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How you've been playing Doom Eternal all wrong

The original Doom popularized the FPS genre and is the bar by which others are measured. Now, Doom Eternal exceeds the great grand-daddy of shooters, offering a high-octane experience that tests your reflexes and resource management skills. This is, essentially, an ultra-violent game of chess where the player takes the role of a one-man army. The right move at the right time can result in a landslide victory, but the wrong move at the wrong time will snowball into a crushing (and bloody) defeat. However, you aren't exactly forced to play the game by its rules.

Though Doom Eternal is a well-oiled machine of carnage and fan-service, it is still full of little exploits and tricks. Some are built into the game, while others turn the game's mechanics on their head more readily than the Doom Slayer crushes demon skulls. Here's how you've been playing Doom Eternal all wrong, and how you can adjust your strategy to give yourself a much needed edge in this non-stop slaughter fest.

Aiming without chrono strike

Doom Eternal's most noteworthy — and awesome — feature is its demon destruction system. Nothing sells the threat of a Hell Knight or Mancubus quite like tearing open their chests with a shotgun and watching them continue to attack. Then again, the system also lets you systematically rip apart demons and destroy their weapons, but that is easier said than done when you're being attacked by fifty enemies. You might think disarming demons is all but impossible in such a hectic situation, but that's why you should religiously use the chrono strike rune.

At first glance, chrono strike is just a means to hit slippery demons who like to duck and weave out of harm's way. To be fair, when the chrono strike rune slows down time in midair, you can easily turn demons into cathartic chunks of crimson, but it is far more indispensable for demolishing demonic weaponry. If you can't seem to get a bead on a Revenant's shoulder cannons or Arachnotron's turret, the chrono strike rune gives you the time you need to lob a sticky grenade or line up a precision bolt for some satisfying disarmament.

Not setting frozen enemies on fire

Normally, fire and ice are antithetical and can't coexist, but in the hands of the Doom Slayer, they are complementary tools of destruction that tear through the forces of Hell. On one hand you have the flame belch, a flamethrower that sets enemies on fire and makes them bleed armor shards. On the other hand, you have the ice bomb, a grenade that freezes enemies in their tracks for easy kills. You would assume charbroiling frozen enemies would thaw them and freezing burning enemies would put out their flames, but, the Doom Slayer doesn't care about silly things like the laws of thermodynamics.

If you aren't setting frozen enemies on fire, you're placing yourself at a disadvantage, especially since the ice bomb features an upgrade that makes frozen enemies drop health when damaged. With this upgrade, you can give enemies the ultimate freezer burn by chipping away at their frozen bodies for health while simultaneously immolating them with the flame belch for armor. Given how quickly you can lose both armor and health in Doom Eternal, you should practice burning frozen enemies until it is second nature.

Wasting time and ammo on Cacodemons

Cacodemons are the face of the Doom franchise. These floating sentient madballs are the series' most iconic demons because they are easily recognizable. In the first two games, players can hit-stun Cacodemons into an early grave with fast weapons like the chaingun and plasma gun, which saves time, ammo, and health. This proud tradition of easily cheesing Cacodemons carries into Doom Eternal (whether you realized it or not).

At first glance, you might assume Doom Eternal's Cacodemons are dangerous thanks to their massive, soul-rending maws. However, this big mouth is a double-edged sword, as it's an easy target for sticky grenades. Instead of wasting ammo on the Cacodemon, just feed it a grenade to instantly stagger it, opening it up for a glory kill. Keep this trick in mind if you are running low on ammo or need to destroy a Cacodemon for a timed secret encounter — the quicker you get rid of demons, the quicker you reap the rewards.

Not chainsawing cannon fodder enemies for ammo

Doom Eternal ups the difficulty from previous Doom games thanks to restrictive ammo reserves. One second, you're topped up on shotgun shells and energy cells, the next you're down to your last heavy cannon bullet. While this could be problematic, you should remember that the chainsaw holds the key to your resource woes. As with 2016's Doom reboot, the chainsaw still effortlessly chews through enemies and transforms their viscera into ammo, but fuel isn't a precious commodity in Doom Eternal. Chainsaw fuel passively regenerates, and you should use that to your advantage.

Now, you can't use Doom Eternal's magic, perpetually-refueling chainsaw to cleave every enemy in the game since it only refuels up to one unit automatically. One unit can only kill fodder enemies like Zombies and Imps. However, the ammo dropped from those weaklings when chainsawed is enough to punish stronger demons, so you should treat weak enemies less like actual threats and more like walking ammo piñatas

If you save cannon fodder monsters for when you need extra ammo, you should have enough bullets and shells to deal with the stronger creatures. With proper chainsaw use, you could potentially walk away from every fight with pockets full of ammo.

Shooting around blue tech shields

When most video game heroes see a shield, their first reaction is to find a way around it. However, the Doom Slayer is not like most heroes. He goes through shields, and the demons have yet to find a way to stop him. When the Doom Slayer spots a shield, he doesn't try to flank it but instead combines it with the plasma rifle to create a spine-shattering explosion.

Unlike previous iterations, Doom Eternal's plasma rifle can overload energy shields. While this weapon is essentially useless against the magical shields of the Arch-Vile or Marauder, it is designed to turn the blue shields of the Carcass, Shield Soldier, and Doom Hunter into makeshift grenades. While you could try to shoot around these shields by flanking or lobbing a grenade (or attacking the Doom Hunter's unprotected jets), your time and ammo is better spent pumping blue shields full of plasma rifle bolts, which will make them explode. In addition, any nearby enemies will feel the full concussive force of the explosion, which can clear a small area when you're low on rockets.

Not using the ice bomb to kill Lost souls

Lost Souls are some of the most annoying enemies in the Doom franchise. Small, fast, and able to swarm players like evil kamikaze bees attached to rockets, these tiny demons teach many players the meaning of pain. While Lost Souls became even more problematic when the series made the leap to true 3D environments, these enemies have one glaring Achilles' heel in Doom Eternal: ice.

Early in the game, you will find the ice bomb, which freezes enemies solid and opens them up to extra attacks (or lets you deal with tougher enemies). Lost Souls can't be frozen with the ice bomb, but they are fatally allergic to frostbite. Since regular grenades are on a separate cooldown than ice bombs — and just as fatal to Lost Souls — you now have even more ways to deal with these evil skulls, which can save ammo for tougher demons. Plus, it's not every day you can kill a demon by giving them the cold shoulder.

Not searching for the Dopefish

The Doom franchise is known for four things: demons, guns, violence, and Easter eggs. Moreover, id Software loves to inject its games with pop culture and old project references, the most notable of which is the immortal Dopefish. Ever since the character premiered in Commander Keen in Goodbye Galaxy, Dopefish has appeared in virtually all of id Software's games, including Doom Eternal. However, while other Dopefish cameos are humorous Easter eggs, the buck-toothed fish serves double duty as a buried treasure marker in the latest Doom game.

Doom Eternal includes quite a few changes from 2016's Doom reboot, the most important of which is the lives system. Players can now get a second (or third) shot if they have an extra life, instead of restarting from a checkpoint once they die. While you can scour Doom Eternal for 1-ups, keep in mind that the Dopefish squirrels away extra lives. So, as you search high and low for secrets, Easter eggs, and 1-ups. remember that you can kill two birds with one stone — or shotgun shell — by finding a Dopefish.

Setting the first enemy you find on fire

The moment you obtain the flame belch in Doom Eternal, you are probably tempted to light every enemy on fire. To be fair, it is cathartic to engulf demons in purging flames, especially since burning enemies drops much-needed armor shards. However, starting each encounter with a belch of flame is inefficient.

Instead of lighting the first enemy you find on fire, scout the battlefield and find a gaggle of weaker enemies in close proximity to one another. Light them on fire — the more you toast, the better — but don't kill them just yet for an immediate shower of armor. Let them roast for a bit so they can continually drop armor shards. In the meantime, tackle stronger enemies. You will probably get hurt in the process, so when you return to finish off the fodder, a treasure trove of armor shards will wait for you and replenish your stock.

Best of all, if you have the flame belch ready and at least one unit of chainsaw fuel, you can light a weak enemy on fire and saw it in half for a shower of armor and ammo. You will need every last bit.

Not swinging sideways from monkey bars

Movement is king in Doom Eternal. The only way to stay alive is to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge enemies. That's why the game has movement options such as dashes, double jumps, the meat hook, and monkey bars. The longer you remain in the air, the harder it is for enemies to get a bead on you. And monkey bars offer some serious hang time. However, if you only use the bars to swing forward and backward, you're missing out.

In Doom Eternal, you can turn in mid-air, which essentially lets you strafe while airborne. If you approach monkey bars in this manner, you can launch yourself into the air sideways, extending your mid-air strafing game. This tactic helps you hit flanking enemies while making you harder to target in turn.

Whenever you see monkey bars, take the opportunity to practice those aerial maneuvers. They just might save your life.

Not using the weapon wheel

The Doom Slayer might as well be a time wizard given his library of time-slowing tricks. The chrono strike rune lets him enter bullet time while in midair, and the saving throw rune reduces the flow of time to a crawl whenever he receives a near-fatal blow. However, the Doom Slayer has one more time-controlling trick up his sleeve: the weapon wheel.

If you play Doom Eternal on console, you need the weapon wheel to swap between weapons, while the PC version offers the more expedient weapon-switching method of tapping numbers on the keyboard. However, to make up for the weapon wheel's slower nature, Doom Eternal enters slo-mo while the wheel is active, and you can use that to your advantage. 

When you pull up the weapon wheel, you can take a moment to formulate a plan of attack. While you can still take damage in this mode if you aren't careful, a few seconds of weapon wheel time could spell the difference between victory and defeat. Even if you play Doom Eternal on PC, use the weapon wheel, if only to slow down time and strategize.

Not farming for ammo and lives

Doom Eternal does not hold your hand. If you run out of lives or ammo in a mission or a Slayer Gate, you won't be reimbursed for your suffering. Nevertheless, if you have some extra time and patience, you can game the system and grind out all the lives and ammo you could ever want.

Even though Doom Eternal utilizes a lives system, these lives aren't tied to levels. If you die a lot on later missions, you are free to revisit a previous level, gather 1-ups, exit, and then reenter to farm them all over again. You won't be penalized either, so hoard as many lives as you need.

If you don't liberally use the chainsaw to gather ammo from the entrails of weaker foes, you can spawn infinitely regenerating ammo caches with the Explosive Piñatas and Regenerating Barrels Praetor Suit upgrades. After you've unlocked the perks, blow up some barrels for ammo, wait for them to respawn, and repeat as needed. Granted, this method is slower than chainsawing enemies in half, but the more safety nets the better since Doom Eternal is stingier than Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to ammo.

Not using the blood punch on Pinky demons and Archviles

Out of all the Doom Slayer's new tricks in Doom Eternal, none are as awesome or cathartic as the blood punch. The Doom Slayer can channel energy built up from glory kills into his fist and unleash a punch so powerful it makes nearby enemies explode via shockwave. More importantly, the blood punch is the bane of Pinky demons and Archviles everywhere.

It is no secret that Pinky demons are heavily-armored tanks with fleshy, vulnerable tails and that Archviles can summon magical firewall shields. You could spend precious seconds flanking these demons to unleash a volley of pain on their unprotected backsides, but that's not easy since they rarely fight alone. Instead, you should use a blood punch and outright kill a Pinky demon or dissolve an Archvile's shield. Moreover, the blood punch's shockwave takes out nearby enemies, which gives you some much-needed elbow room.

While you don't need the blood punch to kill Pinky demons and Archviles, it becomes almost indispensable when you receive the punch and reave rune. That perk transforms blood punch victims into health pickups.

Unlocking weapon mastery without the Ripatorium

Doom Eternal's best weapon upgrades are locked behind weapon mastery challenges. If you want overpowered mods such as near-infinite heavy cannon missile spam or the ability to maintain the chaingun's mobile turret mode without overheating, you need to complete "simple" tasks. One such mission includes multikilling enemies with a full salvo of missiles numerous times. Easier said than done through normal gameplay, but vice versa when you use — and abuse — the Ripatorium and checkpoint system.

You can fulfill the criteria for a mastery challenge anywhere. You can kill two demons with a single plasma rifle heat blast or destroy an Arachnotron's turret with a sticky bomb in any level, including the Ripatorium, and it will count towards your objective. Since the Ripatorium lets you rip and tear to your heart's content without worrying about lives or ammo, you can easily complete numerous challenges in its halls.

If that sounds too boring, you can always accomplish mastery challenges via Doom Eternal's save system. Just fulfill a challenge's criteria, reload a nearby checkpoint, and repeat as necessary. Since checkpoint reloads (and death) don't impact progress, you can reload your way towards weapon mastery as much as you like.

Attempting Slayer Gates without toning down the difficulty

Slayer Gates are the gatekeepers of Doom Eternal (pun intended). Want to unlock the Unmakyr weapon? You need to conquer all of the game's gates, each of which houses challenges that will chew you up and spit you out. Plus, the gates don't reimburse any lost ammo and lives. But, you can easily cheese these challenges if you remember that, unlike previous Doom games, you can change Doom Eternal's difficulty at any time (unless you you started the game on Ultra-Nightmare or Extra Life Mode).

If you can't beat a Slayer Gate, you can always return later with new weapons and upgrades, but it is easier to temporarily lower the game's difficulty to its minimum. Enemies are less aggressive and deal less damage on easy mode, which is a lifesaver since Slayer Gates throw tons of enemies your way regardless of the difficulty setting. Since you can increase the difficulty after you've finished the gate, the Unmakyr is worth this small sacrifice, as long as your pride can take the hit.