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- The Tower Of Salvation in Tales of Symphonia fits perfectly. You go to this gigantic tower a total of 3 times throughout the game, each being different in their own brand of epicness. The first time, you're treated on one of the most memorable scenes in gaming, and a fairly challenging Boss Rush. The second? One of the best puzzles, EVER. The third? A true Tear Jerker. All three trips are also accented by their music- the "Derris-Kharlan" tracks (~Appear~ (for the first couple of rooms); ~Fear~ (for the second trip dungeon, Welgaia) and ~Shrine~ (the third trip dungeon's music...) Oh, and as a later cutscene proves- the entire place? It's Made of Explodium.
- The Seyfert Trials in Tales of Eternia.
- Tales of Vesperia has several.
- The Ghost Ship Atherum is pretty awesome. It's just a giant empty pirate ship in the middle of the sea. It's very atmospheric, the party-split puzzle isn't too annoying, and Yuri has constant snarky dialogue trying to freak the others out about the haunted ship.
- Zaphias Castle, the second time around. You have Raven back in the party after his brief departure, so even though Estelle is gone you're square for healing. You're on a goddamned mission through a giant, shiny castle, and once you hit the peak there's a super climactic fight to free Estelle from Alexei. It's an awesome penultimate level for the second act.
- Then there's the sequence in which you team up with Flynn to beat a giant freaking horde of monsters just outside Aurnion. It's just you, your dog, your Heterosexual Life-Partner, a bit of Casual Danger Dialogue, and a totally awesome fight.
- Playing Tales of Destiny is like playing a storybook, and almost every single location in the game is breathtaking. Not only are the graphics lovely, but each area, especially the towns and castles, are enormous and chock full of things to see and interact with. Much like how Metroid Prime tells the story using environmental clues, much of the character of this world is revealed by checking out everything you see. No 2D JRPG does so much to pull you into its world and encourage you to explore it quite the way To D does.
- Tales of the Abyss also has several.
- Eldrant. Abyss is really, really heavy on the plot, so the Duel Boss fight with Asch that Luke must finally win and the ending confrontation with Van are dramatic, cathartic, tragic and altogether amazing. On top of that, the dungeon is gorgeous, and not nearly as teeth-grindingly difficult as the Absorption Gate.
- Oracle Knight headquarters is pretty fun, too, since it's the first dungeon the party undertakes upon reuniting after the events of Akzeriuth (well reuniting without Natalia, but close enough). It's got a fun little bell-ringing puzzle and some good, solid fights as well as an elegantly simple layout.
- Tales of Graces picks up where the other games left off with awesome levels.
- The Ghardia shaft is creative, complex, satisfyingly long, and Asbel packs basically his entire character development into the run of the dungeon. At the end, you come to a giant floating ball of light, see your best friend Richard fused with the Big Bad once again, and begin the end game boss. Hot damn.
- Then there's the Zhonecage, which is, admittedly, the bonus dungeon, but it's beyond wacky, the music is intense and catchy, and Graces shows off what it does best - its combat system and its bizarre humour. Among the people you fight are the tiny child versions of the main characters, Frederick and (in his Mystic Arte) the deceased Aston Lhant, an evil Turtlez (yes, giant Turtlez Transport included), Poisson, Fourier, robot copies of Emeraude and Cedric, and the cameo bosses, Amber and Reala.
- Tales of Xillia continues the tradition well:
- One of the most intense levels in the game if not the series is the Battle of Fezebel Marsh. It's like Flynn and Yuri's sequence from Vesperia taken Up to Eleven. It's a series of fights that transition right into each other, without a victory fanfare or break to tally your EXP - there's just a short scene of the whole group running forward into another fight. And another. And another. It's exciting, then it's exhausting, but it's never annoying - it feels like fighting a war should feel. Not to mention the music is pretty awesome, your characters are bringing out the full range of emotions through the in-battle chats, and it all culminates in an awesome boss fight with THREE members of the Chimeriad followed by Gaius himself and an anime cutscene that quite literally cracks your perception of the game in two. Wow.
- Not quite as cool but also worth a mention is the sequence where you climb over the roofs in Kanbalar to infiltrate Gaius's castle... while Gaius himself, backed up by the remaining members of the Chimeriad, is busily slaughtering his way through hordes of enemies on the main streets below without breaking a sweat. Sort of a crowning moment of funny-awesome for him, and a level that uses Xilla's climbing features to good effect for you.
Team Fortress 2
- There are examples for every class:
- Heavy, for example, greatly enjoys the little travel time of Gullywash, meaning he can put the G.R.U. away and run the Fists of STEEL.
- Medics love Dustbowl, where, due to its close-in nature, an ubercharge can cause far more havoc than ever before.
- Soldiers enjoy Badlands, as the mobility of rocket jumping makes the class more fun. IN fact, the 2nd control point (dubbed Spire) is designed for jump play with rockets and such.
- Scouts enjoy Harvest, the koth map with all the open space and roof ambushes you could ask for.
- Pyros enjoy the flanking routes on the map Nucleus, as roaming Pyro and spawn camping are incredibly easy and common.
- Spies love Badwater Basin. Starting from the madcap uphill battle at start to the glorious war for the high ground at last point. The frontline is constantly moving, it's notably more spy friendly than most maps, and flanking options abound.
- Demomen enjoy any map where they can utterly shut down choke points (stage 1 of Gold Rush, anyone?).
- Upward. Large area, lots of places to zip around, good sniping spots, interesting terrain, breathtaking scenery? Yes, please.
- Interestingly, awesome as it is, the map is a good spot for incredibly bloody battles. However, the features (as shown in the above post) make Upward awesome.
- Turbine is near-universally loved by the fanbase for being simple to play in and keeping all the positive aspects of 2Fort in exchange for fair gameplay. No corridors, no sniper nests, just a massive central room where everyone can fight each other at once, air vents that are safe to set up sentries in, and that can easily lead to the spawn room if you need ammo or are low on health, and another passage that you can safely drop down into to get the Intel, without little chance of getting killed. Also, there are easily located health packs and of course, teamwork becomes awesome on this map. Whether its Engineers and other team members all working together to hold the enemy off in the giant center room, flag room or air vents, or sacrificing their lives to make sure the Intelligence carrier gets to the Intel room safely, you can be sure that you'll have plenty of awesome moments.
- The new Mann vs Machine mode can be categorized as this. You and up to five other players fight off several waves of robot enemies that are stronger than their player class equivalent. This is offset by the fact that you can earn money from these hordes of robots to upgrade your weapons to near Valve tier levels.
- Many of the fan made maps are also awesome, such as most cp_orange maps, which are wide open and great for Snipers. The map szf_volcanoevac for the custom mode Super Zombie Fortress (Left 4 Dead in Team Fortress 2) has you climbing out of a volcano while the lava rises below you!
- Koth_wubwubwub starts off as a standard map that looks like someone made it in half an hour or so. But once you cap the point, a sub-woofer emerges out from the ground and starts blasting out dubstep music. The rest of the map includes a randomized music system which combines different build-ups, bridges and drops which have different effects on game-play. You'll never get the same experience twice while playing it.
- For awesome example of maps, we have ctf_premuda, which features a sequence where a battery of 6 rockets, cp_stoneyridge, with a bomb DROPPING AND BLOWING UP THE FINAL CP PLATFORM, ctf_vector, with a massive explosion of doomsday devices, cp_hella, that, in the case of the 3rd and final CP being in disputed and RED winning, features a black hole that sucks all of the players inside the facility, and pl_escarpment, with an end that features a giant laser blowing up the payload bomb and teleporting it to somewhere. Where do you find them? tf2maps.net, that's it. For when bananas and oranges aren't enough.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4's penultimate level is a highway in the year 2020, to what appears to be Las Vegas, and you (and your enemies) are on hoverboards.
- Sewer Surfin', which was essentially a bonus level in the arcade version, is expanded on in the SNES version which added a boss. You surf through the sewers but have no limits to your movement and are free to jump kick everywhere. Eventually you fight pizza monsters and have to collect pizza boxes.
- The SNES only "Technodrome. Let's kick shell!". A two part Disc-One Final Dungeon where you fight through shredder's army, and has TWO bosses.
- Bury My Shell At Wounded Knee. A western themed stage on a train with easily exploitable hazards? Yes please.
- Hyperstone Heist has the third stage, Shredder's Hideout. Awesome music outside his hideout, awesome music inside his hideout. And then it's all capped off with an exclusive boss fight against Tatsu.
- Think back to the TMNT arcade game of the early nineties. What level do you remember most clearly? Is it the first level where everything's on fire? No, it's the level where you get to ride rocket-skateboards!
- Stages 3 and 7 are usually considered the best ones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project. The former you fight on a broken Brooklyn Bridge and can throw foot soldiers off at certain sections. The latter for fighting on an elevator lifting to the top of a building, that you can knock/throw bad guys off. Both of these levels employ heavy uses of bottomless pits. No wonder there so popular amongst fans.
Tetris: The Grand Master
- Tetris: The Grand Master 2 PLUS's "T.A. Death" mode. To get into the second half, you need to beat the first half in under 3 minutes and 25 seconds. Doing so successfully gives you the rank of M (while playing the "game cleared" music while we're at it), causes the music to change to something fast-paced and terrifying, and now you are left with but one goal: survive all the way to the end of the game. Which is much, much harder than it sounds, for a number of reasons: you're going at instant-drop speed (which you have been since you started the mode). You have 0.067 seconds between a piece locking and the next piece spawning. You have a quarter of a second between a piece hitting the stack and locking, unless you move it down. The nightmarish music plays for the rest of the game, even thorugh the credits. The backgrounds become more menacing, ranging from pistons to drills to power generators. If you succeed in surviving this entire half of the game (which takes about three minutes) under these conditions, you get the Grand Master rank.
Thief: The Dark Project
- Song of the Caverns. What starts out as something that seems similar to the previous cave-crawling, monster-slaying mission turns out to be something completely different when you find out the artifact you came to steal has already been taken, leading you to infiltrate an opera house that is chock-full of life, atmosphere and background activity. It really says something as it breathes life into the character of Lady Valerius, who is never even seen, only talked about, and instances such as Garrett finding a rather ridiculous script for an opera, commenting on it snidely, then later coming across two NPCs rehearsing it!
- This level also contains Raoul the Crazy Hobo, who is one of the funniest characters in the entire series!
- Return to the Cathedral sees Garrett finally having the artifacts he needs to steal The Eye. The level is chock full of supernatural enemies and spooky atmosphere, and features a great twist at the end cutscene.
- There is a wonderful early level which was devoted to just...going around stealing things. It worked beautifully.
- 'Shipping and Receiving', IIRC. Level 2. Based in a warehouse. Just stealing because you need the money. Great level.
- 'Life of the Party' is a vast and sprawling masterpiece, filled with interesting side quests, but all leading up to a genuinely surprising twist ending. It's also a HUGE level. The rooftop section and the Mechanist Tower would have made very credible individual levels, but combining them into one massive mission works brilliantly.
- The unofficial expansion Shadows of the Metal Age had a level in which The Plan (yours, in fact) finally comes together, and two factions get engaged in a brutal melee with each other. Your goal? Slaughter anyone and everyone in your path, and make sure the faction who killed your brother is ground into the dust. In a game where you've had to stay out of view and skulk about for a long, long time, there's something satisfying about a level of nothing but brutal vengeance.
- The Cradle, which makes what could almost be considered an Unexpected Gameplay Change in terms of the overall atmosphere (although it fits in with situations in the earlier games), and executes it perfectly.
- The final, museum break-in mission, which puts aside pretty much any greater different elements between that game and the previous two games, and creates a big sneak-and-rob mission in pure classic Thief style.
- Thunder Force V has an entire level where your ship, the Gauntlet, docks into a massive armor called the Brigandine and uses a rail gun and a laser to obliterate battleships. Even though the Brigandine has a shield and is a massive target to everything, it's possible to beat the whole damn level with it, but you don't get to keep it for the next stage.
- In its predecessor Thunder Force IV there is a level called Air Raid that consists mostly of you dodging giant battleships' lock-on cannons while also blowing shit up.
- The level "Effect and Cause". Exploring an IMC research complex, and switching in time between the ruins in the present and its pristine past. Eventually, you find yourself using temporal travel to switch out in the middle of fighting off IMC grunts and marauding predators, and to complete parkour puzzles. Then you get into a part where you have to fight in both time periods. Then you get back to your 'mech, and you can still time travel in the mech! Over the course of the stage, you eventually come to the realization that the reason the base got wrecked is because your jumping in and out of the past caused the director to order a premature test, the explosive reaction of which is what led the Militia (and by extension, you) to the planet in the first place. Then the weapon completely breaks time, and you have to walk into the middle of the exploding superweapon to scan its energy signature.
- "The Ark" is a gigantic Battleship Raid as you chase down an IMC ship above the jungles of Typhon. You start by shooting down enemy escorts with a rocket launcher, and it only gets better from there, with BT providing a Fastball Special from one moving ship to another, platforming on the outsides of ships to get around obstacles, hijacking a battleship, culminating in a tense boss fight with an enemy Titan on top of the battleship.
- The final level is two very different types of Catharsis Factor. After BT's Heroic Sacrifice, you get your hands on the Smart Pistol for the only time in the campaign, letting you tear through the IMC facility at top speed without bothering to aim. Then you get to call in your Titan, reinstall BT's core, and rip through the IMC forces with a gigantic Gatling gun, thanks to the Legion loadout being unlocked.
- Tomb Raider: The Lost Valley: Along with the iconic T-Rex encounter, it is also filled with other memorable set-pieces, like the waterfall (and subsequent draining of it), and the design of the Valley itself.
- City of Vilacamba: Nice puzzles, beautiful pools, and those swinging axes, plus a great Green Hill Zone
- St Francis' Folly: Full of puzzles, as well as having an interesting vertical structure.
- Palace Midas: A great layout that interlinks in really cool ways, along with some good puzzles as well.
- And the Midas hands, which will turn Lara into a gold statue.
- The Cistern however was a great Down the Drain level
- Tomb Raider 2: Barkhang Monastery: A massive level with tons of non-linearity, that is filled with puzzles, challenges and exploration, as well as an army of monks that will support you against the enemies, as long as you don't attack them.
- Temple of Xian: Another huge level that covers almost aspect of Tomb Raider at some point, including some unique sequences like the Spider cave.
- Venice. Purely because of how awesomely fun the speedboat is.
- Tomb Raider 3: Aldwych: A massive and complex level, but the atmosphere is what really makes it; it manages to be more atmospheric than many of the "tomb" locations in the series, and shows how a modern level can work perfectly in TR with the right concept.
- Lost City of Tinnos: The finale level before the boss, and a great finale it is, with an interesting theme and some nice use of the elemental puzzles concept.
- Tomb Raider 4: The Lost Library: Another big level, and one that keeps linking in interesting ways and constantly brings on new tasks and puzzles.
- Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness: Hall of Seasons: The controls make a couple of the trap sequences very frustrating (along with That One Boss), but as a whole it has several puzzles and some very atmospheric areas that make it arguably the last echoes of the original designers former glory.
- Tomb Raider: Legend: Ghana: Starts with a very impressive waterfall sequence and continues with an interesting layout, large scale puzzles and less combat than most of the other levels.
- England: Beyond That One Boss it's a great level with quite possibly the best atmosphere in the game and several nice puzzles and platforming sequences.
- Nepal: Exploring through ice caves with ruins frozen from the past, leading all the way to a giant temple that seems to be built around a believable Bottomless Pit, the entire level(For the most part) makes you feel like you are alone and exploring a place that was once magnificent, the music in the level helps too.
- The Quick Time Event in the crashed plane actually managed to be quite entertaining. The level also contained only a single, brief shootout sequence with enemy mooks: just long enough to change up the pace, but not so much that the simplistic combat outstayed its welcome.
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary: St Francis' Folly takes every puzzle and the overall layout of the original level and expands on it all in several ways (such that the cuts that were made are balanced by more content elsewhere). Unfortunely this clashes with the levels that were remade less competently.
- All of Egypt: A couple of the trap sequences are frustrating, but beyond that it's another segment that, instead of strange changes, takes everything good about the original segment and makes it better.
- Tomb Raider Underworld: Mexico: There's quite a lot of exploration and a nice atmosphere. It also has some good puzzles in the Xibalba section.
- Tomb Raider (2013), the reboot has a bunch of cool missions.
- The Geothermal Caverns is probably the scariest and most disturbing section of the game, you begin in a pool of blood surrounded by corpses several miles below the earth. Then there's the fact that, outside of your bow and arrow, it's practically a No-Gear Level, but then you see the levels of Methane Gas around the caverns and you can use it to traverse, break through obstacles and take down tons of mooks, the section where Lara opens up a pool of molten lava that descends into the earth is pretty damn awesome as well.
- Of the game's mini-Tombs, Hall of Ascension is pretty great too. It's a huge cavern with wind inside it.
- Rise of the Tomb Raider really has some of the best adventure level design in recent gaming.
- The most intense is The Acropolis—Flooded Archives section. On one hand it's more linear than the earlier section, on the other hand it's far more varied, with climbing, platforming, traversal, shooting, stealth, puzzle, swimming integrated into a small compact section. The design of the Flooded Archive is itself a sight to behold and it has a ridiculously elaborate puzzle mechanic to create a platform that covers a very large section.
- Soviet Installation is the largest of the open-world sections and it's really dense, cold sawmills, icy waters, tombs, wolves in tunnels and caves, the Gulag and the Train yard. The factory section at the end is also spooky and gunfights in that area are incredibly tense.
- Kitezh, the final area of the game is 1) Beautiful, 2) features Rooftop Running and clambering across a tiny village, 3) really intricate puzzles and trebuchets. The pots of Greek Fire around the area and the cool blue flames also make gunfights awesome.
Tony Hawk series
- Downtown Minneapolis from Tony Hawk's 1. An unprecedentedly large city at this point in game history, including secret rooftops you can jump onto.
- Downhill Jam from Tony Hawk's 1, at least for its boiling atmosphere.
- Skate Heaven from Tony Hawk's 2.
- How about School from 2, where if you manage to time it right, you can open the gymnasium and try and launch yourself through a basketball hoop.
- Rio De Janeiro in Tony Hawk's 3...has the most ingenious rail circuit around the edge of the park that you can loop around endlessly.
- Airport from Tony Hawk's 3. The ability to grind the travelators, jump off onto the lights...or take the other path and grind the helicopter to watch it fly off, then do an almost endless combo around the baggage disposal...it was moments like this that show the Tony Hawks series are more than just a sports game series and are adventures in their own right.
- Los Angeles from Tony Hawk's 3, which works slightly better in Underground 2, where it's possible to grind the ramp behind you and sticker slap the walls endlessly provided you keep your balance.
- Alcatraz from Tony Hawk's 4, which is very realistic to the actual place, and as a consequence has an unorthodox level design that means you have to link a lot of longer combos using manual, which is a real challenge that pays off.
- Skatopia from 2, which is like a huge playground with giant mountains you can ride down.
- New Orleans in Tony Hawk's Underground 2. On top of feeling like a genuine large city, it had an entire network of half pipes, ramps and parks on the roofs of all its buildings, and it actually managed to feel southern without passing in to stereotypical territory, something games usually don't handle well. On top of that, grinding the tombs (The dead are "buried" above-ground in NO) in the local graveyard will transform the entire city into a voodoo hellhole, with a portal to hell in the center and hordes of zombies.
- Kyoto, from Tony Hawks Underground 2 Remix, which was later used in Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. It contains a huge building with multiple floors and escalators, not to mention huge combo potential on the ramps and rails outside it, which allow for many reverts and manuals. There is also great grind potential around the rest of the level, including on the power lines and on the highway bridge, and on the skatepark at the other end of the level, and on the roofs...it's one of the best levels the game ever produced, but had the misfortune of appearing in two lesser known games.
- Also from Tony Hawks Underground 2 Remix (and THAW: Collector's Edition), Las Vegas. The level takes place entirely in a casino, which is on multiple floors and even a few hidden areas. The design is beautiful, and the sheer uniqueness of the level makes you wonder why they didn't bother putting any other levels like it in the games.
- The huge cities and surrounding areas in Project 8 and Proving Ground. What were once distinct levels are now linked, you can go back and forth through them at will. Whilst not as large as GTA, it does prove that extreme sports and sandbox go together quite well - there is serious potential for this series to continue if the makers choose to focus on the right aspect of it.
- Total Annihilation features two. The final Mission of the ARM campaign, which starts you at the bottom of a series of terraces on which are overlayed the entire CORE force, including everything except ships. You must fight your way up each terrace, until you can destroy the CORE commander. The second is in the CORE campaign and is called Surrounded and Pounded, where you must defend a plateau from ARM forces, and don't have much room to build.
- Total Overdose early missions Smash The Stash and Steal The Wheels. First blow up four silos of chemicals that fertilize their ganga to the angry grinding metal of Apocalypshit, then bust into a villa and steal a Cool Car with Molotov Cocktail Party playing. The center is a nice maze-like garden of weed with gun-toting mooks jumping from all directions, encircled with dirt tracks filled with trucks, tractors, and explosives. The whole layout gives you the most opportunities for car-leaping kills and wall-bounces. The villa raid ends with a gun-duel with a crusty, revolver-packing miniboss then busting out of the garage with the fastest car in the game, leaping ramps of burning barrels, and getting it safely back to your boss...just so you can watch him blast it away with an Uzi.
- The Extra and Phantasm stages of Touhou 7: Perfect Cherry Blossom certainly qualify. Half of each level is an epic boss battle complete with Awesome Music, and the stages themselves are quite well-designed to be Nintendo Hard without relying on Fake Difficulty.
- As well as the final stage of the same game. The sheer beauty of the gorgeous attacks with butterflies and cherry blossoms, the unreal music in both the stage and the boss fight, and the awe-inspiring end-boss, Yuyuko Saigyouji, all come together to form a package so stunning and wonderful, many a member of the fanbase has been moved to tears, and not from the also-insane difficulty that comes with it on the higher levels.
- How about stage 4 from Subterranean Animism? Two awesome songs, a gorgeous background, and Satori cranking up the nostalgia meter by copying old cards, some of which hail from the fighting games. "Now, lie down with this terror that will leave you sleepless!"
Transformers: War for Cybertron
- Transformers: War for Cybertron has an absolutely amazing level as the fourth mission of the Decepticon campaign. Megatron, along with Soundwave, and Breakdown are attacked by Omega FREAKING Supreme, and are cut off from the rest of the Decepticon forces. What follows is the three of them racing through the underbelly of a ruined Autobot city while being chased by a gigantic warship, with lots of 'Oh crap!' moments where you have to avoid being killed by it. Not to mention the hordes of Autobot mooks that stand between you and a safe escape. Oh, and then there's the fact that Starscream takes advantage of Megatron's disappearance to do what Starscreams do best and declare HIMSELF leader of the Decepticons...of course, you're playing as (or with) Megatron, so his reaction to all of this is pretty much 'BRING IT ON!'
- And conversely the 4th level for the Autobots is equally amazing, as a team lead by Silverbolt chases Trypticon as the latter is in the process of Colony Drop ping onto Cybertron. So you follow it into the Gravity Well all the while trying to blow him up.
- Rideable. Space. Slugs. With. Turrets.
- Its sequel, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, isn't any slouch in the level department either; for example, the two missions played back-to-back as Megatron. After being rebuilt by Soundwave into a new body, Megatron proceeds to crash Starscream's coronation as Decepticon leader and then proceeds to fight his way through several increasingly more difficult waves of his own soldiers before soundly humiliating Starscream and giving him the boot, reaffirming why Megatron is the true lord of the Decepticons. Then in the second mission, Megatron fights his way through an entire Autobot army-again, mostly on his own-to where the Autobots have stored the remains of Trypticon after the end of the first game. He then manage to rebuild Trypticon's chassis and then holds off even more Autobots while Soundwave re-energizes him. Only Megatron doesn't want to actually reactivate Trypticon, because Trypticon has failed him. He just wanted Trypticon reassembled and energized so he could then have his entire chassis reformatted into his new flagship, the Nemesis. You will feel like Cybertron's biggest, most unstoppable badass by the time you're done.
- Or at least until you get to Grimlock, who is just as awesome as the trailers make him out to be. You start by throwing Starscream into a console that frees Grimlock from his restraints. Then it becomes part rescue mission and part revenge-driven rampage. You find the other Dinobots one by one as you slaughter 'Cons by the score. It culminates in a confrontation with Shockwave, where you get to bite off AND EAT his left arm.
- The final mission is no slouch, either. The playable characters switch from Soundwave to Jetfire to Bruticus to Jazz to the final boss fight between Optimus and Megatron where you can choose which character you play in rapid succession; each time it's accompanied by the faction symbol of the character you were just playing turning over to reveal the opposing faction symbol.
Treasure of the Rudra
- Surlent's first time entering the Underworld in Treasure of the Rudra. You're suddenly dead, there's an entirely new overworld to explore, there's the awesomest Awesome Music in the entire game, and the level ends with a thoroughly disturbing Nightmare Fuel Continuity Nod as you figure out how to get back to the surface.
- The Paris level in Twisted Metal 2 had a large portion of Paris that could be driven around in. It had the Louvre and The Eiffel Tower at opposite ends of the level which had teleporters that could be used to reach their roofs. But the best part was that the Eiffel Tower could be blown up and the wreckage could be used to drive across the roofs. Everyone who played that level collected remote explosives so they could plant them in the Eiffel Tower, and then drove as fast as possible to the Louvre roof so they could set them off and watch the tower explode. It was so cool.
- Early on in the game, when you play the New York level (in the campaign mode, not multiplayer), there's a section of the level where you can drive at top speeds across rooftops, getting ridiculous heights off the angled roofs, before you smash into the third floor of an apartment building and ventilate a man swimming in the hotel pool. Before taking the elevator down. With your car.
Uncharted are prized for their ingenious level design.
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
- The platform section when you reach the U-Boat and then the creepy entry into the submarine. You keep expecting something to be there but Nothing Is Scarier.
- The Jeep Chase with Elena. It becomes Once per Episode but the first one is still the most fun and exciting.
- The moment where you and Eddy Raja pull an Enemy Mine and shoot the hell out of evil zombies.
- The finale right from Navarro pulling The Starscream on Roman to the fist-fight atop his getaway ship is awesome.
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
- The train level in (technically it's 2 chapters, but who's counting). You're going over, around, and through a long freight train, getting into several great battles, including a very persistent attack helicopter that won't go away (until you blow it to bits near the end, at least). All the while you have to contend with some very realistic train physics that throw off your aim, which is far more cool than it is annoying. Naughty Dog had people working on it for most of the game's 2-year development cycle. It shows.
- Urban Warfare which has you climbing across a Nepalese City in the middle of Lazarevic's attack. It's filled with several unique physical puzzles(such as dropping and shooting petrol tanks to create a platform in a flooded street), a climb to the top of the hotel filled with a swimming pool that is out of place(several gamers on seeing the pool immediately dive in - you even get an achievement for it!) and then ziplining across the city while fighting a helicopter. This ends up leading to the first major Puzzle Level which has a classic Zelda mirrors puzzle only made complicated.
- One awesome moment in Urban Warfare regarded by developers as their favorite is the Collapsing Building. You and bad guys are having a gunfight, a helicopter shoots at the building and you and bad guys are still having a gunfight, and objects in the room and the floors and ceilings start falling down as the building slides left. The geometries alone are insane.
- Mountaineering with Tenzin is also quite fun and unexpected. It's just two of you, you don't speak the same language, you are up in the mountains and its very cold. Then out of nowhere come these weird monsters. It's quite creepy and intense. The Temple Puzzle Mission in the Mountains is genuinely nerve-wrecking because of how high you are.
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
- Chapters 2 and 3, "Greatness from Small Beginnings" gives us probably the most awesome and fun chase level of the franchise, featuring a teenage Nathan Drake, who moves and zips through areas in a way consistent for a kid and shows us the greatness the future guy will have.
- Chapters 12, 13 and 14, otherwise known as the Ship Level. You are kidnapped by Ruthless Modern Pirates, looking for your best friend. You then jump across a ship graveyard while fighting and platforming. Then the waves come in, and then you get on the Cruise Ship and the boat starts capsizing and going sideways. The funniest moment is when you enter an elevator and press a button and see it go "Down" but which really means "Left".
- The Chateau Levels are awesome too, nice scenery, cool architecture, interesting puzzle level and then some of the scariest and most realistic video game fires we have seen yet. The Conflagaration is Visual Effects of Awesome.
- Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
- Chapter 7 is a mostly stealth-based level involving you sneaking past the armed guards hunting you across the rooftops, which also features your first brush with Nadine Ross and at the end, a frantic gunfight through the villa.
- Chapter 11 starts out calm and slow-paced, with puzzles and platforming for the first half, but the second half is taken up by a massive vehicle chase with you first being pursued by a turret truck and then hopping between jeeps and trucks dealing with the mercernaries trying to kill you. The spectacle alone is worth the price of admission.
- The Epilogue isn't really fast-paced or exciting, but it serves as a sweet send-off to the entire Uncharted series, as you take control of Cassie, Nate and Elena's kid, as the game presents a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
Vampire: The Masquerade
- The Oceanside Hotel in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. It pulls out every haunted house trick in the books, and the resulting effect is creepy as hell.
- This level is fairly early on, and the early game is mostly easy, pitting the player for the most part against normal mortal humans. Thus, before this level the player has probably never felt threatened in the game. It's a nice reminder to the player that you may be an immortal creature of the night, but in the World of Darkness there's still a lot out there far more powerful than you.
- The Oceanside Hotel is an odd case in that it is the Best Level Ever on the first playthrough, but to some becomes That One Level on subsequent playthroughs. Knowing why this is the case spoils the fun of the newcomer somewhat: the level is entirely scripted, and it is impossible to die. Thus, there is no real threat if you know where all the good scares are, and even if you forget one your character isn't in real danger anyway.
- This troper begs to differ. The brilliance is exactly in the fact that even though the hotel is almost absolutely harmless, there's exactly ONE point where you can die instantly. If you caught on with the fact that scares you're encountering are actually harmless on your first go through the hotel, it outsmarts you perfectly. Similarly, the hotel is ALMOST entirely scripted, but a couple of jump-scares are randomized between several locations, potentially making you jump in your chair on your second or third go, when you were THINKING that you have it all figured out. It's all predictable after that, though.
- The werewolf chase. There you are, having kicked ass for for than three quarters of the game, and you are armed to the teeth with all sorts of weapons, and your supernatural powers' ranges in strength from turning the tide to your favor to mopping the floor with the enemies. Right, this was just the background - you are given the task to go and talk with one of the local badasses - Nines Rodrigez, who in a nearby park. Very soon after going there you both notice a forest fire and Nines starts freaking out because he knows that the werewolves don't take kindly neither to fires nor to vampires. Just then a werewolf jumps at him from nowhere snatches him and leaves you with another werewolf who is hellbent on trying to rip you to pieces and chew you. Oh, and all those powers and weapons are useless - the only option left is to scream like a little girl, run, and try to survive until you manage to get away.
- It's worth noting that this werewolf is not, as you might think if you are unfamiliar with The World of Darkness, a simple man-wolf hybrid. It is an enormous (probably 10-12 feet tall, hard to get a good look while running for your life) beast that can rip down walls to reach you. You can Take a Third Option to pull a Moment of Awesome: crush the offending shapechanger between the closing halves of the observatory's telescope ceiling. That said, you still have to run like mad to escape the werewolf to get enough time to set up the trap, so even if you know the trick beforehand you feel like an absolute badass for pulling it off.
- Tempest Peak Manor from Vexx. You get to roam around inside a giant's house, which is neat enough, but it also has things like getting flung up into the rafters and sneaking around, flinging gelatin to get an extra life, playing a mini-game on a GIANT TV by standing on the joystick, and a ridiculous Shaggy Dog Easter Egg. Oh: And the music? It's awesome.
- The final level of VVVVVV, in which you destabilize an alternate dimension and have to escape before it falls apart. The levels start flashing different colors, and action music starts playing, as you play through some of the hardest (but most fun) levels in the game.
- Alternately, The Tower. The entire level is one long room. One fast-paced vertical Fixed Scrolling Level of a room set to the best music in the game, where running off the edge of the screen loops you around to the other side—and the level's design will have you running circles around the tower to keep up (even featuring a few jumps which which you Wrap Around in the middle of them).
- Time to bounce! A trippy as all hell level where some awesome club-esque music is playing as you fling yourself around the level, trying to wrap your head around the puzzles involving strips where the direction of your gravity is changed. It makes you feel awesome for getting past them.
- The final level of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (i.e. the original game, not the expansion): "Twilight of the Gods." A 45-minute Hold the Line mission against The Legions of Hell. Your side starts with three bases and covers most of the map. You will lose almost everything before it's all over. The general panic of throwing everything you have at the endless waves of demons and undead is nothing short of awesome.
- The level was so badass that Blizzard put it in Worldof Warcraft: The Burning Crusade as a raid instance JUST FOR Fanservice!
- Not to be outdone, the Frozen Throne Night Elf campaign ends with "The Brothers Stormrage", featuring Malfurion and Illidan cooperating for possibly the first time ever to save Tyrande. Not only do you get to use the Naga for the first time, but the simple fact that these two are working together is something special. Also nice is that you've finally gotten rid of Maiev.
- For that matter, the final Undead mission, "A Symphony of Frost and Flame" is one giant reference to the "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series by George R.R. Martin. In this mission Arthas and Illidan fight each other for control of 4 obelisks to gain access to the Frozen Throne, much like the houses of Westeros fought each other for control of 7 kingdoms to gain access to the Iron Throne. In this mission, you are basically playing the Game of Thrones.
- Really, the final level of any Blizzard RTS qualifies. In the case of Starcraft I, the final level of any individual race's campaign qualifies as well. "The Hammer Fall" is undoubtedly the most epic Terran vs. Terran battle in the entire game, including the ones leading to Mengsk's defeat in Brood War.
- (Cough!) 75% or more of all raids. (Cough)!
- As far as raids go, Blackwing Lair, AQ40, Naxx, All of TBC especially Hyjal (the example above) Zul'Aman, and Black Temple, and Ulduar and Icecrown Citadel in WOTLK all are considered amazing by those who have done them.
- There are quite a lot of Scrappy Level examples for World of Warcraft, but some zones are just excellent: for example, The Storm Peaks. It has plenty of fun quests (including The Drakkensryd, mentioned in the CMoA page for Warcraft), the scenery is to die for, the background music is hauntingly beautiful and epic, and there's enough of a storyline there to satisfy at least some of the people who complain about WoW's lack of one.
- At least among the cities of WoW, Dalaran is one of the best places to be. The epic music helps quite a bit.
- The entire Wrath of the Lich King expansion had a lot of Moments of Awesome. One example being In the quest Finality after going through a huge quest chain involving a number of siege engines and decimated undead armies to kill a powerful lich who comes out a portal to hell with a group of elite soldiers at the bottom of an ancient crypt, you engage the lich and in terrifying moment of awesome, he freezes you and your soldier team in place to await death. When all hope seems lost who swoops in but Highlord Bolvar Fordragon himself who then helps you to handily defeat the undead commander.
- Battle. For. The. Undercity. The absolutely epic finale of arguably the best damned quest line in the expansion. It's amazing as either faction, but the Horde version is by far the most satisfying. Not only do you get to see Thrall showing off his bad ass shamanic powers, you get to fight alongside him and Dark Lady Sylvanas, all to reclaim one of the major home cities of the Horde, and finally beat the snot out of Varimathras, who's been plotting this coup since the original game.
- And when we say "fight alongside them," we don't mean "sit back and let them handle everything," we mean you get a buff that boosts your damage to INSANE levels and a never ending Heal Over Time that basically ensures that YOU WILL NOT DIE as you fight right next to them dishing out just as much pain to the elite demons who turned your pants brown so many times as the two of them are. Honestly, the expansion is well worth the cost just for this one quest chain. (Too bad it was taken out as of Cataclysm.)
- It was well camouflaged when the expansion first went live as there were tons of other players also running the encounter, but it turns out that it really was "sit back and let them handle everything." The mooks would respawn infinitely until their boss showed up, which happened based on a timer, and the bosses had so much health that even with the huge buff your faction leader gave you you still couldn't do any noticeable damage to it.
- The Icecrown zone as a whole. Certainly playing as a Blood Elf. The PC assists the Argent Crusade in establishing their first outpost in Icecrown, and proceeds to smash through every single line of defence the Lich King has in place around the Citadel. The storyline ends with the Argent Crusade merging with the Knights Of The Ebon Blade to surround Icecrown Citadel itself. The player can then go into the raid and destroy his top generals, fighting him face to face, knowing that countless scourge died with your face the last thing that the Lich King saw via their mind link. Essentially, blood elf players can single handedly claim vengeance for the sacking of Quel'Thalas in Warcraft 3.
- You can also play as a human paladin, a member of the Silver Hand, the very order Arthas disbanded as the beginning of his Start of Darkness. Your journey will involve repeatedly humiliating horde champions in both jousting and hand to hand combat, slaying legions of undead and any orc, tauren, troll or other horde race that got in your way too long. Then you, and what is possibly an entire raid plus one of paladins (possibly human, hence literally an army of knights of the Silver Hand), get a chance to kill him. The sheer poetic justice is impossible to describe, having to slay millions of both scourge and backstabbing horde, leave all morality behind in order to get the weapons necessary, craft it with the hammer Arthas discarded, shards of Frostmourne and empower it with his own general's powers, literally making another Frostmourne to kill him with. THAT is the story of Warcraft.
Warhammer 40 K: Space Marine
- Any level where the Jump Pack is involved, especially if you've got the Thunderhammer.
- Special mention goes to the level near the end: Before you stands a climb up a tower with hundreds of demons and their ilk guarding the Final Boss you know how much of a pain you're in for as you wait for the loading screen to finish. When it finally finishes, Titus stands there, Jump Pack equipped, Thunderhammer in hand and doesn't say a word - because there's nothing left to say. There's the goal, enemies inbetween and all you have a Jump Pack and a Thunderhammer. It's all you need. Feel free to scream "FOR THE EMPEROR!" as you Ground Pound for the first time and revel in the Catharsis of righteous slaughter
- Wario Land 3:
- The Warped Void: In a game full of underwater or cavernous levels this alienlike level is a stark distinction. Plus, playing around with the warp beams is fun, especially in the red treasure, when you have to fall through a long vertical shaft full of warp beams, avoiding them to reach the key and then the chest.
- Above the Clouds: Much like how the bramble levels in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest had a deceitfully peaceful aesthetic because they were some of the hardest levels, Above the Clouds's peaceful music and graphics is belied by the fact that it is probably the hardest level in the game, full of tricky jumps across disappearing and reappearing cloud platforms. However, also like the bramble levels of Diddy's Kong Quest this peaceful aesthetic makes all of the difficulty worth it. Above the Clouds is especially great at night (even if it's a little harder to see everything), thanks especially to the music.
- Wario Land 4 had fantastic levels, especially Toxic Landfill! You have to traverse a waste dump filled with breakable and unbreakable trash that lead to hidden places and goodies, and many of the enemies here will transform Wario into a form that can be used for puzzle solving and other fun. Money is easy to come by, and it has one of the most Awesome Music ever made by man!
- Fiery Cavern is a cave filled with lava geysirs and other fire-related obstacles and enemies. Awesome music and a fair challenge, but the crowner comes when you hit the timed-bomb switch as it causes the entire level to freeze over, completely changing its puzzles from there on out.
- The Big Board's main gimmick was that you had to hit dice blocks to traverse a number of spaces. Whichever space you got would also have various effects on either Wario or his surroundings. It manages to keep the level fresh and not become a Scrappy Mechanic.
- Monsoon Jungle took you through a lush rainforest accompanied by soothing music.
- Golden Passage was a very effective Final Exam Level, requiring you to use all of your techniques and knowledge of Wario's transformations to get all the four pieces and Keyzer as fast as possible before the time ran out. Also the only level where the recurring scientist appears outside any of the puzzle rooms.
- Crescent Moon Village was an awesome level. Not only did it have excellent music like most levels in the game, it had arguably the best amosphere for a 'haunted' type level in the series (by being a haunted town which actually felt like a town and not a cartoon ghost house). Nice graphics, interesting level design and a few gimmicks that weren't too overly gimmicky.
- Any of the 9-Volt and 18-Volt stages tend to be awesome levels filled with nostalgia-inducing microgames! Any of the final Wario stages are also this and tend to have some of the best Boss microgames.
- Ana and Kat's stage with the Japanese inspired story in the original WarioWare. Must be the music.
- Dribble and Spitz' stage in Smooth Moves! Fun microgames, a very nice song, and one of the best Boss microgames that even utilizes your Mii.
- Kat and Ana's stage in Wario Ware Twisted. It eschews the entire gimmick of the game and returns to simple button pressing (one button, no d-pad or anything), and manages to still be really fun.
- Uninvited, where Aiden gets to set up an ambush for some gangsters and you are given free reign on how to wipe them out.
- A Risky Bid. Aiden infiltrates Lucky Quinn's human trafficking auction, and after a long showcase of disturbing sexual imagery, you get to completely wreck the place and call the cops on whoever doesn't get killed.
- For The Portfolio, where T-Bone and Aiden use T-Bone's traps to devastate a small army of Blume soldiers.
- By Any Means Necessary, where Aiden storms Iraq's HQ, progressing through the tower while facing the entire Viceroys, culminating in a duel with Iraq himself on the tower's top.
- The Defalt Condition, where Aiden pursues rival hacker Defalt through a rave. Defalt's creepy messages from other peoples' phones showcase how in control of the situation he is, and you eventually have to keep pace with his car through an intense chase to steal back your data.
- Sometimes You Still Lose, where Damien takes over ctOS and tries to kill you with it. All the hacking tricks you've used in the past, from blowing up steam pipes to screwing with traffic lights, are now being used against you, with a healthy dose of Interface Screw besides. It all culminates in a massive city-wide blackout and Jordi's brief FaceHeel Turn.
- The entire third act of Bad Blood, which contains the following:
- "Ghosts": After infiltrating a crumbling building full of Fixers, you find yourself wandering through an eerie and twisted haunted house-esque display of the victims of the 2003 blackout T-Bone caused, culminating in The Reveal of why Defalt's been gunning for T-Bone. At the end of that, Defalt causes a blackout himself, through which you have to fight your way through a final onslaught of Fixers making a beeline for you.
- "Hold the Line": Think "For the Portfolio" listed above, only throw in several more waves of Fixers, an assload of additional traps, and cameras armed with machine guns. Combine this with the game giving you far more ammo than you'll ever need, and you're pretty much given free reign to take out wave after wave of mooks in any way you see fit, and it's every bit as fun as it sounds. To top it all off, the mission ends with a Moment of Awesome for Frewer.
- "The Verdict": You infiltrate Defalt's base One-Man Army-style, first by taking out a small army of mooks guarding the entrance, then taking out another small army of them to hack your way in further. After that, Defalt hits you with infrasonic waves, causing a bit of Interface Screw while you kick a few more asses. Then you guide Frewer through a maze filled with guards in an assisted stealth section that, thanks to the way the area is designed, makes it way more enjoyable than any of the similar sections in the main campaign. Finally, you fight through one last onslaught of Fixers before finally confronting Defalt face-to-face, where you take him out in one of the most satisfying ways possible.
- Chapter IV. After escaping the turmoil in Temeria, Geralt finds himself in a small, peaceful village on the lakeshore, which nonetheless is not without its share of problems: there are complications over a coming wedding, a conflict's brewing with the lake-dwelling sentient amphibians, and the local goddess would appreciate some company. That's right, the whole chapter is a wonderful mix of Arthurian legend, Cthulhu Mythos and Polish Romanticismnote , all in fascinatingly folky setting. For his actions, the Lady goddess of the Lake knights Geralt and gives him the magic sword Aerondight, effectively turning Geralt into Lancelot.
- The battle of Kaer Morhen in the Witcher 3 is an incredibly epic moment. You have gathered a small team to defend against the legions of The Wild Hunt. You get to play as both Geralt and Ciri as you make short work of the seemingly endless armies.
Wolfenstein 3 D
- E3M10 of Wolfenstein 3D. Seems freaky when you first enter it ("why the hell is a Pac-Man ghost bearing down on me?!") - right up to the moment you realise it's a near-perfect recreation of Pac-Man (the only things missing are the looparounds - replaced with level exits - and the power pills are switched to extra lives. The ghosts themselves are indestructible).
Wolfenstein: The New Order
- The London Monitor boss-fight. A Humongous Nazi Mecha vs. unstoppable Nazi-killing Anti-Hero B.J Blazkowicz. On foot. B.J wins.
- Rampaging through a concentration camp on a hijacked Nazi robot and causing a breakout, killing hundreds of Nazis in the process.
- Fighting laser-wielding Nazi Space Marines on the Moon.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
- Fending off a Nazi boarding party largely single-handed and while wheelchair-bound.
- Fighting through the nuked ruins of Manhattan.
- Being captured by the Nazis, and then breaking out of your restraints during the trial and shooting up the courthouse! Sadly this turns out to be All a Dream, and B.J is executed via decapitation the next day. Don't worry, he gets better. Yes, you did just read that.
- Riding on the back of a giant fire-breathing Nazi robot dog through the dilapidated streets of New Orleans.
- Infiltrating a Nazi base on Venus to participate in a film audition presided over by an insane, geriatric, puking Adolf Hitler. And yes, you can kill him (via boot to the head), though it nets you a Non-Standard Game Over. And then you get to rampage through the place!
- Fighting an entire army of Nazi goons, robots and super-soldiers and then finally duking it out with a pair of Super Prototype Nazi war-machines on the flight deck of a Nazi flying fortress that you've just nicked for the Resistance. Then going down to terra firma to interrupt a TV interview with the villainess Frau Engel and killing her live on air with a hatchet while she screams in horror and disbelief that you've come back from being decapitated.
- The infamous Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy from Yoshi's Island. Halfway through the level, the titular Fuzzies appear and when you touch them, Yoshi gets reeeeaaaally high and starts stumbling around with the most hilarious look on his face.
- Any time you become Super Baby Mario. Yoshi becomes a giant egg and follows around Baby Mario, who now has a cape and can run along walls and ceilings and glide.
- Raphael Raven's castle. It's one of the better designed castles and goes into the sky. It's really breathtaking, and the boss takes place on the moon itself.
- The Tall Tower from Yoshi's Story is boing-a-riffic fun! In addition to having a lovely backdrop and pretty music, you get to rocket around on springs everywhere! Wheee!
Zone of the Enders
- Air Fight in Zone of the Enders 2. You versus six flying battleships with More Dakka, Roboteching Beam Spam and naturally, Wave Motion Guns. All accompanied by Awesome Music. And when you manage to destroy one with your own Wave Motion Gun, you can see it falling for miles and breaking up in the air. Troperrific.
- And while we're at it, the Mars Melee. You, the Vic Viper, and 20 or so LEVs against hundreds if not a thousand or more enemy Mecha Mooks. From the opening salvo of attacks, to the scramble to save your troops, to the inevitable Oh, Crap! you feel when the on-screen radar shows a wave of enemies coming down at you, the whole thing is an intense, frantic, and awesome battle that really shows off what the game's about, and how much power Jehuty really has.
- Rescuing Ken. The mission, the music, and just the sheer amount of mooks you'll obliterate on your way up and out of there is beyond description in how heroic and awesome it will make you feel.