"Making progress, Marine? Your journey is futile. You will die, and your soul will be mine!"
― Malcolm Betruger during one of his many taunts [src]

Dr. Malcolm Betruger is the main antagonist of Doom 3 and Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil. He is the UAC director of the Delta Labs division on Mars and is responsible for the UAC's scientific breakthroughs. Betruger fell into the corruption of Hell and plotted with the demonic subjugation of humanity. In Resurrection of Evil, he is turned into a flying gargoyle-like demon named the Maledict and is leading the forces of Hell.

History

Dr. Betruger is the director of all research at the Union Aerospace Corporation research facility on Mars. He is an elderly, overworked doctor, whose right eye is grayed over with a severe cataract. Dr. Betruger is the head of the research division on the UAC's Mars Base. He's unquestionably brilliant, and his tireless efforts have resulted in teleportation becoming a scientific reality, rather than mere science fiction. Driven and dedicated to his work, Dr. Betruger demands as much of his subordinates as he does of himself, and he has little patience for the layers of bureaucratic red tape that stand between him and his goals. Those who know Dr. Betruger well, however, hint of a darker side to the scientific genius. His tireless drive borders on megalomania at times, and his critics might say that his reckless obsession with his work blinds him to the human cost of his experiments.[1]

It is stated in an audio log that at some time before the events of Doom 3, Betruger inexplicably entered a teleporter, transporting him to Hell. When Betruger returned, he still looked the same, but he behaved differently. This suggests that Betruger may have been possessed or corrupted by a demonic force, though it is never clearly stated exactly what happened to him. What is clear is that he had made a pact with the demons of Hell in which he agreed to provide a portal that the demons could use to invade Mars City, in return for great supernatural power, including a degree of omnipresence and the ability to command armies of demons. Shortly before the invasion, Dr. Betruger acquired the Soul Cube. Knowing that it was the only thing that could stop his plans, he hid it in Hell where no one could find it and use it against him.

Doom 3

SPOILER WARNING: Plot details follow.

Betruger is first seen at the beginning of the game, inside the Mars Facility Control Tower. He observes a shuttle arrive, carrying Counselor Elliot Swann, Jack Campbell, and a replacement Marine. Later, the Marine eavesdrops on an argument between Betruger and Swann, the latter of whom has been sent by the UAC Board to investigate the disturbing activity surrounding Betruger's experiments. When Swann asks why so many workers on Mars are complaining and asking to leave, Betruger replies that they're just exhausted and overworked. He then warns Swann to stay out of his way and cryptically adds that "amazing things will happen here soon."

A short while after the demonic invasion, the Marine overhears yet another argument between Betruger and Swann. Betruger appears to be unperturbed by the disaster unfolding around him, and smugly tells Swann that he'll "handle" the situation.

Later, after the Marine either sends or cancels the distress call to Earth's fleet, Betruger collapses the Monorail Skybridge, forcing the Marine to take a detour through the Recycling Sector. In Recycling Sector 2, Betruger contacts the Marine directly and makes it clear that he is in league with the demons. If the Marine followed Sergeant Kelly's orders and sent a distress call to the Earth Fleet, Betruger mockingly thanks the Marine for playing into his hands. If the Marine followed Swann's instructs and cancelled the distress call, Betruger remarks that it's a pity the Marine decided not to contact the Fleet, but it's of no consequence for he'll just alert the Fleet himself. Either way, Betruger gloats that once the demons have seized control of the Fleet's ships, they will launch an invasion of Earth itself. He then floods the Recycling Sector with toxic gasses in an attempt to kill the Marine, though this effort fails.

A cutscene later reveals that Betruger has gained supernatural powers which enable him to transform other marines into Zombie Commandos. He also apparently uses his powers to cause the Monorail train speeding out of control and crash while the Marine is taking it to Delta Labs.

The Marine pursues Betruger through Delta Labs and eventually confronts him at the main portal where the demonic invasion originated. Betruger activates the portal, unleashing two Hell Knights upon the Marine. Shortly after the Marine kills both Hell Knights, the portal sucks him into Hell itself (which was where the Marine was planning on going anyway in order to retrieve the Soul Cube).

Throughout the game, Betruger continues to taunt the Marine and sets his demonic minions upon the player. He typically threatens the Marine with death and the promise that his soul will burn in Hell forever. Ultimately, however, Betruger's plans are foiled when the Marine recovers the Soul Cube, returns to Mars, and uses the Cube to destroy the Cyberdemon, and seal the Hell Hole that has been opened below the planet's surface. Five days later, a team of marines and sentry bots arrive at the facility. They rescue the Marine, but are unable to find Betruger. The last scene shows Betruger in Hell, where he has been transformed by his demonic allies into a horrific skeletal dragon-like demon, known as The Maledict.

While in Hell, the Marine is taunted by an unseen presence. Despite sounding different from Betruger's normal voice, the speaker is probably him, as the sound files have the taunts suffixed with bet_, most likely short for "Betruger".

Resurrection of Evil

At the end of Doom 3, Betruger is shown in Hell having been transformed into The Maledict, a giant skeletal dragon-like demon. The Maledict is featured more prominently in Resurrection of Evil, and is the game's final enemy.

Sixteen months after the events of Doom 3, a different marine, a combat engineer assigned to the UAC's second research expedition to Mars, finds the Artifact at the Site 1 dig site. He takes hold of the Artifact and inadvertently triggers another demonic invasion of Mars. Betruger, now in his Maledict form, sends the Hell Hunters to retrieve the Artifact from the marine. After the Hunters are defeated and their essences are absorbed into the Artifact, the marine takes the Artifact to Hell, the only place where it can be destroyed.

After fighting his way through Hell's demonic forces, the marine confronts the Maledict, who demands the marine to hand over the Artifact. The marine refuses and the final battle ensues. Although the marine manages to hurt the Maledict, the demonic leader bites down on him and the marine briefly passes out. When he awakens, he finds the Maledict staring down at him. Once again, Betruger demands the marine hand over the Artifact. Instead, the marine shoves the Artifact into Betruger's mouth, causing an explosion that destroys the Betruger/Maledict demon. All that's left is Betruger's human skull.

Doom: Annihilation

Malcolm Betruger in Doom: Annihilation

In Doom: Annihilation, Betruger is portrayed by Dominic Mafham. His role in the movie is much the same as it is in the games. Unlike in the game, however, he is not blind in one eye nor is he bald. His personality is also slightly different, in that he initially portrays himself as an ally of the protagonists, before eventually revealing his true nature. Furthermore, his motives for aligning himself with the demons are somewhat different. Whereas in the game, Betruger's sole motive is to gain power for himself, the movie's version of Betruger genuinely believes that the demons are the rightful owners of Earth. Also, unlike in the games, Dr. Betruger not only survives the events of the film, but seemingly succeeds in bringing the demons to Earth.

Trivia

  • Malcolm's surname comes from the German word "Betrüger" which means "deceiver", "cheater" or "swindler." It also sounds like the English word "betrayer". Both descriptions fit his characterization as a treacherous and deceitful antagonist.
  • Dr. Reinhard from Evil Dead: Regeneration has several similarities to Betruger. In addition to looking similar (with a solid white eye), both were said to have been good before their pacts with evil. They also have German names.
  • If on the first level, if you use cheat codes to enter the room where Betruger is, he will be identified as "Joe" - the name for all NPCs the player is not supposed to be able to interact with. He has no lines and will not speak with you.
    • By using the method, he can be killed but this will not affect the storyline in any manner,
    • Curiously, upon closer inspection, it is revealed that he was looking at a screen of the soul cube.
  • According to the Making of Doom III book, many of Betruger's lines and actions were to be performed by General Hayden, the commander of the military on Mars. Hayden was meant to be the assumed villain, and only later on in the game would it be revealed that Betruger was the true mastermind behind the invasion. Later, the developers decided to remove Hayden's character entirely, and establish Betruger as the villain early on in the game.
  • Betruger and Mr. White (Area 51 game) are equivalent (they're bald and almost have the same outfit).
  • In Resurrection of Evil, Betruger's blind eye appears to have changed from his right eye to his left eye.
  • Betruger is the first human antagonist in the Doom series.
  • In Betruger's office a picture of the so-called Face on Mars can be seen on a wall, which is believed by some to be the remains of an ancient Martian civilization. This fits with the setting of ancient ruins found on Mars in Doom 3, though is probably just a joke of the developers, and not a part of the background story.
  • His face and voice are a homage to the actor Sir Anthony Hopkins, who played Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.
  • Betruger is referenced in Ancient Gods in the Blood Swamps, there is a castle found in the level named Betruger Castle.

References

  1. Doom 3 Strategy Guide, pg
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