Doom Eternal’s story explained: What we learn from the Codex entries
On the surface, Doom Eternal is just a high speed, blood-soaked gorefest FPS. When you go a little deeper, it’s the best high speed, blood-soaked gorefest FPS in years, jumping puzzles aside.
But below that, there’s a rich and fascinating array of codices that lay out both the history of hell, a secret history of the rebooted Doom universe, and alien civilizations that mash up magic and hyperscience.
But codices are easy-to-miss collectible items. And who has time to read codices when you’re busy shooting faces and shredding skulls? We do. And we’ve pulled a few of the most interesting codex threads for folks who want a dive into the world of Doom.
Keep in mind, these codex summaries contain hella spoilers. Folks who want to avoid spoilers for the rebooted Doom franchise should return to demon-slaying mayhem and wait on this article.
There are four main codex sections that cover four main historical threads: Earth, The Sentinels, Hell, and (spoilers!) the Maykrs. Here’s a quick summary of what all four cover.
The history of Earth covers Hell’s invasion of Earth and the unification of the planet’s government into the Allied Nations or AN, with its unified armed forces known as the Armored Response Coalition.
The Sentinels are an ancient galaxy-spanning precursor alien race with strong medieval European vibes. They fought a losing war with Hell and were destroyed millions of years before the evolution of humanity.
The Hell codices cover exactly what you’d expect: a history of the baddest of bads and how they got to where they are, and how they exploited the moral weakness of the Sentinels, the Maykrs, and humanity in order to invade our dimension.
Last but certainly not least, the Maykrs are a hyper advanced race that have cut a deal with hell to ensure their immortality, betraying the Sentinels in the process. They have delusions of godhood, which you, the player, the Doom Slayer, are more than happy to disabuse them of.
Just who is the Doom Slayer?
Short story? You are the Doom Slayer. Now go forth, grab a demon face, and stab it in the eyeball.
Long story? In earlier Dooms, the Doom Slayer AKA the Doom Guy was a space marine stationed on Mars. He kicks ass through the demonic incursions on Mars, Earth, and Jupiter’s moons.
In the 2016 reboot, you are an ancient warrior of legend who carved a bloody swath through Hell and was put into suspended animation. You are retrieved and revived by Samuel Hayden, a Union Aerospace Corporation scientist, when Hell invades Mars and things get out of control.
In Doom Eternal, that story is clarified a bit. The Doom Slayer of Doom 2016 is the same space marine from the original Doom games. Through an application of handwavium, the Sentinels discover the original space marine. Due to his extreme penchant for kickass, he joins the Night Sentinels, a corps of elite Sentinel soldiers. A whole lot of stuff goes down (see the Sentinels section below) and he is betrayed and stranded in Hell. But why let a little stranding stop a perfectly good rampage? You can read about more of this backstory in the Sentinel History and Exultia codices.
Also, you can read about a human scientist’s conversion from Doom Slayer skeptic to fanatical worshipper in Dr. Elena Richardson’s logs. It’s a few hundred words written by game devs to drive home just how amazingly awesome you are. If you need a little ego padding after dying for the jillionth time in a boss fight, go straight to these codices.
Super Gore Nest + Arc Broadcast Log III
The first entry explains how the ARC and AN threw everything they had at a demonic infestation and got totally and utterly owned, and how Doomguy sauntered into the same site and power murdered every demon stupid enough to show their ugly faces.
Hell’s forces create biological gore nests, which eventually turn into portals to hell and beachheads for invading forces. The super gore nest was the biggest one yet, and an important target. The AN used “4 US Battle Mech divisions, the Con-EUR Long Range Naval Artillery Barrage Fleet, 27 US Night Bird Apaches, 3 NATO Shock Troop battalions, 2 CON-EUR Rapid Response Levi-Tank divisions, and 18 thousand coalition Special Forces units” to try to destroy it, and were quickly overwhelmed in a military pooching on par with the Maginot Line (though I have to wonder - if you have 18 thousand special forces units, are they really that special?).
In Arc Broadcast Log III, the Doom Slayer, probably after taking an afternoon nap, kills Deag Ranak, blows up the super gore nest, and then eats an MRE while whistling. Doomguy 1, Earth’s entire military 0. “There is hope… and he is out there.”
Oh, how the mighty are fallen. These codices explain the rise and fall of the Sentinel civilization, including their creation myth, the origins of the Doom Slayer as a Night Sentinel, and their relationship with the Maykrs.
They start out as a garden-variety warrior culture, but their relationship to the Maykrs elevates them to a galaxy-hopping empire. During their interstellar travels, they come across the Doom Slayer, who warns them that the forces of Hell are coming. When they eventually do, neither the Sentinels nor the Maykrs have any idea how to handle them.
The Maykrs claim they can use Hell’s energies to empower the Sentinels. However, they secretly betray the Sentinels, sacrificing their people to create Argent Energy. When the Night Sentinels learn of this, they try to rally the population to revolt against the Maykrs. Most of Sentinel society responds with a casual shrug - who cares if soylent green is people? - and the Night Sentinels go to war with their own people. Meanwhile, Samur, a Maykr, spirits the Doom Slayer away, and Sentinel society collapses in on itself.
The whole thing feels like a thinly veiled metaphor for climate change, and I am here for it. Normally, I would say that that is reading too much into things, but 2016 Doom revolves around Earth’s energy crisis and subsequent dependence on Argent Energy.
The history of the Maykrs are the “????” codex tab. These jerks play like they’re angels but the reality is that they’re an ancient alien hive mind race from the planet Urdak. Makyr tech allows Urdak to exist in an “anchor state” that is inverse to Hell. Visually, they appear to be taking on the mantle of angels but they’re anything but. In the world of Doom, there are angels and a God, but they have been utterly corrupted by demonic influence.
The Super Shotgun
Most of the weapon codices are science fiction explanations of how these weapons work and and how they came to be. Not the Super Shotgun. The Super Shotgun’s codex entry discusses how it’s a truly legendary weapon, probably the original Super Shotgun from the original Doom 2, and that the Doom Slayer has been carrying it around for decades. However, now it’s been upgraded with filligree inlays and a meathook that lets you launch yourself toward your target’s face.
If that wasn’t “14-year-old-boy-awesome” enough for you, it also goes into how the weapon itself has a reputation amongst the denizens of Hell. It is the “Diabolical Musket” and “Lucifer’s Bane”. If Doom Eternal is an enormous power fantasy, the Super Shotgun is the explosive phallic symbol at the center of it.