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Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

Matt Gardner
Battlefield 1942, Best FPS Multiplayer Maps of All Time, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Counter Strike, FPS games, GoldenEye 64, Halo: Combat Evolved, Quake II, Quake III: Arena, Rainbow Six: Vegas, Team Fortress 2, Top Ten, Top Ten FPS Multiplayer Maps, Top Ten Tuesdays, Unreal Tournament

Maps can make or break a shooter's multiplayer mode. Get the level design right and your community will come flooding back time and time again. Get it wrong, and you'd better pray to some sort of deity that your mechanics are up to scratch. We were mulling over the day's news earlier today when, out of the blue, Jon had an epiphany and a conversation was struck up determining our favourite FPS multiplayer maps. All of a sudden, a top ten was on the table.

So here it is. Let us know if we've missed any of your favourites.

10. The Longest Yard (Quake III: Arena)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

Sometimes you just have to say, "sod balancing!" Jump pads glaore, open sightlines, plenty of verticality, The Longest Yard began life as a part of the Q3 Test beta, before being promoted to fly the flag for Quake III: Arena as the game's demo map.

There was a little sniper net, only accessible through some nifty jump pad platforming, and acceleration pads on the second level that made for hilarious rocket jousting. No wonder it's still a fan favourite to this day.

9. Crash (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

Overgrown was good, but Crash is better. Arguably the finest map Infinity Ward have ever made, it perfectly combined paranoia-inducing outside action with the frenetic fury of indoor combat. Balanced incredibly well to suit both sharpshooters and ground-pounding riflemen, it never gets skipped.

Also hearing Santa chuckling to himself as he bombs the hell out of you at Christmas time is excellent.

8. Calypso Casino (Rainbow Six Vegas)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

If you wanted team deathmatch, it was all abut Casino Vault, and LVU Campus was pretty fun too. But when it came to A&D, there was only one map that fitted the bill: Calypso Casino.

Attackers would spawn on the roof, and from there it was all about choice: two elevator shafts, two stairwells, two rappel points, and four fastropes gave the assault team numerous avenues down which to breach into the multistorey caasino. Defenders really had to work together to ensure the safety of the package. It's one of the most vibrant MP maps on this list and we never got tired of it.

7. Gold Rush (Team Fortress 2)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

There'll be those who lament the absence of 2fort on this list, but really it had already been done superbly (see #1). Instead, it's the rather innovative Gold Rush that makes the list from Valve's cracking shooter.

Two teams, one cart full of explosives, and a bullet-filled tug-of-war.

But the best thing about Gold Rush was that you always felt like you were a part of something greater, with the objectives giving the action strong purpose no matter what you were doing. Of course, having loads of turrets, rockets, and other things that go boom helped, natch.

6. Library/Facility (GoldenEye 64)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

Yes, I know there are two maps above but it's my list, so there! Facility is almost always touted as GoldenEye 64's premier level, and with good reason. Firefights in the toilets were always a particular highlight of any game, and it was so popular that Rare recreated it in Perfect Dark too.

But, personally, my favourite level was the Library. Combining both Stack and Basement, the Library offered plenty of verticality along with some very sneaky secret passageways, one of which usually housed the RCP-90. It had everything, from hidey-holes to high-ground vantage points to the tight, twisting corridors of the basement level.

5. Wake Island (Battlefield 1942)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

Wake Island is amazing. It really is. That it has survived seven years of repeated reincarnation is a testament to its enduring popularity. The rather unique shape off the island gave rise to some of the most intense, diverse, and thoroughly exhilarating multiplayer matches I've ever had. Whether you'd taken to the skies, or jumped in a tank, or were simply ground-pounding on  foot, you were always at risk. The shape meant that the capture points were always in shift, that the enemy was always manoeuvring to flank and take back those you'd abandoned to advance.

Strike At Karkand deserves a mention for being jaw-droppingly good, and taking the battle to the streets with a vast urban map that was stuffed with tanks, but when you mention the word Battlefield, it'll be this map that jumps to mind nine tmes out of ten.

4. Tokay's Tower (Quake II)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

Yes, The Edge is good. No, it's not as good as Tokay's Tower. An enormous spiral tower, liberally sprinkled with rockets and railguns, Tokay's Tower also housed a freaking BFG. It was an arena built for one purposes, and one alone: utter insanity. There were no safe zones at all. No way of really catching your breath, and so the Tower turned into a crucible of explosive frenetic action that presented numerous skin-of-your-teeth moments, and one fundamental certainty: you were going to die. Often hilariously.

There are precious few arenas today that can match it for sheer anarchic brilliance.

3. Blood Gulch (Halo: Combat Evolved)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

We have so very much to thank Blood Gulch for. After all, without it we might never have had Coagulation or Valhalla, nor indeed much of Red vs. Blue. Hang 'Em High almost made the grade here with its lunacy, but Blood Gulch epitomised what Halo was all about: vast open space, huge player choice, and plenty of vehicular funtimes.

Two towers and a vast stretch of land between them might not sound like the setting for some of videogaming's greatest battles, but it's the plentiful array of diverse weapons, teleportation devices, Banshees and Warthogs that makes this level so damn great. It's no surprise that its legacy endures even today, thanks to Halo 4's Ragnarok (essentially a Valhalla reskin).

2. Dust (Counter-Strike)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

If I was doing this list purely subjectively, I'd have put rats2 in here because every break time moment at school was spent playing on that map across LAN.

Well... not quite every moment. No round of Counter-Strike would have been complete without Dust popping up at least once.

You see, objectively speaking, Dust makes a strong claim for being the greatest multiplayer map of all time ever. Another map that allows players to embrace pretty much any play style that they choose, Dust has something for everyone. In fact, in between the tense, terse gunfights in the dark hallways, the opportunities for close-range shotgunning, plenty of crate-top sniping spots, and plenty of choke points, it's incredibly easy to forget that the 'aim' is to actually plant a bomb.

de_dust is one of the closest things to map design perfection that we will ever see.

1. Facing Worlds (Unreal Tournament)

Top Ten Tuesdays | FPS Multiplayer Maps

Unreal Tournament may just be the best multiplayer shooter to have ever existed. And no, we don't say that lightly. Whether storming up the beach in AS-Overlord, performing ludicrous leaps atop DM-Morpheus' 12-miles-high Galaxyscrapers, or delighting in the frenzied action of DM-Deck16 - arguably one of the best deathmatch arenas of all time.

But Unreal Tournament shone brightest in Capture the Flag, and Facing World provided the perfect map for team-based, objective-oriented action.

Two towers, suspended in space and connected by a handful of walkways, set against a stunning backdrop of the Earth below, provided the battleground. Respawn points shoved player back into the action quickly, with sniper vantage points at both ends, and treasure troves of goodies in the middle to tempt headstrong foot soldiers into a crucible of death.

Simple in terms of design, flawless in execution. The safe havens of the towers complemented the unprotected No Man's Land of the central walkways superbly. The constant dances with death as you scampered furiously ahead to the enemy base, the satisfaction of taking down the enemy flag carrier leaving your base with a expertly-timed sniper shot. The level was so perfectly balanced, a shining example of symmetry, and therefore created a constant shift of cause and effect, a push and pull dynamic between the two sides that made split-second skill all important.

Epic took a simple concept, and perfected it utterly. If Plato had a Form for CTF mapmaking, it would look like this.

Add a comment11 comments
Late  Mar. 19, 2013 at 18:02

Not a massively popular game, but I loved the maps "urban" and "ruin" on Perfect Dark Zero - possibly my favorite fps multiplayer maps ever.

If we can include co-op play I'll throw codblops' zombie map "ascension" into the mix.

JonLester  Mar. 19, 2013 at 18:04

Excellent list, glad to have had some input/weird spontaneous epiphany on this (though for the record, it's all about 2Fort :p ). Got fond memories playing all of those maps.

But yes, Facing Worlds is the king. Whether in botmatch, low gravity, snipers only or vanilla, it was just perfect. The crown jewel of what is still a superb FPS - very possibly the best ever made.

Last edited by JonLester, Mar. 19, 2013 at 18:13
pete_21  Mar. 19, 2013 at 18:43

Creek from Call Of Duty 4 is my favourite map from any FPS.

MattBrennanUK  Mar. 19, 2013 at 18:46

Timesplitters 2, Mexican Mission, Virus.
I could play that for hours upon hours.

Quietus  Mar. 19, 2013 at 19:45

Just popping in to salute Unreal Tournament as top game. I still play it now and again. I wouldn't go so much with Facing Worlds itself. With the thousands of custom maps I've gathered over the years, including the ridiculous quality of current map releases, there are better CTF maps. If I was forced to go with an 'original', I'd go with CTF-Orbital.

jfox  Mar. 19, 2013 at 21:16

As I was reading down the list, I was becoming more and more ready to rage when I wasn't seeing CTF-Face. I was therefore really happy to see it make number one. I spent so much time on the map and it really was the thing that properly got me into PC FPS.

The longest yard and Goldeneye's library were also really good picks - I would have gone for Complex but that's primarily due to my nostalgia.

MattGardner  Mar. 19, 2013 at 21:32

it really was the thing that properly got me into PC FPS.


Two years of my life were spent pretty much just doing Unreal Tournament CTF.

r3tract  Mar. 20, 2013 at 08:12

You are wrong about de_dust, it gets too gridlocked at the tunnel and underpass sections and often CTs have too big an advantage. It's really easy to defend. Not only that, but te CT spawn point bombsite was pretty much redundant.

de_dust2 on the other hand is by far the most balanced and competitive map. The four different routes that could be traversed made it incredibly tense as you heard "short A"or "B tunnel" screamed at you by your cohorts.

Also, regarding Library. It was far too big! Remember, Goldeneye was a 4 player game, with the Basement added to Stack you spent hours actually trying to find people. Stack was much better by itself.

Last edited by r3tract, Mar. 20, 2013 at 08:15
Shained  Mar. 20, 2013 at 22:18

No Shipment!?

Best Call of Duty map ever.

killvolume  Aug. 24, 2013 at 12:16

The original 2fort I believe came with Team Fortress (Classic), which was released a few months before the original Unreal Tournament.

Also de_dust2 is far superior to de_dust, and is probably the greatest map of all time.

Anarchist  Aug. 24, 2013 at 13:37

The original 2fort I believe came with Team Fortress (Classic), which was released a few months before the original Unreal Tournament.

Also de_dust2 is far superior to de_dust, and is probably the greatest map of all time.

While I appreciate the effort, 2fort actually came in the original quakeworld team fortress. It was one of the original release maps if I remember right (it was a LONG time ago, 1996?). Of which, 2fort5 was probably the most recognisable and played variant of them all.

Nail grenades in the respawns ftw

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