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gun_psycho

Megawads: surprise difficulty spikes

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What I like to talk about in this thread is what instances would megawads start getting hard, only you don't expect such in normally-easy megawads. (For me, such spikes are often the fun part)

For instance, the first five maps of the final set of ten in the first Scythe megawad were fairly managable, and then... BAM! Map26 was incredibly monster-heavy for the relatively small map. Map28 of the same megawad was also a right pain in the ass because of the voodoo doll time limit.

Just name a point where megawads you played, according to your experiences, started getting tough. It doesn't have to be maps where there are craptons of monsters or excessive switch-hunting.

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I usually think that somewhere around the second mapset, and especially towards the end of any proper megawad is where the megawad is expected to get hard, but Plutonia 2's map29, being an already-challenging megawad... hoo boy, I didn't see that coming.

Don't get me started on CC1's marathon-of-a-level map29. Then again, I definitely would prefer that map to that same megawad's Map06, which was just plain annoying.

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I'm currently playing the first Community Chest and I'm caught up in one of these. Most of the megawad has been moderately difficult with a few hard maps thrown in (the hardest ones being Map06, Map12, Map13, and Map20), but once I hit Map25 the difficulty was turned up to 11. I'm still stuck on Map27. Hopefully Map28 won't be that hard, but I've heard that Map29 is by far the hardest in the set. 0_o

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@Processingcontrol - Oh yes, Map29 of CC1's definitely the hardest map in the set, much like Maps 23 and 24 of CC2 and Maps28 and 29 of CC3 (Map29 of CC3 is perhaps among the hardest of the maps in the entire CC series, in fact.)

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The thing with MAP29 is that it's by the same guy who made MAP05 (which is frequently panned IIRC), so it's hard more because it's so oddly made and difficult to work out more than anything else.

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Phobus said:

The thing with MAP29 is that it's by the same guy who made MAP05 (which is frequently panned IIRC), so it's hard more because it's so oddly made and difficult to work out more than anything else.

MAP06 is the one by him that everyone hates, not MAP05.

I was planning to do CC2 after the first one, but after getting my ass kicked on these later maps I might want to do some easier stuff for a while and come back to it when I'm a better player. How difficult is CC2 compared to CC1?

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I find Hell Revealed MAP13 to be a definite difficulty spike over relatively friendly MAP12 and majestic but calm MAP11. It's almost impossible with the keyboard. It's also the first map where you see that characteristic pink sky and comes with a cool name.

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printz said:

I find Hell Revealed MAP13 to be a definite difficulty spike over relatively friendly MAP12 and majestic but calm MAP11. It's almost impossible with the keyboard. It's also the first map where you see that characteristic pink sky and comes with a cool name.

I would consider Map11 of Hell Revaled to be real difficulty spike since after a run through the first 10 maps, though Map09 would count, but Map11 is where they start ramming you in preparation for what is to come from there to the later maps.

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Ah, HR1's map13... man, did that megawad stop playing around when I got up to that level. (Then again, Alien Vendetta pretty much did start getting tough around Map11)

Edit: Ok, HR1's map11 was quite a tough map, but it only got slightly easier for me as I progressed through it.

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normally i find 10+ is where maps start getting harder. i do perfer megawads that are all around more difficult, but i think that the first 10 maps are more of warmup and 11+ is where things get harder and stronger enemies are more abundant.

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@AlwaysDoomed - I'm pretty aware of the fact, but there is one exception that I found in the second Newdoom Community Project megawad, with map02 having 400+ monsters in it. How's that for a surprise?

Edit: Did I forget to mention Living Hell of CC3 being one of the hardest maps in the megawad despite being only the fifth level?

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Alien Vendetta's MAP26 may not be much harder than the surrounding maps but it was a sharp change in gameplay compared to the rest of the maps.

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Brad Spencers awesome tech base maps from AV, those really are amazing maps, and then for AV E3 I'd have to put Demonic Hordes Map25 down.

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gun_psycho said:

Did I forget to mention Living Hell of CC3 being one of the hardest maps in the megawad despite being only the fifth level?


Jesus I remember that level, came outta no where.

Some later level in WOS (The Wasted Dens maybe?) got really hard on UV, maybe it was the Revenant trap or maybe it was the lack of ammo but that level was incredibly frustrating for me.

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Yeah, I wouldn't be so surprised in megawads if the hard maps start appearing around 15+ (though like I stated earlier, Scythe I, being light on the monster density for the most part, really throws you off with map26 (666 monsters) and map30 (747 monsters, and now that I think about it, it's a much more climactic conclusion), along with the latter being a final map that doesn't use the already-pathetic Icon of Sin for a final boss.

Edit: I wouldn't really be surprised if the secret maps in megawads end up being much more difficult than the rest of the mapsets, either, as HRII's Map32 very quickly demonstrated for me. And by surprise difficulty spikes in megawads, I definitely do mean that, for instance, the first few levels were all nice and easy (or at least managable) and then the next level has you smacking into a brick wall, like CC3's Map05 which mentioned earlier.

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Speed of Doom, somewhere around that part where 20 archviles pop out of the ground in front of you.

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DeathevokatioN said:

Brad Spencers awesome tech base maps from AV, those really are amazing maps, and then for AV E3 I'd have to put Demonic Hordes Map25 down.


His levels turned me away from AV, not by being difficult, but by being dumb and boring to look at. I just don't find it interesting or difficult if I constantly have full ammo and all I do is shoot rockets/plasma/bfg to box shaped rooms filled with monsters.

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@Quasar - What map was that 20-archvile part in? Speaking of Speed of Doom, I know it is an already-hard megawad, but Maps 28 and 30... even if my old computer could handle these two levels (by the way, I got a new, stronger computer quite a while back), it would still take me quite a long time to beat Map28. As for Map30, for an Icon of Sin finale... man did the megawad end with a bang.

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Scythe II is manageable from MAP01 to MAP22, with a few tough parts in the last levels of some episodes.

Then MAP23 from the beginning is pure insanity, and the megawad just gets more insane from there.

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Jimi said:

His levels turned me away from AV, not by being difficult, but by being dumb and boring to look at. I just don't find it interesting or difficult if I constantly have full ammo and all I do is shoot rockets/plasma/bfg to box shaped rooms filled with monsters.

Blasphemy! Brad Spencer is awesome.

Heroes 2 MAP01...it seemed like a normal action-packed level about halfway through, but suddenly it jumps into an HR-type battle with a few Spider Masterminds and a dozen Cyberdemons who eventually get telefragged.

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Well, the first 11 levels were more interesting. I guess there were some other interesting looking levels later, but I didn't play them, I just flied through them in camera mode.

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Jimi said:

His levels turned me away from AV, not by being difficult, but by being dumb and boring to look at. I just don't find it interesting or difficult if I constantly have full ammo and all I do is shoot rockets/plasma/bfg to box shaped rooms filled with monsters.

I really disagree with this. :)

Playing through his levels without using saves was the most satisfaction I've had playing Doom since I played the shareware in 94.

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The best AV levels, in my opinion, were not necessarily the hardest ones. I don't play ultra-hard megawads on UV anyway. I notice a difficulty spike more than seasoned Doom Gods and I generally hate it when maps become impossible.

As for Brad Spencer's maps, they tended to be tech base style which I felt was slightly out of place in AV, which seemed mainly about castles and insane landscapes, but you have to respect that a lot of people like tech base maps. Overwhelming Odds was quite good on co-op (the only time I ever play AV on UV). Rubicon was a very overdue change from his usual style. Granted, Suicidal Tendencies and Entropy were a bit bland, but that just makes me more excited for the epic castles to come.

Only Anders Jonsen contributed more maps to the project than Brad Spencer, so it's fair to say that AV wouldn't be complete without Brad's contribution. Is he still around these days?

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MajorRawne said:

As for Brad Spencer's maps, they tended to be tech base style which I felt was slightly out of place in AV, which seemed mainly about castles and insane landscapes, but you have to respect that a lot of people like tech base maps.

I'm probably in the minority, I like fights that are on a bigger scale with lots of slaughter. But the thing is that I generally hate tech bases, but love Brad Spencers because of their no pretentious or artsy bullshit, just action that gives you room to run around in, arms you with powerful weapons and pits you in over top and interesting fights that are a breathe of fresh air for me compared to the community made tech maps that generally feature fights that go through the motions that are designed to merely "fit".

MajorRawne said:

Is he still around these days?

Yep. :)

He's working on an episode; http://www.doomworld.com/vb/wads-mods/54694-those-before-me-map-needs-testing-map02-beta-july-2nd/

And if you haven't already, check out these two great levels;

http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?id=12029

http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/index.php?id=10780

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So do I, but I admit the least favorite amongst those slaughtermaps are the "Post Mortem" style of slaughtermaps, where the monsters just attack you from all sides with little to no cover.

Speaking of which, I don't mind it so much if the enemies all just start out facing away from you like in Speed of Doom's map30 in the main Icon of Sin arena.

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Vanguard map03. All those archviles? In pairs? Surrounded by resurrectable corpses? And dropping to HNTR makes no difference? Map03 is harder than everything before map10.

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Thirteen Angry Archviles? Sounds like a fun map to romp through, pretty much like Hunted of Plutonia fame.

Also, the hardest part of Map24 of CC2's pretty much the part with the seemingly-endless chaingunner towers, and I'm not saying that lightly. (There is a secret that "destroys" the chaingunners (which make up the majority of the monsters on UV, by the way) that haven't teleported in yet, but outside of ZDoom-based ports, you can't access it and the preceeding secret close to it.

Other than what I listed earlier, I pretty much don't know any other megawads that spike up significantly in difficulty. (that is, not counting megawads that were already hard to start with.)

@RjY - I also noted that Map05 of CC2 was a good deal tougher than the first four maps last I remembered. (a pretty fun map, too) It's nowhere near as nasty as CC3's Map05, which indeed caught me off guard first time I played it.

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There are a couple of short episodes that have some difficulty spikes. Oneweek.wad which has some maps by Erik Alm has some spikes. Map 02 coming off a pretty easy map 01 still kills me. Map 09, "The Archvile's Revenge" is insane too.

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