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MajorRawne
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I was just wondering. My early memories of Doom are from the PlayStation port (apologies for always bringing that up), and I spent 95% of the time scared shirtless. I never really felt scared playing the PC version, because it's brighter and the music is generally lighthearted.

Was Doom considered scary when people first played it on the PC? What particular memories do you have of times it frightened you, or made you tense?

Old Post 04-18-14 19:47 #
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printz
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Yeah, it elludes me how Doom can be scary. The monsters are extremely predictable, weak and stupid. Wolf3D makes a way better job at taking you by surprise. Methinks I should stop watching my bot play it, and man up and play it myself.

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Old Post 04-18-14 19:50 #
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purist
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Yeah it was. If you find magazine articles etc from around the time it was considered so. Remember, the environment complexity and lighting we're cutting edge at the time. Look at 50s horror movies and it's the same sort of thing. I agree the score and lighting were more creepy on the PSX port but there was still the traps, idle monster sounds and devilish imagery to give 90s gamers the chills

Old Post 04-18-14 19:52 #
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plums
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It was definitely scary. The lighting, increased graphical quality, dynamic levels, and more realistic environments - all compared to previous games at least - made it very immersive. Wandering around a corner and having the lights go out as some enemies came out of the walls and hissed at you was quite different than anything else at the time, especially from a first-person perspective.

That said, it was still an action game, and not a horror game.

Old Post 04-18-14 19:59 #
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MajorRawne
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I remember playing the Inferno episode back in the day. That was definitely scary in places. I remember running up a staircase and each step glowed as you moved onto it. What an eerie touch, something I've never seen since. Also looking off a ledge at a Baron face made from floor textures.

The scare factor in some of the PC maps for me comes from being low on health. None of this regeneration nonsense, you were a man, not some kind of X-Files salamander-human experiment. Thanks a lot, Halo and Fire Warrior.

Old Post 04-18-14 20:10 #
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Gez
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First few times playing the game, when not yet very used to controls (so walking around, turning clumsily, etc.) and not yet knowing all of the monsters' strengths or lack thereof, and getting into the computer maze of E1M2? Terrifying. You hear the heavy breathing of the zombies wandering around you, unaware of where exactly they are. Suddenly, spectre! In the darkness! Where is it, where is it, oh shit I'm dead.


After a while, of course, it's not the same thing at all. Once you get used to the monsters, master the controls, get perfectly familiar with all the maps, it becomes pure arcade.

Old Post 04-18-14 20:14 #
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ETTiNGRiNDER
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I don't recall Doom ever being "scary" in the "gave me nightmares" sense (Monster Bash, which I played at a younger age, on the other hand...) but it was "scary" in the "whole body tensing up in response" sort of way, for sure. Hearing an unseen Baron howl in the dark area of E2M6 freaked me out the first time playing, before I came to the realization that single Barons weren't actually that hard. I also unloaded a few shells at the first hanged twitching guy I encountered in a rather tense moment, since I wasn't sure what he was at first, but saw movement in the gloom and thought maybe there was a monster the manual didn't tell me about.

I also found some of the death animations rather disturbing at first, especially the Mancubus' brain and eyes falling out as he melts.

Old Post 04-18-14 20:27 #
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PRIMEVAL
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If my memory serves me well, I first played Doom on the PC when I was in my late teens, so the scare factor wasn't really there for me. However, when I first played Doom (to my memory), it was on the SNES on a dark TV screen. The heavily reverbed music in its low quality and the darker environments really scared me as a kid. Like, to the point where I would turn the console off and be too scared to even play it.

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Old Post 04-18-14 20:42 #
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MajorRawne
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Yeah, the E1M2 and E1M4 mazes were scary, especially when you weren't used to the monsters and their capabilities.

The dark room at the end of E1M5 (or is it E1M6? always get those two mixed up) was scary too, I used to hate going anywhere near it.

Encountering a new monster type was always good. I remember encountering a PC Revenant for the first time and being shocked at how fast it was. I struggled against them for a long time, occasionally still do.

And the Archie, of course.

"Hahaha."
"Who's that?"
BLAM! Clunk-click! BLAM!
"It won't die!"
* Sizzle, crackle *
"I can't see!"
BOOM!
"Jesus, I just flew up in the air!"

Old Post 04-18-14 21:14 #
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Platinum Shell
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When I first played it as a twerp, it scared the living shit out of me; back when it didn't have filtering for things far away and a capped frame rate.

Today it still has it's eerie moments (especially when paired with ambient music) but it lacks the terror inducing grip it had on me as a child.

Old Post 04-18-14 21:33 #
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Suitepee
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I don't ever recall being scared of Doom, but some parts of it were probably considered horror-esque back in the day.

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Old Post 04-18-14 22:08 #
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129thVisplane
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I was never really scared of the monsters or the levels; however, glitches and crashes never failed to frighten me. I even had nightmares about those.

The original Dooms didn't have many noticeable glitches (or at least most weren't noticeable if I wasn't specifically looking for them) so they didn't really scare me, although I remember being freaked out when I noclipped around Doom 2 MAP30 and saw a wall floating in the void outside of the map, not connected to anything. E1M8's iddqd-removing exit room, E2M4's creepy dark rooms and E2M7's confusing cluttered layout also seemed a bit scary to me.

I however remember being really scared during playthroughs of a certain compilation of user-made 1994 maps (can't remember the name, but it was a series of 3 megawads with 27 levels each) where one map had no monsters at all in it despite the presence of a huge ammo/weapon cache in a secret room, and another map lacked both monsters and an exit. Most of the maps also had fucktons of HOMs in them, along with other mapping errors, of which the most disturbing one (to me at the time) was a crusher textured with a tutti-frutti-effect-inducing texture and then, right in the room behind it, an invisible teleporter leading into a big empty fullbright inescapable room.

Old Post 04-18-14 22:47 #
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Waffenak
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Yes it was scary when you first time played it as a kid when it was released. maze maps of e1 were haunting when you didnt know what was behind next corner and pinkys roaring when you couldn't see it always raised my hair back then. I also had change to play it with studio quality headphones in the mid 90's which amped the mood even more

Old Post 04-18-14 22:55 #
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boris
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It was pretty scary to me, but not as pants-shitting scary as System Shock.

Old Post 04-18-14 23:24 #
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drifter20k
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Fuck yeah it was scary.

We went from DOOM Episode 1 to DOOM II. Episode 1 was scary enough at first for a while back in 1994. Then in DOOM II, hearing the Spider Mastermind wake up in DOOM II Level 6 The Crusher for the first time: "What the fuck was that!!!???" Few seconds later seeing a Revenant for the first time emerge from the pillars: "Holy shit!!!" Hearing the Cyberdemon's foot steps in Refueling Base through the walls:"What the fuck is making that noise!!?? What ever it is, it is one big motherfucker!!!!"

Old Post 04-18-14 23:41 #
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Marnetmar
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I played Doom for the first time much later than I should have (don't ask), so I didn't find it scary but parts of it did make me tense up, like that pentagram teleporter in E1M9.

Old Post 04-19-14 00:57 #
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Sodaholic
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Marnetmar said:
I played Doom for the first time much later than I should have
There's a time limit for how long you have to play Doom until it's considered unacceptably late? I don't see why it matters if you're 4 or 44 when you first play a simple computer game.


Marnetmar said:
(don't ask)
Why not?

Old Post 04-19-14 01:23 #
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fraggle
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Absolutely it was considered scary. It's not very scary any more, because we've all played it a hundred times over. But back when it was first released, certainly.

You have to think back to the historical time period in which Doom was released and the kind of technology that people had seen in games until then. Wolfenstein 3D is a good comparison, as Doom's closest predecessor. There are obvious differences, like the fact that Doom has lighting effects whereas Wolf3D is at a constant light level. But more importantly, think about the general style and feel of those two games.

Id's games up until Doom all had a cartoony feel to them, dictated in no small part by the EGA palette and the fact that they had to use a lot of bright primary colors. That includes Wolfenstein 3D, with its treasure collecting, Hitler in a robot suit and "Let's see that again!" death-cam sequence. Doom broke completely from that style, using realistic textures and graphics, including the weapon sprites derived from photographs.

It's interesting to look at the press release beta as an example: originally Doom was going to have an arcade-style score and a treasure collecting aspect like Wolf3D. These were dropped before release by Id along with the original BFG 2704 which fired balls that Romero described as looking "like Christmas". Doom started off as a game like Wolf3D, but Id dropped these elements because they realised it had evolved into a different type of game: darker and scarier.


MajorRawne said:
it's brighter and the music is generally lighthearted.

I disagree with both of these, and again, you need to look at the historical context in which Doom was released.

In terms of brightness, Doom 64 might be darker, but the point is that when Doom was released, most people had never seen an FPS game with lighting. Think about what it's like if the only games you've ever played is side scrolling platformers and maybe a bit of Wolfenstein 3D. Then you go to your friend's house and try this cool new game which makes Wolf3D look like a toy. When you get to the end of the first level you see this:

https://soulsphere.org/img/blog/doom-e1m1/E1M1-5.png

Don't tell me that's not scary.

As for music, I make no secret of the fact that I'm a big fan of Bobby Prince's work. But I reject your suggestion that Doom's music is lighthearted. People seem to have this belief that the Doom soundtrack is all just heavy metal and loud guitars all the way through, and that just isn't the case. You can read the comments from Bobby Prince himself:


The id Software development team originally wanted me to do nothing but metal songs for DOOM. I did not think that this type of music would be appropriate throughout the game, but I roughed out several original songs and also created MIDI sequences of some cover material. This was before any level design and was before most of the artwork had been created. As the game came together, the guys at id saw that this type of music was not appropriate for many of the levels in DOOM. Thinking that this would be the case, I had also roughed out a lot of ambient moody background music, much of which ended up in the game.


The E1 soundtrack in particular has a number of really good moody atmospheric songs: check out E1M2 and E1M5 which are positively haunting. Music contributes a lot to the atmosphere of the game, and I find that Bobby Prince's work does a much better job of creating a scary atmosphere than the Doom 64 soundtrack, which just sends me to sleep.

Old Post 04-19-14 01:30 #
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Piper Maru
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I'm sorry, but the music in PC Doom reminds me of Power Rangers and Taco Bell. But yes, I remember being scared by Doom back in the day. Especially when I first met the Barons and the Cyberdemon!

Old Post 04-19-14 01:43 #
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Marnetmar
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fraggle said:
That image


That's it, time for me to load DOSBox up again.

Old Post 04-19-14 02:18 #
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kmxexii
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The first time I played Doom (which was on a PC), the only comparison was Wolf3D, which (as Fraggle has pointed out) is pretty cartoonish and bright compared to Doom. The lighting combined with low resolution and tank controls (keyboard playing as a kid) makes it a pretty harrowing experience when you've never seen anything like it before, and it wasn't until some few years ago that I played Doom enough that I could just breeze through the original levels. A lot has changed, though.

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Old Post 04-19-14 02:36 #
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TimeOfDeath
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kmxexii said:
the only comparison was Wolf3D

Same here. I was 11 or 12 and thought Doom was really scary.

Old Post 04-19-14 03:59 #
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Sodaholic
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The only PC Doom that actually is bright is the 0.4 alpha. Most of the lighting is at 192, whereas later versions typically darkened those areas to 144. The bright silver walls didn't help that, either.

Comparisons to PSX Doom are a little silly, as PC Doom is already dark as it is.

Old Post 04-19-14 04:10 #
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Patch93
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fraggle said:I find that Bobby Prince's work does a much better job of creating a scary atmosphere than the Doom 64 soundtrack, which just sends me to sleep. [/B]


WHAT? Not even this track scared you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IE1NmyrbWA

Other than that though, I do agree that some of Doom 1's music was pretty creepy and atmospheric too. They're Going to Get You (at least on OPL), Dark Halls, Suspense, Demons from Adrian's Pen, Waltz of the Demons, Demons on the Prey, Sign of Evil and Sinister all being good examples. Doom 2 kinda dropped the ball on that, though it still had a few songs like In The Dark, Waiting for Romero To Play, Adrian's Asleep and Getting Too Tense.

Last edited by Patch93 on 04-19-14 at 04:46

Old Post 04-19-14 04:24 #
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Sodaholic
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Patch93 said:
Doom 1's music [was] pretty creepy and atmospheric too. Doom 2 kinda dropped the ball on that, though it still had a few songs like ... Waiting for Romero To Play
I kind of wish they kept it in Doom 1 rather than waiting to put it in Doom 2. It worked pretty nicely in E1M3 in the November beta.

Old Post 04-19-14 04:29 #
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DooM_RO
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The reason why it was scary was the increased immersion factor I think. I don't think 3D graphics are necessarily beautiful, they merely make the world you are in seem more real. Now of course, by today's standards, neither Doom nor Wolf3D are realistic by any means but we have to look at this through the eyes of someone from the early 90s. They had never seen anything like this before and was beyond anything Wolf3D could do so it was considered realistic. Couple that with the fact that it was one the the first games in first person, which served to amplify the illusion even more. Immersive graphics in first person was really new back then, nowadays we have simply gotten used to them. Now in order for ANY horror fiction to scare you, it HAS to convince you it's real somehow and that is exactly what Doom did at the time. It might not be the case, but the effect must have been similar to how people are responding to horror games in Oculus Rift.

Old Post 04-19-14 05:27 #
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fraggle
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Patch93 said:


WHAT? Not even this track scared you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IE1NmyrbWA

I can't even tell whether you're joking or not.

Old Post 04-19-14 07:03 #
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Piper Maru
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I wonder if Aubrey Hodges still visits this forum. He'd be very upset with you guys and your disapproval of his work.

For shame.

Old Post 04-19-14 07:09 #
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MFG38
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I don't find Doom scary myself, and I've seen Top 10 and whatnot lists that categorize it as a horror game, which baffles me. I can see why people found it somewhat scary back in the day, though.

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Old Post 04-19-14 07:43 #
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Snakes
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I played the game back when I was seven years old. Trust me, it was a terrifying experience. The first time you encounter a cyberdemon or an arch-vile is just insane.

Old Post 04-19-14 07:56 #
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