Doom 2's Oldest Speedrun Record Finally Beaten After 26 Years

Image: id Software / Bethesda
Image: id Software / Bethesda

The opening level of Doom 2 is very short. Without any practice, most players can easily finish it in less than a minute. But back in 1998, one skilled speedrunner completed the small level in five seconds. And finally, after nearly three decades of people suggesting it was impossible to beat, someone was able to break that record.

Entryway, the opening level of Doom 2, is basically just a hallway with two turns and a door. Inside the tiny level are a few enemies and that’s about it. Finishing this level is trivial. It’s likely that thousands of players have booted up Doom 2 and dashed through this level in 30 seconds and not realized it.

But in 1998, legendary Doom speedrunner Thomas Pilger completed the level in 5 seconds. Technically, 5.97 seconds was Pilger’s time, but Doom doesn’t show you the full time. This means to beat Pilger’s time you’d have to shave off .97 seconds or a few frames of gameplay. Sounds easy? It’s not. Saving even a few frames is tricky because of how short the level is, leaving very few options for optimization.

As explained in a new video from YouTuber and speedrunner Karl Jobst, beating this old Doom 2 record took a lot of time because players had to figure out multiple ways to optimize an already short run to shave off less than a second of gameplay. This involved replaying the level over and over without monsters to figure out better routes and test different strategies. Eventually, one player—4shockblast—realized they could use a very hard maneuver called “Thing Running” to essentially bounce off one of the enemies at the start of Entryway and use that to propel them just a smidge faster around the corner.

On April 6, using all the techniques and strategies devised by decades of Doom speedrunners, 4shockblast pulled off this run and beat the first level of Doom 2 in 4 seconds.

Jobst reports that the new record holder pulled off this amazing run after “100,000 attempts.” That’s a lot of grinding! But now, the oldest standing speedrun record in Doom 2 has been beaten. And no, I don’t think anybody will ever finish this level in three seconds. I mean… probably not.

Anyway, I’ll pay someone $100 if they can beat Entryway in 5 seconds on a lawnmower.


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