Roundtable: The best and worst games to start the year


A gamer plays “Left 4 Dead.” (Flickr/Marco Arment)

It’s still the beginning of a new video game year – and we here in the Life section have our say on some of our favorite, and least favorite, video game levels ever.

Anokh Palakurthi: When you enter Anor Londo in “Dark Souls,” it’s hard not to feel awestruck. It’s the remnants of a once-glorious-now-forsaken civilization that’s barely alive. You, the Chosen Undead, meander around, trying to make sense of the massive monuments around you, the majestic music and the enemies trying to slaughter you – some which might be other players “invading” your world as part of the game’s unforgiving multiplayer mode. Add in one of the greatest boss fights ever in an RPG when you face off against Ornstein and Smough – and you know you’re in for a treat. There’s also a hidden world inside a painting, which is really all you need to want to play “Dark Souls.”

Marlese Lessing: The “No Mercy” campaign of “Left 4 Dead” is a real winner, given that hospitals are creepy enough even without zombies. Though many apocalypse games have a hospital level, Valve takes it to another echelon with the inclusion of creepy cinematic music and the horrifying ‘Special Infected’ that can kill you and your teammates in a variety of horrible ways. It’s genuinely terrifying to see the halls of a once-thriving medical facility perverted, as hordes of bloodthirsty zombies clad in nurse, patient and doctor’s clothing try and kill you. The finale of this campaign is also a winner, as you face wave after wave of infected on top of a tall building while you await rescue. More than one time, I’ve been flung from a ledge to my death by an angry tank. It’s definitely memorable and I’ve never looked at a hospital the same way afterwards. 

Ward Pankowski: “Halo: Combat Evolved” is the title that taught me to love video games. One particular level, however, taught me to hate video games as well. “The Library” takes a creepy and awesome enemy and spams it until it’s no longer fun or interesting.

Everything about this level is awful. First, the whole level is extremely repetitive and can be utterly confusing for new players. There are no less than half a dozen sequences where you must defend a door against waves of flood with limited ammo. Along the way you’re accompanied by an annoying little robot that offers nothing but passive aggressive insults as you die over and over. This level was so maligned that the developers had to redesign a similar level in the sequel to be much shorter, a testament to how awful “The Library” was, and remains.

Anokh Palakurthi is associate life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at He tweets @DC_Anokh.

Marlese Lessing is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at

Edward Pankowski is life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at

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