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LONDON - OCTOBER 20: A classic video game 'Space Invaders' is displayed at the Science Museum on October 20, 2006 in London. The Game On exhibition at the museum displays 120 classic and modern computer games. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

By Joseph Sloan

As more and more games turn to open world or sandbox adventures, the concept of the level has slowly begun to disappear from AAA games. Back in the day, your typical game was either a series of levels in sequential order or an over-world where you could enter individual levels. This list is celebrating the top 10 levels of all time in classic games.


10. Cool Cool Mountain – Super Mario 64

I’m going to warn you right now that the Nintendo 64 is going to feature pretty prominently on this list. As a console, it damn near perfected the over-world design of games. Many people will remember Super Mario 64 as the title that came with their Nintendo 64. (Although mine came with Starfox 64!)

Cool Cool Mountain is one of the first stages players encounter, but it had a little of everything that made Mario 64 great. Whether you were helping a lost penguin find its mother, or a snowman’s head find his body, this level was a ton of fun. But of course, the only thing that truly matters is the slide race against the big penguin.


9. Area 6 – Star Fox 64

See what I did in #10? Foreshadowing! Star Fox 64 didn’t use the over-world, instead opting for the more old school linear progression. But it did boast three different difficulty paths for players to follow. There’s a lot of planets that everyone remembers like Corneria for being the iconic first stage, or Solar for being one of the worst levels in a game ever.

If we’re talking about the best stage in Star Fox 64 though, it has to be Area 6. I loved the final showdown with Andross, but breaking through the defenses of Venom was an incredible experience. It’s a situation where the voice acting really adds a lot, which is surprising given the age of the game. Who doesn’t remember “THEY’RE THROUGH THE SECOND LINE!”

It made the player feel powerful after struggling through so much of the game to finally charge forward and shatter Venom’s defenses. That boss sucked though. “CRUD! And we were so close to Venom!”


8. Casino Night Zone – Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Everyone remembers Casino Night Zone. For me, it was the level where I knew Sonic was going to be one of my favorite games. Full disclosure, Sonic 2 was the game that came with my Sega Genesis, so I was guaranteed to at least try it.

Still, how many people spent way too long just using the slot machine over and over again? See? Video games had gambling long before loot boxes!

Read the rest of this article, and find out the top 7 levels in classic video games, here.

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