I always had an instinctive revulsion towards the video game Doom. I could never play it, had no interest in it. I liked Wolfenstein 3D—though I only ever had the demo. I feel vindicated in my dislike for Doom because the Columbine killers played it over and over again, with levels modded to be like their school, as preparation for their massacre.
People say video games can’t modify behaviour—and yet the military uses them to train people, and you can literally learn to fly a plane from a good flight simulator. And yet, supposedly, a first-person-shooter has “no effect” on a person (doesn’t train them to kill). Sorry, I don’t buy it.
Anyway, I happened to think a lot about Mars today—and why people are fascinated with it. Doom isn’t set on Mars, it’s set on one of the Martian moons; but, as I found when I looked up the plot, in the game Mars has been taken over by the minions of hell because its ancient population accidentally opened a portal to hell (which they subsequently sealed—only for the first men on Mars to open it again by accident).
This intrigued me. Now, in the plot the original Martian race invented a weapon “bordering on magic” to defeat the forces of hell. They sacrificed almost all their remaining souls to create it. This was “the Soul Cube”. This was taken on by their hero, an unnamed man who was simple called “the Hero”. He was very tall, his tomb being very long, and seems not to have survived the final battle (the Cube is buried near him, in case hell erupts into our dimension again).
In the game, you play an unnamed space marine who basically takes on the same position as the ancient Hero—he’s this unnamed denizen of Earth who fights the forces of darkness.
In the plot, the space marine has to go down into hell to recover the Soul Cube—because a scientist who had discovered it and dug it up took it to hell. This recapitulates the initiation of The Divine Comedy where you have to descend into hell in order to ascend to heaven. The Cube, once recovered, announces that it is the only way to defeat “hell’s mightiest warrior” (the cyberdemon).
The Soul Cube has a play on the demon “Legion” in the Bible “We are many. We are one. We are the Praeleanthor. You know us as the Soul Cube. Free us from our eternal prison and we will help you. Vanquish our enemies and we grow stronger. Listen for our call and then free us, to smite down the evil.”
In the end, the Soul Cube seals off the entrance to hell by self-sacrifice, it merges into a lava plug.
The actual representation of the Soul Cube is like a Goat of Mendes and it can absorb the life forces of any human or demon, or fallen entity. It has five orbs on the sides—the five elements of the pentagram (earth, fire, air, water, and aether). It can restore the space marine’s life force to 99 (esoteric number of love).
The game was originally planned, story-wise, by a guy called “Tom Hall” (TH) who was married to Terri Hall (TH). But his original ideas for the game, which would have made many more story elements, and would have involved more “struggle” for character development, were dropped—he wanted it to be more than about “flipping a switch” and he “wanted a reason for people to go through the levels” (I quite agree).
He was “totally unhappy” with the end game—he wanted “character abilities, puzzle elements, environment interaction, cinematics, back story, and [more] game content”. But these were deleted altogether. He left the company after Doom—it seems that the game was mostly left to Adrian Carmack, who has a piggy turned-up nose and looks like a nasty fellow.
TH also composed “the Doom Bible”, excerpts of which are scattered about the game—he voiced several characters in Deus Ex as well.
Not sure what to make of that. It confirms why I never liked Doom, but what does it tell us about Mars? Is Mars inhabited by demons? Is that why we shouldn’t go there? Is our main adversary the cyber-demon (AI, computers)? Are we originally from Mars—but we need to remove the demons from it? In Tradition, the black cube is not sinister—it’s a bridge to heaven, like the Ka’ba. Was its depiction corrupted in Doom—was it corrupted because TH didn’t have much input?
I’m not sure—but there is something about Mars we need to investigate.
Addendum: there is a mod to Doom from 1994 called ‘Hell on Mars!!’ that is actually set on Mars. It uses the track ‘Hiding Secrets’ by Robert Prince (a man who, not being in the office, was very much inspired by TH’s Doom Bible—which contributed the most to his music; essentially, the musical score reflected much of the TH content taken out of the game—truly, he was a prince among men).
As you can see, this map features a large Star of David—in the room you finish in, I think (it ends in a blue sky—or a roof with a blue sky texture). You go through a yellow door at the end (Star of David is typically yellow).
The designer, Martin Minkus, is probably Jewish. What does this tell us? Well, since Mars in the game is taken over by the forces of hell, and this mod is set on Mars, it seems to point to a desire to be in hell—or what is hell to the space marine is liberation in this mod, with the Star of David at its centre (ending in heaven—“blue sky”).
Altogether, Doom mashes together a lot of esoteric symbolism, so it’s difficult to disentangle what’s going on exactly—it probably reflects the general degradation in modernity, and the game was never properly finished anyway (hence making it rather sinister). Nevertheless, we have here a Jewish identification with hell, whereas TH, who also put “the spear of destiny” into Wolfenstein, thinks more in terms of defeating the minions of hell (in an anonymous way).
Overall, I think I need to wait to find out a little more about the mysteries of Mars—because it has some significance.