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20 comments

  • colicub - July 6, 2014 12:18 p.m.

    So, now I'm just thinking of the awesomeness of Castle Of Illusion. That game still has some of the most inspired levels ever. Like the Library, or the one inside the milk bottle.
  • g1rldraco7 - January 8, 2014 3:44 p.m.

    I have to disagree with the lava and ice stage, ones on the Super Mario Galaxy games were pretty cool and a change from jumping from planet to planet.
  • TanookiMan - January 8, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    I liked the Rayman Legends bonus level take on the "retro" theme. The game goes fuzzy at key moments while playing, as if your antenna cable wasn't fully plugged in the back of your tv. I was ready to hit the side of my TV, just like the old days!
  • seanpwns - January 8, 2014 6:47 a.m.

    The music stages of Rayman Legends are some of the most fun I've ever had in a game. Had no idea they were in there and was immediately hooked; determined to unlock all of them.
  • MouseKlok - January 8, 2014 5:01 a.m.

    Gah! The allegory of the cave! Only on GamesRadar, well done.
  • winner2 - January 7, 2014 6:56 p.m.

    I'd like more treasure levels, just gold, jewels, treasure and priceless artifacts everywhere
  • SonicHunter - January 7, 2014 6:15 p.m.

    One thing I'd like is for: Underwater levels to die in a fire. Fire/Lava levels to drown. More mechanical stages, like with Metropolis Zone from Sonic 2. Ice physics to meet my burning passion of a thousand suns for them. Less insta-death walls following you throughout the stage. Did I mention the water and ice? Powerups that change gameplay, but are optional to complete the stage and developed well. (Sonic Lost World, I'm looking at you.) No more invisible walls; give us a reason why we can't go there. That is all.
  • SnakeinmyBoot - January 7, 2014 5:18 p.m.

    If done right, all ten are still good themes, except when the carnivals throw too many colors at you. Usually you only get 5-10 minutes of a level theme in most games. I love what they did with the Ancient Egyptian level in Trine 2 adding it as a forgotten Goblin Empire or the old school Sonics and Super Metroid where the music and visuals fit the mood of the theme perfectly. Hydrocity Zone is one of the best zones in any Sonic game and it broke my heart that the rather bland Sky Sanctuary got to be in Generations instead. I'm always looking for rom hacks that expand on these old games since their one big flaw is they have an end. What series really needs to follow this list is Zelda. A Link Between Worlds had the Dark Palace as a shadow level but otherwise it's caves, castles, deserts, old ruins, ice, and water levels. Skyward Sword had TWO fire temples and water temple along with one with some water puzzles. (OoT had 2 each of fire and water, too. At least one was in a fish diety's guts, though). They did change it up by adding new abilities and mixing themes. Both are good games but the repetition is why there's more Zelda haters than there could be. I don't mind the same themes in a game if the design, puzzles, enemies, and art style make it feel fresh. It just would be nice if they didn't have to add the same theme in consecutive games in the series all the time.
  • dden45 - January 7, 2014 5:08 p.m.

    Anything from Psychonauts trumps every original stage on this list.
  • CitizenWolfie - January 7, 2014 4:13 p.m.

    I think all the recent Mario games are guilty of all of the overused ones. I quite like snowy levels in general, I think it's because the snow storm in Donkey Kong Country was the greatest thing I'd ever seen by a game (graphics wise). And Uncharted 2 definitely made snowy and icy peaks interesting again. I really hate desert levels and have done since SMB3 and that goddam evil Sun enemy which hounded you. Boring setting with boring tropes. Not even Uncharted 3 could make the desert interesting. I know GR loves them but I hate Mine Cart levels too. Train levels are either brilliant or terrible depending on the game as well. The default levels in LBP1 & 2 are all very refreshing, especially the dia de Los muertos one (although that's becoming a cliche now) and the sweet factory and the Japanese garden.
  • talleyXIV - January 7, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    The rollercoaster level from DKC2 was so fun.
  • Elgyem - January 7, 2014 4:05 p.m.

    What about factory stages? I've always had a soft spot for those (the soundtracks are usually my favorite part).
  • shawksta - January 7, 2014 3:51 p.m.

    Neat list. Especially the Carnival theme and Music levels and there are instances where the usual level designs are played out more creativity. Like Bladedfalcon said with Rayman Origins. Also there I some instances where my favorite levels are when a fire level isn't a volcano for once, like maybe a burning town, or better yet, a Burning Forest like Tropical Freeze. Speaking of which, I find it funny, some complaints for Return is about not having Ice/Snow world and now tropical Freeze's plot is that DK Island is becoming a Snow/Ice World XD
  • G3R - January 7, 2014 3:42 p.m.

    It is called ice climbers for a reason!
  • pl4y4h - January 7, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    I'm all about music stages
  • MidianGTX - January 7, 2014 3:02 p.m.

    Shadow stages have already been done to death. Limbo set it off, and indie devs across the world jumped on it. I think you could probably find around 30+ iOS titles alone that use this theme across the entire game. It just burned out so fast...
  • Jackonomics2.0 - January 7, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    Indie garbage ruined the essence of 2D Platformers, games like Limbo and such were great but all these amateurs are the making the industry look down upon them as nothing but more than simple games. Rayman and DK are the only ones I think of that are actually trying with console budgets, and I hope the glory days will return that isn't infested with those "retro" style crooks.
  • BladedFalcon - January 7, 2014 3 p.m.

    Surprised that Water levels weren't the number 1 most hated example. Though I guess they really aren't as overplayed as lava or snow stages. I don't have that much of a problem with those, btw. But I do agree that having more variety and imagination is best. rayman Origins provided a good subversion of most of the cliched examples here, actually. Having a food themed world in which some of the levels looked like "ice" stages but had cool ideas like having the water be like lemonade or soda, and the "lava" stages taking place in a Mexican kitchen.
  • shawksta - January 7, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    The creativity of Origins was off the wall, especially with Food Ice and Kitchen Fire. The problem with water levels is as stated, they either slow down or give a different approach, where on the other hand Ice Levels, for the most part, deal with slippery physics. Though there are examples that don't force the mechanic or atleast make Ice Skating physics. I feel Snow levels in general (as in, not just frozen, just flat out snow) create ambience, especially if its a snowstorm or basically any level where its barren and not sunshine.
  • Cyberninja - January 7, 2014 2:36 p.m.

    This is a pretty good list

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