A view of E2M2: Containment Area, just after picking up the berserk powerup, with the player's vision turned red.

Berzerk sprite
The berserk powerup (called berserk pack in the manuals) item resembles a regular medikit in a dark gray (rather than white) box. Containing advanced strength enhancers and stimulants, picking one up greatly increases the damage the player inflicts with his fists (ten times normal) and also fills the screen with a gradually decreasing red haze. Note that though the red haze disappears in seconds, the damage boost to fist attacks lasts till the player exits the level or dies. When the pack is picked up it also immediately heals the player's health to 100%, unless a player's health is already 100% or more, in which case there is no change to health level.

Of the available items, it is the only one that affects the player's ability to attack in a direct way, by increasing fist damage, and it can thus be considered as an additional attack mode, akin to a weapon.

However it is still considered a powerup item as, unlike weapons, when it is picked up the sound for powerups being obtained is played, only a short name-only HUD message confirming the acquisition is shown, and it is counted in the items percentage displayed at the end of each level.

Combat characteristics

The berserk pack increases the strength of the player's punch attack tenfold, but only until the current level ends. The damage increase is powerful enough to often smash humanoids to a pulp, or even sometimes kill a demon with a single blow.

The red haze of the berserk lasts approximately 20 seconds, except for Doom 64, which only lasts 3 seconds. This haze is relatively intense (applying palette 3) for seven or eight seconds, and then less so (now palette 2) for the rest of the period. In addition to representing the character's altered state, this haze is a slight drawback of the powerup, due to the reduced visibility. This effect might confuse new players, who often believe that the berserk pack's effects last only as long as the red haze is visible on screen, through analogy to radiation suit or invulnerability. This is also mistaken in the Doom Collector's Edition manual, as it states the berserk pack's duration of use is time-based.

When a berserk pack is collected, the player's current weapon will switch to the fist. While giving the impression that the player has "gone berserk", this may be seen as a disadvantage meant to balance the power of the item, in addition to that of the haze. Alternatively, it may be an indication or hint as to what the powerup actually does, as a player who does not know may not guess that his fist damage has been increased. Players picking up the powerup may find themselves suddenly unarmed and forced into melee combat until they have the opportunity to switch back to a weapon.

Tactical analysis

A berserk punch is somewhat more damaging than the chainsaw, since it kills quicker and does not "latch" on an enemy. The berserk fist does have the disadvantage of not doing continuous damage, which leaves the player open to counterattacks, and requires relatively careful aim. This makes the berserk fist less efficient than the chainsaw against some monsters; for instance, in contrast with the chainsaw, it is not very safe to use against cacodemons.

Due to its power, the berserk punch is best used for hit-and-run situations, running up to the foe to throw a punch and then quickly retreating or dodging. Since punching requires good movement skills to avoid attacks from enemies that are very close, newer or slower players tend to save this powerup for healing purposes, while more proficient ones often pick it up earlier to save weapon ammo.


  • A berserk-powered player that has obtained or obtains the chainsaw is able to switch to the fist by pressing 1 on the keyboard. That is, instead of allowing only the chainsaw, as with respect to the normal fist attack, the key press will toggle between the two types of attack as long as the berserk powerup is active. When switching from another weapon slot (2 or more) the chainsaw is raised, while the berserk fist is produced with a second key press.
Berserk data
Thing type2023 (decimal), 7E7 (hex)
Appears inRegistered Doom
Ultimate Doom
Doom II/Final Doom

Appearance statistics

The IWADs contain the following numbers of berserks per skill level:

ype||2023 (decimal), 7E7 (hex)

Appears inRegistered Doom
Ultimate Doom
Doom II/Final Doom

Doom RPG

In Doom RPG, the berserk powerup is called a berserker sphere and looks like a red supercharge. Unlike the original, it increases the damage done by all weapons by a factor of 3, and does not heal the player. The increased damage lasts for 30 turns. They can be found in secret rooms and bought at some terminals.


See also

Items from classic Doom games


Health bonusStimpackMedikit


Armor bonusArmorMegaarmor


BerserkComputer area mapInvulnerabilityLight amplification visorMegaspherePartial invisibilityRadiation shielding suitSupercharge


Keycard • Skull key


BackpackClip4 shotgun shellsRocketEnergy cellBox of bulletsBox of shellsBox of rocketsEnergy cell pack

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