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What's better: Chain explosions or Diablo's Tristram theme?

Vote now as we continue deciding the single best thing in games

A chain reaction of explosive barrels in the Doom 2 level Barrels o' Fun.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bethesda Softworks

Last time, you decided that seeing your outfit in cutscenes is better than telefragging. I understand the yearning for fashion, absolutely I do, but I'm not convinced you fully thought it through. I will point you to a comment by reader 'moderately sized grundus', who asked, "What could be more cosmetic than wearing the literal skin of your very recently slain enemies?" A strong question. But we move on. This week, I ask you to pick between explosive reaction and emotive composition. What's better: chain explosions or Diablo's Tristram theme?

Chain explosions

You know what's great? An explosion. You know what's better? Multiple explosions? You know what's best? A chain of explosions, each triggering a new explosion which triggers a new explosion which triggers a new explosion, on and on, though never for quite as long as you wish.

My new favourite card in deck-building tower defense game Heretic's Fork is Coin Barrage, which which gives coin drops a chance to explode. Cast enough times, every coin will explode. Then boost your coin drop rate and damage and eventually, in the right conditions, killing enemies will start a chain explosion as coins kill enemies who drop coins which kill enemies who drop coins and your screen fills with purple explosions. It's quite good.

I feel many games modern games offer opportunities for chain explosions in these modern days of perks and traits and rolls and roguelikelikes, opportunities to carefully craft a cascade. Sometimes the classics are the simplest. The Doom 2 level Barrels O' Fun features several long corridors lined with explosive barrels. Shoot one and watch the explosions cascade down the hall. Beautiful. The emotional power of video games.

I always enjoyed Destiny 2's Sunshot, a magical hand cannon which could start chain explosions in hordes of weaker enemies

Diablo's Tristram theme

No matter how big Diablo games grow, no matter how Prime their Evils, no matter how many cities and continents fall to demons, for me, the heart of the series is always in a doomed hamlet hanging beneath a few strums of a 12-string guitar. It's not even a main theme yet holds more wonder and magic and comfort and humanity and tragedy than entire games.

But which is better?

I've been thinking about this all day and still cannot decide. What do you think, reader dear?

Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We'll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.

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Diablo II

Video Game

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Doom II: Hell on Earth

Nintendo Switch

Heretic's Fork


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About the Author
Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.