Some levels are ‘developed’ to be amazing.
Dust2 – Counter Strike Series
Some levels can become classics, if not through there excellence, then through their cultural significance. Dust2, though not the most polished or balanced of maps to grace a competitive FPS, has wound up becoming the quintessential Counter Strike map. It has gotten to the point where one cannot conjure up a memory of Valve’s classic shooter without thinking of the double doors or tunnels of Dust2’s memorable layout. It’s easy to argue Dust2 is the most popular bomb defusal scenario in the CS series, but it could also easily be seen as the most popular map in the game full stop.
Wonderland – Kingdom Hearts
SquareEnix’s Disney crossover series was met with a degree of scepticism when it was initially announced, a scepticism that was almost confirmed by Kingdom Hearts’ washy faux-Final Fantasy opening hour. Once you got into Wonderland though, the first Disney themed world you get to explore, that was when the idea really showed what it was capable of. With size altering mechanics and a cameo from the Queen of Hearts showing off just how intertwined the Disney and Final Fantasy licenses were, it was Wonderland that truly immersed us in the world of Kingdom Hearts.
Ravenholme – Half-Life 2
Of all the levels in Half-Life 2, Ravenholme is easily the most memorable. Featuring a focus on the infamous headcrabs that are such an important part of the Half-Life world. It’s definitely one of the harder (and often more frustrating) sections of Valve’s seminal FPS sequel. Originally a home for the resistance, Ravenholme is just another desolate space by the time Gordon Freeman passes through. Having been ravaged by the Combine, Ravenholme becomes a site of horror and tension, thus why it helped immerse us in the horrors committed by Half-Life’s antagonists so well.
All Ghillied Up – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Back when the Modern Warfare sub-series was still fresh and innovative, this was the crowning mission of CoD4’s roller-coaster of a campaign. Swapping characters to take on the role of a young Captain Price investigating the outskirts of Chernobyl, was an example of the kind of exciting narrative pacing that has been obused and overused in recent Call of Duty games. Featuring a tense curving sniper shot, a crashing plane that breaks your CO’s leg and a crazily difficult survival run while you wait for extraction, the Pripyat levels were some of the most exciting single player experiences money could buy back in 2007.