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This article is about the item found in Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil. For the items found in Heretic and Hexen, see Artifact.
"Hell reaches out for what is ours!"
― The Maledict  [src]

Hell's Artifact in operation

The Artifact, also known as the Heart of Hell and the Bloodstone, is a weapon unique to the Resurrection of Evil expansion pack of Doom 3. It is a demonic human heart-shaped device of Hellish origin, given to the player at the very start of the game, albeit in its inactive state.


The Artifact was designed to aid the forces of Hell by opening up a gateway to the human dimension. The ancient Martians realized this and captured the Artifact during Hell's first invasion, but couldn't destroy it, so they locked it away in a secret chamber.

When the UAC returns to Mars at the beginning of Resurrection of Evil, a team of Marines - including the game's protagonist - enter the Artifact's chamber and accidentally awaken it. This enables the forces of Hell under the command of Malcolm Betruger, now the Maledict, to invade once again. Betruger also sends the three Hell Hunters to kill the Marine and retrieve the Artifact for himself.

Weapon schematics[]

"Created by the ancient civilization to defend against the forces of hell."
PDA Description  [src]

A blueprint of the Artifact.

The Artifact is unique as it is the only weapon in the game that does not directly damage its opponents. Instead, it grants the user three specific abilities that can only be unlocked by defeating the three Hell Hunters:

  • Helltime: The first ability allows the player to move very fast, represented by time appearing to slow down to the point that enemies cannot react to your movements.
  • Berserk: The second ability strengthens all weapons, to the point that even a punch can kill any non-boss in one hit.
  • Invulnerability: The final ability makes the player completely invincible to all enemy attacks.

Each of these abilities can only be unlocked upon defeating the respective Hell Hunter. Defeating the first Hell Hunter for instance, will only grant the player the Helltime ability; they have to locate and slay the other two Hunters to unlock the other two abilities.

The Artifact only uses human souls, as opposed to the Soul Cube's usage of both human and demon ones. One soul is consumed upon activating the Artifact. When the player is standing near a human corpse, the Artifact will automatically absorb the soul from the corpse (indicated by its red glow). It can only absorb a maximum of three souls. While it is in operation, the Artifact will make a distinct movement, reminiscent of a human heart pumping. It will also decay the user's hands (although this is only a visual effect and has no effect on the player).

Tactical analysis[]

As the Artifact is the only weapon that cannot directly damage enemies, the player must utilize on tactics different from their other arsenals, as it requires a more strategic way of using the weapon, by understanding the given situation or predicament the player is in.

The first ability, which allows the player to move very quick, is mainly useful at the beginning of the game, where they must avoid ancient booby traps that can set off very quick, instantly killing them. It is also useful in dealing with the more agile enemies like the Vulgar and the Commandos. The former enemy is likely to come in larger numbers, so using the Artifact to slow down their movement speed is often a good strategy to take them down.

The second ability, which grants the player superhuman strength, is used best in situations when more powerful enemies like the Bruiser and Revenant start to appear. As these enemies are likely to spawn in larger waves later on, this provides the player a good opportunity to quickly take them down before they can pose as a large threat.

The final ability, which grants the player invulnerability, works well to the endgame, when more dangerous enemies like the Hell Knight appear in larger numbers and near enclosed spaces.

It is generally necessary to keep a close eye out on any nearby human corpses in the vicinity, as it can help the player charge up the Artifact, giving them more opportunity to rely on its abilities, especially by mid-game.


  • The Thule Medallion, an artifact from Wolfenstein, has two similar powers - Mire (slows down time) and Empower (similar to Berserker).
  • On the Nightmare difficulty, the Artifact will already be fully powered, but it will still be unusable until the player defeats the Helltime Hunter. Also, the Artifact will no longer absorb the powers of the other Hell Hunters, instead after killing one, the Artifact will become fully charged.
  • The Artifact also has features in common with the One Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, such as being a long-lost evil device with demonic power that can only be destroyed where it was created (Hell and Mordor, respectively), which gives the user certain magical powers, and possibly which slowly corrupts the user (implied in the Artifact's case, although not made a part of the game).
  • Helltime's "slow time" capability is somehow very similar to the revolutionary camera effects from the Matrix film series.
  • The Doom 3 Berserk powerup could be considered an allusion to the Artifact, as its powers are very similar to the ones given by a fully-powered Artifact (except for lacking time dilation). However, the Berserk artifact gives the player a bloodshot red view and screams can be heard in the background while it's active, whereas the Artifact doesn't have either of these effects on use.
  • In the Titan's Realm level of DOOM, there is a still-beating heart on an altar. This may be a reference to the Artifact.
  • The Artifact's three powers were transferred to DOOM, becoming the game's four powerups found in battle scenes. Helltime became the Haste powerup, Berserk for fists became the Berserk powerup (Berserk for the other weapons became Quad Damage), and Invulnerability became the Invulnerability powerup.