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Memfis

Which episode in megawads tends to be your favorite?

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In megawads with a more or less traditional structure, which episode tends to be your favorite?

 

For me it would probably be the second out of three. Typically by that time the overall style is well established and all monsters/weapons are introduced, so I often feel like the middle maps perfectly embody what the wad is really about.

 

I also like it a lot when the first episode builds up slowly. I love the early feeling of familiarizing myself with the mood of the wad, I enjoy leisurely killing imps with shotgun and wondering when the SSG or the arch-vile will appear for the first time.

 

On the other hand, there are so many third episodes that I found disappointing. I think a lot of megawads become too serious, too hardcore, or generally too ridiculous towards the end. And it doesn't help that after 20+ levels you're likely to feel some fatigue and might not feel inspired to plow through lengthy challenging stages. But there are some exceptions to this, for example Hell Revealed truly shines in the last episode.

 

What about you?

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I usually enjoy more the first and second episodes for the same reasons lol

 

While slowly introducing weapons and enemies is somewhat a dated trend, I still enjoy it, especially when it's well done. (imo it is quite hard to make engaging low-tier setups). In the second episode it's exactly what you've said: everything is on the table and creativity is abundant, while scaling isn't too high nor the levels too big. (which is what happens in the last third of the mapsets)

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I think third episodes in "traditional" megwads usually have stronger individual maps, probably because its usually the part where everything gets grand, and where authors truly can go wild. But yea, the first 2 episodes in a megawad seem to be better at pacing and "flow".

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At this point, I'm quite familiar with the stock bestiary and armory, and I really don't want it gradually reintroduced to me in every megawad. Unless there is a need to introduce extensive custom assets, as in Valiant, or atypical gameplay, as in a hypothetical stilt platforming + Chasm-homage + vile-jumping + cyb-Tysoning megawad, I'd rather first episodes get to the point sooner. Not necessary the big and bad stuff immediately, but more stuff that will stick in your memory. Ancient Aliens 01 did a good job of putting a twist on the typical early map tropes. Speed of Doom 02 is very much intro fare in the context of the set, but the amazing atmosphere and sense of mystery add something new. BTSX episode 2 01's extensive scale (and boat!) sets it apart from typical openers. Most good megawads hit their stride mid-e1, often culminating in a strong late-e1 cluster, but the earliest maps don't have to be ultra-straightforward, unmemorable appetizers compared to the good stuff, as they commonly are.


Between e2 and e3, second episodes are a safer bet for a good mix of quality and consistency. Most mapsets have shaken off the shackles of introduction at this stage and don't mind situating a lot of their stronger offerings around here. Map length tends to be manageable, so the bad stuff, if any, doesn't drag. In a completed solo megawad, the mapper hasn't started to exhaust their store of ideas, and likely hasn't burned out yet. If I really like a megawad, however, it's probably the third episode I'll favor above all, ideally with the second episode not too far behind (which generally means the megawad has a bunch of good maps, as in Sunlust). e3 is where maps tend to get 'serious, hardcore, and even a bit ridiculous', to borrow the OP's wording, which is a mix that I like, especially now that I've played enough slaughter stuff for conventional or hybrid mapsets to be consistently tame and manageable even at their peak of intensity. 

 

Edited by rdwpa

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Usually my favourite is the first episode, for a multitude of reasons. One is that I love tech bases. And I find the enemy roster to be interesting, with a lot of variety, ranging from low to medium or even high tier enemies. Plus I enjoy some hitscanner action here and there.

 

As for the rest of the episodes, it depends on the wad.

Generally though, when the combination between technology and hell has a good analogy, I like the 2nd episode a lot. Or when city levels are used in it.

On the other hand, the 3rd episode is usually the most iconic in the wad. It should have plenty of action and memorable moments, but like Memfis said, I tend to get tired after the first 2 episodes and it doesn't help if each and every map in the 3rd episode is slaughter. 1 or 2 final maps with slaughter and the rest being average, sounds like a good target for a wad.

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