This article is about the original Doom games monster Hell Knight. For the monster in Doom 3, see Hell Knight (Doom 3).

The Hell Knight is a monster introduced in Doom II. It is a weaker cousin of the Baron of Hell, with tan rather than pink skin, and different sounds when alerted or slain. Although it is much easier to kill, its attacks are just as potent as a baron's.

Being functionally equivalent to the Baron of Hell except for having only half as much health, the weaker Hell Knight serves better as a medium-strength monster, falling more quickly to small arms fire such as from the shotgun or chaingun, or offering some resistance without slowing the action down, against heavier weapons.

The Doom II manual describes the Hell Knight as follows: "Tough as a dump truck and nearly as big, these Goliaths are the worst things on two legs since Tyrannosaurus rex". In the manual for the original Doom, this was the description used for the Baron of Hell. The Official DOOM FAQ uses "Slightly easier to kill than our friend the Baron, but appear in larger numbers. " instead. The manual for the early versions of the PlayStation port refers to them as "Knights of Hell".

Combat characteristics

A Hell Knight emits a trumpeting cry similar to the Baron of Hell, though it is louder and higher-pitched. With 500 hit points, Hell Knights stand as fitting elite troops of hell. Barons of Hell and Hell Knights both attack opponents by scratching when close or by throwing green comet-shaped fireballs when distant.

When killed, they emit a gurgling scream (some believe they are screaming "Coward!", though the sound is really just a cougar sound effect from a sound library with synthesized effects added). Since it uses the same sprites as barons, only palette-swapped, a Hell Knight's death sequence is the same as the Baron's (being split apart and collapsing with their intestines and green fluids spilling out).

Tactical analysis

Hell knight attacks are easily dodged, but are faster than those of imps or cacodemons and can do very heavy damage on a successful hit. Because these monsters take relatively heavy beatings before going down, and because their pain chance is low, use of the rocket launcher, plasma gun, or super shotgun is convenient. However, provided that the player can get at sufficient range without being hit, the chaingun and shotgun will also work well. Melee attacks against them are hazardous, as they put the player at risk of being clawed, although five berserk powered punches will generally take them down. To avoid damage, the player needs to move in, deliver a punch and quickly move away before it counterattacks.

To kill them requires about 3 rockets, 23 energy cell shots, 50 bullets, 6 seconds with the chainsaw, 8 well-placed shotgun blasts, or 3 point-blank super shotgun blasts. The BFG9000 at close range can easily kill a hell knight in one shot, but it is very wasteful unless used against multiple hell knights at once. Upon death, the hell knight unleashes a distorted cry as its body bleeds profusely before finally falling onto its back.

Hell knights often pose a lesser immediate threat than some of the weaker monsters because they make a single attack without special effects and, given sufficient space, their unswerving fireballs are not too hard to dodge (especially by circlestrafing). In confined spaces, however, they are hard to move around and can be more lethal.

They are better than average in monster infighting, being able to easily take on lesser enemies, but falling quickly to higher-tier foes. Also, in the original PC versions, the Hell knight and baron of hell are immune to each other's projectiles by means of a hard-coded exception (this perhaps can be explained by the fact that they belong to the same "species" and attack with similar projectiles). However, they are just as likely to engage in monster infighting as other demons, which will happen, for example, when a baron is caught in a barrel explosion set off by the hell knight. Also, in most home ports, the Hell Knights and Barons are able to damage one another with their projectiles as the hard-coded exception to damage has been removed (in the PlayStation and Saturn home ports, the projectiles thrown by hell knights and barons still look identical, though the projectiles used by these monsters in the Nintendo 64 version of the game look different from one another).


  • In a ZDoom-based source port, if the player is killed by a Hell Knight (monster is credited with delivering the blow that reduces player's health to 0%), one of two obituary messages will be displayed at the top of the screen depending on which attack the hell knight used to kill the player: "[player name] was gutted by a Hell Knight" or "[player name] was splayed by a Hell Knight" for the claw and green fireball attacks respectively.
  • The only other difference in the appearances of the Hell Knight and the Baron of Hell besides their skin color is that while Barons have grey horns and hooves, Hell Knights have dark brown ones.
  • It is never stated if the Hell Knight is a Baron-in training, a lower caste, a different sub-species or related species, a younger baron or a female Baron of Hell.


border="2" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" style="margin: 1em 1em 1em 0; background: #f9f9f9; border: 1px #aaa solid; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 95%;" Attributes
ID #69 (decimal), 45 (hex)
Hit points500
Speed8 map units per frame
(93.3 map units per second)
Reaction time8
Pain chance50 (19.53%)
Pain time4 tics
border="2" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" style="margin: 1em 1em 1em 0; background: #f9f9f9; border: 1px #aaa solid; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 95%;" Bits list

1: Obstacle

2: Shootable

22: Affects Kill %

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Sprite nameBOS2
Alert soundDSKNTSIT
Action soundDSDMACT
Pain soundDSDMPAIN
Death soundDSKNTDTH

|} | valign="top" |

border="2" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" style="margin: 1em 1em 1em 0; background: #f9f9f9; border: 1px #aaa solid; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 95%;" Melee attack

|- |{|border="2" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" style="margin: 1em 1em 1em 0; background: #f9f9f9; border: 1px #aaa solid; border-collapse: collapse; font-size: 95%;"

! colspan="2" |Ranged attack |- |Type||Projectile |- |Speed||15 map units per tic
(525 map units per second) |- |Damage||8-64 |- |Width||6 |- |Height||8 |- |Sprite name||BAL7 |- |Sound||DSFIRSHT (firing)
DSFIRXPL (impact) |} |} |}


Damage done by a hell knight's clawing attack

Blows needed to kill1 Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
Player (100%
health, security armor)
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
Shotgun guy1.250.4613
Wolfenstein SS1.610.7014
Heavy weapon dude2.040.7914
Lost soul2.770.7825
Commander Keen2.770.7825
Romero's head26.121.19410
Pain elemental9.411.48613
Hell Knight11.651.67816
Baron of hell22.812.101727

Damage done by a hell knight's fireball

Shots needed to kill Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
Player (100%
health, security armor)
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
Shotgun guy1.440.6014
Wolfenstein SS2.040.7715
Heavy weapon dude2.560.7325
Lost soul3.370.8826
Commander Keen3.370.8826
Romero's head27.661.32511
Pain elemental11.681.70816
Hell Knight3
Baron of hell3

  1. These tables assume that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, blood splats, impact animations, and backfire checks are consecutive. In real play, this is never the case: counterattacks and AI pathfinding must be handled, and of course the map may contain additional moving monsters and other randomized phenomena (such as flickering lights). Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
  2. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.
  3. Hardcoded exception to infighting negates damage (excepting indirect damage caused by exploding barrels).

Appearance statistics

In classic Doom, the hell knight is first encountered on these maps:

Doom IIMAP06: The CrusherMAP06: The CrusherMAP05: The Waste Tunnels
TNT: EvilutionMAP03: Power ControlMAP04: WormholeMAP02: Human BBQ
PlutoniaMAP02: Well of SoulsMAP02: Well of SoulsMAP02: Well of Souls

The IWADs contain the following numbers of hell knights:

Doom II225875
TNT: Evilution6393110

Other games

Doom 64


A hell knight in Doom 64

Though overall similar to the standard hell knight, the variant found in Doom 64 is less pale in color, and more closely resembles Doom's baron of hell.

One quirk of the game is that they can deal and it can receive missile damage to and from barons of hell, so infighting between the two monsters is possible.

Doom RPG

In Doom RPG, the baron of hell and the hell knight both belong to the "baron" monster class. There are three variations, identified by color:

  • Ogre (green torso, red hands, brown legs)
  • Hell knight (brown torso, brown hands, pink legs)
  • Baron (pink torso, orange hands, brown legs)

As in the original, the hell knight is not as powerful as the baron, though both are more powerful than the new "ogre" variation. This class of monster is especially weak against attacks from shotguns


Due to the Hell knight reusing code from the Baron of hell, Hell Knights and Barons cannot be injured by each other and thus cannot infight normally.

Monsters from classic Doom games

Doom & Doom II Monsters

ArachnotronArch-Vile*Baron of HellCacodemonCommander Keen*CyberdemonDemonHeavy Weapon DudeHell KnightImpLost SoulMancubusPain ElementalRevenantShotgun GuySpectre | Spider MastermindZombiemanWolfenstein SS*Final Boss (Romero's head)*

Sony PlayStation exclusives

Caco-SpectreNightmare Spectre

Italics = Introduced in Doom II

Monsters from the Sony PlayStation version of Doom
Arachnotron | Baron of Hell | Cacodemon | Cyberdemon | Demon | Heavy Weapon Dude | Hell Knight | Imp | Lost Soul | Mancubus | Nightmare Spectre | Pain Elemental | Revenant | Shotgun Guy | Spectre | Spider Mastermind | Zombieman
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