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Plasma gun

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This article is about the original Doom games weapon. For the weapon in Doom 3 see Plasma gun (Doom 3). For the weapon in Doom 4 see Plasma gun (Doom 4).

The plasma gun in E4M2: Perfect Hatred appears to be unguarded...

GothicDM plasma

The plasma gun being used in deathmatch play on GothicDM.

The Plasma Gun (also known as the "Plasma Rifle" in the game manuals and help screen) is a futuristic weapon with a barrel that roughly resembles an accordion, which fires blue and white bursts of plasma. It shares the player's stock of cells with the BFG9000 as a source of ammo.

The Plasma Gun first appears in a secret area of the very first level of the second episode, E2M1: Deimos Anomaly, and happens to appear in every level of The Shores of Hell, with the exception of the Tower of Babel level. It first appears in a non-secret area in the fifth level, E2M5: Command Center. When picked up, it contains the equivalent ammo of 2 cells (totalling 40 units of energy, or 80 on the "I'm too young to die" and "Nightmare!" skill levels).

Combat characteristics

When the trigger is pulled, it'll fire like a machine gun but shoots small blue and white balls of plasma. Each plasma burst inflicts 5-40 points of damage. Although the rate of continuous fire is one burst every 3 tics (about 0.086 seconds), there is a further pause of 21 tics (0.6 seconds) when the trigger is released.

Tactical analysis

Due to its high damage rate (three times that of the chaingun), the plasma gun is devastating against nearly any single opponent. A continuous barrage will stop an arachnotron in its tracks, and even reduce a baron of Hell to about half its normal movement speed and attack frequency. The Plasma Gun is also effective against large groups of weaker enemies (charging enemies like Demon), it can stop them all before they reach the player. Attacking monsters from long ranges can be inefficient, however, as enemies tend to move too much for the bursts to be accurate; it is also difficult to use against flying monsters in open areas, as the first few hits push the enemy rapidly backward and often to one side of the stream. A good tactic to counter this weakness is to fire the Plasma Gun in bursts as in opposed to full-automatic. Otherwise, it is a very powerful weapon that can be considered the jack-of-all trades.

Although the plasma gun does not inflict blast damage, firing it in close quarters demands a certain amount of concentration owing to horizontal auto-aim, which may steer its projectiles right into a wall if the nearest monster is not directly in front of the player. For example, using the plasma gun on the cyberdemon in E4M2: Perfect Hatred, without placing the player in its line of sight, requires aiming at a point slightly to the monster's left. The plasma gun can also be used to light up dark places.


  • In the Doom press release beta, the plasma gun fires green-white and orange-red bursts, alternating between the two colors. This is similar to that version's BFG9000, which fires 40 of the same projectiles per shot. For the release of Doom, these plasma bursts were made blue-white, and the gun sprite was changed slightly.
  • Like the shotgun, the plasma gun was created from an existing toy gun. [1] [2] [3] [4] The links show a dart-shooting, M60-like toy that was popular in the early 1990s (back then, it was tan). The area in front of the bipod could be detached to use as a separate weapon. The designers simply turned the detachment around so that it was shown backwards. The resemblance is most apparent when the player lifts the weapon at the end of a volley.
  • The rapid fire of the plasma gun often requires many sprites to be rendered simultaneously. This has been known to cause lag during multiplayer games or on older machines (see also the notes on the early BFG).
  • The Plasma gun will sometimes gib zombiemen and shotgun guys due to their rather low health (20 and 30 hit points respectively, while each plasma burst can do as much as 40).


Plasma gun data
Weapon number 6
Damage 5-40
Included ammo 40 (80 on skill 1 & 5)
Max ammo 300 (600 with backpack)
Ammo type Plasma cells
Shot type Projectile
Velocity 25 map units per tic
(875 map units per second)
Shots per minute 700.0
Sound DSPLASMA (firing)
DSFIRXPL (impact)
Appears in Registered Doom
The Ultimate Doom
Doom II/Final Doom
Thing type 2004 (decimal), 7D4 (hex)
Radius 20
Sprite PLAS (before pickup)
PLSG (wielded)
PLSF (firing)
PLSS (plasma burst)
PLSE (impact)
Class Weapon

Damage done by each plasma rifle round

Shots needed to kill1 Mean Standard
Min Max
Barrel 1.45 0.60 1 3
Zombieman 1.45 0.60 1 3
Shotgun guy 1.81 0.76 1 4
Wolfenstein SS 2.77 0.78 2 5
Imp 3.21 0.92 2 6
Heavy weapon dude 3.64 0.98 2 6
Lost soul 4.97 1.09 3 9
Commander Keen 4.97 1.09 3 9
Demon 7.22 1.33 5 11
Spectre 7.22 1.33 5 11
Romero's head2 11.65 1.67 8 16
Revenant 13.84 1.72 10 18
Cacodemon 18.33 1.89 14 22
Pain elemental 18.33 1.89 14 22
Hell knight 22.81 2.10 17 27
Arachnotron 22.81 2.10 17 27
Mancubus 27.24 2.31 21 33
Arch-vile 31.70 2.42 26 37
Baron of hell 45.09 2.84 39 51
Spiderdemon 134.52 1.70 131 139
Cyberdemon 179.06 3.17 171 186

  1. This table assumes that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, impact animations, backfire checks, and muzzle lighting 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). It is also assumed that all projectiles are launched at nearly the same range, so that the various procedures call P_Random in the same sequence each time. Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
  2. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.

Appearance statistics

The IWADs contain the following numbers of plasma guns:

The Ultimate Doom222222
Doom II252626
TNT: Evilution201818

Appearances in other id Software games


The plasma gun (both first person view and pickup sprite) in Doom 64.

  • The Doom 64 plasma gun sprites are completely redrawn. It has a blue electric tube on top, which makes a constant buzzing sound. Like the shotguns, the recoiling animation is non-existent, likely to save cartridge space. Other than that, the "new" Plasma gun fires at a slightly slower rate.
  • The plasma gun appears as a redesigned version in Quake III Arena, another game later developed by id Software. The Quake III plasma gun has a more streamlined, futuristic look with glowing plasma visible behind transparent parts. The plasma projectiles travel at a higher velocity and create a small radius of splash damage upon impact.
  • The Doom 3 version of the plasma gun is again redesigned, with the projectiles moving at slower speed. It uses its own type of ammunition and needs to be reloaded after 50 shots.
  • The Doom 4 version of the plasma gun takes its design from the Doom 3 counterpart. It doesn't require reloading, and shares its ammo pool with the new Gauss Cannon.

See also

Weapons from Doom and Doom II
Fist Pistol Shotgun Chaingun Rocket launcher Plasma gun BFG9000
Chainsaw Super shotgun

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