The greatest multiplayer maps of all time

2. Blood Gulch | Halo

Entry by Chris Antista, Associate Editor

Oh, what more is there to say? Just about all of you reading our site either knew this was coming, or were buzzing the feature like vultures waiting to pounce in the comments. The out and out favorite since Halo showed itself to the world, Blood Gulch's success has rippled throughout the series, clearly providing the visual inspiration for Halo 2’s Coagulation, and the layout for Halo 3’s Valhalla.

Above: Halo 2 and Halo 3… allegedly 

Hell, they even included the map in Halo Wars, and it literally set the stage for shenanigans in Halo’s greatest sitcom, Red vs Blue. Sure, it’s not much to look at at first… two towers separated by a vast stretch of land, sort of how Dr. Seuss would cartoonishly depict two warring kingdoms in order to teach us the folly of aggression for aggression’s sake... But once you factor in the teleporters, Banshees, and Warthogs, most of us are all too aware of what lies underneath B. Gulch’s deceptive mask of simplicity.

Above: Look, it works in RTSes too! 

What should’ve been little more than a haven for patient snipers turned into the valley of the hilariously unpredictable. With so much ground to cover, and so many ways to cover it, there’s rarely a dull moment to be had in Blood Gulch.


1. Dust | Counter-Strike

Entry by Chris Antista, Associate Editor

Never has a bland desert motif meant so much, to so many! Dust has been synonymous with the homegrown Half-Life mod since its 4th beta inception circa 1999. Over the last decade it’s been spun off, sequelized, remade across multiple games, deemed official by Valve and updated for play in Counter-Strike: Source. A billion things have changed about what’s arguably the most popular shooter on the internet, but the Dust always settles the same.

Above: In all its glory 

That should come as no surprise, since Dust offers so many avenues of play - dark hallways, AWP sniping, close-quarters shot gunning, choke points, crate-top vantage points - people often forget that the strategic goal is to actually plant a bomb! Though most players never survive to see that, millions of us (if not billions!) have watched from beyond the grave as a single remaining CT braves the quiet, dead calm to defuse a ticking explosive with more nail-biting suspense than anything Hitchcock ever made.

Above: Setting us up the bomb for over ten years! 

To this day, players can still find dedicated servers entitled “Dust Only!” or “de_dust 24/7!” Whether you want to attribute that to the map’s balance, popularity, or its synonymous nature with the most refined online FPS, it’s hard to argue that Dust has shown unprecedented timelessness, and that made it the awarding our hotly contested top spot all the easier.

Above: Dust in the sand! An rare and elegant example of Map fan art 

B-B-B-BONUS: Rock Band

Above: They can’t love you like we love you LOLOL!

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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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