Did Bobby Prince Create, Steal, or Borrow from Metal’s Greatest Hits? Who Cares: Doom Rocks

Music and video games have enjoyed a love affair for decades. One of gaming’s most passionate partners is metal music. One of the most prominent spawns of this love affair is Doom. OK, we’re not saying metal music was the only reason players loved Doom, but the tracks certainly helped.

The man behind the original music for Doom was Bobby Prince. Working as an independent contractor, Prince produced the music for a whole album’s worth of gaming content. From Doom to Duke Nukem, Prince got people tapping their feet as much as the games got them tapping buttons. Prince’s status as an independent contractor meant he could work outside of the Doom bubble.

Prince was guided by two things: the Boom Bible and metal music. The Doom Bible was written in 1992 by Tom Hall and laid the foundations for a franchise that’s now loved the world over. Prince read that and used its dark undertones to start his scores. Then Prince listened to metal tracks given to him by Doom’s lead developer, John Romero. That’s when he added meat to the proverbial bones.

Keeping it Dark

Romero’s instructions to Prince were simple: keep it metal. Specifically, Romero was interested in “Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath.” Prince set about creating dozens of scores, some of which made it into the game and some of which didn’t. The original Doom, which was released in 1993, went on to sell over 10 million copies. Such was its popularity that an entire franchise was built on it. Doom titles have been released on a semi-regular basis since 93.

In fact, such is Doom’s popularity that it’s entered the hallowed ether of internet memedom. The popular, “will it run Doom,” Reddit thread has produced plenty of interesting suggestions. Creative hackers have got Doom to run on a tractor, a camera, and even a pregnancy test. It’s also been turned into a browser game. That’s hardly surprising given that the number of online gamers is expected to hit 1 billion by 2024. According to data cited in the Browser Games Global Market Report 2022, the average gamer now spends over seven hours a week playing online.

Metal Music Made Doom a Hit

With modern browser games offering a multitude of experiences, from free-play slots and medieval strategy quests to build and explore SIMs, there’s something for everyone. As such, Doom has been absorbed into this culture. However, this has only happened because of the game’s popularity. This brings us back to Prince. He’s since been replaced by another composer, Mick Gordon, but Prince’s influence remains. Now, how much of that influence is original work and how much is copied is a matter of debate.

The video above shows the striking similarities between Doom’s tracks and metal hits such as Metallica’s No Remorse and Rise by Pantera. There is always a degree of osmosis in music. One musician often can’t help but be influenced by others. This can often result in certain chords or parts of a melody creeping into their own work. Does that mean Prince is a thief? No. Was he heavily influenced by metal? Yes, and that’s part of the reason Doom had such an impact. Everything about the game was raw, including the soundtrack. That’s what players loved in 1993 and they still love it today.