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You are the toughest motherfucker that has ever lived. The sole survivor of the Space Marine mission to the doomed Martian moon bases. You fought your way through thirty-six demon-infested hellholes, from the Deimos and Phobos bases down to the very pits of Hell itself, and came out the other side with body and soul intact. Mind is another matter entirely.

Finally, you returned home. But you didn't come back alone. They've taken your home, your world, and perverted it into another outpost of Hell. They've taken everything from you. And you can't rest until every last one of the bastards is dead. They don't know who they're fucking with.

Now, finally, you've reached the home of these devil spawn. You've trudged through twenty-nine stages of Hell on Earth, cutting a swath of destruction across the ruined continent, and you are mere kilometers away from confronting the demon lord who destroyed your homeworld.

You brace yourself before pushing down the final door. You allow yourself one last cold chill, one last moment to breathe, before moving on. This is what you've been fighting for - the chance to avenge your planet, your people. This is why you're still here.

You push on. Surely and confidantly you march. One of you won't be walking away from this, and by God it's going to be him. You idly wonder where bad people will go when they die once this is over with.

Suddenly you hear a sound - a bellow, deep and indescribably horrific. It's the most harrowing thing you've ever heard, ever experienced, and you've been through Hell for God's sake. You fall to your knees as the long bones in your body begin to quiver. It seems to go on forever, and even after it fades, its echo leaves you stunned, on the ground, unmoving. Finally, hands shaking, you manage to load up a needle of chemical courage and march on.

The swarm. Wave after wave of demons - Mancubi, Revenants, Spectres, Pain Elementals, all rushing towards you with a furious bloodlust you haven't seen in hours. You dispatch them easily. A few BFG blasts, a couple well-placed rockets. Nothing new to you. But they keep coming, and coming, and coming. You're beginning to run low on ammo. You scan left and right furtively, searching for their unholy lord. If you can just kill him...

And then you look up. And up. And up. He...It...is the biggest thing you have ever seen. Its head is the size of a building. Its body extends for miles in every direction. The tiny part of your brain that's not gibbering with terror notes that It must surely be visible from space. You abstractly realize that you no longer have to use the bathroom.

And your resolve reasserts itself. This is what you are living for. If it's alive, it can be killed. And if it can be killed, you can kill it.

You deftly circle around the horde of approaching monsters, lobbing a few rockets to keep them occupied. The moment you're within range of the Beast, you unload everything you have on it. Bullets, rockets, plasma, even the BFG...nothing so much as scratches It. The monsters are hot on your heels. You're losing hope.

And then you see it, up there on Its forehead: Its brain is exposed. A tiny window. Your release. You see it just before you're overtaken.

The monsters are upon you. You are out of ammunition. You are about to die.

No. You will not die. You will beat the bastards to death with your bare hands if you have to. You cannot stop until It is dead.

You go berserk, tearing the motherfuckers limb from limb. Your fists, your feet, your teeth: these are your weapons. You feel no pain. You are destroying them. You are. And you see something in the demons for the first time, for the first time ever: you see fear. It is unmistakable. In the eyes of every one of them (or every one that has eyes). And they run away. They run the fuck away.

You stand there, bloody but unbowed. YOU ARE THE MAN. Now for the big one.

You look around: a box of rockets, there in the corner. This must have been a military base before Hell came in. You grab it quickly, load up, and take aim.

You savor the moment. You are about to kill the King of Hell.

And you fire and fire and fire and fire and fire.

Rocket after rocket plunges into the Beast's brain. It finally takes notice of you, tries to lash out with its enormous legs, lays waste to cities miles away...but it is far too late. With a deafening shriek, the Monstrosity stumbles, and falls, and dies.

You stumble and fall. Your breath comes in gasps, and when you exhale you spray blood. But it's ok. You can go now.

No...no, you can't. That sound, that incredible bellow the Monster released before you first saw it...you have to...you must know what that was!

Using your rocket launcher as a crutch, you hobble to the enormous corpse. It's already begun to decay, or maybe it's always been decaying. Quickly now, knowing your end will come soon, you push yourself into the Beast's opening, into Its brain. Charred flesh surrounds you as you fight your way deeper and deeper into It, until finally you find what you've sought, what you've been railing against for so long.

You say: "What the fuck? John Romero?"

And everything is black.



***



The creators of the game Doom II (id Software) were apparantly getting a bit loopy toward the end of the game creation cycle. When you first enter the final stage - map30, Icon of Sin - you are greeted with a truly fucked up sound effect that certainly adds to the ambience.

If one were to take the sound file and reverse it, though, one would find that it was really just a slowed and distorted clip of Mr. Romero (one of the game's designers) saying "To win the game you must kill me, John Romero." He is reknowned for his ego. Which, incidentally, has resulted in far too many 'clever' journalists writing smarmy articles with titles like "The Egos at id".

But what the hell is he talking about? Well, if you use the "idclip" cheat code, which essentially allows you to walk through walls, and enter the head of the game's final boss (who's really just a wall with a cool texture), you'd find something entirely unexpected: John Romero's bleeding head on a stick. When you shoot rockets into the monster's "brain" (which is just a textured wall that you can shoot through), the splash damage hurts this little stationary sprite. When it takes a certain amount of damage, the game ends. So really, Doom II's final enemy is John Romero.

If you know much about the history of 3D gaming, you'll be far too busy laughing at the irony of that to read this sentence.

The background story:

According to John Romero, the Boss Brain was originally just a dummy yellow circle sprite. Towards the end of the development of Doom II, one of the other programmers sneaked in the Romero's Head sprite, presumably hoping that it would only be discovered by Romero after the game was released. Unfortunately for them, Romero stumbled across the sprite while writing the sound effects code that made the brain scream when you shot it.

Eager to get the last laugh, Romero got Bobby Prince to record him saying the now immortal line, To win the game you must kill me, John Romero, and added it in as the boss wakeup sound, phase-shifted and reversed.

Source: loonygames interview with John Romero:
http://www.loonygames.com/content/1.11/feat/

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