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The Imp is a human-sized humanoid demon, the most common opponent encountered in id Software's IWADs. 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.

Physical Appearance

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.

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. However, due to its high firepower and the scarcity of rockets, the rocket launcher is too valuable to use against even a group of imps.

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.

Data Statistics

ID # Hit points Speed Width Height Reaction time Pain chance Pain time Mass Bits
3001 (decimal)
BB9 (hex)
60 8 map units per frame
(93.3 map units per second)
40 56 8 200 (79.30%) 4 tics 100 4194310

1: 2: 22:
Obstacle Shootable Affects Kill %

Sprite name Alert sound Action sound Pain sound Death sound
TROO DSBGSIT1 or
DSBGSIT2
DSBGACT DSPOPAIN DSBGDTH1
DSBGDTH2 (normal)
DSSLOP (gibs)

Melee

Damage Sound
3-24 DSCLAW

Range

Type Speed Damage Width Height Sprite name Sound
Projectile 10 map units per tic
(350 map units per second)
3-24 6 8 BAL1 DSFIRSHT (firing)
DSFIRXPL (impact)

Scratch damage

TrooMHistogram

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

Scratches needed to kill1 Mean Standard
deviation
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
8.051.41512
Player (100%
health, security armor)
11.651.67816
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
29.112.222434
Barrel2.040.7914
Trooper2.040.7914
Sergeant2.770.7825
Wolfenstein SS4.301.0338
Imp4.971.0939
Chaingunner5.881.20410
Lost soul8.051.41512
Commander Keen8.051.41512
Demon11.651.67816
Spectre11.651.67816
Boss brain219.271.921423
Revenant22.812.101727
Cacodemon30.372.332535
Pain elemental30.372.332535
Hell knight37.802.583144
Arachnotron37.802.583144
Mancubus45.092.843951
Arch-vile52.642.854658
Baron of Hell74.972.916981
Spiderdemon223.723.17217231
Cyberdemon298.483.71290307

Fireball damage

Fireballs needed to kill1 Mean Standard
deviation
Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
8.091.36511
Player (100%
health, security armor)
11.681.70816
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
29.192.262434
Barrel2.040.7715
Trooper2.040.7715
Sergeant2.750.7825
Wolfenstein SS4.300.9937
Imp3
Chaingunner5.871.2149
Lost soul8.091.36511
Commander Keen8.091.36511
Demon11.681.70816
Spectre11.681.70816
Boss brain219.252.101424
Revenant22.802.241728
Cacodemon30.422.512436
Pain elemental30.422.512436
Hell knight37.792.793044
Arachnotron37.792.793044
Mancubus45.163.093652
Arch-vile52.643.044660
Baron of Hell74.952.647081
Spiderdemon223.642.66217230
Cyberdemon298.472.97290305
  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).

The IWADs contain the following numbers of imps:

Game ITYTD and HNTR HMP UV and NM
Ultimate Doom487771974
Doom II4889051223
TNT: Evilution86112061357
Plutonia371406436

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