Wolfenstein had introduced the concept of the first person shooter to me as a 10 year old, I couldn’t believe I was able to wander around capping Nazis with a level of realism that convinced me it could never, ever become any more bad ass than that. Then my uncle may have left this crazy game called Doom sitting on the main menu when I was hanging out with my cousins, and I may have just jumped on and started my own game, knowing nothing about what I was getting myself into, and without asking permission. Suddenly Wolfenstein had been outdone, and eventually I was knee-deep in the dead--my first ever adrenaline filled survival horror experience.
Being a child raised in a very religious household, the idea of killing these monsters straight from Hell was a concept that not only made the gameplay endlessly satisfying, but it also tapped into some suspenseful, dark territory that Wolfenstein hadn’t provided. It was me vs. the direct spawn of Hell, and it was kill or be killed, damned, trapped forever in a fiery inferno. It was time to load up on guns and kick some serious Satan-spawned ass.
I have to hand it to Bobby Prince for absolutely nailing the soundtrack for this all-time classic. Dark Halls at 4:40 was my first taste of knowing it was time to take care of business, then Kitchen Ace (And Taking Names) became the sound that would seal the deal to confirm I was here for pumping these scary bastards so full of lead they’d have to be buried twice. But then, THEN, Suspense kicked in (12:23). Slowly, the depth of this situation sank in and perhaps shook my Schwarzenegger/Willis/Stallone cigar-smoking persona a bit. Reversed, panned cymbals on top of deep legato bass strings and creeping synth tones began the piece, then random toms seemed to add a bit of a jolt to the ambiance, directly symbolizing the intensity of the environment I was surrounded by.
Sign of Evil (19:32) brought a beautifully haunting dynamic with its synthesized choir and electric guitar. I remembered it highlighting some kind of melancholy aspect of the story, I remember associating it with the damned souls that had become these bloodthirsty demons, and that’s the vibe I still get.
I’m not going to lie and say I finished this game as a youngster. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t get as far as I could get away with every time I visited before heading home. Did I ever tell my mom that I played such a gory game with such dark subject matter? Hell no! The most violent gaming move I ever reported at the dinner table was tossing a green shell at somebody on Mario Kart, and that kept everything cool.
The DOOM reboot is coming up on the horizon, and I couldn’t be more excited to hear about how much it brings back the original gameplay vibe. Knowing that, it makes me infinitely more excited to find out how the soundtrack keeps in line with that classic feel as well.