I thought I'd take a look at some of the most memorable levels from past games. Levels from great games or bad games, it doesn't matter. What matters is why certain levels had such an impact on me when I first played them.
One I want to draw attention to is 'Arnhem Knights' from Medal of Honour Frontline, first out on Playstation 2. MOH Frontline was a significant release for the PS2 and the FPS genre. It was mind-blowing to be apart of the Normandy beach landings in a computer game world. This was mainly thanks to the extraordinary depiction seen in Saving Private Ryan that lingers long. What struck me about Frontline was how Omaha Beach and subsequent levels didn't fall into crass exploitation of warfare that I feel our modern warfare shooters do now.
Arnhem Knight's atmosphere was so potent with tension and emotion that it dwarfed any other level in the game. It's still your standard shooting gallery and has a linear structure which would be lambasted today in terms of design but this was 2002 so it didn't resonate. Variety was also hot in Arnhem Knights. Straight forward shooting gave way to sniper encounters, bazooka skirmishes and tank battles all wrapped up in a tough, breathlessly paced package.
What made Arnhem Knights stay in my gaming memory forever was the emphasis on keeping your squad mates alive. The fact that this was optional made it more addictive to keep them alive and play the level in a way that made proceedings unpredictable. Arnhem Knight's somber atmosphere and haunting music from Michael Giacchino made the impact of losing a comrade truly devastating. It's a testament to the developers that Medal of Honour managed to keep an air of authenticity and moving remembrance of lives lost whilst remaining a thrilling game to play through. Today's war shooters are shallow in their approach and crass in their depiction in comparison.
So what do you think? Does Arnhem Knights stand tall as a classic gaming level? Let me know below.
Here's the memorable music from Arnhem Knights.