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The Hell Knight is a monster introduced in Doom II. It is a weaker version 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".

The guardians of the Castles of Hell lay on as much firepower as the Barons of Hell, but also can't take quite as much damage.[1]

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).


ID # 69 (decimal), 45 (hex)
Hit points 500
Speed 8 map units per frame
(93.3 map units per second)
Width 48
Height 64
Reaction time 8
Pain chance 50 (19.53%)
Pain time 4 tics
Mass 1000
Bits 4194310
Bits list

1: Obstacle

2: Shootable

22: Affects Kill %

Sprites & sounds
Sprite name BOS2
Alert sound DSKNTSIT
Action sound DSDMACT
Pain sound DSDMPAIN
Death sound DSKNTDTH
Melee attack
Damage 10-80
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)
2.77 0.78 2 5
Player (100%
health, security armor)
3.87 1.02 2 7
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
9.41 1.48 6 13
Barrel 1.12 0.33 1 2
Zombieman 1.12 0.33 1 2
Shotgun Guy 1.25 0.46 1 3
Wolfenstein SS 1.61 0.70 1 4
Imp 1.81 0.76 1 4
Chaingunner 2.04 0.79 1 4
Lost Soul 2.77 0.78 2 5
Commander Keen 2.77 0.78 2 5
Demon 3.87 1.02 2 7
Spectre 3.87 1.02 2 7
Boss Brain2 6.12 1.19 4 10
Revenant 7.22 1.33 5 11
Cacodemon 9.41 1.48 6 13
Pain Elemental 9.41 1.48 6 13
Hell Knight 11.65 1.67 8 16
Arachnotron 11.65 1.67 8 16
Mancubus 13.84 1.72 10 18
Arch-vile 16.07 1.78 12 20
Baron of Hell 22.81 2.10 17 27
Spiderdemon 67.42 2.81 61 74
Cyberdemon 89.66 2.76 83 95

Damage done by a Hell Knight's fireball

Shots needed to kill Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
3.37 0.88 2 6
Player (100%
health, security armor)
4.78 1.04 3 8
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
11.68 1.70 8 16
Barrel 1.27 0.51 1 3
Zombieman 1.27 0.51 1 3
Shotgun Guy 1.44 0.60 1 4
Wolfenstein SS 2.04 0.77 1 5
Imp 2.25 0.76 1 5
Chaingunner 2.56 0.73 2 5
Lost Soul 3.37 0.88 2 6
Commander Keen 3.37 0.88 2 6
Demon 4.78 1.04 3 8
Spectre 4.78 1.04 3 8
Boss Brain2 7.66 1.32 5 11
Revenant 9.04 1.46 6 13
Cacodemon 11.68 1.70 8 16
Pain Elemental 11.68 1.70 8 16
Hell Knight3
Arachnotron 14.55 1.88 10 19
Mancubus 17.27 2.00 12 21
Arch-vile 20.10 2.11 14 25
Baron of Hell3
Spiderdemon 84.14 2.60 79 93
Cyberdemon 112.12 2.48 107 117
  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 II MAP06: The Crusher MAP06: The Crusher MAP05: The Waste Tunnels
TNT: Evilution MAP03: Power Control MAP04: Wormhole MAP02: Human BBQ
Plutonia MAP02: Well of Souls MAP02: Well of Souls MAP02: Well of Souls

The IWADs contain the following numbers of Hell Knights:

Doom II 22 58 75
TNT: Evilution 63 93 110
Plutonia 104 138 151
  1. Doom II Official Strategy Guide, pg 38