Sure, you COULD fight other players online in warzones and space stations…but why bother with such samey, cookie-cutter locations when you can spar outside of Santa’s workshop or in a lousy burger joint instead? But the silliness doesn’t stop there. These are five ridiculous video game multiplayer maps.
Shadow Racer – Shadow Warrior
Duke Nukem 3D’s Asian-inspired spiritual-sequel was home to a peculiar map deathmatch-exclusive map. ‘Shadow Racer’ is a city-centric level with a road curving its way around numerous buildings. The gimmick here is that once you take a step on the road, you’ll be thrusted along uncontrollably by an invisible force, lapping your way around the track. You can leap off of it in order to collect items or dodge attacks. It’s not the best map for a legitimate race – the road forces you along at a set speed, meaning overtaking people cleanly would be impossible – but it’s most certainly an odd twist. Just imagine trying to hit a target moving around at 70mph.
North Pole – Twisted Metal III
The vehicular-deathmatch series Twisted Metal pits weapon-toting racers around the globe to battle one another in various battlegrounds, one of which is set in the North Pole. The terrain is bumpy and surrounded by snow-covered mountains, trees, and a chasm. In the center of the map is none other than Santa’s workshop, which can be destroyed in order to acquire some powerful weapons. Funnily enough, the level song is a Xmas-themed remix of ‘More Human Than Human’ by White Zombie, with a few riffs from ‘Jingle Bells’ played on guitar in between as well. It’s nutty, but fitting for a game where you can play as a crazy killer clown with a missile-launching ice cream truck.
Area 41 – Command & Conquer: Red Alert Retaliation
Creating bases, fighting wars, and cheesy cutscenes are exactly what the real-time strategy series Command & Conquer is all about. The PlayStation title Command & Conquer: Red Alert Retaliation for the PlayStation threw together the content from Red Alert’s two expansion packs, and packaged in over 100 multiplayer maps for Skirmish mode for players to create their own custom battles against the AI.
In the early Command & Conquer titles, buildings that were destroyed or sold would often produce technicians. These units were useless as they dealt little damage and died easily. However, in Map 41, the technicians have special attacks. Green technicians fired nukes, while blue technicians could electrocute enemies like a Tesla coil. If you ever see these dudes rushing at you on this one specific map, then be very afraid.
Shifty Station – Splatoon 2
Nintendo didn’t expect Splatoon to become such an iconic third-person shooter. As a kid, you can coat levels with litres of ink by using launchers, rollers, brushes, buckets and more, but as a squid, you’re able to swim through your team’s coloured ink. It was a fresh approach to online multiplayer shooters. Its sequel, Splatoon 2, went all-out with its quirkiness. One of the maps, Shifty Station, is unique because it actually changes layout between Splatfests, where you pick a side in a debate and battle it out in Turf Wars for a few days every few weeks. The cool thing is that the layout changes during each competition. One day it might have lots of walls to bob and weave through. Another day may feature revolving doors. Maybe ramps will appear. Or moving floors. Or sponges that increase in size when filled with ink.
At the time of writing, there have been eighteen unique versions of the map, but it wouldn’t be surprising if we see more in the coming months!
Duke Burger – Duke Nukem Forever
Infamously stuck in development for 15 years, Duke Nukem Forever was not the smash-hit return to form for The King, to the dismay of many. Still, like its predecessor, it had its fair share of big guns, cheesy one-liners, and even a level is set in a fast food restaurant named after Duke Nukem himself. In the multiplayer version of the level, you play as mini-versions of Duke battling it out in the kitchen! You can smash jars of sauces, bounce off spatulas, trap enemies in the washer, fry foes in the microwave, and more. Tin cans, condiment jars and boxes of dog meat provide some great cover as you sprint around, in hopes of snagging the almighty jetpack to reign hell from above with.
Shooters that were released around the time never seemed to bother with making interactive maps, so it was good to see ol’ Duke break the boundaries a little and offer something new to the table in what was a surprisingly underrated and exciting multiplayer mode.
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