Top 10 Beach Levels
As you’re reading this, I’m relaxing on the beaches of Florida, and I’m probably being eaten alive by Floridian zombies high on bath salts. So… if I don’t survive, this might be my last 1 More Countdown. Let’s end this series on something I adore, beach levels in video games. (Unless, I am not eaten alive… then I’ll see you all in a fortnight.)
As with all of my lists, I’ll only be counting one entry per franchise. In addition, we will only be counting down retro games on this list which is the PS1 era and prio… what!? 1 More Castle is now counting the 6th gaming generation (PS2, XBox, Dreamcast, Gamecube, and Gameboy Advance)!? This is great news for us all!
10.) Beach – Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel
Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel might be one of the most insensitive games on the SNES and SEGA Genesis. It was made by Sunsoft and stars a Japanese squirrel, with a Japan flag headband, and throwing stars. The game starts with Zero crashing his plane onto the beach. Ummm…. awkward!
The game is forgettable, but the beach is gorgeous. It’s the perfect time of day at the beach where the sun is slowly setting in the sky. The sky is a mix of blues, oranges, pinks, and purples. Rolling sand dunes, and giant palm trees are scattered throughout the area.
If it wasn’t for the propeller top enemies and electric eels, this is a place I’d like to vacation.
9.) Coconut Beach – Out Run
Out Run is not a racing game, it’s a driving game. You must drive from one end of the country to the next. However the most iconic level in the entire Out Run series has to be Coconut Beach. In the majority of the Out Run games you start off in sunny California. More specifically in Coconut Beach.
I remember sitting in the arcade machine for Out Run. It was the really badass seat with hydraulics that reacted to your turns and crashes. Starting off on a beautiful beach front road with a busty blonde babe by my side.
Life was good, and then arcades died.
8.) Orange Ocean – Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland
It was a tough decision between Orange Ocean and Aqua Star. In the end, Orange Ocean won out, just for its varied design.
Man, I do love me some Kirby games and especially some Kirby levels… even if they have some ridiculous names like Yogurt Yard! Orange Ocean made it’s debut in Kirby’s Adventure but I prefer the version from Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland.
Orange Ocean not only brings Kirby to the beach, but also the surrounding areas. He’s on a pirate ship one moment, a tropical land the next, sometimes he’s underwater, then othertimes he’s surrounded by steep sandy cliffs. All the while a bright orange sky sets the mood.
7.) Brighton Beach – XIII
Yay! I can talk about PS2 games now without coming up with half-baked excuses. Thanks a lot 1 More Castle! XIII is a game you may not have heard of. In XIII you play as an amnesiac assassin who’s trying to uncover his past, by stealthily shooting people and then more shooting.
The game begins with XIII washed up on a beach, Brighton Beach in Brooklyn to be exact. He has no idea who he is, but he is rescued by a gorgeous lifeguard. Suddenly, they’re both attacked and it’s a mad dash to escape the beach and pier.
Besides its impact on the story, I love Brighton Beach in XIII for two reasons. The first is that the actual beach is based on a beach in Brooklyn, and I’m a diehard New Yorker. Secondly, the entire game and level has an interesting aesthetic with cell-shaded graphics and comic book panels displaying gruesome deaths.
6.) Emerald Coast – Sonic Adventure
I’m sure if this list belonged to someone else, Emerald Coast from Sonic Adventure would be in the number 1 spot, or maybe even the top 3, but I just never really got into the 3d Sonic games (except for Generations).
Even so, I know Emerald Coast is an awesome level. To me it’s the little things that make this level amazing. Who can forget the resort in the beginning, the dolphins, the lighthouse, the bridge that sways with the waves, and of course that giant killer whale.
It’s a great opening level with even better music.
5.) Toronbo Shores – Link’s Awakening
While I’m not a huge fan of Zelda games, especially the 3D games, I have some fond memories of Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy.
It seems like a lot of video game characters end up on beaches unintentionally and Link is no different. He is shipwrecked on Toronbo Shores in Link’s Awakening. In this location, the game really begins. He is rescued by Marin. Link must acquire his gear and embark on his quest.
Even though this is an older Game Boy game, Toronbo Shores is a magnificent location. The giant palm trees look great and it’s a memorable location. There are several enemies and a blue alligator owns a shop and sells bananas.
4.) Shell Shock – Cool Spot
This entire list was inspired by Shell Shock in Cool Spot.
That’s because despite the anthropomorphic 7up logo, power-ups, and enemies, Shell Shock is one of the most realistic beaches I’ve ever seen in any game. This is especially impressive because this is a 16-bit game.
The sand looks like real sand, there’s a giant beach chair, some books, and a walkman leftover from previous beach patrons who I assume fled the sandy shores due to the rapid influx of enemy crabs.
3.) Koopa Troopa Beach – Mario Kart 64
When I started this list, Koopa Troopa Beach was originally going to be in the number 1 spot. As you can see, that didn’t happen but this iconic race track from the Mario Kart series is still pretty high… also SPOILER (there is nothing from Super Mario Sunshine on this list because I NEVER played it.)
In the 64 bit era and beyond kart racing games were everywhere. So for a level to standout in that time was really tough. A lot of levels from Mario Kart 64 are awesome but Koopa Troopa Beach was the first standout track in Mario Kart 64.
The race is across the beach near the water and around devilish crabs and indestructible palm trees. However the real attractions are the rock shaped like a koopa, and of course the ramps that brought you to victory or demise.
2.) Treasure Trove Cove – Banjo Kazooie
One of the quintessential beach levels is Treasure Trove Cove from Banjo Kazooie. It has a great level design with memorable music and enemies. When I played this game at my cousins house, I usually only got to this level then just gave up or spent hours exploring.
That’s because there are so many locations and enemies that stick in the mind of the player after the level is complete. Who can forget the sandcastle, the lighthouse, Little Lockup Island, The Salty Hippo, Nipper’s Private Beach, or Sharkfood Island.
The most memorable thing about Treasure Trove Cove is Snacker the Shark. He’s vicious, practically unstoppable, and can materialize out of seemingly nowhere. He was the bane of my existence because as soon as you enter the water, Snacker will appear to eat Banjo and Kazooie.
1.) Opassa Beach – Chrono Cross
Opassa Beach is so damn high on this list because it’s memorable, but also because it’s so damn important to the overall plot of Chrono Cross.
Chrono Cross is the spiritual successor to Chrono Trigger and people either love or hate this game. I fall in the category of people who love it. I’m going to do my best to avoid spoilers, but that’s difficult because Opassa Beach is a central location to the game.
Umm… so… SPOILERS! While Chrono Trigger is about jumping around to different time periods, Chrono Cross is about jumping around to different time lines. At Opassa Beach, our main character, Serge, drowned and died.
Well that was a short game.
Okay, he did die but this cause the creation of a new time line. There are two different versions of the planet. One in which Serge drowned at Opassa beach, and one where he survived. In the game you’ll be traveling back and forth between time lines. The location of this temporal rift and the location of the beginning and end of the game is Opassa beach. Without this level, there would be no Chrono Cross… plus it’s gorgeous.
I wish I was going to Opassa Beach instead of Florida… even if it does cause a temporal paradox.