  • Super Mode: Berserking. Doubled melee damage, 60% reduction in damage taken (before applying armour!), and all your actions are faster.
  • Taking You with Me: You can find thermonuclear bombs along the way. Setting one off on the final boss's level will give you a "partial win". Of course, if you find a way to live through the explosion...
  • There Was a Door: This happens sometimes, mainly because of the aforementioned Exploding Barrels and rocket weapons.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: On Phobos Anomaly, taking exactly 13 steps east from inside the first doorway will trigger a large ambush.
  • Timed Mission: The aforementioned Angel of Red Alert challenge places a 5 minute Thermonuclear Bomb (about 240 ingame seconds) on each level. The same can occur randomly in a standard game, but with an 8 minute nuke.
    • This is amped up farther in the Archangel of Red Alert challenge, where each level has a 2 and a half minute Thermonuclear Bomb set.
    • There's also the Halls of Carnage, which fills with lava over time. The same occasionally happens on normal levels at random but is much slower when it does.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Pinkies and their Nightmare variant will run through an open pool of lava or acid if it happens to be between them and the player, despite them having no immunity nor resistance to harmful fluids. Savvy players can exploit this to take them down easier, especially at low levels when they lack the firepower to take them down easily. All other enemy types are smart enough to avoid fluids unless they can fly over them or are immune to fluids, and will immediately get out of a pool of fluid if they're knocked into it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Literally! Putting a point into the Badass trait reduces knockback and prevents HP above 100% from decaying.
    • Less literally, the best traits require you to first learn other traits to learn them, which may not be quite as useful by themselves.
  • True Final Boss:
    • If the player nukes the Spider Mastermind and survives it by possessing invulnerability, they'll gain access to one more level called the Hell Fortress, where they'll fight the true final boss, John Carmack. Defeating him is required to achieve a "full win". Pre- this was a Luck-Based Mission that required the player to find a randomly-generated nuke in their playthrough and find a randomly-generated invulnerability sphere close enough to the last level, but in later updates guaranteed items obtained through the bonus levels can allow the player to achieve it every playthrough.
    • The game has another secret final boss: If the player makes it to the Hell Fortress with the Dragonslayer and Berserker Armor equipped, John Carmack will be replaced by the Apostle, a ridiculously overpowered Archvile that can teleport. The Apostle will also appear on the last floor during the Angel of 100 and Archangel of 666 challenges if the player has the aforementioned equipment. This one however is a Luck-Based Mission on Angel of 100/666 and is one in the main game unless you're playing on Nightmare difficulty and can beat Hell's Arena without taking damage while then being able to clear the Unholy Cathedral and The Mortuary/Limbo (which being able to achieve all that requires a really big deal of luck still).
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • On the Angel of Overconfidence challenge it's possible to spawn in an Arachnotron cave on the first level, as can be seen in this mortem.
    • In the The Wall, it's possible to get past the wall without blowing a hole through it, by getting lucky with a Phase device and teleporting past it. If the player did this on a challenge that restricts their weapon use (thus preventing use of the Rocket Launcher and Missile Launcher), or without having a Rocket Launcher (and then lets the guaranteed Missile Launcher get destroyed before picking it up) with enough ammo to blow a hole through the wall (despite there being plenty of free rockets on that side), they can get permanently stuck behind the wall if they did not have another Phase device or a Homing Phase to teleport them back out. A player would have to be intentionally invoking this though, or have extremely bad judgment, to use their only Phase device to get the past the wall when they have no guaranteed way of getting back out.
    • In general, a player with a nuke can make the game unwinnable at about any time, by activating the nuke when they're not invulnerable (nor have a source of invulnerability nearby), while more than 10 seconds away from the stairs to the next level. The exception to this would be the final level, where nuking the final boss and yourself nets you a "partial win". Granted, you can still quite easily get to a game over from this state, unlike the above.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: It's a roguelike; there are plenty of these to be had. Lampshaded in the post-mortem text if you blow yourself up or take a lava/acid bath.

As you descend the stairs you hear a wail. They're back... There's only one way to end this...

Alternative Title(s): Doom The Roguelike