- This article is about the original Doom games monster Cacodemon. For the monster in Doom 3, see Cacodemon (Doom 3).
- "They float in the air, belch ball-lightning, and boast one Hell of a big mouth. You're toast if you get too close to these monstrosities."
- ― Doom II manual description
Cacodemons are red monsters with large spherical bodies crowned with horns, that float slowly through the air. They have a single green eye over a large mouth which is persistently twisted into an evil grin showing a series of nasty teeth and a bluish interior.
They attack by spitting a ball of plasma or by biting with their gaping maw. The Cacodemon often seems to distance itself from the player when under attack, though the cause of this is that it is being pushed back by successful hits from its enemies.
Cacodemons emit a loud hissing sound when they first see the player or otherwise become active, and use the pain sound shared by most of the demonic monsters from Doom. When killed, they let out a whimpering moan and fall to the ground, splitting open like a burst pustule and spewing copious amounts of blue blood and intestines that flow forth to reveal their bared brains, while their sole eye pops out of its socket. Also, some of its horns break.
Cacodemon attacks are relatively easy to dodge, and with sufficient space large numbers of Cacodemons can be fought while sustaining little or no injury. Because they are slow, and because their pain chance is high, they are fairly easy targets. The chainsaw can incapacitate them, and repeating weapons such as the chaingun or the plasma gun are very effective against them, as they are pushed away and are nearly unable to fight back. However, their tough red alligator-like hides can absorb a large amount of damage, and more powerful weapons such as the super shotgun, rocket launcher, or BFG 9000 may be more appropriate when dealing with the monsters when they come in packs. They are relatively easy to goad into attacking other monsters, but can occasionally be tricky in this respect if they are floating in a high position allowing most of their shots to go over other monsters in the player's area. Their slow floating speed can, however, increase a player's chances of luring them into another monster's firing line. When possible, the best monsters to lure a Cacodemon or multiple Cacodemons into the path of would be a Spiderdemon (Doom or Doom II), a Heavy weapon dude or an Arachnotron (Doom II). Each of those 3 monsters all have repeating weapons which can come in even more handy when multiple Cacodemons are present in a given area. A skilled player could use a shotgun, run in for close shots, and dodge any incoming attacks while reloading and retreating. Multiple Cacodemons can also be mowed down in fairly short order with the BFG 9000, in 1 to 4 shots depending upon how many a player is combating & how closely together they are bunched.
Because of their flight ability and versatility, it is not uncommon to see these flying out of unexpected angles once alerted.
Although the Cacodemon has a melee attack, it does not actively try to use this attack; it simply "happens" if the player is at point-blank range at the time the Cacodemon attempts to launch a projectile. (The Cacodemon's melee attack also does not have a sound effect associated with it.) This is presumably to prevent the enemy from abusing this attack while located at a greatly different elevation from the player (where the player would not be able to retaliate).
- The name Cacodemon, which comes from the Greek κακοδαίμων (kakodaimon) usually meaning "evil spirit", a more precise name for what we generally know as demon (which ultimately comes from "god" or "spirit"), is in English a word that may be found in most comprehensive dictionaries.
- It is also reminiscent of the military term CACO, "Casualty Assistance Calls Officer." A military officer charged with the grim duty of notifying relatives of soldiers who have been killed or seriously injured.
- The monster's general visual design is similar to that of the Beholder, a similarly one-eyed classic Dungeons & Dragons monster (with eye stalks instead of horns). In addition, the Cacodemon was created from a cropping of a creature that appears on the cover of Manual of the Planes, a Dungeons & Dragons expansion book. The creature itself is known as an Astral Dreadnought, and was created by Jeff Easley for that book.
- The earliest known version of Doom to include Cacodemon graphics is the 0.5 alpha, released on May 22, 1993, and the earliest known appearance of the monster as an in-game adversary is in the press release version of Doom, released on October 4, 1993.
- Cacodemons are called pumpkins in the Doom novels, and the marine in the Doom comic refers to them as "big-mouthed floating thingies."
- Homestar Runner makes two references to Cacodemons. In Strong Bad E-Mail number 150, Strong Bad remarks that an interdimensional portal "looks like it could release some serious Cacodemons." In the Halloween 2007 cartoon, Pom Pom dresses as a Cacodemon.
- The Cacodemon is used as the Icon for the Xbox 360 Arcade version of Doom, specifically in the game library and on the Achievement screen. The sequel, Doom II, simply uses the title rather than a monster to represent the icon.
- Microsoft's Windows 95 port of Doom also uses a Cacodemon icon.
- The Cacodemon is also used as the icon for The Ultimate Doom on Steam.
- Hissy the Cacodemon (see below) serves as the Doom Wiki logo, along with a cartoonish version of the Doom logo.
- In a ZDoom-based source port, if the player is killed by a Cacodemon, one of two obituary messages will be displayed at the top of the screen depending on which attack the Cacodemon used to kill the player: "[player name] was bitten by a Cacodemon" or "[player name] was smitten by a Cacodemon" for the bite and lightning-ball attacks respectively.
Circa 1997-98, amateur Doom level designer Jonas "Chrozoron" Feragen created Hissy, a plush Cacodemon which quickly became famous in the Doom community. Hissy can be found as a character in Skulltag, Cacodemon Squad, the secret level (WTF!) on MassMouth 2 and EarthBound Doom; the plush Cacodemon itself is on a "world tour." She has been in the hands of over a dozen community members in the past eight years.
Pixel is a plush-toy Cacodemon created in November 2004 by Doom enthusiast Hughe, in response to a challenge from a friend. Pixel was created to be as accurate in form as possible using five different materials, including all his horns, separate teeth, upper mouth and single eye. Pixel was created before Hughe had any knowledge of the plush Hissy, and was in no way made to compete with her. In fact, it is said that Pixel finds Hissy rather cute.
Caco was created by the artist, Nathan Freda in 2012 during his senior year at Ringling College of Art & Design. Caco was made upon request from Freda's roommate who is an avid Doom enthusiast.
As a present for his 25th birthday, Javier Saavedra and Agustín Ayape made a plush Cacodemon for their Doom enthusiast friend: Nicolás "Pititisch" Chazarreta. They are all from Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut, Argentina. It was made in about 1 week and used textile wadding (cotton), plush, felt (horns and teeth) and cloth (black and red). The name "Coquito" comes from an Spanish contraction "little Coco" (or little Caco, but in this case the contraction would be "Caquito").
On September 5th, 2013, Gaming Heads released both a Cacodemon and Pain Elemental for purchase on the Bethesda Store. In the final video of John Romero's playthrough of the first Episode of Doom with JP LeBreton on "Devs Play," these plushies are visible on his mantle. Gaming Heads went on to release the Doomguy ("Doom Space Marine") as the third available plush.