What Are The Best Video Game Levels Ever Made?

A recent topic at Quora was What are the best video game levels ever made? There’s a wide variety of choices, including the final level in Braid, Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple and a level from Tie Fighter that immediately came to my mind.

You can watch the entire mission above — you start out flying an extremely fragile Tie Fighter on a seemingly straightforward mission, only to discover you’re surrounded by traitors and have to survive long enough to be rescued.

If you didn’t play the game when it originally came out, it probably looks laughably dated. But I bet any of you who played the game knew which mission I meant before you clicked through.


  • The tournament that is the pwt from pokemon b2w2, where not only did you get chance to beat gym leaders from the past games, not only did also get a chance to beat champs from past games as well, but you get a chance to beat the protagonist, the rival, the champ & the antagonist from red & green, happy memories

  • TIE Fighter; Love that game, love that mission.
    I’ve always wished for an updated version of TIE Fighter. I’d heard about the missions being redone in the X-Wing Alliance engine, but I don’t think it ever went anywhere.

    • There is apparently a re-release of X-Wing and Tie Fighter made using the X-Wing vs Tie fighter engine. It added textures and better looking cockpits. Was in one of the Star Wars multi CD releases from the late 90s.

  • Psychonauts. Most of the levels in the insane asylum were just inspired! Milkman, Black Velvetopia, Waterloo World, Gloria’s Theater. Each very unique and dripping in style and meaning.

    Plus, Lungfishopolis. So awesome!

  • Castle rock from rayman legends. The sawmill stage from dkc tropical freeze. City escape sonic adventure 2. Off the top of my head anyway. They take the standard formula and do something memorable with it.

  • There was a level in Jedi Knight 2 where the ship you have to escape from has lost its artificial gravity and everything is canted to the the side…It was such a simple idea but made for such interesting interaction with the environment. It was my first real mindf#%@ moment in a game. Loved it.

  • Ahh that mission, the filthy traitor reveals himself and I shoot down nearly an entire wing fighters before he runs like the coward he is. All while accomplishing the primary mission objectives of clearing the minefield and inspecting the containers… I was such a badass at TIE Fighter…

    Of course one of the real tricks you could pull if you want to be a bit of a dirty cheat yourself is to kill one of your wingmen before they became hostile because you were allowed one friendly fire incident before it was deemed more than an accident.

    It’s a good thing that steam wasn’t a thing back then, if there was something that tracked play time on games I’d have easily been in 4 figures for that.

    My favourite game levels that had nothing to do with TIE Fighter that spring immediately to mind:

    Hitman Blood Money: Curtains Down – The rehearsal of Tosca, slipping backstage undetected to replace a prop mauser with a real one, getting the execution scene to be a bit more realistic than usual and the terrible accident with a falling chandelier that crushes the second target as he runs to check on his partner in crime. 2 paedophile sex traffickers dead and no one the wiser while I enjoy some nice singing. A lovely days work. It also had the rat easter egg which was cool

    Velvet Assassin: Fade To Grey – A hell of a long way from the best game ever made but this level has some of the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced in a WW2 game. You’re as vulnerable as you’ve ever been in the game, you’re in a burning village surrounded by elite nazi troops, people are obviously being slaughtered not far away from you, you can hear the screaming through large parts of the level and you know full well there’s nothing you can do to stop it. It’s really effective at making you feel powerless and vulnerable.

  • The Silent Cartographer from Halo: Combat Evolved. The best level in the entire game, or managed to include absolutely everything that made Halo great.

  • Unreal Tournament: Morbias, Facing Worlds
    Quake something: The level where you have to walk down the spiral staircase and turn on the lights at each landing
    Tony Hawk: Pretty much every level is awesome, but especially Downhill Jam
    Do open world games count? GTA: San Andreas, Just Cause 2. I’ve spent many, many hours in both of those.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!