Doom and Doom 2 (partially lost original sound files of first-person shooter series audio; 1993-1994)

From The Lost Media Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Doom's cover art.

Status: Partially Lost

Doom and Doom 2 were, as their names suggest, the first two titles of id Software's Doom series. Released in December 1993 and October 1994 respectively, both titles are cited as among the greatest-ever video games, particularly for their long-lasting influence on the first-person shooter genre. Robert "Bobby" Prince was responsible for scoring the games, harnessing sounds from sound effect libraries. However, the original sources for some sounds have never been located.


Robert Prince was an independent contractor for id Software, having previously worked on music and sound for the company's Commander Keen series and Wolfenstein 3D.[1][2] Rather than rely on suggestions from id directly, Prince opted to base sound design around Tom Hall's design documents, also known as the Doom Bible.[3][4][2] The Doom Bible featured ambitious initial plans, including having Doom feature four playable characters, six episodes, and an extensive narrative.[4] Alas, only a proportion of content detailed in the Doom Bible made it into the games.[2][3] Nevertheless, Prince credits the Doom Bible for setting the right mood for this project, establishing numerous sound effects that would be incorporated into the series.[2][3] Sound design was finished a month before development ceased, Prince harnessing Wave for Windows and Cool Edit to modify the sounds.[3] Prince recalled the main challenges involved incorporating the sounds into the game, and determining whether the sound properly fit the animations.[2][1] This forced John Romero to continually build the game for every change Prince made, especially as Prince lacked the software for him to do it manually.[2][1]

For Doom and later Doom 2, Prince incorporated and altered numerous audio effects sourced from sound effects libraries.[5][3] The most prominent of these was Sound Ideas.[6][5] Established in Toronto, Canada in 1978, Sound Ideas has produced several collections of audio effects, starting with Series 1000.[6] Initially utilising reel-to-reel tape, subsequent libraries would instead be released on CDs starting from 1985.[6] Sound Ideas also released the Lucasfilm Series Sound Effects Library in 1990, before following it up with Series 6000 two years later.[6] Because of their sheer volume and diversity of sounds, ranging from animals and humans to machines and explosions, Sound Ideas' libraries have been commonly used in film and games development, with Doom being no exception.[5][6] Most sounds in the first two Doom games were sourced from the 2000, 4000, 6000, and Lucasfilms libraries.[5] Some came from unusual examples; for instance, the Cacodemon death sound (DSCACDTH) originates from 6000's "Skates, In Line - In Line Skates: Stop, Roller Blades, Sports".

Not all sounds came from Sound Ideas, with Prince opting to harness Authentic Sound Effects and Premiere Edition libraries as well.[7][8] Other sounds were recorded in-house by id. In Doom 2's "Wolfenstein" and "Grosse", audio was simply sourced from Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen.[9] Additionally, for the Icon of Sin's sight sound (DSBOSSIT), a reversed voice line can be heard. As it turns out, the severed head of Romero can be found inside the Icon of Sin.[3] Romero discovered this during development, realising this was a prank by id's artist team.[3] Thus, he and Prince produced a subsequent easter egg, recording Romero saying "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero", which was then distorted and reversed.[3] The original sound file has since been recovered.


Doom's sound effects contributed to the game's popularity.[5][3][1] Over the years, Doom fans have been attempting to uncover the sources, with most having since been found to originate from Sound Ideas.[10][5] On 17th August 2020, prominent Doom YouTuber decino uploaded "The Origins of Doom's Sound Effects", which summarised the ongoing efforts. He worked alongside perkristian for the video, who is credited for finding most of the original sounds and has since produced a high-resolution Doom sound pack.[10] One solved mystery concerned the Mancubus battle cry (DSMANATK), jokingly described by Romero as the demon yelling "Menablanablah!".[11] In actuality, the sound comes from 6000's "Pig - Squealing, Animal", slowed down to 75%.

Despite the best efforts of perkristian et al, 24 sounds remain either partially or completely unaccounted for. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Arch-vile death sound (DSVILDTH). In his "Tricks and Techniques for Sound Effect Design" presented at the 1996 Computer Game Developers Conference, Prince elaborated that the Arch-vile's dual personality of engulfing his enemies while also resurrecting his fellow demons inspired him to create differing sounds to reflect this.[12][3] Hence, the Arch-vile's roam sound (DSVILACT) consists of an evil laugh, though the sound's whereabouts remain unknown. But if the Arch-vile is killed, the distorted sound of a little girl asking "why?" is played.[3] Prince explained the Arch-vile believes his actions are fully benevolent for the other demons, consequently becoming confused and upset as to why somebody would want to end his life.[3] The original "why?" sound, which was played at a lower pitch and further distorted with other sounds, remains as lost media.[3]

Presumably, Prince himself remembers the sources for these sounds. For his video, decino attempted to contact Prince on his website Bobby Prince Music. Alas, he has yet to receive a response. Interestingly, one of Prince's screams is included in the games, though it is unclear what sounds play the scream.[13]

List of Missing Sound Sources

Sound ID Description Status
DSBOSCUB Roaming sound for the Icon of Sin's spawn cubes Lost
DSBOSDTH Death of the Icon of Sin, described as a violent scream Lost
DSBOSPN The Icon of Sin's pain sound, described as a violent scream speculated to have been sourced by an id employee Lost
DSBSPACT Roaming sound for the Arachnotron Lost
DSBSPDTH Death of the Arachnotron, described as an explosion mixed with a shutdown sound Partially Found. The explosion is sourced from Sound Ideas Series 6000's "Explosion - Large Explosion 05". The shutdown sound is currently missing.
DSBSPSIT Sight sound for the Arachnotron Lost
DSBSPWLK The Arachnotron's mechanical walk Partially Found. Consists of Sound Ideas Series 6000's "Industry, Puncher - Auto Plant Punch Press: Running, Factory 01", which has been sped up. However, it also contains an unknown sound.
DSCYBDTH Death of the Cyberdemon Partially Found. Begins with Sound Ideas Series 6000's "Animal, Creature - Large Animal Growl 02", which is also used for the Zombieman's second sight sound (DSPOSIT2). Also contains an unidentified explosion sound.
DSSTNMOV Roaming sound for hellspawn, described as a low roar Lost
DSITEMUP Plays when the player picks up an item Existence Unconfirmed. May have been made by Prince himself.
DSMANDTH Death of the Mancubus, consisting of a death moan, a thump, the dispersal of gore Partially Lost. Gore sound comes from Sound Ideas Series 6000's "Animal, Creature - Slimy, Crawling Mass". Thump originates from Authentic Sound Effects Vol. 3's "Body Falling Downstairs", slowed down to 50% and also used for the Demon and Spectre death sound (DSSGTDTH). Moan remains unidentified.
DSMNPAIN Pain sound for the Mancubus Lost
DSPEDTH Death of the Pain Elemental Partially Found. Consists of Sound Ideas Lucasfilm SFX Library's "Bats, Fruit - 8 Short Squawks, Animal", which is also used for the Lost Soul charge (DSSKLATK). Explosion sound unidentified.
DSPEPAIN Pain sound for the Pain Elemental, described as an "ow!" Lost
DSPLASMA A plasma rifle shot Lost
DSRLAUNC Firing of the rocket launcher Partially Found. Consists of Sound Ideas Series 6000's "Electronic - Magical Swish 03". However, an initial sound is played which remains unknown.
DSSKEACT Roaming sound for the Revenant Lost
DSSKESIT Sight sound for the Revenant, described as a violent scream Lost
DSSPIDTH Death of the Spider Mastermind Partially Found. One explosion sourced from Sound Ideas Series 6000's "Explosion - Large Explosion 07". Another explosion, described as a rotor winding down, is missing.
DSSTNMOV Movement of the crusher hazard Existence Unconfirmed. May have been made by Prince himself.
DSVILACT Roaming sound for the Arch-vile, described as an evil laugh Lost
DSVILDTH Death of the Arch-vile, consisting of the distorted sound of a young girl asking "why?" along with other sounds Lost
DSVILSIT Sight sound for the Arch-vile, at a different pitch to the Arachnotron's (DSBSPSIT) Lost
DSVIPAIN Pain sound for the Arch-vile, described as a low roar Lost



decino's "The Origins of Doom's Sound Effects".

See Also

External Links