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Simon, the pills by itself won't make you feel better, you have to do something more than that. I recommend that you try a new modern treatment called cognitive therapy.
~ Doctor Purnell leading Simon to write a book on his thoughts.

Doctor Purnell is one of the main antagonists of the critically-acclaimed survival horror Half-Life mod, Cry of Fear. Because the game takes place in the mind of Simon Henkriksson, the protagonist of the game, the doctor's true nature is very different between the game's "real world" and in Simon's mind.

He is voiced by Lasse "BerZerK89" Holmen, a staff member of ModDB.


Any backstory of the doctor's life is not revealed, but prior to the events of the game, the game's protagonist, Simon Henriksson, was brutally crippled by a car running into him, leaving him a paraplegic for life. Doctor Purnell was hired as Simon's counselor soon after. The sessions between Simon and the doctor are not completely successful. The doctor gives Simon the idea of writing his thoughts and mental demons in a book as his cognitive therapy. What Simon writes in this book is represented in the game's events.


The doctor appears as a bald man of average height and with an average build. Both versions of him are wearing a long white doctor's coat, black pants and brown shoes. The evil version wears a gas mask, and his coat becomes bloodied after cutting someone's head off.

Cry of Fear

When Simon first encounters the doctor, he doesn't recognize him. The doctor explains that he wears a gas mask as to not become one of the monsters (that act as the game's enemies), suggesting that some sort of outbreak as occurred, which was never the case throughout the game. When the doctor is encountered any other time after, his true nature is revealed, as he kills two innocent people in cold blood. This leads Simon to believe that the doctor is responsible for the game's bizarre events.

The reason the doctor is portrayed as a twisted and deranged in Simon's mind is because Simon believes the doctor has made his problems worse. When the doctor is encountered again, he cuts someone's head off before running from Simon and locking the door, leaving Simon to fight a giant, hulking monster that contains the key to making progress.

When the doctor is encountered after this, he is seen standing over a dead body with his head blasted off via gunshot, though the doctor's dialogue suggested that this was self-defense. Simon follows the doctor to an insane asylum, where he is standing behind a gate, patiently waiting for Simon. When approached, the doctor will ask Simon to procure a gun for him, which is a Ruger P345, and if Simon does this, the doctor will give Simon the key to pass the gate.

Simon can do one of two things here: Simon can ignore the doctor's request and keep the P345 for himself, much to the doctor's annoyance, though he still gives Simon the key, but not before shooting him in the shoulder and escaping to the attic of the asylum. This enraged Simon, who swears revenge. If Simon gives the doctor the gun, the doctor gives the key and shoots Simon in the same way, but with the P345. The doctor escapes in the same manner. Note that in the second scenario, the shot leaves Simon with a lower amount of maximum health, making the game harder.

Simon tracks the doctor to the asylum's attic and defeats him in a firefight. In a moment of pure rage, Simon steps on the doctor's face, killing him and mutilating his head - even breaking his gas mask. If Simon didn't give the doctor the gun, the doctor uses a revolver in during the fight. If Simon did give him the gun, he uses the P345 given to him, which does more damage to Simon.

Completing the game unlocks a new gamemode called "Doctor Mode", in which the player plays as Doctor Purnell. His goal is to fight through any monsters in his way to reach Simon's apartment in order to destroy the book he has written.


There are four endings to the game, and they depend on two things that Simon does. Whether Simon kills a specific boss (known as "Carcass", which symbolically represents if Simon has an unhealthy attraction to a female friend of his named Sophie) or runs away from it, sparing it. And whether Simon hands over the aforementioned P345 to the doctor, leaving a total of four different combinations of choices, therefore four different endings.

How the player makes these decisions maps out the fate of Doctor Purnell in the game's "real world'. If Simon doesn't trust the doctor and hand over the P345, Simon will kill the doctor in his own apartment. If Simon does trust the doctor by handing him the gun, the doctor survives. Depending on if the boss Carcass was killed, Simon will either shoot himself in the head or accidentally kill two police officers in a psychotic episode. In the latter scenario, Simon is committed to an asylum and the doctor becomes Simon's mentor, which Simon is grateful for.


The doctor's actual personality is not greatly expanded upon, though it does seem he is genuinely concerned with helping Simon's mental health, though as mentioned before, these sessions were often met with failure and great difficulty.

The doctor's personality is Simon's mind is vastly different, due to how Simon projects the doctor and his failing methods of help. In the game, he portrayed as a sinister, demented and murderous person. He is seen killing two people for no specific reason, attacks Simon with a shot to the shoulder, and then attempts to kill Simon outright in a gunfight.


Like every character and monster in the game, the evil version of Doctor Purnell is a projected representation of Simon's inner demons and thoughts. Though he is a standard, mild-mannered doctor in actuality, he is depicted as a trouble making, sinister and twisted version of his true self in the events of the game within Simon's mind. Though the doctor was intending to help Simon, the latter felt that the doctor was only making it worse and further provoking his inner demons to be more apparent and aggressive.

The symbolism goes beyond the doctor's nature, as it includes the choice when Simon can trust the doctor during a choice in gameplay where he asks Simon to procure a gun for him. This represents Simon taking a risk and putting his trust in the doctor. Not giving him the gun can be seen as Simon simply not trusting the doctor's methods, but having it cost him his life in the end. Giving him the gun represents Simon putting his faith in the doctor, and Simon getting shot and having his maximum health lowered can mean that though giving his trust hurts Simon and adds difficulty to his life, it did help him in the long run (depending on the ending the player gets).


  • To create the raspy voice the doctor speaks in while wearing his gas mask, the voice actor had to smoke many cigarettes just before recording his lines.




External Links

Doctor Purnell on the Cry of Fear wiki


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David Leatherhoff | Monsters | The Addiction

Cry of Fear
Book Simon | Sick Simon | Doctor Purnell | Sawrunner | Carcass | Sawer | Mace | Craig | Apartment Predator | Monsters