- "One of the worst of a bad lot. You can't think of enough rotten things to say about him. He's fast, hard to kill, casts spells, and resurrects dead monsters! At least these suckers are rare."
- ― Doom II Manual description
Arch-viles are very tall, emaciated-looking, peach-skinned humanoid figures with a grotesque appearance, including stigmata. They also have no flesh around their abdomens, revealing some of their ribcage and spinal column. The Arch-viles first make their appearance in Doom II in MAP11: Circle of Death.
Inspiration and development
Bobby Prince said: "The Archvile is an evil healer. Anyone getting in his way is blasted with fire and disintegrated. This includes other demons. But, after he has wrought his destruction, he then goes around and reanimates all of the demons. Because of this interesting dual personality, I decided to give him a very evil laugh as an active sound. For his death sound, I recorded a young girl saying 'why,' pitch shifted it down and mixed it with other sounds. The Archvile just doesn't understand why anyone would want to kill him as he sees himself as only doing good for his fellow demon." 
- The Arch-vile is based on a model which is currently displayed in the id Software building.
- The Arch-vile's name is most likely based on the prefix arch- (meaning ruler or supreme) + the word vile (meaning bad or disgusting).
- A lifesize cardboard cutout of the Arch-vile produced by id Software exists. Photos of it are found here and here.
- MAP11 of The Plutonia Experiment, Hunted, is a maze where Arch-viles are the only enemies. The same is true for MAP11 of Plutonia 2 (the sequel to The Plutonia Experiment), Arch-Violence. For this reason, and because of MAP11: Circle of Death's status as the first place where an Arch-vile is encountered, MAP11 (of any WAD) and Arch-viles are invariably seen among fans as going hand-in-hand.
- The Arch-vile's attack inflicts a base 20 points of damage, plus up to 70 additional points of blast damage. The blast damage against immobile targets is often around 63 or 67 points, as the center of the attack is not normally placed at the center of the target.
- The Arch-vile, along with the mancubus and the pain elementals, are the only monsters who has it's own unique pain sound slips; in this case, the Arch-vile makes a sharp high-pitched groan if it's in pain.
- Considering that the player only needs cover at the moment of blast, he can continuously fire at an Arch-vile, using the moment of blast to reload his super-shotgun. After the blast, the demon is still finishing its attack so it's a good time for a shot. The long attack time of the demon usually gives the player enough time for two shots. But the player better be strafing toward a cover while making his second shot. The Arch-vile in MAP03: Power Control (TNT: Evilution) provides a perfect situation to practice this.
- The cyberdemon and the spider mastermind are immune to blast damage, so it takes an Arch-vile much longer to kill one of these enemies than one might expect.
- Similar to the Baron of Hell, the Arch-vile's face is displayed periodically in The Ultimate Doom and Doom II, through the MARBFAC2 wall texture.
- In a ZDoom-based source port, if the player is killed by an Arch-vile (monster is credited with delivering the blow that reduces player's health to 0%), an obituary message is displayed at the top of the screen: "[player name] was incinerated by an Arch-vile".
In Doom RPG, the Arch-vile appears as a class of monster. There are three variations, identified by color:
- Infernis (blue)
- Archvile [sic] (gold)
- Apollyon (red)
The Arch-vile class of monsters are particularly susceptible to axe attacks and also appear to share a similar weakness to the fire extinguisher that lost soul-class monsters do, much the same as in the novelisation of Hell on Earth. They also possess the ability to revive dead monsters, though this will fail if the player is standing on its target's corpse at the time. Something that should be noted is that when attacking, no matter if the Arch-vile is an Infernis or Apollyon or just plain Arch-vile, it always uses the unmodified costume of the regular arch-vile raising its arms and catching fire.
- Arch-vile attack targets not preserved in saved games
- Arch-vile jump
- Ghost monster
- Monsters open locked doors