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Budoka

Most satisfying final maps and bosses you’ve seen in PWADS(with some prerequisites)

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As the title says, this thread is about the final levels which gave you the best feelings of climax and accomplishment in any WAD. That is to say, without any form of special pleading or lowered expectations. Saying “it's better than Doom II map 30 so it’s good enough” or “it’s a normal map instead of something annoying like an IOS setup so it’s good enough” will not cut it. What I really want to know about is the kind of finales that genuinely blew you away.

In my case, I may as well cite every final map authored by Skillsaw. The first two each twist the IOS setup in their own way and turn it into something genuinely fun and enjoyable at an organic level. In Sector 666, “Demonic” is an adrenaline-fueled BFG rush capped with a final fight that requires just enough figuring out to feel substantial. Add the presence of a Spawner so as to guarantee some level of urgency, and done. Granted, it all looks a bit crude, which is why it’s the only one among my choices which I might be on the fence about.

Meanwhile, “Fire and Grimstone” from Aeternum is a stylish looking slaughtermap (although very much inspired by Alien Vendetta) that ends with a short IOS fight, relying on the player being able to successfully keep the room clean enough to maintain their balance on that narrow pillar the necessary amount of time to finish off the Baphomet (which is not a lot). In both cases, the Romero head and Spawner are used, but there are no obnoxious timing puzzles or RNG crap, and there is an actual level to be played before facing the IOS itself.

His next two works, meanwhile, sidestep the issue of a final boss altogether while still bringing a genuine sense of finality. “Punch-Out” from Vanguard is the only map that is as self-contained as it is in the whole wad which makes it stand out in a good way, but it also relies on a Berserk gimmick that was already fairly present earlier on. Not to mention, with a little imagination you could say that the Romero head is the one summoning the monsters on the ring, and that therefore there is a final boss after all. Last but not least, just like the previous two entries (and the following two for that matter), it’s very well balanced.

Lunatic’s “The Final Countdown” is admittedly a rather basic arena slaughtermap, but it stands out by being the only map of this kind in Lunatic while at the same time keeping consistency with earlier visual themes. For those who know what the map is like, it could also be argued that in this case the location itself is actively trying to kill you, and is therefore the boss.

Finally, “Electric Nightmare” from Valiant uses a boss tailor-made for the occasion. It takes the form of a custom monster which is tasteful in the sense that contrary to many such custom monsters, it feels neither out of place nor cheap in its overall design. Besides, the frantic nature of the map totally fits the style of Doom II in general and of Valiant in particular. Note that this last entry should be taken with a grain of salt as I have not yet finished Valiant. I did try out this map though.

Anyway, I can’t think of any other final maps I’ve played which were genuinely this good, but I’m sure Skillsaw can’t be the only one capable of delivering in this regard. Therefore, people, it’s your turn.

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Viper from Memento Mori is one of the best designed MAP30s ever and it utilizes a unique Cyberdemon rocket-to-rocket fight. I love everything about that map. Sure, it's hard, but that is the point of MAP30.

The bookcases that lower with ammo is one of the better ideas, and the whole level has nice architecture. Milo Casali did a great job with this one!

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Yeah, I like Viper too, although I didn't find it memorable enough to list. I think a certain streamer is going to thoroughly disagree with you though...

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How about the last map of The Darkening 2? It perfectly sums up the style of the wad and impresses you with its complex geometry.

I'm surprised that you view "Punch-Out" as the final of Vanguard. To me it's more like a cute little joke you can see in some movies after the end credits.

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Memfis said:

I'm surprised that you view "Punch-Out" as the final of Vanguard. To me it's more like a cute little joke you can see in some movies after the end credits.


Skillsaw himself describes it as more of a bonus map, but as it turns out it's beatable and reasonably challenging. meanwhile, the final slaughter wave in MAP12, while good, doesn't register for me as anything climactic or different from the rest of Episode 3. I also feel like the use of the Romero head in Punch-Out is a deliberate way of giving it an "end point" feel.

I haven't played either Darkening yet, but I'm sure I will sooner or later.

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Darkness Without End from Speed of DOOM. A simple hard-fun map without gimmicks. Short-lived but pretty epic with all those projectiles glowing in an endless darkness and the sense of hopelessness.

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Scythe 2 and Resurgence both have really epic map30s. The final huge wave of afrits in the former and the final wave of corrupted marines in the latter both felt like great end battles that took the place of a final boss.

I also really like the way A.L.T. ends. The scene in map 28/29 feels like the real climactic encounter (and if you like to view Doom's version of Hell itself as some kind of massive organism, that heart chamber is possibly the best "final boss" encounter I've seen). But what's really cool is that there's a whole level of denouement after that, with a rather unique sense of conclusion -- and if that's not enough, there's a cage battle with like a dozen cyberdemons.

Sunlust map30 is another good case of the level itself feeling like a final boss -- although I can't be alone in thinking that a well designed custom boss coming out of that cube at the end could have made it even more satisfying.

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I'd be inclined to agree about Scythe II and Resurgence if only I could personally vouch for how well those encounters actually play. Alas, I have yet to make it quite that far in either megawad.

I agree with you about Sunlust MAP30, my first thought after seeing a video of it was that it needed a proper final fight. Those pairs of Archviles just don't seem like much, and if I'm not mistaken you can even go kill them without having finished off the rest of the enemies. The lift at the end also felt like it was building up to something, but I guess not.

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I remember endmap where you had a choice after defeating the boss: 1. you could shoot its brain and kill all his minions, pretty much like in Doom 2 ending. Or you could "enter" the brain and become monsters' new master. The fight leading to the ending was pretty intense, too. Too bad I don't remember the name of the mod...

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I love Plutonia 2's Icon of sin. The way it raises from the ground and the awesome midi playing to it, gets me really pumped every time.

Caleb13 said:

I remember endmap where you had a choice after defeating the boss: 1. you could shoot its brain and kill all his minions, pretty much like in Doom 2 ending. Or you could "enter" the brain and become monsters' new master. The fight leading to the ending was pretty intense, too. Too bad I don't remember the name of the mod...


Demons of Problematique 2 ?

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I recently finished Valiant on UV a while back and I gotta tell you, finishing that MAP30 and seeing that boss die and knowing you beat it was a great feeling. Valiant has some pretty hard maps but they all feel good when you beat them; especially MAP30.

Skillsaw struck gold with Valiant, and I'd love to see a Valiant 2 or something along the same lines. The last episode is just brilliant in general.

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I didn't play many megawads untill now so my experience in this area is not very wide. From the megawads I recently finished (Memento Mori series, Requiem, Hell Revealed, Alien Vendetta) most satisfying maps 30 have been:

1) It - Memento Mori 2

2) Viper - Memento Mori (actually you can kill the boss without activate the monster spawn)

My ideally map 30 is a difficult level where the IOS battle at the end must somehow pay the player for the effort made to reach that point, like happen in Requiem map 23 Hatred (even in I hated the ghost monsters spam, the only bad point of another
very good Dario Casali level).

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