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

An imp fighting our hero in E1M1: Hangar

The Imp is a human-sized humanoid demon, the most common opponent encountered in id Software's IWADs. It is leather brown in color, with blood-red eyes and mouth, several white bony spikes on its body, and equally white claws on its hands and bare feet. The Imp is the most common demon/humanoid-like enemy in Doom games, thus being considered the "backbone" of all hellspawn in the entire franchise.

The Doom instruction manual says:

You thought an imp was a cute little dude in a red suit with a pitchfork. Where did these brown bastards come from? They heave balls o' fire down your throat and take several bullets to die. It's time to find a weapon better than that pistol if you're going to face more than one of these S.O.B.s.

Combat characteristics

An Imp will make a loud, serpentine hiss in two different pitches when it spots a player. When killed without being gibbed, it either lets out an animalistic moan of pain ("Nuuuh!") or a distorted gurgle ("Eeergh!") as enormous holes open up in its midsection and face (most notably on its forehead), unleashing plentiful amounts of blood as it falls onto its back.

Tactical analysis

Imps attack by hurling a single fireball, which inflicts direct projectile damage; at melee range, it employs a clawing attack. The Imp moves slowly, as do its fireballs. The player should practice until evading both sorts of objects becomes completely straightforward (except perhaps under highly unusual circumstances such as a teleportation trap, in close quarters or when surrounded).

An Imp can usually be killed by a single shotgun shell and often by six bullets. As the citation above implies, facing multiple Imps with a pistol takes concentration, but it can be done, given sufficient maneuvering room and adequate footwork on the player's part. In fact, the Imp's relatively high pain chance sometimes makes it difficult for it to retaliate when damaged often.

Imps often come in packs, and the super shotgun or rocket launcher are both particularly effective here. While the standard shotgun is not completely reliable in dispatching an Imp per shell, a blast from the super shotgun usually brings two down and, when well-aimed at "clumped" packs, three. The rocket launcher can take out entire crowds with little difficulty if used carefully.

Melee against an Imp should usually be avoided by novices as it is much trickier than against a Demon, as the imp is quicker with its clawing attack than the generally less dexterous demon. The chainsaw takes only a bit of time to dispatch an imp, so it is convenient against a single enemy, but the player risks being surrounded if there are several imps. If the encounter takes place in a large open area, hit-and-run tactics with the berserk fist are safe and effective, as long as the player is not under fire from different sides.

In the Nightmare! skill levels, like all other monsters, Imps become ultra agressive and don't stop shooting after they start. Their projectiles become significantly harder to dodge especially in packs. Their projectiles also move 50% faster and become as fast as a Baron of Hell's.

Although its ranged attack and hit point total give it an advantage against the lesser zombies, the Imp can easily find itself outmatched during monster infighting. A single Imp fighting a shotgun guy may yet call victory, but a Demon or Spectre can almost always overpower the first two or three imps they engage in melee, and a few blows from even tougher monsters, such as a Cacodemon or a Baron of Hell, will more than likely put an Imp out of its misery.


  • The Doom source code gives the object name MT_TROOP and the sprite root name TROO to the imp, arguably because imps were called "demon troops" in the Doom Bible, being the main and more common force of monsters of a directly demonic origin in the invasion. According those early plans, the imps were meant to belong to a different species than the demon troops and were described as more traditionally impish in design; small flying demons, possibly like those eventually found in Heretic, which were apparently called gargoyles mainly to distinguish them from the existing Doom monster, since they look like commonplace imps.
  • Apart from zombies and Wolfenstein SS, the imp is the only hellspawn that can be gibbed (e.g. by rockets, berserk fist attacks, barrel explosions and BFG blasts).
  • Imps are the only other monsters aside from zombies that emit two different alert and death sounds when spotting the player.
  • It is very difficult getting two Imps infighting together but, if one Imp manages to destroy a barrel (mostly via fireball attack) and the resulting explosion hurts any other Imps lurking nearby, they will turn against the one that blew up the barrel in the first place, and hurt themselves mutually through scratching (since projectile attacks are hardcoded to not deal damage in-between creatures of the same species).
  • The Imp gibbing death sprite contains a Zombieman arm.
  • In a ZDoom-based source port, if the player is killed by an Imp (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 imp used to kill the player: "[player name] was slashed by an Imp" or "[player name] was burned by an Imp" for the claw and fireball attacks respectively.
  • Imps seem to resemble Weevils from Torchwood, particulary their faces.
  • In Brutal Doom, Imps launch more realistic fireballs and also have a leaping claw attack which it uses at relatively medium-to-close distance, similarly to their newer version.
  • The Imp's death sounds are stock soundbites of a camel's grunt, at a lower pitch. This is also the case of some of the death sounds emitted by the Former Humans.


ID #3001 (decimal), BB9 (hex)
Hit points60
Speed8 map units per frame
(93.3 map units per second)
Reaction time8
Pain chance200 (78.13%)
Pain time4 tics
Bits list

1: Obstacle

2: Shootable

22: Affects Kill %

Sprites & sounds
Sprite nameTROO
Alert soundDSBGSIT1 or
Action soundDSBGACT
Pain soundDSPOPAIN
Death soundDSBGDTH1 or
DSBGDTH2 (normal)
DSSLOP (gibs)
Melee attack
Ranged attack
Speed10 map units per tic
(350 map units per second)
Sprite nameBAL1
SoundDSFIRSHT (firing)
DSFIRXPL (impact)

Damage done by an imp's attack (either type)

Scratches needed to kill1 Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
Player (100%
health, security armor)
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
Wolfenstein SS4.301.0338
Lost Soul8.051.41512
Commander Keen8.051.41512
Boss Brain219.271.921423
Pain Elemental30.372.332535
Hell Knight37.802.583144
Baron of Hell74.972.916981
Spider Mastermind223.723.17217231
Fireballs needed to kill Mean Standard
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
Player (100%
health, security armor)
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
Wolfenstein SS4.300.9937
Lost Soul8.091.36511
Commander Keen8.091.36511
Boss Brain219.252.101424
Pain Elemental30.422.512436
Hell Knight37.792.793044
Baron of Hell74.952.647081
Spider Mastermind223.642.66217230

  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 imp is first encountered on these maps:

Ultimate DoomE1M1: HangarE1M1: HangarE1M1: Hangar
Doom IIMAP01: EntrywayMAP01: EntrywayMAP01: Entryway
TNT: EvilutionMAP01: System ControlMAP01: System ControlMAP01: System Control
PlutoniaMAP01: CongoMAP01: CongoMAP01: Congo

The IWADs contain the following numbers of imps:

Ultimate Doom487771974
Doom II4889051223
TNT: Evilution86112061357

Other games

Doom 64


The Doom 64 imp at close range.

The imp is featured in Doom 64, first appearing in MAP01: Staging Area, though with a sleeker appearance, only having noticeable spikes along its back.

A more powerful variant known as the Nightmare Imp is also one of the new monsters in the game.

This version of the Imp also features discrete animations for melee attacks versus ranged attacks, similar to the Revenant in other games. This means that unlike other versions of the game, the Imp will not throw a fireball if his melee attack misses the player (since in other versions, the attack type - fireball or melee - is determined by the victim's proximity at the end of the attack animation).

Doom RPG

In Doom RPG, the imp appears as a class of monster. There are three variations, identified by color:

Imps are most susceptible to attacks from shotguns.


  • Imp's dying voice is simply a Bactrian camel mating call.

See also

Monsters from Doom and Doom II
Arachnotron | Arch-Vile | Baron of Hell | Cacodemon | Commander Keen | Cyberdemon | Demon | Heavy Weapon Dude | Hell Knight | Imp | Lost Soul | Mancubus | Pain Elemental | Revenant | Shotgun Guy | Spectre | Spider Mastermind | Zombieman | Wolfenstein SS | Final Boss
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