Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween 2009: DOOM

DOOM Offical Site Of The Games
Doom Wikia
Doom World
Planet Doom
Wikipedia Entry on the Doom series
Doom has been a series of games that has both entertained and scared the pants off of me.
It took a pair of twisted minds, John Romero and John Carmack, to create the phenomena.

- Doom Playstation -
Moby Games entry, Doom Playstation Wiki
I was first introduced to Doom in late 1995 (roughly two years after it's initial release on the PC), when the Playstation port was released. Along with millions of others, I spent countless hours playing Doom. Years later, I picked up Final Doom for the Playstation used.

Unique to the Playstation port, a dark, sinister and more ambient soundtrack by Aubrey Hodges/Moby Games entry replaced the PC's Bobby Prince's corny-ass heavy metal-esque soundtrack. My Doom experience is inexplicably intertwined with Aubrey Hodges bone-chilling score, and playing/listening to the original PC game, I have difficulty understanding how the PC version even scared people.
You can download and listen to Aubrey's Playstation Doom soundtrack in it's entireity (2 CD's worth), HERE. It's creep factor stands on it's own even without the game.

A 2006 photo.
Even when compared to future installments, with it's outdated graphics and old-school gameplay, there's still something very unsettling about the original Doom to me. Perhaps it's the seemingly neverending non-sensical maze-style stage layouts, complete with a punishingly large assortment of switches and secret doors. Afterall, I can't think of anything more hellish than being placed in a infinite maze you can never seem to find your way out of, but are given just enough incentive to make you think you can. (By comparison, to raise the level of realism they tried to make the mars base of Doom3 a tad more sensical, and I was thankful for that!)

- Doom Novels -
I only read the first book in the series (out of 4), partially on account of the fact that my library system had 1, 3 and 4 in the series, but was missing #2. That and the plot takes the "alien race is growing the creatures" angle in the 3rd & 4th books, which I wasn't interested in exploring.

There were theories presented in the first book (Knee Deep In The Dead) which did not interfere with the Doom games. Information which wasn't "fleshed out" in the games, but perhaps implied.
1) The facilities were built around "the gates" to take advantage of the artificial gravitational field they created (which was about 1/2 of earths, whereas phobos' was near zero). The teleport pads, gates and gravity generators were all there when humans first arrived on mars.

2) Deimos gets transported to hell, and eventually into earths orbit (in the book).

3) They were taking our nightmares, what we fear, and making them real. Our conception of hell.

4) It's all a test to see how humans react. Ultimately to effectively stage an earthly invasion. The invasion of the moons of Mars is a war game. Rats in a maze.

1) The "sour lemon" smell illicits rage in men. It raises testosterone and brings about an adrenal rush making one berserk.

2) One "brain" per set of demons (Imps in the book). Kill the head and the rest turn on eachother. The mind behind the invasion had the power to manifest itself through only one or two individuals in a group.

3) They genetically engineer, breed & raise, the demons and farm human flesh & organs in attempt to create "super-zombies".

4) The Spider Mastermind has telepathic powers. It controls the demons (who are all basically mindless & careless and fight amongst themselves without orders), and can even speak through lesser demons (it speaks through an Imp near the beginning and tells main character if he surrenders and helps they will let him live). The Spider Mastermind can also (telepathically) cause hallucinations evoking terror upon it's target. A wave of hypnogenic horror.
In the book the Spider Mastermind's telepathic abilities were powered by a central unit, however.

- Doom 3 -

Some critized Doom3 for being overly simplistic for a next-generation game, but that's Doom, and I enjoyed it just the way it was. So much so, that later I picked up the Doom: Resurrection Of Evil expansion used.

This was the first Doom game not to have continuously running music, and before I played Doom3, I was a little nervous about this fact considering how much I admired Aubrey Hodges work on the Playstation ports of Doom. But it turns out that the relative silence worked wonders in Doom3.

My main criticism of Doom3 would be that I didn't think a design overhaul of every DOOM baddie was necessary. A graphic upgrade yes, an entire redesign no. In most cases they made the creatures a bit less "demonic" and more other worldly. Also, I felt in many cases the creatures in Doom3 were overly detailed, and that the player gets few chances to really appreciate that detail. And since you're usually gunning them down at a distance, that detail is wasted.

I didn't appreciate a few of the creature redesigns and found them to be a downgrade, most particularly; The Imps...

I preferred the Imps grunts and more humanoid appearance in the original games.
The Cacodemons...

In the original games, the Cacodemons were large lumbering creatures, who let out a satisfying low-register moan when killed. The Cacodemons in Doom 3 were smaller, faster, and missing it's identifiable cyclops eye.

Note the removal of the iconic horns from the Barons and Lost Souls.

Although to their credit, in Doom: Resurrection Of Evil expansion, The Forgotten, a Lost Soul-variant was added. It more closely resembled the Lost Souls from the original games, being a blazing horned skull without any cybernetic parts.

They also revamped the Pinky Demon's. While the new creature design was awesome, where the Pinky Demon got upgraded to a large-class creature, I also kinda missed the old Doom Pinky Demons.

The most disappointing exclusion from Doom 3 was that of the Spider Mastermind. A promising sketch was made in preliminary development, but was not implemented.

Doom III Documentary

Mesh Does Doom 3 Compilation

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

- Doom Movie [2005] -
Wikipedia Entry

Not nearly as bad as the critics made it out to be. On the 'movies based on video-games' scale, I'd probably put in the upper-echelon (along with Max Payne, and the first Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat).

To me, the big failure lies within altering the biggest core element of the story (first on the novels based on the game and now the film). For some reason fighting off genuine 'creatures from hell' isn't satisfactory for many writers and they have to tinker with the formula which makes Doom, Doom. I mean, that's one of the things that differentiated Doom in the gaming world. There is a plethora of games where you fight alien invaders, but few where you battle with demons from hell. It made Doom stand out from the crowd.

In the movie they wrote it that an extra strand of DNA gives people supernatural abilities and dependant upon whether they are genuinely good or evil it transforms them into either creatures/zombies or gives them supernatural powers without disfiguring their body.
The first-person sequence (5:28) was fun. Barons/Hell Knights do not wield chainsaws in the games, and why would they need to with their imposing stature?

What's next? Doom 4 is in development, but reportedly we'll have to wait until Quakecon 2010 in August to hear news on the project.

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