59 levels to play before you die: S - Z

The Simpsons Game (PS3,360, Wii, PS2) | Mob Rules
Any gamer with a healthy funny gland will surely appreciate this amusingly esoteric sideways snigger at Grand Theft Auto and the highly-charged reactionary fracas it attracts. In terms of gameplay the level is an uninspired old sock (like most of the game), but is well worth a sniff just to sample The Simpsons' own humorous assault on Rockstar's series with its ultra-violent parody, Grand Theft Scratchy. And, of course, we get to see Ned Flanders being carjacked by Martin Prince.

Thief: Deadly Shadows (PC, Xbox) | Shalebridge Cradle
The Thief games have always been tense, eerie experiences, particularly when they dip into the supernatural. But when thieving, stealth-dependent "hero" Garrett stupidly decides to set foot in the Shalebridge Cradle, a burnt-out orphanage/asylum that's about six times more haunted than that description suggests, all bets are off.

The Cradle isn't scary - it's terrifying. Before you even see it, you're leery of it, as Deadly Shadows spends a fair amount of time and effort building it up as a place of unimaginable danger. You'll stumble across bedtime stories that warn children to stay the hell away from it, read written accounts of strange and horrific events that transpired there, and hear numerous rumors that it's the home of a monstrous hag that creeps through dark alleys and devours children. And when you finally do see it, very near the end of the game, its imposing Gothic façade should be all the reason you'll need to forget your mission and run far, far away.

Everything that happens once you enter the place - the strange sounds, the eerie non-music, the odd interplay of light and shadow - adds up to one big mind game that's been carefully calculated to frighten you as much as a videogame can. And it tends to leave its mark on those who play through it - or at least, it left enough of a mark for PC Gamer UK to devote six pages of its March 2005 issue to this one, single level. Due to the number of spoilers in the PC Gamer article, though, we advise not reading it if you're planning to play through the level yourself. That goes double for this video:

Timesplitters 2 (PS2) | Siberia 
You might not realise it while busily knee-deep disgruntled Russian military types, but TS2’s Siberia level is one of the best-paced stages yet to come out of FPS.

The level’s structure allows you to tackle it as either Rambo or Bond - it’s possible to clear at least half of it with a 100% bodycount without being seen once – and the increasingly hectic tone builds seamlessly, taking you from the silent, snowbound, pistol-and-sniper-rifle opening to a full-scale military seige by way of infiltration, espionage and biohazard outbreak. Massive freedom to experiment with combat makes the experience totally your own despite the level’s linearity, and to top it all off, there are zombies as well.

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  • barrage7667 - April 7, 2012 7:47 p.m.

    ive played 39 of these
  • Darkhawk - October 14, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    25/59. I realise everyone is going to have levels they wish made it, but for me Zone of the Enders: the Second Runner's massive battle is one of the best ever. 100s of enemies on screen, with you dashing around the field to lend support to your allies, and Gradius's Vic Viper (!) as your backup. Also: there was a time a couple years ago when I could play Contra III’s first level without looking at the screen, I had played it so much.
  • Kordocwaffle - December 13, 2009 5:05 p.m.

    16 for me not bad
  • Nannoo - November 4, 2008 2:34 a.m.

    The New Gettysburg Starcraft mission is an awesome addition to this article. Although I must say, a better one from Starcraft: Brood War to pick would have been the last Zerg mission. Which is IMPOSSIBLE.
  • Gingerbread - October 23, 2008 1:55 a.m.

    I've played 4!
  • LePsycho - July 6, 2009 7:19 p.m.

    12, though a couple of the older ones I'd forgotten about playing till this article :S
  • lukel127 - June 22, 2009 6:21 p.m.

    Ive played 4. Pscyconaughts, Simpsons, Flatout, and raven holm which is scary as hell! Plus, why is the glados fight not in here?
  • thomashalpenny - June 7, 2009 11:49 p.m.

    ive played 8 . u 4got sum of de classic crash bandicoot levels.
  • Florniels - June 2, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    12!! :D
  • Supermanoh - May 21, 2009 11:15 p.m.

    ... 14, but why not harold & bob the talking tree (think that's his name) from Fallout 3? c'mon! and no secret level from mario that i can never remember the name of... from the very first!
  • Matgta - May 20, 2009 3:31 p.m.

    17 For me, must try harder!
  • dreamgor - May 6, 2009 12:39 p.m.

    NOOO!!! i want to play some of them but i have played only ½ of one... it is the simpsons game but it was for DS... i have played some of the games at my friends but i never got so far w8... DYNASTY WARRIORS i have played DW 5XD whew... MUST GET DS PORT OF CHRONO CROSS AND FFVII when they come-.-
  • TheGreatestNightmare - April 27, 2009 2:47 a.m.

    I've played about 9 or 10. But man, I love Timespliters. But I think the Chicago or the Notre Dame levels were better.
  • FrozenImplosion - April 16, 2009 2:19 a.m.

    I've played 13 And I'm actually in the middle of "We Don't Go To Ravenholm". It's freaky :D and lol recaptch = bumpiest spine
  • IronicBob - July 8, 2009 8:24 p.m.

    I'm surprised you've left out the Tanker Level in MGS 2.
  • Gamedude-9 - July 1, 2009 5:33 p.m.

    I cant believe they did not put the mission from the Dark brotherhood on Oblivion htat was awsome
  • sklorbit - June 17, 2009 10:02 p.m.

    only 10... i think you forgot a couple great ones...
  • isaacthejust - June 4, 2009 9:36 p.m.

    thats great but i beat re4 on the pc and its not listed as a pc game wierd guess they didnt know it was on the pc too.
  • PekoponTAS - May 31, 2009 4:11 a.m.

    I haven't played ANY of these! o_o
  • Matgta - May 20, 2009 3:36 p.m.

    Hold on why isn't the final section of fallout 3 here, y'know the bit with the giant robot? Liberty prime I think?

Showing 1-20 of 31 comments

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