- "Zombie" redirects here. For information about the Zombieman monster (a.k.a. "Former Human"), see Zombieman. For information about the Doom 3 monster, see Zombie (Doom 3). For information about the equivalent Doom 2016 monster, see The Possessed (Enemy). For information about zombie players, see Voodoo doll. For information about the total conversion, see Zombies TC.
Former human monsters, as a conceptual family of enemy types, are humans that have been slain and reanimated, or "zombified", by the evil forces of Hell, and taken as a group they are Doom's most common enemies, especially in early levels. They were once soldiers, like the player's marine, or UAC security guards, but have been somehow turned undead and now serve the demons they once fought. Inside the Doom source code and in the Doom Bible they are called Possessed humans, and their sprite prefix always contains an abbreviation for "possessed". Because of their immediately human origin, they attack with hand-held firearms instead of innate abilities or cybernetic implants as other monsters do, and their low speed and durability makes them easier to eliminate than most of their fully demonic counterparts. Because of their very low hit points, they are often gibbed when struck by more powerful opponents.
Former humans drop weapons or ammunition when killed; this sets them apart from the purely hellish monsters. A dropped item remains even if the zombie respawns or is resurrected by an arch-vile; if killed again, the zombie will drop yet another item. Being humans that somehow became possessed by demonic forces, they are not generated by the final bosses of Doom II or Final Doom's episodes.
Former human types
The "Zombieman" enemy type is referred to in many of the official instruction manuals as "Former Human". References to "Former Human" as a specific enemy, rather than as a conceptual group of enemies, usually refer to this specific enemy type.
- In the Doom Bible, a sketchy plan of the first level of the game, called "Level one: Secondary hangar", marks the locations for "dehumans"; perhaps using the "de-" from demon to make a reference to the Black Sabbath album from (June) 1992, Dehumanizer, especially considering Tom Hall has demonstrated a preference for inserting popular references in his game design.
- According to the backstory in Doom II's manual, Former Humans feed on the flesh of living humans they kill.
- It is never officially stated whether former humans are simply possessed or are undead zombies. Doom II's cast call refers to the basic Former Human as the "zombieman", but the Former Sergeant and Former Commando have the far more neutral titles of "shotgun guy" and "heavy weapon dude", which could go either way. The manual always refers to former humans by their full titles (human, sergeant, or commando).
- Among the Doom community, former humans of all types are sometimes referred to as "sh*tscanners"- a derogatory title referring to their hitscan attacks and the infamous tendency of former humans to score killing blows on the player at extreme range.
- Former humans in general are wildly unpredictable; beside their tendency to either attack immediately or move around before doing so, their bullets can range anywhere from around 22.5 degrees total spread (true for all former human types) to hitting dead on, depending on RNG. Additionally, given that each bullet deals varying damage, a former human may either barely scratch the player or deliver a heavy blow; former sergeants are the worst offenders, dealing up to 45 possible damage on a full blast.