I definitely liked Rat Race as one of my personal favorite non-big team maps back in the day; though, I wouldn't consider it one of Halo's greatest maps nor would I consider it even a borderline good map today. It is what it is -- it's a classic and the truth is that most of the Combat Evolved maps pal in comparison to the maps that were released in subsequent title releases.You're spot on with the CE maps paling in comparison. I just wish 343 didn't consider Rat Race to be a classic because there were plenty of good maps in CE imo
Really? Which ones?
My favorites would have been:
Blood Gulch - a Big Team symmetrical map that had 1-way portals which were very easy to camp (aka problematic in today's MMing).
Sidewinder - a Big Team symmetrical map that had several portals that were often camped; plus, pretty simplistic base entrances which at times made entering fairly challenging.
Boarding Action - a Big Team symmetrical map that was ideal for a Snipers and Rockets mode that'd in all honestly would be best considered an Action Sack variant nowadays.
Hang 'Em High - a tweener asymmetrical map that could work for 4v4 or up to 8v8 game-types, but tended to benefit one side over the other.
Beaver Creek - a 4v4 fairly symmetrical map that had extremely camp-able portals in the back of each base.
Rat Race - an asymmetrical map that played best for FFA, but could certainly work decently well for 4v4 game-types. Camping the power-ups; especially, overshield with the shotgun that spawned next to it was problematic.
Damnation - an asymmetrical map that seemed best for FFA, but could work fairly decently for 4v4 game-types; however, like Hang 'Em High one side tended to benefit notice-able over the other.
Prisoner - a somewhat asymmetrical map that tended to play best for FFA, but could work fairly decently for 4v4 Slayer.
Those were my favorites, but they certainly all had noticeable issues in some regard. I'd argue that you could get better 4v4 game-play on Wizard and Longest than most of the more popular maps and you could get better FFA game-play on Chill-out verses the popular ones too. Not to mention, it was as if the map Chiron TL-34 was specifically designed to be played as an Action Sack styled map similar to how Boarding Action served a similar role. In all honestly, I didn't really care for Derelict all that much, but it too may have handled 4v4 a bit better than some of the more popular maps even if the hallway ramps leading up to the second level seemed to turn into major shotgun camping locations. Unfortunately I never played the PC Big Team maps back in the day; I had to wait till MCC to have that privilege.