Even Doom’s Boss Fights Are Incredible

Even Doom’s Boss Fights Are Incredible

There’s lots of things the new Doom game does well, but one that took me completely by surprise was its excellent boss fights. Warning: There are spoilers for Doom in the paragraphs ahead!

You encounter a number of familiar faces in Doom, faces you’re asked to blow up over and over. Imps, cacodemons, pinkies — the gang is (mostly) all here, ready to meet your trusty double shotgun. Though personal favourites like the spiderdemon didn’t make the cut this time around, I knew there was no way I’d finish the game without a one-on-one with this guy:

Even Doom’s Boss Fights Are Incredible

When the original Doom was released on PC, the cyberdemon wasn’t even mentioned in the game’s manual. He was a nasty secret waiting for players.

“Some of the monsters you’ll face aren’t shown here,” reads the manual. “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.”

That wasn’t the case for this game. Bethesda Softworks and id Software revealed what the cyberdemon was going to look like early on, as evidenced in the screen shot above, so it was a question of when he would show up.

“When” happens pretty late into Doom, and the game spends an entire level hyping it up. The only way for you to return to the Hell dimension is to extract an item that just so happens to be embedded in the cyberdemon.

The way it plays out when you reach the end of the level is fantastic:

Video Credit: GhostRobo

The life bar is what surprised me the most, though. No other enemy in the game has one of those, and this guy gets the most video game-y thing ever! But it’s fine, as it lets the player understand their progression in the fight, rather than having to frustratingly dump bullets into a giant sponge.

Though it’s a novel encounter, what’s actually memorable about you vs the ol’ cyberdemon is how damn fun it is to fight this lumbering monstrosity.

Boss fights are bad in most games that aren’t Dark Souls. Too often, it feels like an outdated relic of game design that’s hung around because developers aren’t sure what to replace it with. Other times, the fights are tonally at odds with the rest of the game. (Deus Ex: Human Revolution, anyone?)

Doom‘s fight with the cyberdemon is ridiculous, tough as hell and makes excellent use of everything you’ve practised in the game to this point. That’s how a boss fight should work, ideally: an extreme test of skill.

This new Doom isn’t just about strafing left and right; it successfully expands on Doom‘s combat by integrating verticality. The jet boots, which let you alter your direction mid-air and jump twice, widen this further.

You need to make use of every single option to survive the cyberdemon, whether it’s dodging the missiles that come flying from the sky:

Even Doom’s Boss Fights Are IncredibleImage Credit: Generic Gaming

Image Credit: Generic Gaming

Or timing your jump to the precise moment when he fires a massive laser that, if it connects, can take you out with a single blast. (This is especially true on the ultra violence difficulty level, which I highly recommend!)

Even Doom’s Boss Fights Are Incredible Image Credit: Generic Gaming

Image Credit: Generic Gaming

Like any good boss fight, there’s a second phase. With the cyberdemon, it might actually be more memorable than the first phase; it takes place in Hell and forces the player to pull off some nimble acrobatic feats to survive.

Image Credit: Generic Gaming

That bit took me for a loop the first few times, as getting the timing down is awfully tricky.

Even though I died a bunch of times while tackling the cyberdemon, I was never frustrated. The fight isn’t unfair, it’s nuanced. By the time I’d put everything together, I was handily dodging everything the cyberdemon could throw at me. It was no longer a fair fight: I was kicking his arse.

There’s another boss fight soon after the cyberdemon, in which you’re forced to tackle two nasty brutes at once, and it was equally satisfying. I’m sure there’s another one waiting at the end of the last level, and unlike boss fights in other games, I cannot wait to see what Doom has in store.

Maybe boss fights don’t have to suck.


  • The last boss fight…. I’m not going to give anything away but it certainly steps it up another notch on top of this one. It took me about 6 attempts to beat the Cyberdemon. The last boss… I lost count after about 20 attempts but I got there in the end.

    • Beat the last boss in one attempt. Wasn’t even really a challenge compared to the cyber demon. Was kind of a let down, but it did look very cool

      • Oddly enough after I beat it on ultra-violence I tried it again on hurt me plenty and it was a little too easy. Barely needed to dodge. Tried the same thing on the Cyberdemon fight and it only got slightly easier but lowering the difficulty on the last boss was like typing IDDQD

        • Yeah I played through on Hurt Me Plenty. Breifly upped it to Ultra-Violence but then the first encounter I had after that was the one where you arrive on the train and that area kicked my arse, even after dropping it back down to Hurt me.

  • Double spoiler warning
    spiderdemon didn’t make the cut hey? you’re gonna have the best time very soon

  • As Yahtzee of ZP said “A boss fight sould be an exam of everything you have learnt up to that stage and not a standard enemy who has eaten the most snkickers bars”

    I seriously cannot wait for a sequel or more SP expansions, surely id would be working on these.

  • I managed to cheese the boss fights due to my PC slowing down (inexplicably) from time to time. I know how to fix it, go into the gfx advanced settings, change a setting, apply, change the setting back, apply, presto problem fixed.

    HOWEVER being able to “see the matrix” made the boss fights an laughable and absurd slow motion ballet, it had a certain novelty to it 😛

    I just wanted to get to the end of the campaign. Now that I’ve got to the other side I’m gonna replay properly.

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