The introduction to any game can be one of the most important parts of the game, because it’s the moment that either sucks a player in, or deters them from wanting to delve deeper into the game. For me, a lot of the time, the intro to a game can be the most memorable part, no matter how good the rest of the game is, because that will always be my first memory of the game after booting it up. Now, I’ve been playing games for most of my short 20 year long life, and by no means am I an expert, but I’d like to think I know a solid introduction when I see it. This list won’t solely include intro stages, it will include some intro videos as well, something you just watch before you even really need to pick up the controller. Honestly, sometimes I just like to be thrust into the story and immediately have control, but I do like it when the game takes some time to tell me what it’s all about without making me do anything. So without further adieu, here are my Top 10 Videogame intro sequences!
10) Every Main Pokemon Game Ever (Various)
There is some security in knowing that no matter how long Pokemon goes on for, no matter what crazy legendaries await me, or what psychotic organization wants to kill me and probably everyone else, the beginning will always be the same. Leave the house, meet the neighbors, and somehow end up picking one of three starter Pokemon through some short chain of events to begin my quest to become the best there ever was. Sometimes it’s as easy as walking into the good professor’s house and picking one, sometimes it’s saving him from a savage level 3 Poochyena with one of his own Pokemon. The intros to these games will always keep me young at heart because they never get old, no matter how many times I restart my road to becoming Pokemon Champion.
9) Mega Man X (SNES)
Oh man, if there was ever a better song to introduce me to a Mega Man game, I’m unaware of it, because the music in this level is just absolutely superb and really showcased the sound capability of the SNES at the time. It was super catchy and punchy and I still listen to it all the time whether it be in the car or while doing homework (or writing this article). Aside from the music, the stage is great and did a good job of showing the abilities that X had that Mega Man didn’t in his games. Things like being able to slide down walls and jump from them, and feeling how tight the controls were really made it a good testing ground for new players. The sub-bosses were introduced, as well as two new characters, Vile and Zero, who both play huge roles in the X storyline and are awesome new additions to the roster. This was the first Megaman game to really have good storytelling in my opinion, and was a lot easier to take seriously than Classic.
8) Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (PSP)
I’m a huge fan of the Final Fantasy VII series, above all of the other ones, even X and even though there’s never just been a Final Fantasy VII-2, Square Enix never disappointed me with its spin-offs, especially Crisis Core. The introduction video that plays before you even press start had me captivated as soon as I saw it, the music is intense, the action sequences are super well done, and the blend of action and drama go really well together in it. It was one of few game intros that I never skipped no matter how many times I booted up the game. I never really could share my love of the game with anyone, unfortunately, because nobody I knew had a PSP and even fewer really appreciated the Final Fantasy series as much as I did.
7) Metroid Prime (Gamecube)
I never played a Metroid game before Prime on Gamecube, and I think that may have fueled my childlike wonder the first time I played the game. The dark, somewhat scary atmosphere of a derelict station, in the quietness of space almost made it like a less mature version of Dead Space, and I loved it even as a wee lad. There wasn’t a ton of shooting to be done for most of it, but there was tons of stuff to scan and read about, there were things lurking in the shadows and creatures floating in tanks. It was pretty dark and gritty, and even though the sequel was pretty creepy overall in its own right, it never quite matched the initial feel of the beginning of Prime. Unfortunately, I’ve since given my Gamecube away (d’oh!), but if I ever got one back, Prime would definitely be the first or at least one of the first games that I start rebuilding my collection with.
6) Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
I didn’t play Alan Wake until 2014, well after it came out, and after I’d already gotten an Xbox One and was trying to move onto current-gen gaming. Alan Wake was the game that held me at the Xbox 360 generation just a little while longer. I’d always wanted to play it and I saw it for $13 at a local Gamestop and I figured a game that (apparently) amazing was worth at least that much. The game goes by chapters instead of levels, and the introduction to the game is (spoiler alert) a sort of dream sequence. Well, nightmare sequence is more like it, a lot of weird stuff happens like running over a homeless guy, but then he comes back to life and tries to kill you with an axe while you shoo him away with a flashlight and shoot him. Then a giant tornado starts chasing you down and… well, you kind of have to just play it to see what I mean, but it’s exciting, and scary, and interesting all at the same time. It’s one of the most original games I’ve ever played and it showed that from the very start, I highly recommend that you play Alan Wake if you haven’t yet, it holds up to today’s standards easily, it’s like a book, it never gets old.
5) Dead Rising (Xbox 360)
Frank West, he’s a man’s man, the ultimate in masculinity, the toughest reporter around, did I mention he’s covered wars? Dead Rising as a series has always been off-and-on serious, the main story could be considered a little serious, but every game has its bit of goofy zombie-slaying bloodbath-ness that has been a mainstay. The intro to the first game in the series made it seem kind of dark, you finally make it into the mall, down into the lobby with a bunch of survivors keeping the doors barricaded and the zombies out. All hell breaks loose when one of the survivors tries to catch her dog that made it past the barricade, letting the zombies in, and effectively killing pretty much everyone but Frank. It wasn’t the most intense part of the game, and the lack of weaponry at that point made it hard to kill zombies, so you kind of just had to run for it, but I’ll always remember how panicky I was when I first played it. I thought to myself “No, dammit, don’t open the doors, you’ll kill everyone, you idiot!”, I was actually invested in wanting those people to live. I love the Dead Rising series, and across three games, this was a fantastic way to begin the story.
4) Legend of Legaia (PS1)
Legaia was a game that I had history with as a kid, I rented it a lot from a local store, and then finally bought it when they went out of business. Nobody I know has ever heard of the damn game, and that’s a shame because I thought it was frickin awesome! The game starts off with you in your hometown of Rim Elm, you walk around and meet and talk to everybody in the town and learn how to use the turn-based martial arts fighting system with help from a friend. Everything seems all fine and well until night comes and the gates that hold back the evil Mist fail and the Mist enters the town, unleashing havoc on everyone. The deformed creatures of the mist (which to this day still kinda creep me out) begin attacking and killing people in the town, while you try to make your way to the Genesis tree of the town and figure out how to stop the Mist. The music that kicks in is super dark and scary when the Mist comes into play, and beating the living crap out of the twisted creatures is super satisfying, and it’s my favorite turn-based RPG of all time, no doubt about it.
3) Sonic Adventure (Sega Dreamcast)
I have to say, I never even knew what the hell a Dreamcast was until I got one, I didn’t ask for one, I had no idea it existed, but I’m so, so glad that I got one. I had gone out with my mom for my 6th birthday, I can’t remember what we did, I think we just got burgers or something from a local restaurant (still my favorite food). Anyway, we came home and I went up to my room to play video games, not really thinking about the fact that I didn’t get any cards or anything like that, and Dad is waiting for me with a controller in his hand. I look at where it’s connected, and it’s not my PS1, it’s some weird new cool looking console, and there’s this new Sonic game playing on the TV, and it looked f*cking amazing. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, I sat down and dad said “Happy Birthday, bud,” and left me to be literally sucked into the TV by the new console. I played Sonic Adventure to death, and as soon as the sequel was out, I snagged it and loved it even more. The intro sequence that plays before you start the game was so awesome, the flashy new graphics, the awesome music by Crush 40 that would go on the do every (good) Sonic game theme song for quite a while, it was amazing! The first boss fight with chaos was cool, but damn, that intro sequence had me mesmerized, and I’ll still play Sonic Adventure any day of the week, I love it.
2) Kingdom Hearts 2 (PS2)
Kingdom Hearts as a series holds a special place in my heart and soul, I love every game, despite it’s convoluted storyline and Heartless and Nobodies and Dreameaters and whatever else they fling at us in KHIII. The first time I played the original, and the intro sequence started, I thought it looked cool but had no idea what the hell was going on, it was all over the damn place. The game was great, don’t get me wrong, but KHII was by far the game that cemented the series in my life, to the point where my future tattoo additions will be sure to include something related to the series. The intro to the second main game was definitely a huge improvement over the one in the first game, it wasn’t totally unexplained as long as you played the previous game. Not only that but it had great music, showcased all of the characters we knew and loved, and at the very end, introduced a brand new character that would become very important: Roxas. This sequence was gorgeous, and was a great way to show off the technical abilities of the PS2. If there’s only one game in the whole series that you play, please play Kingdom Hearts 2, you won’t be disappointed by it in any respect, and it may just get you into the rest of the series!
1) Mass Effect 2
Holy crap, Mass Effect 2 is a good game. A great game. A phenomenal game. In my top 5 games of all freaking time type of game. It starts with a (literal) bang and depending on your choices, can also end with a (literal) bang. The game picks up right where the first left off, Saren and his forces have been demolished, the Citadel is being fixed, and the Normandy is on a patrol in space doing… I dunno, Alliance stuff, I guess. All of a sudden, the ship is being tailed by some huge, terrifying looking zombie-esque ship that is definitely not there to send a peaceful message. The Normandy does its best to evade the ship, but it still gets hit by a massive laser, and the crew must abandon ship, Shepard gets almost everyone out of the ship, but Joker is still trying to save everything in the cockpit. Shepard goes back for him, and helps him into an escape pod before an explosion knocks Shepard away. The pod closes and Joker gets away safely, but one more shot from the alien ship and the Normandy is reduced to rubble, with Shepard left to struggle in the cold vacuum of space. What happens to him afterwards is a big part of the story, so I’ll leave you guys to find out by playing, but definitely play it if you never have, it’s an excellent game, and an even better trilogy.
Remember, this is just my personal list, but I’d love to hear about everyone else’s favorite game intros. I know some don’t consider a cinematic an intro, and maybe some don’t think the first level is an intro, but I kind of mish-mashed them all into one category. I feel like one of the most important parts of any game is how it opens up to you, like I said before, it can really dictate if someone is going to wanna play the rest of the game. Let me know what you think and what your favorites are!
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