Rip & Tear with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
Welcome to Press X To Adapt! Every two weeks, we dive into a game-turned-movie or movie-turned-game to take a look at how it turned out, the differences between the two, and anything else worth chatting about.
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When it released in 2016, DOOM – which I’ll be calling DOOM ’16 – revived the series in two major ways.
The first was as a shooter. Series developer id Software modernised what needed it and barely touched what didn’t. This meant a console-friendly shooter that was more like the fast-paced originals than the slower, dimly-lit Doom 3. With a meatier campaign and varied character progression, it was classic Doom created for modern tastes.
But the second was in the lore and world, mainly through the normally-unnamed player character. Here, Doom’s archetypal “doomguy” became the “Doom Slayer”, a mute barbarian central to a wide-spanning mythology that underpins Hell as a dimension. A green-suited space marine, the Doom Slayer’s futuristic mechanical armour – dubbed the Praetor Suit – is covered in as many demonic runes as factory product codes. It even absorbs Argent energy (basically Hell Juice) to make itself even stronger.
The Doom Slayer is a mystery unto himself – and an evolution. He’s the next step in a series that blends the technological and the supernatural, a mythical space marine who’s literally feared by Hell and only communicates in Hulk-like smashing. As the video game version of a metal album cover, where ultraviolence, dark fantasy and science-fiction comes together into visceral, blood-soaked sprints through Hell itself, the Doom Slayer is the perfect symbol for the series.
The 2005 film Doom has none of this.
As a film – which I’m calling Doom ’05 – it should be an excuse for lots of clearly-people-in-rubber-suit-demons to get hilariously blown apart by shotguns alongside a kick-ass metal soundtrack. It should take a lot of inspiration from stuff like Evil Dead and Braindead. It should look like it was fished out of a 20-year-old time capsule.
What Doom ’05 actually is, is a mediocre Aliens rip-off that throws out what made the games so iconic and memorable. It’s got some of it, like the violence, the BFG and someone named Pinky, but not much else. This definitely has something to do with Doom 3 releasing about a year before it, so doubling as a commercial only makes sense. The low-lit metallic corridors, scientists transforming into straight-up zombies, the focus on its science-fiction elements – all taken from Doom 3.
After the zombies, though, the filmmakers kind of gave up and dropped any sort of supernatural anything. There’s no Hell. No demons. There aren’t even any shotguns that I can remember (which seems downright immoral for something based on Doom). It’s just mediocre science-fiction, zombies and mutants who look a little like Imps from the games. Also The Rock is in it, because everyone loves The Rock.