5. Facility | GoldenEye
Entry by Henry Gilbert, Associate Production Editor
Above: It doesn’t look any better bigger
Pretend it’s 1997 and you were a foolish console gamer who never used a mouse outside of junior high Computer Lab. Only then will you understand just how f***ing crazy it was to play GoldenEye on the N64 and have a whole new world of FPS shootouts open up before you! All the maps were amazing landscapes for battle, with Temple and Complex being great places to have thousands of sorties, but the Facility was the best.
Above: A shitter in Facility, a shitter in Felicity
With its mix of vicinities - including bathrooms, vents, connected hallways, stairs and an underground testing area with slow to open doors - the varied sections made for some really diverse battles. And once all your friends memorized the lay of it, it made each battle a crazy race as each knew where to find the best gun, the best hiding place and the body armor. When it returned in a slightly better looking, legally actionable form as “Felicity” in Perfect Dark, GE’s pseudo-sequel, it remained a favorite for players who already knew it like the back of their hands. We can’t wait to run through it another thousand times when the PE remake hits XBLA in 2010.
Above: Facility, courtesy of the Source engine
4. Tokay’s Tower | Quake II
Entry by Tyler Wilde, Features/Community Editor
Tokay’s Tower, which was introduced in a patch after Quake II’s release (does “q2-3.20-x86-full-ctf.exe” bring back any memories?), is a masterpiece of deathmatch map design. Its towers offer comfortable ledges from which to make rocket-rain, while its lower levels and chaingun-bearing underwater passage become clogged with super-frantic carnage. The landmark deathmatch map remains popular today, and has been remade in just about every modable game.
Above: If this doesn’t bring back fond memories, hop in a time machine, go back a few years before you were born, and convince your parents to hurry things the hell up
Tokay’s Tower and the other multiplayer maps in the patch foreshadowed Quake III’s extreme multiplayer focus, as well as the general boom of multiplayer shooters, custom maps, and mods that continues today. Much is owed to Quake’s innovation. Also, remember the BFG?
Above: Hm, actually, it’s not quite as impressive as we remember it…
3. Twisted Meadows | WarCraft III
Entry by Matt Keast, Associate Editor, UK mag ports
Above: Many orcs, elves, and ghouls have fallen on these fields
Maps in the fantastic RTS WarCraft III are rated for quality on the neutral buildings and creep camps they have. Creeps are WarCraft III's neutral faction – players spend part of every multiplayer match "creeping" which involves killing camps of creatures like ogres in order to farm experience and loot for heroes. Depending on the types of creeps and what they drop, certain races will have an advantage, which serves for a less desireable map.
Above: Night Elves can use their version of the barracks, the Ancient of War, to creep these camps early, but it can be risky if the enemy comes to harrass
Twisted Meadows is a classic map because it has extremely well-balanced shops and creeps. The creeps are varied, with a nice placement pattern that allows for the right amount of unpredictability for where players will go creeping. This means that those creeping have multiple options for where to go, but not so many that a harrassing opponent can't find them.The creep camps also have a nice balance of items that don't favor any one race too much.
Above: The corner expansions can only be reached by flying, and the dragons must first be defeated, so it’s a late-game stealth tactic
Here you’ll also find all of the important neutral buildings with none of the imbalanced ones: Goblin Merchants for item shopping, Goblin Labs for sneaky tactics, Mercenary camps for hiring special units, and a Tavern for hiring neutral heroes (allowing for greater variety of strategy). It doesn't have any health fountains, which favor the Orc race too much, and it doesn't have any weird mercenaries that are too powerful. Finally, its island expansions allow crafty players to fly units to covert gold mines. Twisted Meadows survives in the map pool to this day, in both 1v1 and 2v2 battles, and is often used in tournament play amongst the pros.