Well today I was playing an online Video Game Music quiz and I happened upon the opening theme of Cannon Fodder. I’ll just say that I had no idea what was coming there, it starts out with ska chords and goes into “♫ War, never been so much fun…♫” So for the focus of this article I will talk about some attention grabbing intros. Not all of them need take the Cannon Fodder approach but all of them have some quality that makes them unforgettable.
Standout Game Intros
Well I’ve already let the cat out of the bag on this one, so I might as well go ahead and do it first. Cannon Fodder is a strategy war game that takes a very strong satirical approach on War. So much that it hit on controversy with the picture shown above. The flower shown is the corn poppy, which is the symbolic flower of WW 1, and when veterans discovered that this was going to be used there was an uproar against it. Needless to say the poppy was removed from the box but it is still in the opening screen of the game.
As for the intro screen, well I won’t type out all of the lyrics because it’s a better experience checking it out for yourself. Some might say that systems like the Amiga were the golden age of games because makers cared much more about their content and made very fun, intelligent games; which stands out in this game where despite opposition, the designers still put the game out.
Donkey Kong 64
I’m not even sure that I have to say much for this one because if anyone reading this ever picked up this game… well you know exactly what I’m about to say: DK Rap. Yes, the infamous rap so terrible that you would desperately hit start as soon as you could hear ♫boom cha boom boom cha♫ and hopefully you got to the demo start screen before ” So they’re finally here, performing for you.. etc..” Let’s just say I do know that words and I could join in too. In any event, it caught your attention all right.
Well this intro I hadn’t seen until I did some research, and I can say that I was blown away. I wouldn’t say that it does anything new or original in its cinematography, but it’s the music that makes the video amazing. “Scars of Time” is one of Mitsuda’s best works. The song has so many powerful elements to it, and every one of them fits the video so perfectly that it becomes riveting. Even the words at the beginning are poetic enough to keep your attention: “Yet even then we ran like the wind/Whilst our laughter echoed,/Under cerulean skies…”
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Here is an intro that really set the mood for the entire game to come. MM has one of the most dark intros (and is one of the darkest games) I’ve ever seen, particularly for a Zelda game. First, the camera pans down to a gloomy dark forest only to have Link waylaid and pass out, then some creepy masked Skull kid makes off with Epona and drags you behind. Only after being freed do you desperately chase after (now doing flips when you jump) to fall intro a pit of blackness with disorientating shapes to find out that Skullkid ‘got rid of’ Epona!
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy is a series that always has attention grabbing intros, but I just found that 8 had the most, “WTF?!@” kind of feeling to it. When it opens all you see is a nice, sunny beach. Then all of the sudden this malevolent chorus comes in singing Latin and it becomes a huge tense contrast. As if that wasn’t enough, the waves begin to talk to you:
“I’ll be here…”
The way that text comes up it reminds me of an evil, crazy villain like the Joker; just toying with Batman or his victims. This text continues to appear as the song builds and now goes to a flowery field, and it snowballs from there.
This game has been mentioned in the past here on Continue but the intro video was not discussed. This game intro is perfect in the hollywood sense. It has well fitted music, lots of careful, realistic camera angles, and it has a compelling story. Some of the camera angles from the trees really make it tense.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
Before I even talk about this game – which was orignally for the console MSX, and it’s the only version I count (Nintendo failed hard on the port) – I have to say that the soundtrack is fantastic. The song chosen for the opening is so fitting to a spy/Tom Clancy style of movie that you could watch it with popcorn. All scene changes and appearances of the schematics of the Metal Gear weapon are very drawing and I can honestly say that this is a timeless trailer, and it was made 19 years ago.
Well, I can say that I always liked this game for its style. The old tyme music is fantastic to say the least, but the irony of it just makes the game great to watch or play. The video is no exception and the irony and contrast as the tv pulls away is as attention grabbing as when the TV dies. Then, of course, the narrator comes in and you’ve no choice but to watch it out.
Dune is a game that I have yet to play, but I think it is a game that every gamer should. Anyone who plays it will claim it had an influence on them to some degree, and it’s a landmark in gaming in more ways that one. The soundtrack by Stephane picq is unique and excellent, and the intro video has some sort of power to it. It has urgent music, and despite the fact that technology only allows flashes of images in many cases (and no voices or sfx), it’s still done in a way that really keeps you looking. Especially the quick snappy shots and moving faces.
Sonic CD has been a favorite opening of mine since I first booted it up on the Sega CD. Cartoon or not the video is awesomely epic and “Sonic Boom” is one of the greatest songs ever. Kudos Spencer Nilson, he really made the image of sonic flying at the Robotnik Death Star something to remember.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
After the simple intro of a glove carrying a stock character onto a table in Super Smash Bros., I can’t say that I expected much from this intro, but it really went in a different direction. It is a very action-packed, snappy intro with quick character and music changes and cool character freeze frames.
So to tie up this eclectic mix of ending themes, I’ll just say that some of the biggest surprises seem to come from the most unexpected places. I didn’t expect a sequel to have a fantastic trailer compared to the original, or that the larger portion of attention drawing intros for me would be some of the earliest games.