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10 Greatest Second Levels In Video Games

Instantly iconic.

Rare

First impressions are incredibly important, and so it's little surprise that many video games offer up an incredible level right out of the gate - perhaps one so great that the rest of the game even struggles to live up to it.

As vital as a game's opening level undeniably is, however, we shouldn't forget about the importance of following through with a second level that's just as compelling - if not more so.

While many developers inevitably struggle to match the majesty of their opening gambit, these 10 games all delivered legendary second levels which actually exceeded the first.

Because many first levels are basically glorified tutorials, it's often the second where things truly pick up momentum, as players are allowed to let loose with their kit of toys and maybe even get flung into a more wide-open world.

No matter how they did it, though, these 10 video games delivered some of the all-time greatest second levels the medium has ever seen, and probably don't get enough credit for it...

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10. Heliport - Metal Gear Solid

Konami

Though Hideo Kojima's innovative stealth masterpiece begins with players thrown into the Shadow Moses dock, this small section more-or-less serves as a tutorial of-sorts, getting players to grips with the controls and basic combat mechanics.

The real meat of the game, however, kicks off when Snake takes the elevator up to the island's Heliport. Players must find a way to sneak through the chilly locale - undetected, ideally - in order to reach the Tank Hangar.

While it might seem quaint by modern standards, the Heliport is basically a stealth sandbox, offering up innumerable possibilities for players to reach their goal.

If you know what you're doing you can cut through the middle within a solid minute, but more adventurous players might explore and hoover up some goodies in the process. Just make sure to avoid that damn surveillance camera.

The Heliport brilliantly crystallises the puzzle-based nature of Metal Gear Solid's stealth gameplay, aided by best-of-class level design and terrific art direction.

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Contributor

Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.