Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Soundtrack September: Final Doom

Game: Final Doom (1996)
Platform: PlayStation
Composer: Aubrey Hodges

How long has it been since you've listened to the original Doom soundtrack? Don't bother. It's terrible.

The music for the PlayStation port of this non-numbered sequel to Doom II: Hell on Earth enjoyed the benefit of digital audio, as opposed to the comparably quaint MIDI rock tracks of its PC progenitor. As a result the game, already scary and soaked with atmosphere, took on a new veneer of creepiness.

To be fair, there isn't a lot to the music. Hodges got maximum mileage out of a relatively small library of synth samples, playing them back at mostly low pitches to achieve an eerie-but-not-distracting minimalist backdrop. Much of the soundtrack could as soon be categorized as the ambient noise of the various levels.

I say "not distracting," but I'd be lying if I said I didn't remember being specifically startled by some of what's in this soundtrack the first time I played the game. "Mt. Erebus" is full of what sounds like demon-kids complaining after a six-hour drive in the family car. But most of the best stuff here happens in tracks like "Minos," which sounds more like the constant howl of wind than game music.

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