Most of us here play video games to some extent, and I was doing some research and random tidbits will pop into my head, and I had the notion of making a list of the most memorable dungeons and such from games that I have played. For a moment I considering integrating them into the Cosmic Era but there is really no point to that. So, it's just nostalgia, and maybe some examination into how and why these dungeons were successful enough to leave a lasting impression.
1. The Floating Continent, Final Fantasy III/6http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Floating_Continent_(Final_Fantasy_VI
I remember playing this as FFIII on the SNES, and the Floating Continent looked completely different from the rest of the game, feeling more reminiscent of Metroid than Final Fantasy. I seriously wanted to equip my entire time with spread guns from Contra and flamethrowers, plus the transition gates looked like egg pods. The Floating Continent was seriously hard, unless you had done grinding before hitting it. The monsters were big, the item drops were worthy, and there were two things that seriously stuck out, you could only do the Flying Continent once, and the other was Shadow. After fighting the Triad and Kefka, the continent breaks apart, and the world is literally ended. The animations and story are limited to the 16 bit output of the system, but you see the World of Balance destroyed and it become the World of Ruin. There is no going back. The second was as mentioned, Shadow. You have a timer to beat to escape the Flying Continent in time, and if you jump back to your airship as soon as you reach the escape point, Shadow dies. You have to wait for the time to count down to something like 5 seconds, and then a battered and weary Shadow runs up and joins your party.
Holy crap, a character can die permanently???
2. The Great Crystal inside Giruveganhttp://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Great_Crystal_(Final_Fantasy_XII
The Great Crystal was a hell of a dungeon, located entirely inside a dimensional crystal, and navigation was done without a map in game, you had to learn where you were, while fighting impressive enemies, and facing the frustration of the loot drops being absolute awesomeness or total s**t, you either got a gold skullcap or a knot of rust. At the heart of the Great Crystal was Ultima, the second most powerful summon in the game (and not part of the story, you had to deliberately go in after her) who had a great animation, appearing as a spectral woman with a steam engine airship centaur thing going on. The fight to defeat her is challenging, and then, you have to navigate back out of the crystal. The only save point is next to her fight area. That dungeon took about 3 hours of gameplay to defeat and escape.
The first 4-8 hours of Final Fantasy 7 gameplay is set inside the city of Midgar. It is a solid romp through cyberpunk before cyberpunk was a dime a dozen thing. The mako reactor raids, the plate falling, the locales in sector 7. Unlike the others, Midgar isn't so much an actual dungeon, but it has several in it, and at the time, it was incredibly novel. It broke away from genre fantasy, it had solid music, and dealt with slightly more relevant themes, such as ecology, eco-terrorism, PTSD, and it looked fantastic. Returning to the city to go through Shin-ra tower, great fun, plus it was awesome that on the world map when you got close to Midgar, the screen would darken, like it was under a pall of pollution.
4. Idar Flammehttp://shadowhearts.wikia.com/wiki/Idar_Flamme
Shadow Hearts Covenant was the second game I bought for the PS2, the first being Need for Speed: Underground 2 (SCREW YOU EA FOR NOT MAKING NFS:U3) and it followed a bizarre path through an alternate timeline Europe and Asia, and you pick up an international cast of heroes, from a Japanese guy who turns into demons, to a French bodybuilder and professional wrestler, to Princess Anastasia Romanov. The game was quirky as you went from locale to locale, collecting demon's souls, and chasing the man who stabbed you with a funky candlestick and something to do with Rasputin. Part of the way through the game, Rasputin does a magic spell and calls Idar Flamme up from the bowels of the earth. Crazy steaming techo-city, infested with worm like monsters, with Rasputin at the end, awesome. After you beat Rasputin (after he turns into the arch demon Asmodeus) you steel his power and can become Asmodeus yourself, or something like that, and then Idar Flamme collapses into rubble.
I wish I still owned that game.
What are your memorable dungeons and levels?