Skip to main content

Community Picks: Most Memorable Game Levels

Most Memorable Levels

When you think back on playing some of your favorite games, you might think of one specific level. This stage holds notable memories that are etched into your mind, whether it’s because of interesting mechanics, characters, or story moments. Even if you haven’t played it in years, you can still fondly remember your feelings as you went through this special area for the first time. According to you, the Tom’s Hardware community, these are the 15 most memorable levels in all of video games.

Once you're done perusing the list, you can meet other members of the Tom's Hardware gaming community by joining our Steam group and contributing to the Curator feed.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

15: D15-4 Supercomplexity - ‘N++’

Depending on your definition of “memorable,” "D15-4 Supercomplexity" is either a traumatizing experience or an enjoyable ride. The goal is to reach the door at the top of the screen, but you’ll need to wade through a plethora of moving orbs while you jump on platforms and scale the walls to get to it. Make sure you also dodge the laser shots from the turrets stationed throughout the area.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

14: Effect and Cause - ‘Titanfall 2’

What starts off as an exploration of an abandoned facility quickly turns into a time-traveling extravaganza. Throughout this mission, you’ll leap between the past and present as a result of multiple temporal rifts throughout the area. In the later stages of “Effect and Cause,” you’ll have to fight human, animal, and machine foes in both time zones and even use the special ability to traverse a giant gap in the facility.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

13: City Escape - ‘Sonic Adventure 2’

The opening to Sega’s 2001 game is a high-speed thrill ride. You’ll have to run “at the speed of sound” down multiple streets, grind rails, and take out enemies as you attempt to evade military forces. To top it all off, the stage’s ending will have you running away from a massive truck that could flatten you if you’re too slow.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

12: No Russian - ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’

The first Modern Warfare title thrust the series into popularity, but the sequel quickly stole the spotlight with its infamous “No Russian” stage. Rather than play the role of a soldier fighting enemies, you take the role of an undercover agent in a terrorist organization. For most of the level, you have to watch (or even participate) in the slaughter of numerous civilians in an airport. The events in “No Russian” eventually became a controversial topic, and some people were traumatized after playing it. Fortunately, you can skip the event entirely prior to the start of the campaign.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

11: Operation Overlord - ‘Medal of Honor: Allied Assault’

The landing of Allied forces in Normandy was one of the most notable events in World War II, and the intensity of that day was perfectly captured in the third installation of the Medal of Honor series. From the moment the door drops on the landing craft, Nazi forces begin to barrage you with machine gun fire. You’ll need to hide behind multiple obstacles on the beach if you want to survive. From there, you’ll fight your way into one of the bunkers to take out more enemies and ultimately secure the enemy position to allow more Allied soldiers to get in. It’s an intense experience from start to finish, to be sure.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

10: The Green Hill Zone Act 1 - ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’

The first level in the original game was more than just your run-of-the-mill stage; it was a taste of things to come. This was where you first witness the sheer speed of the famous hedgehog. In addition to collecting rings and taking out enemies, you also have to dodge obstacles so you don’t slow down. (Or, you know, perish.) Today, players attempt to go through the area as fast as possible to post speed-run times.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

9: Spain a.k.a. Vega’s Cage Level - ‘Street Fighter II’

Sooner or later, your fighting adventure in Street Fighter II will take you to Spain. Here, you will fight Vega in his caged arena. If you’re not careful, Vega can catch you by surprise by climbing the cage and using it as a launching pad for a powerful attack. The combination of the fast-paced music along with his agile moves makes for an intense battle that fans have remembered since the game made its arcade debut in 1991.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

8: The Lost Valley - ‘Tomb Raider’

The third stage in Lara Croft’s original adventure takes you to a land that time forgot. The "Lost Valley" has a few open areas, but it also contains ancient temples, underwater caverns, and hidden chambers. You should be cautious when exploring the area, however, because you’ll encounter a few enemies, such as wolves, raptors, and a giant Tyrannosaurus rex. With two pistols (or the shotgun found in the level), you should make mincemeat of these deadly creatures.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

7: Make A Break For It (Mission?) - ‘Far Cry 3’

A vacation to the tropical Rook Islands takes a turn for the worse when Jason Brody and his group of friends encounter Vaas and his pirate gang. The opening sequence of Far Cry 3 puts you in a cell created out of bamboo where you get to see the terrifying demeanor of Vaas at close range. Jason and his older brother Grant manage to escape their makeshift prison, but Vaas eventually finds them and kills Grant. This introduction to Far Cry 3 is an emotional roller coaster. You get to experience fear, tension, sadness, and vengeance in a matter of minutes as Jason runs away from Vaas and seeks revenge against the pirates.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

6: NYC: Hell’s Kitchen Return - ‘Deus Ex’

When you return to Hell’s Kitchen, you find that martial law is in effect and dangerous soldiers patrol the streets. This shouldn’t be a problem for you, however, because you can easily sneak past guards or take them out with a small arsenal of weapons. You can also spend more than a few minutes in this area because of its size. There are sewers to explore, multiple apartments to visit for items, and information to grab from other characters.


MORE: Top 16 PC Games With Adult Themes


MORE: Worst PC Ports


MORE: Best GPU-Melting Games

  • chalabam
    The rain in Crysis with epic background music, the wind on the savanna in Far Cry 2, looking at the pit in St. Francis' Folly, the hearthbeats in Alien Isolation... All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain...
    Reply
  • Ilya__
    Arcane Sanctuary in Diablo 2
    Reply
  • rogerrambo
    All Ghillied up, call of duty mwf. the hornets nest, medal of honor frontline.
    Reply
  • badaxe2
    Crysis "Onslaught" and most of Dark Souls should be in here somewhere.
    Reply
  • pw178860
    Dishonored 2 "The Clockwork Mansion" is the most outstanding level design!
    It should be mentioned here.
    Reply
  • Uniblab
    First unreal tournament(1999). CTF: "Facing worlds". Assault: "Overlord". Facing worlds was the first map that made you just want to look at before playing it. Drop player mode and just 'camera' around to see it all. Overlord was, like other choices, a recreation of the battle of normandy. Tough to get through and and some say, too real to what actually happened.
    Reply
  • illuminatuz
    I thought the helicopter mission from GTA Vice city will be part of this!!! Not fair man!!
    Reply
  • Flying-Q
    Being hunted by assassins in a warehouse in the original Half-Life.
    Reply
  • SSBrando
    The first American mission storming the beach in Call of Duty 2. Or the 9th level of Wolfenstein 3D when you open that door and giant guy says 'Guten tag!' and blasts you in the face. Or the first part of the battle of the Red Queen in American McGee's Alice. Or at any point you encounter a Spider Mastermind or Cyberdemon in Doom II. Those'll work!
    Reply
  • Pompompaihn
    Some good ones and some that I'm a little wtf over. Ravenholm is arguably the best level ever in my opinion. Perfect example of how to introduce a new mechanic to a game without having to have it explained artificially.

    Surprised not to see Rainbow Road on there. That's iconic.
    Reply