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Super Christmas Levels | Top Five Christmas Game Levels

by Austin Beattie


It’s that time of year again! What better way to get into the holiday spirit than to play some wintery, Christmas game levels? 

5. Cool Cool Mountain

Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)

 

cool-cool-twice

Some of you may be surprised that this level isn’t higher on my list, but this is more winter themed than Christmas. Also, suck it. Anyway, for many of children, when they opened up their gifts on Christmas Day and saw that they had received an N64 and a copy of this game, it was a touchstone for gifts to come in the future. Then they reached this level and the Christmas spirit seized hold of everyone’s adolescence.

Everything about this level bleeds winter holiday cheer. From the snowmen to the frost laden pine trees, it’s all a winter wonderland.

There was such joy in taking part in the missions this level had to offer. Help a snowman get his head back? Absolutely, it’d be my pleasure. Momma Penguin needs help finding her babies? I’ll get right to it. Now said Maternal Penguin wants to race me in a slide race? Bring it on!

This level brought a lot of joy and a love for snow levels in general. Then you got to level 10, better known as Snowman’s Land, and you were like “Yeah, fuck snow.”

4. The whole friggin’ game

Parasite Eve (Playstation 1)

 

parasite_eve___hd_screenshot_2_by_ajrich17901-d5oyc2m (1)

When the Playstation was first released back when boy bands still walked the earth and Madonna was still doable, everyone and their grandma received a demo disk with the console. No one had encountered such a concept before. This single disk contained some pretty stellar features.

There was a demo for Medieval, which scared the crap out of me. There was Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, which I would play to scare my sister. Also there was a snowboarding game that I can’t remember the title of, but I remember you could punch people in the face. Good times.

But there was one trailer that peaked my interest. The game was called Parasite Eve.

For the uninitiated, Parasite Eve was a survival horror game with RPG elements that took place in New York City between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. What makes this game’s entry on this list is it’s atmosphere.

The whole thing is such a big red stain on the holiday spirit. One moment you’re in an opera house enjoying a lovely show.The next moment you’re fighting off a demonic mutant that looks like someone flipped a hard boiled egg inside out.

It’s a real creepy clash of splatter gore and Christmas time that will stay with you like a bad taste in your mouth.

3. Home Sweet Home

Mafia 2 (Playstation 3)

mafia-ii-sfeer

 

Let’s wind it back some. I feel I derailed a little with that last one. For some of us out there, celebration of the holidays requires us to make a trip home to see our loves ones.

Playing Mafia 2 on Playstation 3, that feeling is very palpable in the first 30 minutes. Albeit, most of us aren’t hardened mafiosos with zero qualms about killing people, but it’s apples and oranges at this point.

Vito Scaletta, the protagonist of this game, returns home from serving the army in Palermo at the peak of WW2. When he returns to Empire City, he is greeted by his best friend, Joe Barbaro.

Joe then takes Vito to catch a drink and basically gives you, the player, a tour of the city. And what a sight to behold! Christmas lights adorn buildings and street lamps on the snowy burg.

People dash out of shops with presents stacked high above their heads. All while this goes on Let it Snow is serenading out of the radio.

It’s a brief moment in a gritty and violent game that manages to hold some semblance of peace and tranquility.

2. You Better Watch Out

Hitman: Blood Money (Playstation 2)

 

Hitman-blood-money

Blood Money is the fourth installment in the Hitman franchise. It’s also my favorite. I had never encountered a game that offered so much freedom in how you approached a mission.

Want to go stealthy and garrot wire your target? Go for it. Want to swap out an actor’s stage pistol with a real one? Be our guest. How about spraying down the place like your Christian Bale in Equilibrium? Here’s some extra ammo. Who couldn’t see the appeal in that?

The mission You Better Watch Out was one of the most unique though. Set in Colorado during the Yule Tide, Agent 47 is tasked with killing three targets: Porn Tycoon Lorne de Havilland, Senator’s son Chad Bingham Jr., and a mysterious assassin.

All of this takes place on de Havilland’s mansion/studio. It has everything you’d want from a Christmas party: Christmas lights, a great big Christmas tree, people dressed in holiday themes attire, they even hired a Santa Claus for the occasion.

However, as I previously mentioned, mansion is a sleazy porn studio. The guests are scumbags, whores, and all around filthy people. Their Santa is a drunken loser. And I don’t think I’m emotionally healed enough to talk about the tree (it wasn’t a proper Douglas Fir).

The whole level caters to juxtaposition. Holiday cheer is forced to do aesthetic battle with perversion.

That’s one reason this memorable level is on this list. The other is that there’s a sort of hint of vengeance to the whole thing. You feel like a sort of avenger of winter tidings as you shove de Havilland off his balcony and poison his yapping, little dog.

There’s a holiday comeuppance when you spike Chad Bingham Jr’s drink with Spanish fly and shove him down the stairs. And you’ll get that holly jolly feeling when you put a bullet in that mysterious assassin that’s out to stop you.

1. Love Makes the World Go Round

Bully (Playstation 2)

bully-leipzig-pc

 

Oh, Rockstar games. How I adore thee… You’ve made my childhood complete by giving me such media hated titles like Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, and Manhunt. And when Bully was released in my youth, you did not disappoint. Oh no, you went above and beyond with your efforts, and I commend thee.

Allow me a moment to wipe the slobber from my mouth to explain my number one more concisely. Bully captured perfectly what it meant to be in the mind set of a young teen. Everything is dramatized and larger than life, and if you were an angsty boy (which I was) everyone is out to get you (which they were).

The game chronicles protagonist Jimmy Hopkins’ entire school year at Bullworth Academy, a treacherous private school in the New England area. Upon the end of the 2nd chapter, snow begins to fall from the sky as you put the Preps in their place.

Once Chapter 3 starts, it’s full blown winter. Snow covers every inch of the school and nearby towns.

Roads are frozen, Fellow students are bundled up tight to combat the cold, and Jimmy learns that the cold can make people do crazy things to maintain relationship.

Outside of the Greaser gang that you square off against (seriously, what decade does this game take place in?), this whole chapter played out like any kids Christmas time at school. Even down to the lousy presents.

Jimmy’s mom sending him a terrible Rudolph sweater and him being forced to wear it was a page taken right out of many of our childhood Christmas days.

All that put together with an awesome musical score by Shawn Lee and a terrific level and character design, and you have a recipe for what has to be hands down the best representation of the best season all year round in gaming.

Austin Beattie

I am a father, a husband, a Kryptonian, a part time dominatrix, and I love earl grey tea with spread cheese on crackers. Also, I’m delightfully bitter at the world.