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In 2006, a Flash cartoon entitled Masters of Doom: The Animated Series was circulated around the Internet, which contains several references to pop culture media. The cartoon was inspired by the book Masters of Doom by David Kushner. The cartoon focuses on the creators of the game Doom, rather than the game itself.
References and spoofs on pop culture media
This flash cartoon won daily 3rd place, was featured on the front page and received good reviews from people on Newgrounds. References include Wolfenstein 3D, Commander Keen, [remors, Beetlejuice and Batman. Webster's Dictionary is parodied as Webster's Wikipedia. A copy of Mein Kampf can also be seen on the desk of teacher Martin Van Buren.
Tom Hall wears a Commander Keen helmet in this flash clip. In addition, he references the vorticon race as a dedicated target for pizza. John Carmack is a robot in this cartoon; and talks like The Terminator does. A sprite-ized photo of Adolf Hitler is shown behind a teleportation device that John Carmack tests his cat Mitzi on; and this is co-referenced with Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.
The guitar solo played during the opening title sequence(s)is an exerpt from the song "Instruments of Destruction" by N.R.G., which was originally written for Transformers: The Movie. Several background songs are pieces from the Raymond Scott Quintet, however most of the soundtrack was comprised of the soundtrack to Doom and Doom II (composed by Bobby Prince)
Instruments of Destruction by N.R.G.
In an 18th Century Drawing Room by Raymond Scott
At Doom's Gate by Bobby Prince
Nuclear Plant/Imp Song by Bobby Prince
German National Anthem
Endgame by Bobby Prince
War Dance of the Wooden Indians by Raymond Scott
Huckleberry Duck by Raymond Scott
Doom II title music by Bobby Prince
At an Arabian House Party by Raymond Scott
The End of Doom by Bobby Prince
The characters from the cartoon were all drawn by Julius von Brunk, and partially designed by Mike Lombardo. Most character models went through dramatic changes before being put in the final works.
John Carmack's first shirt was solid dark blue, until Mr. Lombardo suggested he wear a white t-shirt with a dead smiley face, as mentioned in the book. Julius von Brunk wanted Carmack to have pupils underneath his eyes, but Lombardo wanted a more cold, lifeless eye look for Carmack. Thus, the lenses of his glasses are always filled in with a gradient.
John Romero was intended to wear jeans and a white sleeveless shirt, while dressing as the Doom marine only in the opening scene. However, Brunk and Lombardo wanted to save time and recycle drawings by having Romero wear the same outfit constantly.
Tom Hall always wears the Commander Keen helmet. In the original script, he was written to remove his helmet while saying his famous line, "Oooh, yes, pizza... The chosen food of the Vorticon race!"
Adrian Carmack was the easiest to make, according to the creators. He was also the most accurate portrayal, and had the best blinking and lip sync animations.
- Contrary to the title "Animated Series", this was not intended to have more than one episode. The last week's/next week's episode previews were mainly used to enhance the humor and flow of the cartoon. A similar gag was used in the Mel Brooks film "History of the World, Part I".
- The part where Tom Hall wears a Commander Keen helmet and that he mentions pizza as the chosen food of the vorticon race is a reference to the fact that the real Tom Hall was the designer for the Commander Keen series, and as a child he dressed/acted similarly.
- The Apple II is referenced in this flash clip since Castle Wolfenstein was released for it before Wolfenstein 3D. However, Doom was never ported on that platform even though there is a picture of the game's footage on a monitor with the "Apple II" name embedded on it.
- The first three men in the background of the pizza shop scene are three of the members of Reel Splatter. From left to right, Mike Lombardo, Mike Yanni and Mike James. The cartoon's creator Julius von Brunk originally intended to animate each member of Reel Splatter and Brunk Co. Films, but decided to cut it short due to its large filesize.
- The pizza shop contains a reference to the movie They Live in a poster on the wall labelled "Obey".
- The noise of John Romero's neck snapping (in the scene titled "TV Time") is actually Mike Lombardo breaking a carrot in half.
- John Carmack dies in the car wreck, becomes instantly fixed in the pizza shop, explodes, then is magically back to normal in the final Hell scene!
- Pay attention to the blackboard in the opening scene: First it reads, "Phil Weaver, please report to Principal Roosevelt's office", which is a reference to a kid who went to school with the cartoon's creators. Next, the blackboard displays cheats from Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, as well as the phrase, "Special guest speakers Alex St. John and David Kushner". Alex St. John is the creator of the Bill Gates Doom video, and David Kushner wrote the book Masters of Doom.
- In the original script, animator Julius von Brunk was set to play the voice of Tom Hall, but Mike Lombardo decided his voice was not feminine enough. Instead, John Feilmeier, voice of John Romero's son played the part.
- The first animation in the scene titled "TV Time" is supposed to be a parody of the movies Tremors and Beetlejuice.
- The spinning transition between each scene is an homage to the Batman TV series, with the Doom marine's head in place of the Batman symbol.
- DIRECTOR TRADEMARK - Julius von Brunk always makes references to former presidents in each of his animated films.
- DIRECTOR TRADEMARK - The number "34", Julius von Brunk's favorite number is used often. A key example is the analog clock with a digital clock embedded in it (in the classroom). The number reads 11:34, which turned upside down displays 43:11, or "hell" in LED form. The price at the cash register in the pizza shop always reads "$34.00".
- A poster in the background of the pizza shop reads, "Try our new cheese pizza, manufactured fresh!" above a picture of a slice of pizza with a barcode on it.
- DIRECTOR TRADEMARK - The pizza shop is named after the co-creator Mike Lombardo. The font from Pizza Hut is also used in the pizzeria's logo.
- The cartoon's red Ferrari is based on John Carmack's red Ferrari that he purchased upon receiving millions of dollars in bonuses from id Software. The side of the car reads "DOOM: Wrote it", which is what John Romero used to wear on his t-shirts. The front of the shirt was the DOOM logo and the back read "Wrote It.".
- When the flash cartoon is loading, the phrase "Get psyched!" appears above the load bar. This is the same text which appears in the load sequences in Wolfenstein 3D.
- When Bill Gates is killed and replayed with "DeathCam(tm)" at the top of the screen the creators are referencing the DeathCam in Wolfenstein 3D's final boss battles. When the boss of episode 3 (Adolf Hitler) is killed, he says, "Eva, auf weidersehen!" which translates into English as "Eva (Braun), goodbye!"
- Director Mike Lombardo was the first person to view the Bill Gates Doom video in over ten years after he kindly received it from Alex St. John. Therefore, Mr. Lombardo made references to key parts of the video as a personal gag.
- If you wait about ten seconds after the credits roll and the creators plug their sites, a noise can be heard. Played backwards it says, "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero!". This is the sound clip from Doom II when the Icon of Sin boss is reached.
- One of the posters in the background of the classroom is a WWII American propaganda poster which reads "Loose Lips might sink ships!".
- A severe glitch with the cartoon's streaming sound almost caused the animators to scrap the project. It wasn't until the last minute that Julius von Brunk had to come up with a method of rigging the audio files to make them sync with the animation. This error can be noted at certain parts when there's a brief split-second pause before particular pieces of dialogue are spoken. The sound error also delayed the entire cartoon and forced the release date back several weeks.
"Of course, in real life we're all a bit different but I just about bust my gut laughing at the way these guys animated us - it's great!" - John Romero
"Oh my god! Sheer flippin genius! Awesome job, I’m duly impressed. Make more!" - David Kushner, author of the book.
- This article incorporates text from the open-content Wikipedia online encyclopedia article Masters of Doom: The Animated Series.
- Masters of Doom: The Animated Series on Newgrounds.com
- Masters of Doom: The Animated Series on director Mike Lombardo's website
- Masters of Doom: The Animated Series on animator Julius von Brunk's website
- Masters of Doom: The Animated Series (remastered QVGA edition) on YouTube (uses pan-and-scan to focus on the priority features of the scenes.)