E1M4: Dark Carnival

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E1M4 map layout

Dark Carnival (E1M4) is the fourth level of the first episode in Blood. The level resembles a circus or carnival, consisting of rides, carnival games, and a freak show. This level also holds access to the secret level, E1M8: The House of Horrors.

Level Designer: Kevin Kilstrom, James Wilson

Song Track: 4 - Dark Carnival (CD-Audio), cblood4 (MIDI)

Number of Enemies
Still Kicking 58
Pink on the Inside 73
Lightly Broiled 109
Well Done 134
Extra Crispy 159
Number of Secrets


The Dark Carnival

"Walk forward until you get to the over-turned coal car, and turn to your right. You'll see a passage in the rock face. Enter it, and follow it along to the carnival entrance. Jump down and head down the path to your right, across the little wooden bridge, and into 'Cougar and D'arc's Pandemonium Shadow Show'. Walk past the ticket taker, and straight along until you get to the ramp. Take note: the Moon key door and another ramp are over to you left. Go up the ramp, and turn to your right for some more fun and games. Walk by them all, JoJo the main attraction, so follow the directions on the sign and go to the left. Open the door to the JoJo attraction, you'll see two pillars and a high wire between them. Go to the pillar on the left and push the button to ride the lift up, walk across the high wire, collect the Dagger key, and walk back over the wire. When you get back across, push the button to call the lift back up, and ride it down. Turn to your left and go out the door under the 'Exit' sign. You'll find yourself in another part of the carnival. Turn to your left, and walk all the way to the end, then turn right, and you'll see the Dagger key door over on your left. Enter the Dagger key door, and you'll find the entrance to the ticket booth with the Moon key. Grab it, and walk back out to the carnival. Take a left at the Punch-O-Meter, and enter the Happy-Go-Pukey using the Eye key. Fight the gargoyle and pick up the Moon key. Go through the passage under the 'Exit' sign, and you'll find yourself across from the Moon key door. Enter the Moon key door and you'll come to a bridge that will blow up just as you turn the corner. Now you could be boring, and jump in the water, take the underwater passage over to your left to Level 5. Instead, use the pillars to jump across to the other side. Blow the crack in the wall from the last pillar, then jump over. Dive into the small pool of water, swim through the underwater passage, and surface into a small cave. Before you, you'll see a stone with three skulls on it. Push the skulls to the following combination: Dagger, Eye, Moon. And it's off to the secret level."Baytor's Guide

This is the first level to have swimmable water. One thing that may not be obvious to new players is how to get out of the water; to do so, press and hold the spacebar.

Enemies Present[edit]

Weapons Available[edit]


  • From the train wreckage where you start, there are three fires burning on an overturned train car. Go through the flames and you'll find a small stash. Reward: Dynamite Bundles, Body Armor, Box of Shells
  • When you reach the bridge to the ticket booth, jump in the water. Swim under the building and rise to the surface. (Beware of the Fanatics, who make reaching this secret costly). Reward: Flare Gun, Sawed-Off Shotgun, Tommy Gun, Guns Akimbo
  • At the shooting gallery, shoot or blow up the targets to receive a prize. (Hint: you don't need to use a gun) Reward: Life seed
  • Opposite the "Rotten Candy" wagon is a fence. Jump over it to find the secret. (Hint: You can find Jump Boots on top of the "Rotten Candy" wagon, or use living platforms to jump on the fence.) Reward: Beastvision
  • At the "Kick the Head" game, kick three zombie heads into the mouth to win a prize. (Hint: Be careful of too many kicks, because the heads do squish. Save your game before trying this. Try to slowly kick them near the mouth for more control. Any zombie head will work.) Reward: Death Mask (Invincibility) Note: after you placed the third head inside the mouth, it might take a while before the game registers your win; in that case just continue on with the level and wait for Caleb to celebrate his victory.
  • At another shooting gallery, shoot the cultist and the bottles to receive a prize. Reward: Invisibility Cloak
  • At the left of the second shooting gallery is another high fence. Use the Jump Boots to reach it. (Hint: If you can't use the Jump Boots, try to reach it from the upstairs window shelf, but this is very difficult). Reward: Drum of Bullets
  • In the freak show, blow up the bars on the third cell (with bent bars) and hit the hanging zombie. A secret panel will open up behind you. Reward: Guns Akimbo
  • In Jo-Jo's arena, behind the snake container, hit the warning sign to open up a secret door in the wall. Inside will be a secret, as well as a guest cameo. Reward: Box of Flares x2, Box of Shells
  • Inside the ticket booth is a stack of boxes against the wall. Hit the middle one to reveal the secret. Reward: Box of Flares, Doctor's Bag
  • Near the "Test Your Strength" game is a storage room filled with Cabal. One stack has a box with scratches on them. Hit the scratches to reveal a secret room. Reward: Life Seed (hint: this secret room is filled with mimes blocking the path. If you don't want to kill them, it's possible to pass by the right, touching the wall)
  • At the destroyed bridge near the end of the level, at the other end is a wall with a crack. Use some dynamite or the napalm launcher will open the way to the secret level. To reach it, you have to jump from pylon to pylon (the Jump Boots help here). Reward: Life Seed, Super Armor. There is a stone slab with three slots of key symbols. Change the symbols to 'Dagger', 'Eye', 'Moon' in three slots in sequence for entry to Secret Level (One hint of these symbol is that these keys of used in this level).

Fun Stuff[edit]

Fan art by Axel

See also: References in Blood

"It wasn’t just a shooting gallery, but a whole collection of fun little distractions like kicking heads into targets, tightrope walking across a snake pit, and even access to a bonus level set in an evil haunted house. Encountering it was a balloon-popping journey into charnel house whimsy that, like Duke Nukem 3D, really helped sell what we could look forward to in the next generation of shooters. The one after the crap early 3D ones, of course. Best of all, you could kill mimes. So many mimes. In many horrible ways. While the rest is obviously pretty simple by modern standards, some pleasures just don’t get old. Unlike every mime act ever. Burn!" — "Great moments in PC gaming: The Dark Carnival level in Blood", Richard Cobbett, May 29, 2018 (PC Gamer)

  • In the first secret, there is an orange jumpsuit labelled "Kimble" on the wall. This is a reference to The Fugitive.
  • This level is mostly based on the novel Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. The story is about a carousel that makes people turn younger as they ride it. This refers to the large gargoyle carousel near the end of the level that holds the key to exit the carnival.
  • The Blood Team released Weekly Blood Development Updates on the 3D Realms website, and said this about this level:
    • Update: 08/30/96: Kevin also created a lovely balloon for his carnival level that will help make Blood a kinder, gentler place. . . or not. *POP*
    • Update: 09/20/96: We aren't saying who the second innocent is, just that he fits in with the "DARK CARNIVAL" and "HOUSE OF HORRORS" level themes.
    • Update: 10/07/96: Jay put the finishing touches on E1M1, "Cradle to Grave," and launched into reworking Kevin's "Dark Carnival" map. In addition to the various and sometimes grisly attractions Kevin came up with, players can also look forward to a white-knuckled spin on Jay's Happy-Go-Pukey, one of those rickety carnival rides that pushes 5.8 Gs and reminds you why you thought that third corn dog was probably a bad idea.
    • Update: 10/14/96: Jay modified and finished up most of the Dark Carnival.
  • This level would serve to inspire The Nightmare Levels level C5L3: JoJo's Big Adventure.
  • Duke Nukem may be found as a secret at the line dance show room.
  • Inside the freak show building, the phrase "One of us, one of us," is chanted continuously. This is is a reference to the 1932 horror-thriller film Freaks.
  • Signs throughout the park advertise the "goony" Sloth, the happy mutant, a reference to the 1985 adventure film The Goonies.

<< E1M3: Phantom Express | E1M5: Hallowed Grounds >>
Secret Level: E1M8: House of Horrors >>