Teaser Thursday Post – A list of 5 memorable game introductions & what makes them so memorable.
Final Fantasy X:
Final Fantasy X was my first serious roleplaying game. At age 11, I remember sitting in front of my television, enthralled & energized by the beginning cutscene.
It begins with an abrasive metal soundtrack and some dude playing a soccer in a ball of water… leaving you wondering, “this is supposed to be a fantasy roleplaying game?”
But the next two minutes try to reassure the gamer, through mysterious samurai cameos and the destruction of a city, that Final Fantasy X isn’t about Blitzball (thank god). With only visual imagery, Square Enix manages to tell you FFX is about saving the world; an invitation like that is hard to ignore.
Arkham Asylum begins at what appears to be the end. For Joker anyways. After checking Joker into the Asylum, Batman choses to escort him to his cellblock. You follow Joker as he prattles and jeers, and you can’t help but feel that something VERY VERY VERY bad is about to happen.
And of course, it does. The madman escapes, commencing a hostile takeover of a complex filled with manics and criminals. Who all happen to hate Batman. It’s Batman’s job to put this mess right, but you can tell right away it won’t be easy.
This isn’t great due to intensity or epic scale, but because it sets up the story smoothly and believably. Also, this specific intro allowed Rocksteady to set the record straight immediately: This ain’t no Batman Forever on the Sega Genesis – this is the game Batman deserves.
Of the Uncharted games, the second game’s intro (with the train) is probably one of the most famous opening sequences in game history. However, Naughty Dog’s third game starts off running…
Drake and Sully, familiar faces and seasoned treasure hunters, try to make a deal for Drake’s ring. When it all goes south, a fantastic full-scale bar fight occurs. This includes a mini boss battle in the men’s restroom, with faces smashed into urinals and heads bashed with toilet covers. Even the classic frying pan-to-the-face makes an appearance in the brawl! The action is fluid and intuitive, a fun way to acquaint players with the new combat controls.
After surviving the mayhem, Drake ends up face to face with Marlowe, the scariest middle aged woman you have EVER met. Naughty Dog constructed this scenario to be one of the most intimidating ways to ever meet a female antagonist, and the fact that she makes off with the ring is an extra stab to your gut.
As if it couldn’t get any worse – the scene ends with Drake and Sully unconscious, bullets in their stomachs. This fast paced, plot significant introduction set the tone for one of the best games in 2011.
The game begins with a tender moment, looking at a family photo…
Then the protagonist emerges from the wreckage of a plane crash, smack dab in a ring of fire. Didn’t quite see that coming. Glancing to your right, a faint, pulsing light beckons to you away from the flames. The gamer has no idea what exactly is going on, but this seems to be the only option – so you continue to wander into the lighthouse and then onto an elevator.
In the elevator, a recorded voice describes a dream of a utopia for the common man. Some gamers might be bored by the political talk (I was), wondering why they are playing this game. But then the door opens, revealing the gorgeous underwater skyline of Rapture with Ryan’s words, “I chose the impossible. I chose Rapture.” In that moment, you are completely and totally hooked on the underwater city & it’s story.
Mass Effect 2:
At first the game begins like a normal, roleplaying game. Mysterious people talk about your character, some text scrolls across the screen with some dates, etc.
Then the typical gets derailed when your ship is blown apart by some unknown force. Your lame boyfriend (girlfriend for those who play ManShep) peaces out with your crew and suddenly it’s just you and your crippled pilot on a burning wreckage in the middle of space.
You clutch the controller, tension building as you maneuvering Shepard through fire, exposed space & explosions. You can feel resistance as you struggle to move and the heavy breathing echoing in your helmet reverberates through the room. You finally make it to the escape pod when BAM!
Shepard’s sucked into space and dies horrifically of suffocation in her breached spacesuit.
It is this beautiful mixture of “WOW, THAT WAS EPIC!!!” and “HOLY CRAP SHEPARD JUST DIED!!!” that puts Mass Effect 2 on the top of the list.
– E. B.