"Is it me, or is that place we were just in awfully familiar...?'"
— Sonic the Hedgehog
experiencing déjŕ vu
A form of Call Back
in which a level or area in a video game is designed in such a way as to evoke memories of a previous game in the series. There are various ways in which this can be done: the level may simply use graphics or music from the original, or it may have the characters return to a location visited earlier in the series. In extreme cases, an entire level may be reproduced exactly using updated graphics.
Also, if a game has a Level Editor
, even if it has no official Nostalgia Level
, you can expect fans to make plenty of remakes of iconic levels from older games in its series, and even some complete Video Game Remakes
. It's a common idea when originality is a bit low.
Compare Legacy Boss Battle
, which is basically a Nostalgia Boss Battle
; Video Game Remake
, which is basically a Nostalgia Game
; the Remember Me Level flavor of All The Worlds Are A Stage
, where a level or section from a previous game is included among a newer game's final area's "past challenges"; and Embedded Precursor
, where an earlier game is included in its entirety. Often brings a series' protagonist back Where It All Began
. See also Continuity Cavalcade
. Contrast Recurring Location
, which is a location reused for plot purposes.
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- Deconstructing the trope seems to have caught on as a minor trend, sometimes to the point of anti-nostalgia. Metal Gear Solid 4, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Grand Theft Auto V, for example, all feature Nostalgia Levels that are far, far past their prime, at times depressingly so. A once bustling arctic base is now a desolate ruin. The player's home street in a previous game is now a gun battle- and drugs-riddled ghetto. And so on.
- Modern Super Mario Bros. games revel in this.
- One of the e-Reader levels in Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 is a remake of World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros.. The Japanese version also released remakes of the rest of World 1 as well as 2-2.
- All the Super Mario Kart tracks are unlockable in Mario Kart: Super Circuit (though they are arranged in five cups of four tracks each rather than four cups of five, to match the newer tracks- this also leads to ruining the pattern of the first three cups ending with a Bowser Castle track followed by a Mario Circuit track). Mario Kart DS, Wii, 7, and 8 also include returning tracks from previous games.
- Piranha Plant Slide from Mario Kart 7 is a throwback to the original Super Mario Bros. 1 on the NES.
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga included at least a couple of top-down 2-D sections riffing on the original game's side-on 2-D levels. It also had a quirky remake of the original Mario Bros, as does almost every other Mario game on the Game Boy Advance.
- Super Paper Mario had 1-1, 1-2, 6-2, and the famous 6-2 Coin Heaven mixed in there somewhere.
- Furthermore, the whole idea for Super Paper Mario came from the between-chapter minigame in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door where you played a typical Super Mario Bros game, except as Bowser, where you collect pieces of meat to get bigger.
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 has even more references, the majority of which are in the bonus world:
- Throwback Galaxy, a remake of Whomp's Fortress from Super Mario 64. It also has more old music but fully orchestrated. It's even called "Nostalgic Fortress Galaxy" in the Japanese, Italian and Spanish versions.
- Several bosses from the first Galaxy make a reappearance. (One boss (Bugaboom) appears in a secret mission, while 5 other bosses (Dino Piranha, King Kaliente, Major Burrows, Bouldergeist, and Fiery Dino Piranha) are in the Boss Rush level.)
- Luigi's Purple Coins ("Luigi's Purple Coin Chaos" in Mario Squared Galaxy) and the Cyclone Stone (Stone Cyclone Galaxy) both return from the first game. They're both harder than the original versions.
- The Rolling Coaster Galaxy is reminiscent of both Rainbow Ride and Rainbow Road.
- World S also has another nod to Super Mario Sunshine. The Twisty Trials Galaxy is a remake of one of the FLUDD-less "secret" levels, specifically mission 4 of Ricco Harbor. Yet again, it's much harder than the original. Galaxy 2's physics engine is much less generous regarding how slanted the surface of the rotating blocks has to get before you fall off. And if the level still isn't difficult enough for you, the prankster comet makes the blocks rotate twice as fast, and places the power star above a rotating block rather than a stationary platform.
- Even one older Mario game had this: In Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario and Luigi could fight for items in an area based on the original Mario Bros. arcade game.
- Yoshis Island DS is chock-full of these, from one-upping The Very Loooooooong Cave with The Cave That Never Ends to having twin Berts instead of one as the first boss, and even an imitation of Bowser's giant transformation through magic. And the game begins with direct remakes of the tutorial level and first level of the original game.
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii takes the first part of 1-1 for its 1-1 and aspects of the Airship from Super Mario Bros. 3 for Bowser Jr's Airship. Also, one of the levels in Coin Battle mode IS the original 1-1... With absolutely wonky physics. Prepare for the blocks to spin around on you, and to fall through several platforms on the grounds of them being fake.
- Super Mario RPG has a room in Booster's Tower where you can turn into the original, 2D version of Mario temporarily. For some reason. And all the games from the Paper Mario series have a similar section.
- The DS remake of Super Mario 64 has a small tropical island world that uses the music from Super Mario Sunshine's Delfino Plaza.
- Super Mario 3D World features Tank levels, the concept alone being a callback to the tank levels of Super Mario Bros. 3, Plessie's levels reuse the race music from Super Mario 64, the Golden Express is a reference to the coin-heavy levels of New Super Mario Bros. 2, but the biggest references have to be the stages Super Block Land, Super Galaxy and Mount Must Dash.
- The first bonus chapter in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is composed of four levels from 3D World, reworked for Toad's controls. (Furthering the reference, having 3D World save data unlocks them automatically.)
- A DLC package for New Super Mario Bros. 2 features 1-1, 1-2 and 1-4 from the first game, as well as levels from Super Mario Bros. 3 and the original Mario Bros. level as a secret area in one of its levels.
- Between the various DLC packs for Mario Golf: World Tour, every course from the N64 Mario Golf is available for play with updated visuals and music, although Shy Guy Desert, Yoshi's Island, and Boo Valley were redesigned after worlds from New Super Mario Bros. U.
- Mario Adventure combines this with Macro Zone for World 6, Colossal Classics - every level is a giant-sized Nostalgia Level.
- The second-to-last level of Kirby's Adventure for NES has black-and-white graphics (Kirby is the ONLY THING still colored) and looks like the original Kirby's Dream Land for Game Boy. This is unusual among Nostalgia Levels in that Kirby's Dream Land was only released one year earlier. When Kirby's Adventure was remade as the Game Boy Advance game Nightmare In Dream Land, that level was included intact, where it made somewhat more sense, since the GBA was not only the Game Boy's successor but was backwards-compatible with its games. To add to the nostalgic appeal, while Adventure used monochrome versions of the higher-resolution NES graphics, Nightmare In Dream Land uses the original Game Boy tilesets.
- Super Metroid has the old Mother Brain room and the first few rooms of Brinstar (one of which was the escape shaft) from the original Metroid.
- The Aurora Units from Metroid Prime 3 were clearly meant to remind players of Mother Brain from the 2D games, in terms of both looks and the music played when they appear. One trailer explaining the history of the Auroras even used the Mother Brain room from the first game as a background image. The similarity is such that it was surprising that the game never explicitly stated a connection between the two.
- By the same token, many areas of Metroid Zero Mission (which also classifies as a Nostalgia Game) are throwbacks to Super Metroid, since a few of them didn't exist in the original Metroid.
- Near the end of Metroid Fusion you end up in a section that looks like Tourian from the original (including the green acid that the Gravity Suit can't protect against). The boss of the place is an X Parasite that takes the form of Ridley (Samus' arch-nemesis) that rewards you with the Screw Attack (one of the staples of the series). And the first time you see Metroids in the game is just before you enter this area (Metroids made their debut in Tourian).
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The first dungeon's map in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons was shaped similarly to Level 1 from the original The Legend of Zelda, and the entrance sat in an old tree in the center of an island connected by a bridge to the right, just like in the original game. And the treasure room was shaped like those in Zelda 1. Six of the eight dungeon bosses in that game were remakes of Zelda 1 bosses, with another being taken from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. As you may have figured out by this point, the game was originally planned as a remake of the first game.
- The entrance of the Temple of Time in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is very familiar to anyone who played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This stands to reason, since Word of God states that Twilight Princess is a direct successor (several generations later) to Ocarina.
- Also, the Hyrule Castle sections of both Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker have remixed versions of the Castle theme from A Link to the Past. The former even has a bunch of puzzles that involve using your lantern to light things, the lantern being the quest item in ALttP.
- The DSi rerelease of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords features the Realm of Memories, which has three different dungeons based on areas from Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, and the original.note
- The entire game world of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, from the overworld to the dungeons, is almost completely identical to that of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, in terms of both aesthetic and layout.
- The final area in Mother 3 contains a movie theater playing clips from EarthBound, its predecessor. The whole final stage is largely intended to be a nostalgia trip, with one of the very last areas the player goes through containing a museum filled with items and characters (or replicas of them) from Earthbound, with the sprites being directly ripped from the previous game. Between the proportions and the palette differences between the SNES and GBA sprites, a lot of the sprites were particularly jarring (most notably a certain someone's spider mech being sized to match Earthbound's battle sprites rather than the overworld's). The music in the looooong alley preceding that particular room is the same as the title screen of the first game, the very first tune you'll hear in the entire series. There are also a theatre screening a movie made of the major events of the second game. A snack bar has robot female servants modeled after a certain Dung Beetle-hating rich cold-hearted woman, complete with the same quotes! The villain room in the Thunder Tower has the Teddy Bear, and various other easter eggs. You can even engage in an optional Bonus Boss battle for an equippable "Friend's Yo-Yo"!
- Super Smash Bros. levels are often reworks of levels of the original games the fighters came from. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there are near-perfect copies of the original Mario Bros.. arcade game, and one of the Donkey Kong stages, amongst others. Melee, Brawl, and 3DS/Wii U also have stages taken directly from the respective previous Smash games; while Melee and Brawl only specifically brought back stages from the direct predecessor, 3DS and Wii U include stages from even older games as well, to the point of bringing back a stage from the N64 game in Wii U.
- Donkey Kong:
- Donkey Kong (1994) for the Game Boy starts off with the same four levels from the original arcade version of Donkey Kong (made significantly easier because Mario has many more tricks and can fall from greater heights safely). Later, he has to contend with running through several of the levels that he forced Donkey Kong, Jr. to deal with in the latter's game while trying to dodge Junior's interference - fittingly, the last stage with Junior is the last stage of Junior's game (with the difference being that Mario is locking Junior up instead of Junior rescuing his father from Mario).
- In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze , World 6 is based on the previous game, Donkey Kong Country Returns. While the levels are not actually old levels, they do have occasional Call Backs in the background. Specifically, the eight main levels are based on the following worlds in the original game:
- "Homecoming Hijinxs" is based on the first world, "Jungle".
- "Seashore War" is based on the second world, "Beach".
- "Aqueduct Assault" is based on the third world, "Ruins".
- "Blurry Flurry" is based on the fourth world, "Cave".
- "Forest Folly" is based on the fifth world, "Forest".
- "Cliffside Slide" is based on the sixth world, "Cliff".
- "Frozen Frenzy" is based on the seventh world, "Factory".
- "Meltdown Mayhem" is based on the eighth and final main world, "Volcano".
- F-Zero X featured two of these in the Joker Cup. The first is Rainbow Road, which is a remake of the Rainbow Road track from Mario Kart 64, and if you're playing on the Japan-only Expansion Kit for the Nintendo 64DD, it even features a metal remix of the Rainbow Road theme music as well. The other is Port Town 2, which is a remake of the track of the same name from the original F-Zero on SNES.
- The Platinum Cups in GP Legend and Climax were made up of remakes of certain tracks from the SNES game, and Climax even expanded on four of them.
- The Advance Wars series recycled most of the maps from the earlier Famicom Wars games in the War Room modes for each game. At the very least, you can always expect to find some version of Bean Island in each game, which was the very first map in the original Famicom Wars.
- The golf courses in Wii Sports are all remakes of courses from Golf for NES. In turn, all of those courses reappear in Wii Sports Resort under the "Classic" category, while the all-new courses are within the "Resort" one. Wii Sports Club features its own set and the previous two.
- The setting of the jogging courses from Wii Fit was eventually reworked into Wuhu Island in Wii Sports Resort, which has become a recurring setting for Nintendo games, appearing in not only the later games in the Wii Fit series, but also in Pilotwings Resort, Mario Kart 7, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
- Planet Puzzle League for the DS ditched the mascot characters from previous games in the series in favor of a rather sterile presentation, but did include Lip's stage from the SNES Panel de Pon as an unlockable skin. Of course, this was nowhere to be seen in international versions...
- The classic The Twilight Zone pinball machine had a quick multiball mode which featured, as it was counting down the available timer, clips from the designer's (Pat Lawlor's) prior games: The Addams Family, Fun House Whirlwind, Earthshaker!, and Banzai Run.
- Junk Yard had a bonus mode that randomly started a mode from an earlier pinball machine, including The Addams Family, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Attack from Mars. (There's another mode, "Knight Mission", that is reportedly not based on Black Knight 2000, and its accompanying date is actually in the futurenote .)
- The playfield layout for Steve Ritchie's 1995 game, No Fear: Dangerous Sports, is described as a hybrid of High Speed (and its sequel The Getaway: High Speed II), Black Knight 2000, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, with a ruleset based on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- The third game in the Pin Bot series, Jack*Bot, is a reworked version of the first game, using the same playfield layout but with a casino theme, revised rules and updated electronics.
- A flashback level in Tomb Raider Legend has young Lara wearing her outfit from the original Tomb Raider game.
- It's only an Easter Egg, but Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, as well as including the original Prince of Persia as an Embedded Precursor, also has the first level of it rebuilt in 3D.
- Ecco The Dolphin: Defender of the Future includes two hidden levels that play like the 2D Sega Genesis games from earlier in the series; one of them is actually called Passage from Genesis. Slightly more subtle are the Hanging Waters levels, which harken back to the water tubes from the second Genesis game.
- The final dungeon of StarTropics 2 is the same as the first dungeon from the original game, only with updated graphics and an extra boss fight at the end.
- La-Mulana has a hidden area based on the first level of Maze Of Galious, the MSX game it was inspired by. Behind the same door in the remake lies the Gate of Time, which consists of parts of the early levels with the original Retraux 8-bit graphics restored.
- Being based around Time Travel, the Legacy of Kain series has fun with this, often revisting locations from the first game Blood Omen, sometimes even at the same time.
- In Soul Reaver, the second game which takes place in the far future, Nupraptor's keep is revisited, which has long since dropped from its cliff.
- Also in Soul Reaver, the Chronoplast is directly under the Oracle's cave.
- The Sarafan Stronghold visited in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance is explicitly modeled on the building seen in Blood Omen's intro cinematic.
- Defiance also revisits Kain's mausoleum, Vorador's mansion and Avernus Cathedral.
- Dragon Slayer series: Sorcerian had one scenario which was effectively a shortened remake of Romancia: Dragon Slayer Jr.. Curiously, the localized version by Sierra changed the dialogue and music to make the reference to Romancia less obvious, though Romancia was never released outside Japan.
- Ultima Underworld 2 had a level done in white line drawn graphics meant to mimic the style of Akalabeth World Of Doom.
- Diablo II had one quest which ended with a return to the town of Tristram, where the first game took place. Except that, typically for the series, everyone had been turned into zombies. The developers even took the time to position corpses where each of the NPCs from the first game were standing.
- Deus Ex: Invisible War has a level in the UNATCO building of the first game as well as some other locations. There is also a point in Deus Ex: Human Revolution where the Music for the Hong Kong level can be heard.
- Mass Effect:
- Mass Effect 2 has an entire DLC dedicated to this: "Normandy Crash Site". After your original Cool Starship is destroyed (you get a replacement), you can visit the planet over which she crashed. Even though the Normandy is in pieces, you can still recognize the familiar rooms among the wreckage. For extra nostalgia, you get situational flashbacks of your old crew and must collect their dog tags from the wreckage.
- The final level of the Mass Effect 3 DLC "Omega" takes place in the plaza before Aria's nightclub and the nightclub itself, both of which served as a Hub Level in ME2.
- Before the action begins in Myst III, you can snoop around Atrus' office and find the original book of Riven, which belonged to the Big Bad of the second game: you can open it, and you can even touch the linking window, though nothing happens.
- In Myst IV, you can cause two optional flashbacks to FM Vs from Myst III.
- Uru: Path of the Shell features the Myst library and K'veer. And in Myst V, the player can visit a dilapidated version of Myst island in the bad endings. Myst V also returns you to the Great Shaft seen in Uru: To D'ni previously. And Uru also includes several locations mentioned in the books, such as the Cleft.
- The Flash adventure game series Prawn to be Wild, made as a prequel to the events of the popular Flash animated series On The Moon, ends with the events of the first episode of On The Moon... which the player must replicate exactly. The player must complete a multiple-choice quiz in order to make the main character say exactly what he originally said.
- Monkey Island did this at least twice, although these are easter eggs and don't actually allow much gameplay.
- In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, during the last sequence in the underground tunnels, if you go up the lift you can exit to a back alley on Melee Island (from the first game).
- In The Curse of Monkey Island, you can stick your head in a wall at the crypt on Blood Island and it'll "pop out of the ground" in the middle of the forest on Melee Island (complete with the original MIDI music that accompanies that scene in the first game). Also, the LeChuck doll uses the same sprites as LeChuck himself in Monkey Island 2, causing it to stand out against the more cartoony graphics of The Curse of Monkey Island.
- It's probable that Escape from Monkey Island intended the Melee Island and Monkey Island sequences to be nostalgia levels. The Scumm Bar, the giant clock in town, Carla and Otis and Meathook, then Herman Toothrot, the banana picker, and the giant monkey head. Too bad it was done poorly.
- Space Quest 4 has a section where Roger Wilco travels back in time to Space Quest 1. The backgrounds are low-res, 16-colour graphics as in the original, while Roger and his time machine are in high-res 256-colour graphics. When Roger enters the bar, he is beaten up by some monochrome NPCs who are jealous of his VGA graphics.
- In Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, you revisit 3D versions of Venice and Marcuria which have gone to seed since the original The Longest Journey.
- King's Quest: Mask of Eternity: Castle Daventry. It's less colorful than last time around, though. Graham makes an appearance, and both Graham and Valanice are shown in classic paintings from the sixth game.
Beat 'Em Up
- Double Dragon Advance features the Chinatown and Truck stages from Super Double Dragon, as well as a new stage based on the Cavern stage from the first NES game, and a temple resembling the Mansion of Terror from the second NES game.
- In the 2010 remake of Splatterhouse, there are side-scrolling segments reminiscent of the stages to the original games, complete with death traps, similar-sounding music, and the ability to knock enemies into the back wall with weapons.
Collectible Card Game
- Magic: The Gathering has Time Spiral as its Nostalgia Block. Time Spiral and Planar Chaos are chock-full of nostalgia, and Future Sight has...future nostalgia.
- Scars of Mirrodin revisits the popular Mirrodin setting, chock full of robots and metal. It doesn't end well for Mirrodin, as the world becomes the new homeworld for one of the game's once-thought-to-be-dead Big Bads.
- Return to Ravnica revisits the popular City Plane setting. Ravnica winds up a lot better off than Mirrodin, with peace restored to pre-Ravnica levels and most of the guild having undergone significant reforms.
- One of the later levels of Drakengard 2 is one of the first levels of Drakengard, but in reverse. Instead of entering the castle and ascending it, you start from the top and work your way down.
- Which is exactly what you do in the Free Exploration version of that mission in the first one.
- Getting all 180 emblems in Sonic Adventure 2 unlocks a 3D version of Green Hill Zone from Sonic The Hedgehog 1.
- Sonic Advance 3's Sunset Hill Zone. The level's layout isn't from a previous one, but its general aesthetic is very similar to Green Hill Zone (except, as the name suggests, at dusk), and it features remixes of its music.
- Sonic Advance also features a Nostalgia mini-Boss Rush in the final level, as Eggman's first two forms mirror those that he used in the first boss areas of Sonic The Hedgehog 1 (Egg Mobile armed with a wrecking ball) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (A slow-moving drill car), complete with the boss music from their respective games.
- The last hidden island in Sonic Rush Adventure is a replica of the first level from Sonic Rush.
- Then there's Sonic Chronicles, which not only re-used old levels, but hides an old Egg Robo enemy and a Mega-Drive (Genesis in the US) in one of the level art, recycles old music in some of the stages, puts old sound effects to use (albeit in inappropriate places), and brings back enemies from the non-game canon. Chronicles doesn't contain so much as a nostalgia level, as it is chock full of nostalgic moments for the fans of all Sonic canons.
- Mario And Sonic At The Olympic Games's Dream Alpine level uses the first stage, and one of the more difficult enemies, from Sonic Heroes, right down to the music.
- Dream Bobsleigh, despite being named after an area of Sonic Chronicles, is the bonus stage from Sonic Heroes.
- Many of the dream events in the game are like this. Dream Snowboard Cross is Radical Highway from Sonic Adventure 2. Dream Ski Cross is a Mario Kart pastiche, right down to the opening fanfare and countdown.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4 takes the first part of Green Hill Zone for Splash Hill Zone.
- Game Land from Sonic Colors has several stages based off of Act 1 level layouts for all of the zones from the original game.
- Shadow the Hedgehog's stages has several stages from Sonic Adventure 2. Prison Island which takes elements of stages from the aforementioned island (Metal Harbor and Green Forest), except it's added with acid. The stages from the Space Colony ARK, namely Space Gadget, The ARK, and Cosmic Fall - have similarities of stages such as Crazy Gadget, Final Rush, and Final Chase.
- Sonic Generations. All the stages in the console version have different level designs than the ones they were based on. However, just about all of the stages in Generations take at least one very memorable part of the original stage and mimic it almost exactly like the original. For example, in Green Hill Zone as classic Sonic, there is a part where you roll down two tubes into a ramp, which launches you into a bunch of suspended rings to collect.
- * Mega Man:
- Mega Man 7 features a level taking place in a museum featuring statues (actually the actual deactivated bodies) of past Robot Masters. Dr. Wily steals one of them, Guts Man, who Mega Man later fights after Dr. Wily has finished modifying him into a hulking super-robot. This short level also has a medley of various old MM songs as its BGM.
- Mega Man & Bass (originally Rockman and Forte) begins with another museum level, this time having the player play through rooms based upon levels from previous games (i.e. Metal Man's, Toad Man's). On top of this, the level's boss is Green Devil, the second of the recurring Gel Devil bosses that appear throughout the series. Green originally appeared in Mega Man 8, but he was a nostalgia boss of the Yellow Devil from the original and Mega Man 3. Mega Man X 5 did this with the Black Devil boss, and Mega Man Zero had the Rainbow Devil.
- Mega Man 9 is designed with an overall Retraux aesthetic. Some of the random sections in the Endless Stage DLC are copied and pasted directly from the first two games.
- Mega Man 10 features several more obscure Nostalgia Levels; the Special Stages are based off of the fortress stages of the first, third, and fourth Game Boy installments of the series (with some alterations), up to and including the boss fights with Enker, Punk, and Ballade. (Quint is strangely absent.) You even get their weapons for use in the main game for beating them. In the main game, the Weapons Archive is a Nostalgia Boss, imitating one boss from each of the first nine numbered Mega Man games.
- The final area in Mega Man X 5 is intended to evoke all of Mega Man history, leading up to the climactic end of the series, but they released three more games. They also tried to evoke nostalgia for Quick Man's level. And at the end of that section, you fight the Devil robot from Mega Man 1.
- And one of the most iconic fortress bosses from the X series returns in the second final stage: the wall-mounted face machine, Rangda Bangda, complete with a remix of the Vile/Fortress Boss theme from X.
- Part of Mega Man ZX's Area D is a remake of the Central Highway stage from the first X game. Several of the stages in ZX Advent are based on ZX stages, notably Queenbee's stage, which has the same overall structure and appearance as the final stage in its predecessor.
- The second half of the first stage in Mega Man X7 is also a rendition of stage in Mega Man X.
- The Undernet 2 area of Mega Man Battle Network 4 looks almost exactly the same as the Undernet 2 area of Battle Network 2. The most noticable difference is that the portal to the (relatively speaking) friendly Undersquare is now a giant black hole of doom leading to a (completely unrelated) Bonus Dungeon swarming with even more evil.
- The level "Metropolis" of the planet Kerwan from the Ratchet & Clank series appears many times throughout the series. Megapolis in Going Commando is a callback, but Up Your Arsenal, by virtue of taking place in the Solana Galaxy (the setting of the first game), features the most of these.
- Namely, the game starts on Planet Veldin, and the end of this level is actually the 'beginning' of the original. Later, Ratchet will find himself back in Blackwater City, Aridia (although this one takes place in Outpost X12, as opposed to X11, so the level is really only the same in name and in theme), and of course, Metropolis, which even features a boss fight on the trains from the first game.
- Deadlocked will bring the player back to Planet Orxon, though the level is a much darker green combined with a lot of dark gray and black, as opposed to the neon green mist from the first.
- The first level of Tools of Destruction is, once again, Planet Kerwan. The level takes place in an area much different from the originals, however. There's also the IRIS Supercomputer, which is filled with monitors that show scenes from the PS2 games.
- Full Frontal Assault features DLC that allows you to play in... you guessed it; Metropolis.
- Into the Nexus features what is likely the greatest Nostalgia Level of all, however... Meridian City, Planet Igliak, from Tools of Destruction! No, it's not the fact that Meridian City is from a past game, but the level starts in a museum that covers the history of the entire series, featuring every old villain and plenty of callbacks to the original games, and even a miniboss fight against a small-scale model Biobliterator.
- The entry hall part of the first level in the original Castlevania has made numerous re-appearances throughout the series. And the ascent to Dracula's throne room is practically the same in almost every Castlevania game since the beginning. The ascent even makes up the Castlevania section of I Wanna Be the Guy, albeit with less safe place to stand, and more enemies.
- Every level of the original Castlevania, as well as several from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, appear in most of the subsequent 2D versions of the game - however, as many people never got far in the game, they're not as immediately recognized.
- Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow's Julius Mode is an example of this. The entire mode is supposed to be an homage to Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Julius takes the place of Trevor, Yoko takes the place of Sypha, and Alucard... replaces himself. There was evidence found in the game's files that Hammer, the shopkeeper, was meant to be a playable character as well, meaning that he would probably take the place of Grant Da Nasty. Adding in a Crowning Music of Awesome, The song "Beginning" from the first level of Castlevania III plays in the Lost Village (the first area of the game) and the song "Bloody Tears" from Castlevania II Simons Quest plays in The Dark Chapel.
- Castlevania: Harmony of Despair has Chapter 10: Origins, a remake of the entirety of the first Castlevania, with the retro enemies and bosses and even all the breakable walls and other secrets from the original. Beating it once also unlocks all the original 8-bit tracks, making it even better. Chapter 11 is similarly based on Getsu Fuma Den, an Action Adventure game originally released for the Famicom in the same year.
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's Clock Tower and Castle Keep are very similar to their counterparts from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, with a few new areas.
- Crash Twinsanity opens with a jungle level, which very much evokes the mood of the (usually early-found) jungle levels of the first two games in the franchise.
- Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts has Banjo Land, which is set in an enormous museum filled with remnants from nearly every level from the previous games. The background music of Banjo Land is also a medley of various level tunes from the previous games.
- 2 of Banjo-Tooie's first person levels are taken from Golden Eye 1997 (by the same company).
- Rainbow Islands had a couple of Shout-Out levels based on other Taito games, but the last of the three secret islands that truly close the story is a true nostalgia level, where Bub (and Bob) have to yet again fight against their old enemies on Bubble Island, a huge throwback to Bubble Bobble. Unfortunately, they're already red and their attacks have been expanded. This time.
- Likewise, Parasol Stars: The Story of Bubble Bobble III had the eighth planet being based on Rainbow Islands, complete with a rematch of that game's True Final Boss (that is, the one from Bubble Island, not Dragon Island). And that's the last stage unless you did certain actions during a certain point in the game, at which case the game continues with two extra levels, both being nostalgia levels: the first of these is based on Bubble Bobble itself, with the boss being Super Drunk, the last boss of that game. The world after that, the true final world, is based on Bubble Bobble's spiritual precursor, Chack'n Pop. It's filled with nothing but Stoners, Belugas, Hullaballoons, (If you ain't fond of Woolseyisms: Mightas, Monstas, and Pulpuls respectively) and evil Chack'ns. You even rescue Chack'n himself in the end!
- Bubble Bobble and Bubble Symphony reference the first level in Chack'n Pop. Symphony goes further by having Nostalgia Levels based on other games in its TV Machine world, including the aforementioned Chack'n Pop level.
- On a further note, the first boss of Bubble Symphony (no matter which of the first 3 doors are chosen) is a severely nerfed Super Drunk who is mainly easier, though reverts to his old Bubble Bobble pattern when he Turns Red. Even the level is a direct copy of Bubble Bobble's level 100. The True Final Boss lets an even more pathetic puppet version of Super Drunk fight you before revealing himself to be Hyper Drunk.
- Stage 8-10 of Giana Sisters DS is a remake of the entire original Great Giana Sisters. Of course, to unlock it, you'll have to beat the game without getting a game over.
- The Contra series had plenty of these.
- The final stage in Contra III: The Alien Wars had you facing against bosses from the first two games (both arcade and NES versions) in alien womb similar to the original game.
- The fifth stage in Contra: Shattered Soldier is set in the jungles of Galuga Island, the setting of the original Contra and has the first stage theme from the original game as a background music.
- The first half of Stage 2 is a throwback to the first part of Stage 4 from Contra III, and the second half is based on a level from Hard Corps.
- Many of the levels from Contra 4 were shout backs to the early games (including Operation C).
- Contra Rebirth is a Nostalgia Game, with the entire soundtrack being comprised of remixes from previous games. Area 2 and Area 5 in particular bear strong similarities to Contra III: The Alien Wars, which make certain bosses a homage to a homage.
- Rolling Thunder 3 featured a cobweb-filled version of the Warehouse from the first game as a hidden level.
- Level 11 of A Boy and His Blob for Wii is a remake of the beginning of the NES game, complete with orchestrated music.
- The awesome Super Mario Bros. 3 hack Mario Adventure has a world with giant versions of classic levels.
- One remarkable example from the Super Mario World ROM hack Super Demo World is a level in modeled after parts of World 1 from Super Mario Bros. 3, including the bizarre secret from 1-3.
- And then there's Syobon Action, whose levels are patterned after the original Super Mario Bros. but with all sorts of nasty Platform Hell surprises added.
- Sector 8 of Jumper Two consists of a selection of levels from original Jumper. Namely: 6-1, 2-5, 4-4, 6-4 and 3-4.
- The first area of Wonder Boy In Monster World right after leaving your house is just like the beginning of Round 1 of Wonder Boy In Monster Land. Things change once you reach the castle.
- Fixation, being a prequel to The Company Of Myself, naturally has one in "Chapter Five: The Meadow", which is visually designed after the setting of the original game. Then you get to the final level, and it is completely dark. You move to the right of the stage, and the darkness disappears, revealing that the level is actually Level 17 from the original game. The premise of the level is even the same — you deactivate the barrier that blocks Jack (using a smoke ring instead of a lever, due to the game's mechanics), followed by Jack activating a switch that allows him to progress... but also drops you down a pit.
- The first stage of I Wanna Be the Guy is revisited in Gaiden, with new traps and a new boss.
- The Royal Palace rooms of Mighty Bomb Jack are this in terms of gameplay, though not graphics.
- The final two stages in Strider 2 are recreations of the 3rd and 5th stages in the original, albeit with their own twists added here and there.
- Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc has a minigame called 2D Madness, which is a 2D platforming level based off of the first Rayman's Dream Forest area. There's also a Dummied Out second level based on Picture Land.
- Something series
- According to Yogui, Oldschool Temple is a level from an unfinished hack, so its quality is worse in comparison to the other levels in Something.
- Else Castle :3 has Yogui's past levels because of an increase in vanilla levels, but they are randomized.
- Jazz Jackrabbit 2 has the third episode, aptly called "Flashback" for consisting only of remakes of Episode 1 of the original game.
- In Stage 2-6 of Mappy Land, after collecting all of the keys outside, you enter a mansion where the interior resembles the original Mappy arcade game. However, instead of trying to recover stolen treasure, your goal is to try to escape through the door on the top.
- The Classic tribe from Lemmings 2: The Tribes has a tileset themed around the Roman pillar stages from the first game, has the same set of skills as the first game in each level, and even has Lemmings explode in the same manner as the first game (while they ordinarily just explode as soon as their countdown timer reaches 0, here they hold their head, shake violently, and explode).
- Any Bomberman game that features a battle mode will almost always feature a stage that visually resembles the identical stages from the very first Bomberman game.
- The Japanese-only Super Bomberman 5 takes this to ridiculous extremes: There are five zones in the game, and the first four are each dedicated to the preceeding four games in the series, complete with the same graphics and enemies.
- The first chapter of Portal 2 takes place in dilapidated versions of test chambers from the original Portal, specifically Test Chambers 00-05 (With 04 and 05 having been combined into one chamber, followed by two new chambers), 07, GLaDOS's chamber, and finally Test Chamber 19 (Starting backwards from the empty Fire Pit). Author commentary states that the objective was not only nostalgia, but also introducing the players to the updated graphics.
- Super Scribblenauts and Scribblenauts Unlimited both have puzzles requiring the player to get a starite out of a tree, identical to the first level of the original Scribblenauts game.
- RHEM 3: The Secret Library calls back in multiple places to the first two games.
- Kales has two pairs of screenshots in picture frames in his office and apartment
- His video iPod has some FMV clips, including the first game's ending fly-by and a rail car ride from the 2nd game.
- One of the "connections" between portions of RHEM is the isolated balcony overlooking the cave with a rotating bridge from the 2nd game. But the bridge controls are locked down.
- Solving the two bonus puzzles gives access to a room with design sketches from the developer, Knut Muller, and photo albums full of Polaroids of all three games.
- The DS remake of Diddy Kong Racing included a new secret world evocative of Donkey Kong Country, which the original lacked—two of the levels play variations on the classic DKC theme. Also, while it cut the Silver Coin Challenge mode from the main game, it included it as an unlockable extra.
- Speaking of Diddy Kong Racing, Jet Force Gemini included one of its tracks for its own racing minigame.
RPG — Eastern
- Featured multiple times in the Suikoden series:
- Suikoden II had you visiting the city of Gregminster and the battle music in that area even uses the one from Suikoden I. Have an Old Save Bonus with 108 Stars, and you even get a dinner scene that mirrors the one near the start of the first game.
- In Suikoden IV, the mushrooms and mint that can be grown in your ship can engage in a strategy battle of the type found only in the original Suikoden.
- The first Xenosaga game had an 'escape' sequence where you are chased by automated attack drones through a sewer, duplicating a scene from the Spiritual Predecessor Xenogears.
- Final Fantasy
- The first level in Crisis Core is entirely made of various screens from the first Mako Reactor attack at the beginning of Final Fantasy VII.
- Final Fantasy IX has several, calling back to dungeons of the oldschool games of the franchise:
- The Ice Cavern early in the game was originally in Final Fantasy I, as was Mount Gulug, which shares music and revamped bosses from the first game's Gurgu Volcano.
- Pandemonium Castle, Garland's fortress, was the capital city of Hell in Final Fantasy II. The BGM is, again, a rearrangement of the original Pandemonium theme.
- Almost invoked in Final Fantasy XIII-2, where Serah and Noel can visit several future versions of Ghost Town Oerba, which remains unsettled by a government decree honoring the sacrifice of Fang and Vanille, two of its last surviving natives, in Final Fantasy XIII.
- Since Final Fantasy IV: The After Years continues the storyline from Final Fantasy IV, it's justified that the world is the same. This results in many Nostalgia Levels as the new characters explore the world.
- The entirety of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light plays like this, and could easily be mistaken for an Updated Re Release of an old game between its mechanics (job classes, few save points, limited inventory space) and 8-bit soundtrack.
- The Time Crash segment of Chrono Cross ends in a temporally-displaced version of Leene's Square from Chrono Trigger.
- You also have the option of using Kid's memories to travel back in time to her orphanage, which is Lucca's old house.
- In one of the levels of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, you replay a bridge level from Path of Radiance, to which Radiant Dawn is a direct sequel, but going in the opposite direction.
- The two Elibe games share a map with the same boss, both in Chapter 4 of the main story.
- Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria has plenty of these, although it's justified because it is a prologue instead of a sequel. Which makes this an Inverted Trope.
- In Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, the final stage is reminiscent of the opening of Lufia & The Fortress of Doom complete with a remix of its impressively inspiring score.
- This trope is somewhat lampshaded because not only is the final stage reminiscent of the first from the original, it IS the same accounted for by the fact it is a PREQUEL, in which the characters from the second game were included in the first at the very beginning as a Tarantino-esque pre-emptive recap of sorts. Whew.
- Several Tales Series games contain games that are very similar but not identical to early Namco releases. For example, Tales of Destiny contains a Bonus Dungeon based around The Tower of Druaga, and Tales of the Abyss has Dragon Buster instead starring the main game's protagonist.
- Traverse Town is like this in Kingdom Hearts Coded and Kingdom Hearts 3D, with many of its major areas visitable and barely changed from their original appearance in Kingdom Hearts, mainly modified by simply adding blocks and street lamps respectively in order to let you make use of each game's unique mechanics.
- Persona 4 has the Void Quest dungeon, meant to evoke the feeling of classic JRPGs in general as well as the older MegaTen games in specific. The player's first visit to the third floor even includes a reprise of the Good Morning, Crono opening dialogue to Shin Megami Tensei I - a Call Back that Western gamers wouldn't have understood unless they had played the fan translation of the older game, as it didn't officially come out in English until an iOS release in early 2014.
- The first Shadow Hearts has you return to the burned-down ruins of Nemeton Monastery, the site of the prequel game Koudelka.
RPG — MMO
- There are plenty of areas in World of Warcraft which allow you to visit areas from previous Warcraft games. You can even still see the blood stains on the floor from events at the end of the Alliance campaign of Warcraft III.
- Also, the Caverns of Time are seemingly designed for this, with one of the instances in the Caverns placing the player in the midst of the Battle of Mount Hyjal, which was the final level of Warcraft III.
- A side-quest in Kingdom of Loathing is written and played in old Interactive Fiction style, as many of its fans (not to mention creators) were playing back in those days.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, you get to revisit Taris for the first time since the first Knights of the Old Republic, which was released ten years prior. However, Taris is a more naturally oriented planet after the Sith bombing three hundred in-universe years prior. Suppose you decide to play through the storyline of another faction's class. Since Taris and Balmorra are swapped depending which faction you arenote you will experience a Nostalgia Level as you walk through the same zones you either conquered, liberated, colonized, or fought on on the other faction.
- Vindictus, the ultraviolent prequel to Mabinogi, features a Nostalgia Boss Battle in the 8th episode (currently available only in Korea) in the form of the episode's raid boss, who is none other than Glas Ghaibhleann, the final boss from Generation 1 of Mabinogi. And if you thought he was tough in that game, he is utterly hardcore here!
RPG — Western
- In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the return to Dantooine and the Jedi Enclave may have been this. Korriban as well. For both planets, you see how they changed in the five years between the two games, mostly for the worse.
- Gothic II: Night of the Raven features a Nostalgia Quest to guide Diego to the entrance to Valley of Mines, which is the place where you met in the very beginning of Gothic. After getting there, you receive a chunk of XP referred in-game as "nostalgia bonus".
- Valley of Mines itself mostly qualifies as Nostalgia Level.
- Fable II has the return to the (now destroyed) Oakvale, as part of the Wraithmarsh. It was the birthplace of the original hero from Fable I.
- Wizardry 8 has hidden levels that looks like the black-and-white wireframe ones from early games in the series.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has the DLC "Dragonborn", which is set on Solstheim, an island that was the setting for the Morrowind expansion pack "Bloodmoon".
Shoot 'Em Up
- The third bonus level (the appropriately tittled "Reminiscence" ) of Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth takes place in a 3D remake of the first level of the original game. Two of the bosses of Star Soldier are also fought, with one quipping "This is the first game in a long time."
- Almost every Gradius game has a volcano stage and a Moai stage. Worth mentioning is Stage 7 of Gradius Gaiden, which starts off as an innocent-looking volcano stage...that gets sucked into a black hole as you progress.
- The volcano stage in IV turns into a Lethal Lava Land halfway through.
- The second stage of Gaiden is a junkyard full of wrecks of Core bosses from previous Gradius games, some even partially functioning and trying to avenge themselves.
- The Boss Rushes generally contain upgraded versions of bosses from previous games.
- Satori Komeiji in the eleventh Touhou game, Subterranean Animism, is a Nostalgia Boss as all of her spell cards except for the first are directly lifted from your current partner's previous appearance as a boss in preceding games.
- Stage 4 in Imperishable Night, the eighth game, is sort of a throwback to Lotus Land Story, the fourth game. The enemy patterns present are similar to those in LLS, and the boss is Reimu or Marisa (depending on who you're playing as), just like in LLS. The package is completed with nostalgic music for either boss.
- Undefined Fantastic Object has a Nostalgia Attack, the aptly named "Great Magic: Devil's Recitation" If only Shinki was the one using it...
- The Extra Stage of Ten Desires calls back to the previous EX-bosses in the series. The boss attacks with red humans (Flandre) green foxes (Ran), red birds (Mokou), teal frogs (Suwako) blue humans (Koishi) and the Extra Midboss is Nue, who even preserves an attack from the EX stage of Touhou 12.
- The R-Type series absolutely loves this. For instance, there is always a stage that revolves around slowly destroying a massive enemy warship, in homage to the third stage of the original, and occasionally sections of levels will be modeled after particularly memorable past areas. Not to mention Dobkeratops, Stage 1 boss of the original, who has appeared in some form or another in every single game save Leo (Gomander, the Stage 2 boss, makes frequent appearances as well). But the best example is likely Stage 5 of Delta, which is made up entirely of enemies and ruined architecture from the original game, ending with a Boss Rush against the Ring of Turrets, Gomander and its Outslays, and the giant warship from Stage 3 split in half.
- Level 5 of DoDonPachi: DaiOuJou looks like a Darker and Edgier version of level 1 from DoDonPachi and the bosses of levels 3, 4, and 5 appear as a Boss Rush.
- In DoDonPachi: DaiFukkatsu, bosses from both DoDonPachi and DaiOuJou can appear as midbosses, depending on how well the player is doing. If they do, a slightly different version of the BGM that includes a lietmotif from a song from DaiOuJou is played instead of the regular version.
- In Fire Hawk: Thexder The Second Contact, the opening of mission 2 looks a lot like the beginning of Thexder.
- In Star Parodier (where Bomberman is one of the three playable characters), Scene 6 starts taking backgrounds from Bomberman games after the mid-boss. This culminates in a Boss Battle with Black Bomberman, who uses bombs and power-ups exactly as in Bomberman.
Shooter — First-Person
- Towards the end of Borderlands 2 you end up back in a destroyed and abandoned Fyrestone, the very first area in the previous game. You can even locate some old hidden chests, fight a throwback boss, do a side-quest reminiscent of the "Scavenger" quests in the first game, do another sidequest involving the niece of an NPC from the first game, and find the remains of the hidden Claptrap.
- Turok 3 had a level set in a ruined version of the first level of the original game.
- The last level of Halo 3 is set on a rebuilt version of Installation 04 from Halo: Combat Evolved.
- There was a bit in Half-Life 2 designed to remind you of the intro to the first game, except that the one in the second game was in the Combine lair rather than Black Mesa.
- Yet players see that room in the first Half-Life that the resonance cascade happened in.
- The tech-demo, non-canon "Lost Coast" level on Steam is said in the commentary to be a gameplay callback to the cliffside fight with the marines from Half-Life 1 in the Surface Tension chapter (in that much of the combat involves you looking almost vertically at enemies)
- Speaking of the cliff in HL1, some of its level architecture was ripped fresh into Nova Prospekt. When you get past the beach bunkers and start climbing the cliff, note the similarity of the pair of pipelines coming down. The only difference is that you approached it from the side and passed above it in the first game instead of climbing along it from the bottom up. Even the stinger that lurked just inside the exit tunnel was brought back (as a fast zombie instead of an ordinary headcrab, though).
- The music in Doom E2M2 is a remix of Wolfenstein 3D's E2M10 music. Additionally, one of the Episode 1 maps was supposed to have some machinery in the shape of a swastika (only obvious when looking at it in the automap), though they were forced to change it before release.
- Doom 2 has two secret levels set in Castle Wolfenstein, E1M1 where the player had to kill Nazis. Buried towards the end of that level is the secret exit to Wolfenstein's E1M10, the episode's secret level. Taking this secret exit takes you to Wolfenstein's E1M9, the Boss Level - with a Cyberdemon replacing Hans Grosse. That level auto-ended when you ran across a certain spot in the last room in the original; that room is now where you must kill four Commander Keens to finish the game.
- Doom 3
- The Expansion Pack Resurrection of Evil was a remake of the second area of Doom 3, except that the whole area was ruined and constantly shaken by dimensional shockwaves.
- The Classic mod for Doom 3 reproduces all of the levels from the first episode of Doom 1 using the Doom 3 engine, weapons, and monsters.
- Rather than a reference to a different game, the secret level of Doom 1's Episode 3 is a carbon-copy of the episode's first level, though with a few nasty surprises once the player reaches the original exit.
- The Final Doom level "Go 2 It" from The Plutonia Experiment collection is an expanded retake of the first level of Doom II but... considerably harder.
- Marathon Infinity
- The first level was designed to remind players of the dark, convoluted first level of the first game. The game also featured a trip into Durandal's core recycled from Marathon 2.
- The Vidmaster Challenge levels, which consisted of the hardest level from each game made even harder by noted modder Frigidman.
- "G3 Sunbathing at 300 MHZ" from the Game Mod Marathon RED, an homage to the infamous "G4 Sunbathing" from the first game. It's worse this time, as there are no oxygen supply stations.
- The Marathon Infinity Game Mod Return to Marathon involves revisiting the now abandoned colony ship, and the levels are mainly remixed areas from the first game.
- In Marathon 2: Durandal, there is a point in which you are sent to Durandal's ship, the one he hijacked from the Pfhor in the first game. The textures in this level are new, but the geometry is a copy of the part of the ship that the player first visits in the original.
- Unreal Tournament 2004 has a few levels which are upgraded versions of levels on the original Unreal Tournament. The level Deck-17 goes even further - not only is it a remake of the overly popular Deck16 from UT, but at one place there's an entrance, closed off, through which the original level Deck-16 from five years ago can be seen, in darkness. A sign next to it says something like "DECK 16 CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT".
- There are levels carried over from the original to 2004 (Facing Worlds/Face Classic), levels carried over from UT2004 to Unreal Tournament III (Torlan Delta, retooled from Onslaught to a Warfare map), and even some from the original, resurrected in UTIII after being passed over for 2003/04 (Coret Facility and Hydro). And that's not counting the hordes of fan-made remake maps for the latter games, including (for some reason) Deck-16 for 2004 (Then again, '04 had no built-in jump boots.).
- The Quantum of Solace game includes the Facility multiplayer map from the N64 Golden Eye 1997.
- Perfect Dark Zero has DLC of a few Golden Eye 1997 and Perfect Dark maps, including Facility.
- For its part, Perfect Dark had a couple of Golden Eye 1997's multiplayer maps, including - you guessed it - Facility. Although in Perfect Dark, the name of the map is changed to Felicity... clever.
- Generations Arena is a class-based Quake III: Arena Nostalgia Mod featuring five classes that aim to replicate the weapons. physics and mechanics of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and the first three Quake games (well, actually, the Quake III class IS "vanilla" Q3 left unchanged (duh) except for the BFG and the Wolfenstein class is best described as a loose adaptation for obvious reasons.). Of course, it also includes some Nostalgia Levels to go with the premise.
- Speaking of Quake series, just when you thought the multiplayer of Quake IV couldn't get even more familiar (sans the addition of the nailgun), this installment actually has a couple of levels remade straight from Quake III Arena. Including the fan-favourite The Longest Yard.
- Blood II's expansion, The Nightmare Levels, features levels that are essentially the characters' personal hells. The first level is an amalgamation of three or so levels from the original game's second episode, complete with the original Cultist enemies and their peculiar speech.
- Rainbow Six 3: Athena Sword reprises "Steel Wind" from the first game and "Sargasso Fade" from Rogue Spear.
- In Descent III, there's a level taking place on the Moon. The moon was the location of the first level in the first Descent. You can fly into the ruined remains of that first level, fight a single example of the very first enemy you encountered (albeit reduced to little more than a Kamikaze drone), and park your ship in the very spot your ship first appeared when you first played Descent as a kid.
- Several levels in the Mercenaries Expansion Pack are remakes of levels from Descent II and its Vertigo expansion pack.
- The TimeSplitters games reused old arenas in the sequels, with the Chinese Restaurant being in all three.
- In Medal of Honor: Allied Assault's fourth mission, you visit the area that Patterson traversed in the original's first mission, rescuing the pilot of the deceased G3 officer, and Manon Batiste also has a cameo appearance. The next level is in the area where the Greta railroad cannon was destroyed.
- Team Fortress 2: 2Fort, Badlands, Dustbowl and Well are call-backs to the maps of the same name (though not necessarily the same layout) in Team Fortress Classic.
- Call of Duty, particularly the Modern Warfare series, has tons of multiplayer maps that are remakes of ones from past games, both straight-up ports (the CoD4 maps "Crash", "Overgrown", "Strike", and "Vacant" were all ported to MW2 with its Map Packs, while MW2's own "Terminal" was ported to MW3 in a free patch) and re-imagined versions (CoD4's "Chinatown" and MW2's "Wasteland" are, respectively, Chinese- and Chernobyl-themed remakes of the Call of Duty 1 and 2 maps "Carentan" and "Brecourt", the latter also incorporating landmarks from CoD4's "All Ghillied Up" campaign mission).
- The sequel to The Darkness has you revisit the Canal St. subway station from the original game, on the first mission no less. It's noticeably bigger, though, but given the two year time gap it's not too far fetched to imagine the subway just got some major renovations.
Shooter — Third-Person
- The Flashback Map Pack for Gears of War 2, which consists of ports of five multiplayer maps from the first game. More maps from the first game showed up in subsequent map packs, including ones exclusive to the PC version. Gears of War 3 and Judgment continued the trend of bringing back old maps. Community favourites Gridlock and Blood Drive both appeared in 3 games each (Gridlock in 1, 2, and 3; Blood Drive in 2, 3, and Judgment).
- The second mission of Max Payne 2 takes place at the Vodka club, the same place where the climax of the first chapter in the original Max Payne took place (only then it was called Ragnarock), after Vladimir Lem bought it out, renamed it and started renovating.
- Dead Space 2 does this near the end with the player revisiting the Ishimura, complete with revisiting the medical section of the ship making it the third time you've played through that area over the course of the main games.
- The arcade mode of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War takes place over the same continent the previous game was set in. Most notably, the hardest version of stage 6 takes place over the island from the first mission in 04. In turn, Zero reuses a number of maps from 5 for missions taking place in Belka.
- Pick any Star Wars flight simulator where you play as the Rebels. Odds are there will be a Death Star trench run or a level where you go inside a large ship and blow up a reactor.
- There will also, almost invariably, be a Hoth level that involves bringing down AT-ATs with a Snowspeeder. It got to the point that, when World War II games like the older Medal of Honor and Call of Duty games got really widespread, some started to say that "Normandy is the new Hoth".
- Twisted Metal: Head-On has updated recreations of several old arenas from the older games, like "Los Angeles" and "Paris" from Twisted Metal 2, or "Egypt" and "Tokyo Rooftops" from Twisted Metal 3 (thought those may have been not intentional)
- Earlier, Twisted Metal 2 included an updated form of the first game's massive "Cyburbia" stage, as well as the "Rooftops" stage as secret arenas.
- Chapter A-4 in Trauma Center: New Blood has Under the Knife/Second Opinion protagonist Dr. Stiles supervising a simulated series of operations featuring GUILT strains.
- Armored Core Nexus was packaged with a 2nd disc titled "Revolution", featuring 40 missions based on the original PS1 trilogy. The missions are divided in straight remakes, "extend sides" (brand new missions set in the original Armored Core universe) and "reverse side" (classic missions done from the perspective of the opposing side).
- Steele Stadium is an arena in Backyard Baseball 2005, looking exactly like it did in the original.
- The Tony Hawk series of skateboarding games revel in Nostalgia Levels. The PC version of the second game started the trend by including a few stages from the first game and then the Xbox Enhanced Remake went all out and included every stage from the first game (even letting you complete the original game's career mode). Since then every game up to Project 8 has included a number of throwback stages with the exception of THPS4 (which instead had a cameo level from another Activision extreme sports game).
- Tony Hawk's Underground 2 starts you off in the very first game's first level, but then allows you to break into a whole new area left of the original stage.
- After you defeat the Many in System Shock 2, you end up in a rebuilt Medical level of Citadel Station, the first stage of System Shock. Well, except for the random geometric shapes floating around.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty features the Torture Room from the previous game within Arsenal Gear. There was a very good reason why, as most of the events in the game were orchestrated to remind Raiden (and the player) of the first game.
- This was spoofed in Merry Gear Solid 2: Ghosts of Christmas Past, when after being captured, Snake wakes up naked in 14015 Hideo Drive, the setting of the original Merry Gear Solid, and has to retrace the steps of Santa with epic Christmas music playing.
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots also goes so far as to recreate most of the entire setting of the first Metal Gear Solid with a major next-gen overhaul for Act 4. Complete with audio and visual flashbacks and numerous winks to the first game's fandom ("A surveillance camera!?"). Unusual in that the purpose is not so much evoking fond nostalgia as stabbing you in the heart. Just entering the next-gen heliport and having "The Best is Yet To Come" start playing, the ending theme of Metal Gear Solid now sung in a melancholic remix, brought nearly the entire fan base to nostalgic tears.
- The nostalgia gets even thicker fighting Crying Wolf in the same area as Sniper Wolf, and a melee battle on top of REX.
- In fact, this was so effective that Act 5, despite being AMAZING, was a complete letdown to the weaponized nostalgia of Act 4.
- The nostalgia is oddly two-fold. The visual flashbacks are to the PS1 original, but the auditory flashbacks use the audio from the Gamecube remake, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (this was necessary though since some aspects of the PS1 voice acting had to be given retcons, such as the removal of Mei Ling's Chinese accent, on account of her growing up in America and not China, which MGS 4 made even more canon with Mei Ling having her Twin Snakes American accent).
- Metal Gear: Ghost Babel averts this for most part, despite being set in a rebuilt version of Outer Heaven called Galuade. There's a part of the game which plays this straight though: the wreckage of the TX-55 Metal Gear from the first game can be found when the player reaches the 100th basement level of the final building in a room similar to that from the game.
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has a PlayStation 3 and 4 exclusive "Deja Vu Mission", recreating Solid Snake (Or as the game refers to him as, Classic Snake)'s infiltration of Shadow Moses Island. Said level includes classic PS One era polygon graphics as an unlockable texture skin, the Hind D, a surveillance camera, the Genome Soldiers as guards, and cameos from Donald Anderson/DARPA Chief (actually Decoy Octopus in disguise) and Psycho Mantis.
- The second game of Thief takes the player back to both the Lost City and the Maw levels of the first game... but now with 100% less lava!
- The subway levels in Syphon Filter 3 and The Omega Strain are throwbacks to the first game. The former is in fact the same subway in DC as the one in the original.
- Hitman: Contracts has 47 reliving past missions as flashbacks during a near death experience. Many of these are recreations of missions from the first game, and the first level is 47 escaping from the aftermath of the climax of the first game.
- The first stage in Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven is a throwback to the first stage in the first Tenchu, and is actually set in the same location, now owned by the son of the corrupt merchant that served as the original stage boss.
- Tenchu: Fatal Shadows includes a pretty faithful 3D recreation of the first game's 3rd (The Cave) and 4th stages (the Checkpoint).
- Several of the earlier stages also borrow heavily from some of the more memorable events in the first game, like running down an icy mountain outrunning explosions or jumping through a group of airships to reach a bigger one.
- The main hall and first few rooms of the mansion in Resident Evil are recreated, in real-time 3D, no less, in Resident Evil: Code: Veronica, in a research facility in the middle of Antartica. This is, of course, before the Gamecube remake came along and blew them both out of the water with its gothic overkill.
- Resident Evil 0 in turn features a Reverse Nostalgia Level (making it a Foreshadowing Level) by having Rebecca stop by the main hall of the Umbrella Underground Facility from Resident Evil 2 at one point.
- Not to mention Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, which has Jill visit the police station from Resident Evil 2.
- The Outbreak crew visits the police station again in File #2, and Birkin's lab in the original, including previously inaccessable areas.
- And the Resident Evil 5 Expansion Pack Lost in Nightmares is a flashback with Chris and Jill searching through Spencer's presumably new mansion, which looks exactly like the first mansion. Chris even remarks "Takes you back, doesn't it?"
- Hell, you can actually turn on the fixed camera angles in those areas to REALLY throw you back.
- When The Sacrifice is downloaded for Left 4 Dead 2, you also get the ported Left 4 Dead campaign No Mercy. A later patch added the rest of the first game's campaigns to the second.
- One level of Fatal Frame III is essentially the first game all over again, complete with (an older and wiser) Miku as the protagonist, near-identical settings, familiar objects and puzzles, and a Boss Battle starring the Rope Shrine Maiden.
- A similar level contains areas from the second game, albeit with the former protagonist's uncle chasing after her rather than her chasing her twin sister. It also reintroduces the Kusabi for a few chase sequences and a Boss Battle.
- The last level of Penumbra: Requiem leads back to the cave-in where Red was trapped behind in the first game. But this time, you get a choice to either burn to death together with Red inside the incinerator, and leave the Tuurngait's mental labyrinth, or leave the room and end up on the boat again, in what is probably an infinite loop of Philip's entire adventure.
- In Silent Hill 3 there are two areas of the previous two entries that make a return. Lakeside Amusement Park from Silent Hill 1 makes a return as the game's next to last area (with it even being possible to locate the notepads that the first game's protagonist, Harry, used as save points, and finally read what he wrote), and Brookhaven Hospital from Silent Hill 2 is one of the levels Heather enters after arriving in the titular town (albeit with a different layout to various areas within said hospital). "New Silent Hill," also from Silent Hill 2, is the main area of Silent Hill that Heather first explores when she goes to the town (with the various locations from the second game still present, likely a case of the development team reusing assets to save on development time).
- One of the custom maps in Warlords III: Reign of Heroes is the exact same map that the original Warlords played on.
- Almost every stage and area in both Namco X Capcom and Project X Zone are this to the several series and games that take part in these crossovers.
- In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the flashback to Phoenix Wright's last case uses graphics and music from the first game. It's a little jarring when Klavier makes his appearance, because of the graphical leap between the original Ace Attorney and this game. This is followed by an investigation sequence using Phoenix's gimmick from the second and third games, Psyche-Locks, as well as a new twist on that old classic: Black Psyche-Locks..
- Super Danganronpa 2's final investigation takes place in a twisted up version of Hopes's Peak Academy from the first game, breaking apart because the Neo World Program is shutting down.
Wide Open Sandbox
- In a flashback in Assassins Creed II, you get to play as Altair, the main character from the first game. Assassin's Creed: Revelations continues with these flashbacks, where you play as Altair and revisit familiar locations from the original Assassin's Creed, such as Masyaf and Acre. Masyaf, you even get to revisit them as Ezio.
- The Freedom Cry DLC of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has Adéwale performing multiple investigations across Port-Au-Prince before returning to the Assassin Bureau, a throwback to the way Altair investigated his targets in the series' very first game.
- The main story of Black Flag also features a point where an entire city is a Restricted Zone - basically, if a guard sees you, you have about ten seconds before he'll start trying to kill you. This causes the kind of caution, rooftop-running, and paranoia that players haven't seen since Assassin's Creed, where basically every city had hyper-touchy guards that would kill you as soon as look at you.
- The second Shinobu level in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is the now-abanonded Backdrop Studios from the original game. The music is "Cashmere Cannonball" from the first game's soundtrack, as well. Appropriately, the boss is New Destroyman - Destroyman was the boss of Backdrop Studios the first time.
- One mission late in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is set in Liberty City, the setting of Grand Theft Auto III.
- Heck, Vice City had a recreation of a street from Grand Theft Auto III in an in game movie lot. Since Vice City is set in the 80s, I guess they were shooting a science fiction movie?
- Grand Theft Auto V has the mission "Hood Safari" which is one big send up to San Andreas. It involves Franklin and Trevor having a shootout with the Ballas on Grove Street.
- Grove Street itself in GTAV even looks almost exactly the same as it did in San Andreas, except of course it now looks better than ever running on the RAGE Engine.
- Two homie rescue missions in Saints Row IV are like this. One takes place where you started the very first Saints Row. The other has you reliving events from the last two Saints Row games.
- We Love Katamari had the Cowbear level, which references the Tauros and Ursa Major levels of the original game. However, for most players the sigh of nostalgia was replaced by either a shriek of terror at recalling having to roll up the biggest cow or bear in a level full of them, or a sigh of relief that this version of the stage was relatively easier.
- Katamari Forever includes a host of levels from past games in the series, played out in the King Of All Cosmos' mind as he suffers from amnesia.
- In Ninja Jajamaru-kun: Onikiri Ninpou Chou for the Sega Saturn, the Bonus Stage is the original Ninja Jajamaru-kun in all its 8-bit glory.
- A rare Game Book example: the starting area of Return to Firetop Mountain's titular dungeon is exactly the same as it was in the first Fighting Fantasy book. Same layout, same corridors, same traps and most rooms are still there including the remains of the mobs that were in them the first time around and empty chests that have already been looted by the previous adventurer.
I can remember when the original versions of these levels were shown off like it was yesterday. Back then, it was flat out impossible
to have a Nostalgia Level; video games were a completely new thing, so every level had to be completely new as well. It was the Golden Age of game level creativity, I tell ya!