EXCLUSIVE: Top 5 Snow Levels

So, I don’t know how things are on your end, but here in Oklahoma, it’s freaking cold! Like, with snow and everything. C’mon, it’s been over two years since I’ve seen this stuff; let a guy enjoy it. With that in mind, though, I thought I’d take a look at some of the chillier locales that our favorite Twycross-based developer has created over the years. Enjoy!

#5 — Dark Ice Mines (Star Fox Adventures)

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Hey, I didn’t say that these had to be jolly or capture the holiday spirit in any way! When a tribe of mammoths have been enslaved by a tyrannical dinosaur, you know it’s time for someone to stand up and say “Nuh-uh. Not having it.” Admittedly, the standout portion of this world is the underground mine itself, where the wooly SnowHorn have either been imprisoned or forced to operate various machines. That said, what’s on the snow-covered surface is memorable in its own right. This relatively vacant village sets an appropriately despairing tone, as the few SnowHorn that have not been taken into the mines have been left to fend for themselves. It’s not exactly a ray of sunshine, but Dark Ice Mines is definitely one of Rare’s more fascinating locations.

#4 — Snow Temple (Kameo: Elements of Power)

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First mammoths, now walrus-like creatures — what’s with Rare putting arctic animals in chains? In any case, Kameo’s Snow Temple provided an unbridled sense of adventure in virtually every aspect. From Steve Burke’s powerful score (which would fit right at home in the Lord of the Rings trilogy), to the towering structures that could only be reached by way of Chilla’s wall-climbing abilities, to the armada of enemies, this level just felt grand. Grand in musical composition, grand in scale — just grand, I say.

#3 — Click Clock Wood [During Winter] (Banjo-Kazooie)

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Now, that’s what I’m talking about — something a bit more festive. I recently spoke about Click Clock Wood in detail, so I won’t spend too much time reiterating all of that here. Winter, though, is more or less the culmination of everything that the player had done in that world. Granted, this mostly results in seeing all of the plant life withered and dead. It’s oddly relaxing, though, and seeing Eerie the eagle fully grown is one of the most memorable moments of the entire game.

#2 — Snowflake Mountain (Diddy Kong Racing)

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Considering that this world consists of six different stages, is this cheating? Yeah, this is probably cheating. Regardless, Snowflake Mountain is a veritable winter wonderland, complete with a roller coaster made entirely of ice, a quiet village nestled in the mountain itself, a plain dominated by sentient snowballs, and even an ice cycle pyramid made specifically for duking it out with other characters. There’s even a walrus with a bowtie. Yep, you heard me correctly. Have fun racing that guy.

#1 – Freezeezy Peak (Banjo-Kazooie)

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You just knew that this had to be No. 1. Although Click Clock Wood is collectively my favorite level in Banjo-Kazooie, Freezeezy Peak captures the spirit of both winter itself and the holiday season better than any other video game locale. The festive score is easily among the most infectious video game tracks out there, while the towering snowman in the middle of the map opens the door for many navigational possibilities. Walking up his scarf in order to reach other parts of the level — simply magical. I’ll also never forget delivering Christmas presents to Boggy the polar bear’s children, nor will I forget Wozza’s futile efforts to keep me out of his home. I was doing him a favor by taking that Jinjo off of his hands.

There you have it. This list is, of course, subjective, though. So, what do you think are the best snow levels that Rare has created? Let us know in the comments below!

~Happy Holidays!