- This article is about the enemy type. For other uses, see Zombie (disambiguation).
They were once soldiers, like the player's marine, or UAC security guards, but have been somehow turned undead/or have been possessed and now serve the demons they once fought. Inside the Doom source code and in the Doom Bible they are called Possessed humans, and their sprite prefix always contains an abbreviation for "possessed". Because of their immediately human origin, they attack with hand-held firearms instead of innate abilities or cybernetic implants as other monsters do, and their low speed and durability makes them easier to eliminate than most of their fully demonic counterparts. Because of their very low hit points, they are often gibbed when struck by more powerful opponents.
Former humans drop weapons or ammunition when killed; this sets them apart from the purely hellish monsters. A dropped item remains even if the zombie respawns or is resurrected by an arch-vile; if killed again, the zombie will drop yet another item. Being humans that somehow became possessed by demonic forces, they are not generated by the final bosses of Doom II or Final Doom's episodes.
Former human types
The military forces on the moons of Phobos and Deimos, and on Earth in Doom II and its sequels, were possessed en masse when the invasions of those areas began. Zombification was known of before the invasions, however, and was noted during the earliest teleportation experiments. In the game's instruction manual, test subjects were said to become violent, babble vulgarities, and eventually suffer from "random full-body explosion." The latter mechanic does not actually occur in-game.
In Doom 3, possessed humans belong to one of three main classes: ordinary unarmed basic zombies, the firearm-bearing Z-Secs, and the elite commandos. The first two are created through direct possession by evil spirits, which appear as translucent flying skulls at the start of Hell's invasion. Commandos on the other hand were created directly by Dr. Malcolm Betruger, through use of demonic magic. As such they display a higher level of intelligence and brutality, and share more in common with demons than with the lesser possessed humans.
Simply visiting Hell could result in a gradual form of zombification similar to that described in Doom's instruction manual. Instances of this increased as Delta Labs experimentation with teleportation increased in frequency, and the UAC's doctors were unable to explain the process.
In the 2016 Doom, the possessed are a class of monsters who were created from the bodies of UAC employees subjected to Lazarus and Hell waves. In the hierarchy of Hell, the possessed are the lowest level and treated as slaves, forced to perform labor such as constructing temples and tending to gore nests. Possessed who are taken to Hell eventually further transform into the Unwilling.
- In the Doom Bible, a sketchy plan of the first level of the game, called "Level one: Secondary hangar," marks the locations for "dehumans"; perhaps using the "de-" from demon to make a reference to the Black Sabbath album from (June) 1992, Dehumanizer, especially considering Tom Hall has demonstrated a preference for inserting popular references in his game design.
- According to the backstory in Doom II's manual, Former Humans feed on the flesh of living humans they kill. In Doom 3, they can sometimes be seen eating each other.
- It is never officially stated whether former humans are simply possessed or are undead zombies. Doom II's cast call refers to the basic Former Human as the "zombieman", but the Former Sergeant and Former Commando have the far more neutral titles of "shotgun guy" and "heavy weapon dude", which could go either way. The manual always refers to former humans by their full titles (human, sergeant, or commando).
- Among the Doom community, former humans of all types are sometimes referred to as "sh*tscanners"- a derogatory title referring to their hitscan attacks and the infamous tendency of former humans to score killing blows on the player at extreme range.
- Former humans in general are wildly unpredictable; beside their tendency to either attack immediately or move around before doing so, their bullets can range anywhere from around 22.5 degrees total spread (true for all former human types) to hitting dead on, depending on RNG. Additionally, given that each bullet deals varying damage, a former human may either barely scratch the player or deliver a heavy blow; former sergeants are the worst offenders, dealing up to 45 possible damage on a full blast.