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The Top 7... Winter wonderlands

3 – Modern Warfare 2: Cliffhanger

Just because it’s the year’s biggest game doesn’t guarantee it a place on our coveted Top 7 lists. No, Cliffhanger makes it this high for strong, demonstrable reasons that come across easily when captured by the cold, unforgiving stare of screenshots.


Above: Begins with you and Soap kickin’ it on a cliff, ready to infiltrate a snowy mountain base 


Above: Whoa! You lose your grip, only to be nabbed at the last second. Scary, sure, but check out all the powder collecting on your jacket and his face 


Above: An incoming storm blocks you from view, bringing in drifts and high winds that rustle these flags in a convincing display of winter tech 


Above: Hard to see, right? The wind really sells it here, ripping across this runway like a banshee, making life miserable for you and those poor dudes walking in the distance 

Essentially, it’s the most “wintery” of anything on this list. Cliffhanger is just one mission in a game choked with content, but it’s easily one of the most memorable. From scaling the walls in the opening to the blizzard-cloaked infiltration, the snow and wind pierce the fourth wall with their relentless onslaught of below-zero torture, making you feel just as cold and worn out as your in-game counterparts.


Above: Oh and you ride this kickass snowmobile 


~Wind chill bonus!~

Need more snow-minded slaughter? Check Contra: Shattered Soldier’s opening level, in which you scream down a mountain on a hoverboard while being chased by a giant worm. In any other game that would sound overboard… but for Contra, that’s just a miniboss.


2 – Metal Gear Solid: Alaska

Up to this point we’ve been considering snow levels and the authenticity of their wintry experience. Metal Gear beats them all by not just having a snow level, but an entire snow state, as the untamed Alaskan outdoors are one of the most prominent figures in the entire game. True, they get lost in the shadows of characters like Psycho Mantis and daring missions involving walking nuclear tanks. But if you stop for five seconds and appreciate what’s on display, you’ll find a desolate, uncompromisingly harsh environment.


Above: First stop – this blustery base, kicking snow and wind all over 


Above: Right from the start you’re dealing with extreme conditions 


Above: The snow doesn’t let up for boss fights, either 

And that’s just the first hour. Every new area houses another standout gameplay experience bolstered by the expertly crafted Alaskan wilderness. We asked “what’s a great snowy moment in MGS?” and realized there isn’t one… it’s the whole game.


Above: Though this is certainly a contender


~Wind chill bonus!~

Next to no one remembers Bomberman 64. That’s the primary reason we’re giving its topsy-turvey White Ice level a shout out – because who else will?

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93 comments

  • Spybreak8 - February 11, 2011 6:15 a.m.

    Just wanted to say I listening to old Tdars, 81 in this case, and I came here for the screenshots of beautiful winter wonderlands. ^^
  • thefreakysurgeon - December 26, 2010 1:35 p.m.

    ugh, i HATED Snowpeak Ruins!
  • BlackElement17 - December 26, 2010 10:48 a.m.

    I really do dislike snow.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - December 26, 2010 1:58 a.m.

    Yeah it's from last year, we put it up top again for the holiday break. Some people are seeing it for the first time! True though, not sure why I left out Mario 64 and Banjo. I had some dumbass reason that's since left me. Uncharted 2 is in there as a bonus entry though.
  • BurntToShreds - December 25, 2010 6:50 p.m.

    Dang, I really need to get back to Twilight Princess. I haven't touched ever since I got to that damned Water Temple, AUUUGH I HATE IT SO MUCH. I also liked some of the icy levels in Bioshock, especially the frozen art gallery. In fact I would have loved to see a Splicer Santa.
  • Not Snake - December 25, 2010 7:51 a.m.

    Wow. Someone referenced Bomberman 64. And it wasn't me declaring the self-immolation poison as the greatest powerup in the game. It is, but that's not the point.
  • DriveShaft - December 25, 2010 6:10 a.m.

    Im surprised uncharted 2 wasnt number one, and that mario 64 wasnt even mentioned.
  • mEgAzD - December 25, 2010 5:35 a.m.

    Yeah it did come out before. If you read the comments on front, they're dated a year ago.
  • papergoon - December 25, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    Okay I know this sounds crazy but I'm pretty sure that this top 7 has came out before. I can remember it clearly and how it has been written. Deja vu or am I just delusional?
  • Scammeleon - December 25, 2010 1:54 a.m.

    Great article, Brett. Just one ommision I'm sorry to not see make the list, Banjo Kazooie's Freezeezy peak?
  • FelNaRj - December 24, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    my hollydays are un full summer! :P but nice article! GR :D
  • TheAsterite - December 4, 2010 10:39 p.m.

    I'm a little surprised the snow levels from Crysis didn't get a mention here. They were really cool. (pun not intended)
  • monsterhunter3rox - December 2, 2010 7:18 p.m.

    you forgot to add monster hunter tri´s tundra level. and the mk snow track,of course (lol,get it?)
  • skyline19 - December 2, 2010 10:33 a.m.

    Tall Trees in Red Dead? Uncharted 2 had to be in there somehow.
  • Viandemoisie - August 24, 2010 3:50 p.m.

    What about the super mario 64 ice levels?
  • Lycanthrokeith - April 24, 2010 8:31 p.m.

    Ice Man's Stage, from the original Mega Man. How could that one be left out?
  • ExeterLux - February 22, 2010 6:23 a.m.

    What are PC games not up for consideration? CRYOSTASIS!
  • soren7550 - December 26, 2009 10:04 p.m.

    What about Noveria in Mass Effect? Or Zang Li's mansion in Perfect Dark Zero?
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - December 15, 2009 3:11 a.m.

    @mastersword That first picture is my parent's front yard. I'm from the middle of nowhere. It freezes solid on an annual basis.
  • mastersword369 - December 11, 2009 9:25 p.m.

    O come on, do these californians even know what snow is? They should central NY around winter, it's a frozen HELL.

Showing 1-20 of 93 comments

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