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Friday, June 29, 2007

Top Five: Video Game Opening Cinematics

Sparked by Markus' series of posts regarding the best introductory cinematics to various video games, I felt that I'd offer up a list of my Top Five Video Game Introductory Cinematics. Regardless of whether or not you feel that I've neglected certain titles, I'm sure most of my readers would agree that the following intro movies are some of the best the video game industry has ever, or will ever, see.

5. NHL 99
When this came out in 99, it wasn't especially ground-breaking or new. However, the use of David Bowies "Heroes" ended up being such a great compliment to the on-screen hockey action that it became one of my favourite intros of all times.

4. Curse of Monkey Island
The intro for Curse of Monkey Island does a great job of setting up one of the best games of all time. Well directed with good voice acting, this intro shows that you don't need fancy 3D graphics to produce a noteworthy and wholly entertaining piece of video game history.

3. Final Fantasy VIII
I remember picking up Final Fantasy VIII partly as a means of teasing a friend of mine who really didn't get the whole "FF" thing. The last game that I'd played in this series was Final Fantasy VI (yes, I missed FF VII unfortunately) and I'd throroughly enjoyed it. When I noticed the FF VIII's box in-store - hard to notice seeing as how the game spanned 6-8 CDs - I bought the game and raced home to give it a go. The opening cinematic absolutely blew me away and remains, to this day, one of the best looking CG sequences ever!

2. Fallout 2
When Fallout 2 was released back in 1998, it's opening cinematic redefined how good a game's introductory movie could be! The cinematic speaks for itself and is guaranteed to please, even though we're looking at almost ten years since it's release.

1. Diablo II
Diablo II's introductory cinematic is, hands down, the very best cinematic to have ever graced any game. Even today, this six and a half minute clip stands as the best of the best. Cinematically superb, engaging, and containing the very best voice-acting that I've ever heard in a video game. I have watched Diablo II's cinematic upwards of a one hundred times and it never grows old. And not only does Diablo II have the best intro movie of all time, it is also one of the best titles that I have ever played (and I'm sure most who've played the game would back me up on this). Enjoy the clip and, if you like it, buy yourself a copy of the game. Sure, the in-game graphics may be a little dated but I guarantee that you'll find the game highly enjoyable and addictive even after all these years!

Honourable Mention:

Back in 1996, I bought my very own next-gen computer: a 166 MHz Pentium computer running Windows 95. After paying for the computer and waiting all day for it to arrive (the store offered same-day delivery), it finally arrived. I plugged everything in, turned it on, and installed a game that I had picked up earlier that day in preparation for the new system. This game was Diablo and it forever opened my eyes to the possibilities of video games and new technology.


Feel like watching all the cinematic cut-scenes from Diablo II? Want to watch them on your TV in DVD quality? Vivendi Universal is selling a Blizzard Entertainment DVD Collection which includes all the cut-scenes and cinematics from three of Blizzard Entertainment's biggest titles: Diablo II, Starcraft, and Warcraft III!