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Monday, January 18, 2016

Outstanding Openers Vol. 1

Not every game immediately thrusts you into the gameplay. While its common place to have some kind of introduction scene in games these days, even before the HD era, we had games that took a bit of time to provide some plot before placing you in control. Outstanding Openers centers around intros that managed to grab my attention, make my jaw drop or say, "Wow, that was neat." Just click on the title of the game to see the opening unfold.

Super Mario 64 (N64)

Mario's trek into the third dimension was no small thing. I mean, this is Mr. Video Game we're talking about here. After getting an invite from Princess Peach via letter, the camera pans around her castle grounds to a lone green warp pipe where Mario makes his appearance with his signature move. Being renowned for his incredible jumping skills, its only fitting that Mario should literally leap onto the scene. This whole intro is made all the better with the opening music that Koji Kondo composed.

Mega Man 2 (NES)

Mega Man 2 opens with the game telling us Mega Man was created to stop Dr. Wily, who doesn't know when to quit because he created eight new robots to thwart the Blue Bomber. We then pan up to our metal hero, looking like a cute little 8-bit BAMF. Mega Man does a number of things well. Look awesome in blue, jumping and shooting and standing on roof tops with his hair blowing in the wind. Not too shabby for a boy robot. 

Sonic CD (SCD)

Thanks to digital distribution, Sonic CD is a much easier game to obtain. While I don't think this is 2D Sonic at his finest, its still a game work playing through. Sonic CD's opening is a true marvel, not just for the beautiful hand drawn animation, but for the way it portrays Sonic's speed. There's so much style to his movements in the game's opening cut scene that it isn't hard to see why Sonic is the dude with the 'tude. Fun fact: Sonic actually sneezes during the opening anime sequence.

Final Fantasy VII (PS, PC)

Its safe to say that anyone breathing was aware of the coming of Final Fantasy VII prior to its 1997 release. The hype force was strong with this one. Yet it's opening cut scene begins surprisingly on the quiet side. We see start with a breath-taking view of the starts, movie on to Aerith walking the streets of Migar and then the camera zooms out to show the city in full view as the game's logo splashes across the screen. Awesome! Now let's go blow some stuff up!

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2, XB, PS3)

There are two openers to Metal Gear Solid 2, the one listing all the cast members with scenes from the game spliced together like a movie trailer and the one that actually kicks off the game. I'm going to be focusing on the former. This sucker is so well crafted it could be the teaser trailer to a movie. Given that Metal Gear Solid games have you doing more watching as opposed to playing, that actually makes perfect sense. Harry Gregson-Williams, a man usually associated with cinema soundtracks, worked on the MGS2's soundtrack, including the superb arrangement of the Metal Gear Solid Main Theme, which plays during the game's trailer-like opening.

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