Arqade is a question and answer site for passionate videogamers on all platforms. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the Binding of Isaac, if a stat has all of its bars filled when I look at the pause screen, does an item that raises that stat for a single room cause an effective increase of that stat past the maximum or does it just round to the maximum? In particular, if my damage stat is at maximum, does the Book of Belial cause me to deal more damage per hit?

I would guess that this could be tested by counting the number of shots to kill a particular boss with and without using the item but I am usually too busy not dying.

share|improve this question
...there's a pause screen? O.o – Raven Dreamer Oct 25 '11 at 0:58
@RavenDreamer pressing the Esc key gives stats, options, and a list of items collected – murgatroid99 Oct 25 '11 at 1:23
Wow! That's handy. – Raven Dreamer Oct 25 '11 at 1:41
Also, hitting 'P' will toggle the pause screen. Before I found this out, it always annoyed me that I had to click "Back" to unpause. – Jarett Millard Jan 9 '12 at 4:43
up vote 12 down vote accepted

According to the wiki, the only item that seems to be able to raise your stats above the maximum is The Sad Onion, which doubles the firing rate no matter its current value. I have very little personal experience with that item, so I can't confirm or deny this.

The stat that I find easiest to max out is damage, as I've often managed to get quite a few damage enhancing items in a single run (which would have put me over the maximum looking at the bars in the pause screen). I always seemed to hit the same cap, no matter how many damage enhancers I picked up.

In light of the above, my previous version of this answer indeed states that the item is useless once damage has been maxed. Further research, however, proves that I was mistaken. To test this, I played with Judas, picking up both The Pact and Pentagram, which maxed out my damage. I then engaged the boss Gish. Here is Gish's health-bar before I started measuring damage:


I then shot Gish three times, bringing him down to this:

Max damage?

The difference was 11 pixels. Then, I used the Book of Beliel and shot him three more times:

Max damage!

This time, the difference was 15 pixels.

So as a matter of fact, the Book of Beliel can and will take you above max damage.

Sadly, this experiment doesn't give a single conclusion about the multitude of other ways that one may try to raise his stats past the maximum, but strictly speaking, the answer to your question is yes.

share|improve this answer
Do you have any evidence for this? – murgatroid99 Oct 25 '11 at 1:24
Just the amount of tears I need to kill various enemies. When maxing out your damage, you need two hits to kill a hopper (and pooters as well, if I remember correctly). This did not change when I "overcharged" my damage. – Aubergine Oct 25 '11 at 1:31
That looks promising, but it would be nice to have some numbers on enemies with enough health that the hits required would be less likely to be different if the Book did have an effect. – murgatroid99 Oct 25 '11 at 2:07
Setting out to prove my initial answer, I actually managed to prove that I was wrong. I updated my answer accordingly. – Aubergine Oct 29 '11 at 21:54
Thanks, this is great work. – murgatroid99 Oct 29 '11 at 22:11

According to the creator of the game in this video, the Book of Belial, The Razor, and the Whore of Babylon all multiply damage, rather than adding a fixed amount. Which, taken together with Aubergine's experiment seems to suggest that all of these items can give you more damage above the "maximum" displayed on the stats page.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.