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This article is about the original Doom games weapon. For the weapon in Doom 3, see Chainsaw (Doom 3). For the weapon in Doom 4, see Chainsaw (Doom 4).
The chainsaw is a melee-based weapon that has appeared in every Doom title in the series. This weapon mutilates enemies close enough to contact. At 525 hits per minute, it is roughly a quadruple-speed fist. It is often used because it conserves ammo, its "rapid fire" works well on enemies with high pain chance, which minimizes damage in melee situations, and because of its gory implications.
When picked up, the message is "A Chainsaw! Find some meat!". The TV advertisement for the Super Nintendo port showed numerous instances of the player chainsawing Imps and Demons, intercut with images of butchers at a slaughterhouse/meat factory.
Strangely, the chainsaw appears to have no discernible reason to be on Phobos, Deimos, or Mars, as these places appear to be entirely devoid of plant life. This is parodied in Doom 3 by having a shipment of chainsaws received as a mistake, as the Mars City base had in fact ordered jackhammers to aid in their excavations (the chainsaw turns out to be a very strong weapon for killing monsters, even Hell Knights). However, it is possible that it is a Diamond bladed chainsaw, which is commonly used for cutting rock, concrete and other stone-like materials. These mostly look the same as a normal chainsaw, so it would be hard to tell from in-game material.
It is considered to be most effectively used against Demons and Spectres, since the player can more than likely kill them without taking damage. The chainsaw's disadvantage is its slow killing speed, compared to the berserked fist, which becomes a liability when facing multiple enemies and in open areas. Expert players confronted by a pack of Demons and Spectres back into a corner and chainsaw them down one by one (if the corner is less than 107 degrees wide, only one Demon can attack at a time).
It can also be used fairly effectively against Cacodemons, Pain Elementals, Lost Souls, and Imps. Can be used against Arachnotrons, though the approach must be as fast as possible. A safe application against Revenants requires a difficult method of continuously backing off, maintaining a distance too far for its fists and too close for its rockets. It is ineffective against Hell Knights and other demons with powerful ranged attacks. A safe and easy usage against zombies is possible when waiting behind a sharp corner, but two things must be considered: First, zombies often advance in a zig-zag pattern. Second, using the chainsaw behind doors may cost more ammo than it saves if the dropped weapon or ammo is not picked up and smashed in the closing door. When used against Mancubi, the monster may suddenly start to retaliate; this risk may somewhat be lowered by using several short attacks.
The chainsaw is effectively rendered useless against Demons and Imps if the game parameter is set to Fast Monsters (such as in Nightmare difficulty), since these monsters' melee attacks are three times as fast.
In vanilla Doom, if a player has a chainsaw, they cannot switch back to the fists unless they have a berserk pack. Most modern source ports allow toggling of the fists and chainsaw by pressing "1" (as with the two shotguns in Doom II). Newer source ports have allowed other instances of toggling between 2 weapons with other keys, including the Railgun (can be toggled with plasma rifle) and the BFG10K (can be toggled with BFG 9000) in Skulltag.
The chainsaw can be obtained via the cheat codes idchoppers, idfa or idkfa.
- Switching to the chainsaw means that there is a continuous buzzing from the chainsaw motor. When "fired", the chainsaw is shoved forward and the buzzing changes to a higher and even more intense whine. Like gunfire or a fist punch, attacking with the chainsaw will alert monsters in open areas, however merely switching to the chainsaw will not. Players who often want to provoke enemies into finding them can "fire" the chainsaw, without wasting ammo.
- The chainsaw graphics are based on scans of a real chainsaw, a McCulloch Eager Beaver (borrowed by Tom Hall from his girlfriend).
- The chainsaw "rev up" sound (DSSAWUP) is played when the player switches weapons to the chainsaw. Normally it is not played in its entirety, as the sound is cut off by the normal sound effect made by the chainsaw while selected (DSSAWIDL). It can be heard in its entirety by switching weapons to the chainsaw from any other weapon, and immediately pausing the game; and is also played completely when a new level starts with the active weapon being a chainsaw (see Intermission screen#Chainsaw sound effect). This sound effect is still used in the PlayStation and Saturn ports in its entirety but doesn't stop when the chugging/buzzing sound begins, causing the two sound effects to bleed into one another during the former's duration (this is a common effect, as sound effects in general in these ports will bleed into one another regardless of repetition).
- Doom 64's chainsaw is drastically different in terms of appearance. The saw has two blades instead of one and the letters "U.A.C." are engraved on top of the weapon. The damage inflicted by this version of the weapon is also doubled.
- Unlike other weapons which can run out of ammo, the chainsaw's fuel is unlimited and it will run forever.
|Shots per minute||525.0 teeth|
|Sound||DSSAWUP (when selected)|
DSSAWHIT (doing damage)
|Appears in||Shareware Doom|
Doom II/Final Doom
|Thing type||2005 (decimal), 7D5 (hex)|
|Sprite||CSAW (before pickup)|
PUFF (impact, miss)
BLUD (impact, hit)
The chainsaw can inflict approximately 94.47 points of damage per second:
|Seconds needed to kill1||Mean|| Standard|
|Baron of Hell||10.64||0.23||10.06||11.20|
- This table assumes that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, and blood splats 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.
- Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.
- Due to errors in the line-of-sight algorithms of vanilla Doom (see Spider paralysis), it is sometimes impossible to keep the chainsaw in continuous contact with a wide monster.
The IWADs contain the following numbers of chainsaws:
|Game||ITYTD and HNTR||HMP||UV and NM|
|Weapons from Doom and Doom II|
|Fist||Pistol||Shotgun||Chaingun||Rocket launcher||Plasma gun||BFG9000|