Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Daily Ten: Awesome Video Game Cinematic Openings

A cinematic opening is something of a lost art these days. I'm not talking about the actual opening segment of a game, in which case The Saboteur is one of the best, but rather the movie that plays when you first insert a disc, leave the main menu on the screen for awhile, or first press the 'play' button. Usually these are done in an anime style with some sort of J-Pop music playing over scenes that either have nothing to do with the game or involve characters wistfully looking into the middle distance.

I'm a complete sucker for these. If I missed any good ones, just let me know in the comments, and I'll definitely check it out.

10) Lunar Silver Star Story Complete - PlayStation 

First off, how may times can they repackage Lunar Silver Star Story? Sega CD, Playstation, iOS, Gameboy Advance, probably some other formats I'm missing. I'd be more accepting of the re-releases if Lunar Eternal Blue needed more then just the two releases. Regardless, the opening for Lunar Silver Star Story is exactly what I'm talking about with the lost art of the opening cinematic. 

Random shots of characters in the game? Check. 
Possibly poorly translated J-Pop song? Check. 
Wistful stares into the middle distance? Check. 

9) Chrono Cross - PlayStation

The PlayStation was clearly the Golden Age of the opening cinematic. Witness Chrono Cross, a game best known for "not being Chrono Trigger", and the GLORIOUS intro. Starts off gentle with text that hints at some large, epic destiny and then launches into the anime! CG-style, as that was the style of the time, but it's still anime!

Random shots of characters in the game? Check.
Possibly poorly translated J-Pop song? Check.
Wistful stares into the middle distance? Check. 
Does it get you PUMPED UP TO PLAY THE GAME!? Sort of. 

It did remind me of the not-Harley Quinn jester though, so that's something. 

8) Ninja Gaiden 3 - NES

The worst of the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy is still a really good game. The original was actually the first use of a cinematic opening, but it was the third entry in the series that pushed the envelope. Irene Lew, your intrepid sidekick in the previous two games, is killed by someone that looks exactly like Dead or Alive combatant, Ryu Hayabusa. 

Random shots of characters in the game? Nope, clearly setting up story.
Possbily poorly translated J-Pop song? Nope, just some killer MIDI tunes. 
Wistful stares into the middle distance? Check. 
Does it get you PUMPED UP TO PLAY THE GAME!? Only if you scream "MENDOZA!" at the sight of Irene falling off of the cliff. 

Hit the jump for the rest of the Daily Ten! 

7) Alundra - PlayStation 

Alundra needs a HD remaster. 

It has the isometric gameplay of Landstalker, the puzzles of Zelda and a plot about diving into people's dreams to defeat the nightmares within, which makes Alundra a reverse Freddy Krueger. Pretty sure reverse-Freddy Kreuger is also listed on Urban Dictionary.



It's not, and never type "a Freddy Kreuger" into Urban Dictionary.

Anyways, this opening gets bonus points for including a puzzle gameplay sequence into the standard montage! That takes guts. Someone actually went, "Hey, know what would keep people fired up in between shots of a werewolf and a giant statue so badass it doesn't actually move while ripping up the narrow passage? Moving around puzzle pieces onto switches!"

Random shots of characters? Check.
Poorly translated J-Pop song? Nope, just a cool instrumental for this one.
Wistful stares into the middle distance? It's a double! Random lounging under the tree scene!
Does it get you PUMPED UP TO PLAY THE GAME!? I'm sure I've mentioned Alundra enough that someone has bought it this week.

6) Person 4: Golden - Playstation Vita


First off, if you never played Persona 4, go play it. It's awesome. 

Secondly, this is like a straight dose of anime opening cliche delivered right into the veins. Bright colors, peppy J-Pop song, totally random dancing by the main characters. I won't even break this one down because it breaks the scale. Total lack of moments that get you FIRED UP though, which is something I need when getting hyped to play a game. 

5) BlazBlue: Central Fiction - Playstation 4

Now this, this is ANIME. 

BlazBlue has had so many different iterations over the past two console generations, but Central Fiction has the best of the introductions. Anytime there's characters with colliding colors of energy around them or a mech releasing multiple missiles, you know it's old-school anime opening time. 

Random shots of characters? Check, from the word 'go' with Ragna.
Poorly translated J-Pop song? No translation, but you know it's something random about "fate" and "winds of destiny" or something. 
Wistful stares into the middle distance? Of course!
Does it get you PUMPED UP TO PLAY THE GAME!? Well, yes, I'm now going to wait for this to hit the discount bin and snap it up because it's the sort of fighting game insanity I need in my life. 

4) Final Fantasy IV - Nintendo DS

An opening that was impossible back when Final Fantasy 4 was first released. This one is worth it just for the classic theme song and then the shot of Cecil and Golbez colliding is the moment of climax. For the opening. The looming shot of Kain in the first sequence is such a great character touch, Kain's totally creeping on his best friend's girl. We're moving on before I take a wrong turn into fanfiction.

Random shots of characters? Yes, but yet they establish the basic characterization of them, so no, this was peak SquareEnix and making every frame a story. 
Wistful stares into the middle distance? Rosa, whom pretty much does that for the first half of the game anyways.
Does it get you PUMPED UP TO PLAY THE GAME!? Downloading on my iPad as I type this. 

3) Marvel Vs Capcom 3 - Xbox 360 

When you have a roster this awesome, why stop with one intro, when you can have 4!? 

Whew. That's a lot of Capcom in my Marvel, or Marvel in my Capcom. Bonus points for Tony Stark rescuing Morrigan in the first intro, because OF COURSE. 

Let's move onto the rest of the list, which you'll note, these two entries have something in common. 

2) Wild Arms - Playstation

Random shots of characters> Of course!
Poorly translated J-Pop song? Nope, just an awesome quasi-Western tune.
Wistful stares into the middle distance? HELLYEAH!
Does it get you PUMPED TO PLAY THE GAME!? Yes. Yes It does.

I let this opening play every.single.time. My poor brother got so annoyed with me letting it play every,single.time I played Wild Arms. Such a great J-RPG. I love the western setting, the music is great, the battle system was awesome...for the time...not sure how it would have aged, but this was the shit. 

When it comes to intros, nothing tops Wild Arms. Ever. 

Except of course, for another Wild Arms...

1) Wild Arms 3 - Playstation 2

Random shots of characters? YOU KNOW IT~!
Poorly translated J-Pop song? In Japanese, this could be about an ode to a baked potato, 
Wistful stares into the middle distance? To the left middle, to the right middle, to the over the shoulder middle.

How do you beat Wild Arms? With what was then, a next-gen Wild Arms! Wild Arms 3 actually has an intro that changes a few times as you progress in the game. The game rewards you for watching the opening over and over each time you play. THAT.IS.AWESOME. 

I should stream this one, or Let's Play of it, because Wild Arms 3 needs some love. It's a great game and it sets the standard for openings. 

Granted all of this is just my own highly scientific opinion. Have a personal favorite I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter! 

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