59 levels to play before you die: S - Z

Tomb Raider (SegaSaturn, PSone, PC) | The Lost Valley
We knew Tomb Raider was a groundbreaking game ten minutes after we first donned Lara's oddly out-of-season khaki shorts. But it was the player's entrance to the Lost Valley that we'll remember above any other level in the game. Exploring a massive cave complex, we slid down from a ledge we couldn’t climb back up, and heard footsteps. Having already killed a bear and enough wolves to make a very cozy coat, we grabbed our pistols and got ready for anything... except for the velociraptor that came trotting around the corner.

But as everyone knows, that wasn't the best part. No, the best part was entering into the lush junglescape seconds later and coming face to scaly, teeth-the-size-of-bananas-filled face with a lumbering Tyrannosaurus Rex, nature's finest human-eating machine. The next 30 seconds are blurry for most gamers, and typically involve wonder, excitement, panic, and (if you're lucky) a small cave just big enough for Lara to slip into. And possibly several reloads of the previous checkpoint.

Twisted Metal 2 (PSone, PC) | Paris: Monumental Disaster
What could possibly be more fun than pretending to utterly demolish national landmarks? Nothing, that's what, so stop trying to come up with answers. Aside from being one of the best car-combat games ever made, Twisted Metal 2 is notable for enabling players to go berserk in a mockup of Paris, complete with a near-life-size Eiffel Tower and a dull-looking gallery that's probably supposed to be the Louvre. Better still, you can blow them all to hell - but for the most spectacular demolition, place a remote-triggered bomb (conveniently located on the Eiffel Tower's observation deck) anywhere on the tower. Trigger it once you're within safe viewing distance, and the Eiffel Tower will be torn apart, leaving the once-pristine city littered with smoldering steel wreckage (that conveniently bridges the gaps between certain buildings).

Sure, the original looks a little hokey now (it's since been remade on PSP and PS2 in Twisted Metal: Head On and TM:HO: Extra Twisted Edition, respectively), with its pastel-colored row houses and jaggy tower, but in 1996, Twisted Metal 2's Parisian arena of death offered us something we'd never seen or done before, and the fact that we could actually do it left us a little shocked. Shocked at how awesome games could be.

A - D | D - G | G - L | M -S | S - Z   


  • 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?

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