Eventually they will learn that good computer games do not good movies; taking away the interactive element leaves the avid gamer with little and the average movie goer with next to nothing. They aren't even financially very successful; one only need think of Final Fantasy's gargantuan budget compared to the few pence it made by the 11 people who went to see it (one of which was me, I must confess). It did at least have a terrific Elliot Goldenthal score, probably it's only truly recommendable feature. That the film was so terrible is a surprise given that the Final Fantasy games did at least feature solid plotting, but plenty are rather more mindless and Doom is a prime example. The grandfather of the first person shoot 'em up, Doom is a much revered video game classic (so far as one can ascribe such a moniker to a fledgling entertainment), but is largely about surviving by shooting everything else first. That the film has received dreadful reviews should come as no surprise.
Unlike Final Fantasy or the Medal of Honour series, Doom was never particularly renowned for its music. For the movie, Clint Mansell not only provides the music, but also programmes it, so it isn't even an Aliens style orchestral blow out. The titular second track sets the tone of the action; lots of loud percussion, although it does manage to avoid becoming intolerably overwhelming as Mansell doesn't pile layer upon layer of loops, but keeps things fairly clean. It's still loud, monotonous and high impact, but done with as much care as one could hope. The odd, surprisingly authentic, synth orchestral motif is used to top and tail the drumming. In a genre where the suspense makes for the least engaging musical material, Doom's low key passages really are especially mind-numbingly tedious. The Lab is a notable case in point, using extremely quiet, sustained, low end synth notes just hold the atmosphere. Only an extremely brief, but surprisingly attractive central passage ensures the cue isn't a complete write off.
The album closes with a 'song' by Nine Inch Nails which is truly obnoxious, but anyone who gets a kick out of the score will probably love every ear bleeding minute. Those hoping Mansell would write a rousing follow up to his unashamedly enjoyable Sahara is going to be sorely disappointed. Notwithstanding Doom's synthetic performance, (which is admittedly realistic when imitating the real thing), it's on another level (as it were) as entertainment and technically simplistic. Being a synth score, the release is typically generous, but half an hour would have been more than ample to cover all the major ideas. For hard core fans of the game or digital scoring only; everyone else would do well to wait for something more sophisticated.