The greatest multiplayer maps of all time

9. Wake Island | Battlefield series

Entry by Chris Antista, Associate Editor

Perhaps, it’s uncouth to enjoy a map based on an actual wartime battleground where valiant men lost their lives, but seriously, Wake Island FTW! The crescent moon map was the first level released as a multiplayer demo for the full version of Battlefield 1942, and its popularity has shown minimal decrease even as it’s just surpassed its seventh anniversary.

Above: Wake Island, as seen through the modern equipment in Battlefield 2 

Of course, part of that is due to its successful inclusion in numerous other editions of the Battlefield series, including a modernized version for Battlefield 2 and a welcome revisitation in the recently released BF 1943. But hey, how many gameplay environments see that kind of longevity and attention that aren’t populated by green pipes and koopa troopas?

Above: WAR! This is what it’s good for 

Something about the desperate grasp for consistently fluctuating spawn points over the semi-circular atoll never seems to go out of style. With a bountiful selection of respawning vehicles at the players’ (quite literal!) disposal, beaches to storm, payloads to drop, as well as the occasional instance of long-swim subterfuge, Battlefield’s most iconic map is one of the most frantic and hilarious multiplayer scenarios one can have over the interwebs. It perfectly encapsulates all the best moments from every WWII movie you’ve ever seen in playable, bitesized chunklets so varied most players may never even experience them all.


8. Battle Course 4 | Super Mario Kart

Entry by Brett Elston, Executive Editor

Mario Kart and its genre-defining battle mode first appeared on the SNES, and of the four available maps (all of which were decent), Course 4 was the one we played time and time again. Color-coordinated right angles make it an optimal dueling experience, as you’re able to quickly slide behind the walls to deflect incoming turtle shells or tossed banana peels. An expert driver can literally run circles around a lesser opponent, primarily thanks to the simple but effective design of these playschool-colored structures.

If Mario Kart had a built-in timer, we’re confident our combined time spent on just this map would be measured in months. Every match was stuffed with split-second wins (or losses) due to veering left instead of right, or using a feather to hop over the edge of the level, avoiding a homing red shell altogether. I know for a fact that I spent New Year’s Eve 1993 playing 200+ matches of just this map, and vastly prefer it to anything from the 2000-era Mario Karts.


7. Crash | Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Entry by Tyler Wilde, Features/Community Editor

None of CoD 4’s maps are absolute black sheep. Not everyone likes every map, obviously, but they all have fans, and that makes it tough to determine which should be called the best. I chose Crash because it’s one of the most balanced maps, and it certainly never gets skipped.

Above: The making of our favorite CoD 4 map

It’s my personal favorite, because as anyone who has played with me in one of GamesRadar’s marathons knows, I’m a snipey bitch, and Crash suits that excellently. Not only are there plenty of sexy rooftops for me to pitch my tent on, the balance of the map prevents my assault-rifle-loving friends from bitching that it’s a “sniper map.” No excuses!

Above: No one knows where Crash got its name 


6. Gold Rush | Team Fortress 2

Entry by Tyler Nagata, Senior PC Editor

Forget about control points and flags. The cart is all that matters in Team Fortress 2’s Gold Rush. If you’re on the attacking side, you’ll have to work with your teammates to push the cart forward through checkpoints until it reaches the enemy base. If you’re on the defending team, you’ll need to do everything you can to stop it.

It’s a brutal tug-of-war that’s filled with flying rockets, devious backstabs, and deadly turret fire. But even though Gold Rush seems like random chaos, you always feel like you’re playing with purpose. Whether you’re setting up sticky bombs, laying down suppressing fire around the cart, or clearing paths on the sides of the cart’s tracks, it always seems like you’re doing important work for the collective cause.

That’s why Gold Rush is one of the best maps of all time. No matter how many times you died, it always feels like you were the most valuable player on your team. Killing, dying, and feeling good about it - that’s how it should be.

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  • BaraChat - December 20, 2011 9:57 p.m.

    Very enjoyable read, even 2 years later. I think that's one article or "Top XX best YYYY" thingy you guys should update for 2011-2012, with he slew of FPS we had since that on was made. As always, keep up the great work fellas.
  • sveini22 - August 23, 2010 7:29 p.m.

    Estate FTW
  • MrQueenie - August 23, 2010 12:29 p.m.

    I remember Poisson from Call of Duty 3, spent hundreds of hours driving around on motorcycles, smoke bombing houses, and crawling around on the ground reviving people while avoiding being sniped by a one shot one kill Kar98k. I also vote for Azeroth in World Of Warcraft:)
  • greenjoker - August 19, 2010 11:43 a.m.

    nice article guys..A+...nice touch on keeping base on older games...i got to say that quake 3 arena level longest yard blew us away back in high school..good one too on the twisted metal 2 map...ah par
  • greenjoker - August 19, 2010 11:42 a.m.

    nice article guys..A+...nice touch on keeping base on older games...i got to say that quake 3 arena level longest yard blew my friends and i back in high school..good one too on the twisted metal 2 map...ah pari
  • inyoface024 - August 19, 2010 1:16 a.m.

    No killzone 2 radec academy? wtf?
  • GearsofRabies - August 11, 2010 11:02 p.m.

    Chris and Brett have exceptional taste in Multiplayer maps, some of you don't (i'm looking at you charlie).
  • og88 - February 8, 2010 4:44 p.m.

    guys i think u missed DE gael for UT 2004.
  • mckillustrator - February 2, 2010 3:51 p.m.

    how is lockout from halo 2 not on this list? i mean yeah i get it, this is gamesradars list and not mine, but seriously? that map is perfect. my fondest memories of playing any multiplayer game ever are from playing lockout.
  • darthtd - December 21, 2009 10:59 p.m.

    What about Half-Life Stalkyard?! JEEEEZZZ LOUISEEEE
  • LordGenki - December 15, 2009 5:30 a.m.

    You left out the single greatest deathmatch level ever created: Deck 16 from the Unreal series
  • Rorix - December 11, 2009 11:14 p.m.

    I dont like de_dust that much, it's too for campers, too easy to get a stalemate. Better dust2, or nuke.
  • AA95mp - December 11, 2009 9:42 p.m.

    @JohnRabbit agreed.
  • AA95mp - December 11, 2009 9:41 p.m.

    What about Hall of Giants for the original Unreal Tournament, that'll always be one of my favourite games.
  • grimv9 - December 11, 2009 3:48 a.m.

    In reply to Jonethe5ths post about custom maps. How bout the custom UT maps like Hell Bender Race variations I remember a time the servers were always full of those maps and very popular. My gripe on what was not added: What about the classic 2Fort map TF2 I think the name was different but quake was the game to have that exact general idea of that map. I believe it was a quake 2 custom map. So much death and doom! Oh and what about ctf facing worlds on UT 99 anyone remember that how crazy and amazing that map is?
  • Hellwolf - December 9, 2009 6:29 p.m.

    CRASH IS AWsome!!!
  • JohnRabbit - December 7, 2009 7:53 p.m.

    This entire list is negated by the fact that it contains no entries from the Unreal Tournament series. More specifically 'Facing Worlds' from Unreal Tournament 1. I have never spent more time in a single map.
  • B-12 - December 7, 2009 4:34 a.m.

    For the first year I had Halo I didn't play on anything but Blood Gultch. I love it even more so than Valhalla.
  • CAPST3R - December 6, 2009 7:33 p.m.

    i preferred backlot and crossfire on cod4. i understand that people like shipment and rust because of it's close-range, fast-paced action. but i prefer more ranged action. not sniping, but the ACR and M4A1 are both brilliant at range, and can target an enemy before you can get the scope up on any sniper. and rust is piss-annoying when those dual-shotgun-wielding cocks on MW2 start gunning. luckily, i'm smart enough to know that the M1014 is better than dual-wielded. people don't realise this, but IW balanced these pretty well aswell. the M1014 with the grip or FMJ, as far as i can tell, is actually the best shotgun, closely followed by the ranger with the FMJ. you can still fire 2 at once, but still have sleight of hand and FMJ.
  • oryandymackie - December 6, 2009 4:33 p.m.

    Damn....reading this article makes me wish I had Live. Even my mate, Mr Halo 3 "Stop killing me, I'm looking at the scenery!" (true statement) has it, and with a Fallout 3 nickname like Dora The Explorer he SURE doesn't deserve it. Blood Gulch (L).

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