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"What a name. And what a guy. Killing him is almost as bad as letting him live."
Doom II instruction manual.

The Pain Elemental is a monster introduced in Doom II.

Physical appearance[]

The Pain Elemental is similar to the Cacodemon; they are both floating spherical monsters with a single eye and a large toothy mouth. The main differences in respect to its counterpart are that its hide is leathery brown, it has two small arms akin to the Spiderdemon's pair of limbs, its single eyeball is bigger and red-colored with a black round pupil, and it is crowned by only two dark curved horns (similar to the Cyberdemon's horns) on the top of its spherical body.

Combat characteristics[]

Pain Elemental emits a strange, babbling cackle upon spotting a player. If it is in pain, it will make a sharp croak (almost like it is saying "Ow!").

Instead of shooting a standard projectile, the Pain Elemental periodically spews Lost Souls at its opponents from a mouth that flares up with a reddish glow each time one of the minions is delivered. Pain Elementals can spawn multiple Lost Souls in its vicinity. However, a limit is given to prevent Lost Souls from overpopulating; if there are 21 or more Lost Souls in a level, Pain Elementals will not produce their projectile when they attack. They go through the attack sequence without any effect.

The Lost Souls produced by the Pain Elemental begin their existence with a charge forwards, immediately attacking the player. If a Pain Elemental summons a Lost Soul way too close to its target, an object, or a wall, the Lost Soul will simply explode, doing no damage. In bizarre cases, if it is created beyond a wall, it may be trapped on the other side.

Upon death, the Pain Elemental will suddenly collapse and disintegrate, accompanied by a brief wooshing sound, before spawning three Lost Souls. If it dies close to a wall or the player, the Lost Souls that spawn will instead explode, not doing any damage. The Pain Elemental, (alongside the Lost Soul) is one of two monsters that does not leave behind a corpse.

Strangely, if the Pain Elemental gets crushed by something before it finishes its death animation, it leaves behind a bloody pile of gibs for the Arch-vile to resurrect.

Tactical analysis[]

While Pain Elementals cannot directly attack the player, their ability to summon multiple Lost Souls can be problematic if left unattended for so long. Therefore, players are expected to take down this enemy right away before it poses into a bigger threat.

Fortunately, Pain Elemental share the same lumbering speed and high pain chance as the Cacodemon. Therefore, repeating weapons such as the chaingun or the plasma gun will work fairly well to continuously stun the Pain Elemental, preventing them from summoning Lost Souls. If the player becomes over-swarmed with Lost Souls and cannot take a clear shot at the Pain Elemental, the plasma gun can quickly clear out the lesser enemies thanks to it's high rate of fire. A rocket launcher can instantly take out a Pain Elemental with two-three rockets. In most cases however, it is not recommended, as the Pain Elemental may instantly spawn a Lost Soul while the rocket is en route, potentially causing blast damage to the player.

Players can also take advantage of the Pain Elemental's attacks via close range with a super shotgun. The Pain Elemental has a relatively wide character sprite, allowing most if not all of the pellets to connect. As the Lost Soul it spawns will also harmlessly explode on the player up close, this leaves the Pain Elemental vulnerable as it is unable to defend itself. It takes two-three super shotgun blasts to completely destroy a Pain Elemental. Be cautious, however, that upon death, the Pain Elemental will spawn three Lost Souls that will immediately charge towards it's target.

As it does not attack directly, the Pain Elemental will never be targeted by other monsters, thus making them very unreliable in monster infighting. Other monsters will instead target on the Lost Soul it spawned. However, the Pain Elemental is vulnerable to misdirected attacks from other monsters, including it's own Lost Souls and will retaliate against them.

ID # Hit points Speed Width Height Reaction time Pain chance Pain time Mass Bits
71 (decimal)
47 (hex)
400 8 map units per frame
(93.3 map units per second)
62 56 8 128 (50%) 12 tics 400 4211206

1: 2: 9: 14: 22:
Obstacle Shootable No Gravity Floating Affects Kill %

Sprite name Alert sound Action sound Pain sound Death sound
PAIN DSPESIT DSDMACT DSPEPAIN DSPEDTH

The IWADs contain the following numbers of Pain Elementals:

Game ITYTD and HNTR HMP UV and NM
Doom II 23 38 64
TNT: Evilution 12 26 40
Plutonia 48 62 74

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