WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! Just hear me out for one moment! No do not close out of this immediately just hear me out!
Shadow the Hedgehog……is not……a good game, but it is not a terrible game if you stop taking it seriously. I believe the game might have worked better if they created a whole new character and not set in the Sonic universe. But no, we are left with this ridiculous work of art. So what gives? Why did I like this intro so much? I can’t help it, but this opening always leaves a smile on my face and makes me glad to be alive in this time and age.
Everything is just stupid and silly. Why Shadow? Why? I die a little bit every time I see Shadow use a gun because it feels so out of place. Apparently after falling from space Shadow gained the ability to be bulletproof and create explosions. Unknown aliens have taken over Earth. Shadow is fighting the aliens but also the army….no I take it back I hate everything about this once again. I know that the developers were going for a mature serious tone, but jeez I can’t stop laughing every time I watch this.
The best thing about the intro is the Crush 90 and their track “I am all…all I am.” This is my favorite theme for Shadow and my second favorite Crush 90 song next to “Escape From the City.” Again, in the context of a different original character, this would work perfectly. Just like you can do in the game. the track talks about choosing who you are. If I am ever feeling stress with a mountain of work that needs to be done, without shame I blast this track to keep me motivated. For how kickass this track is however, it just adds to the ridiculous factor of this game.
With all of its flaws, I can’t hate this opening. It brings me joy and that is why I believe this intro embodies the spirit of the holidays. During the year, we face a lot stress and hard times. We sometimes find it difficult to stop and enjoy the small things around us and just find simple enjoyment out of the little things. That is why I want to thank Shadow the Hedgehog. Every time I am reminded about its existence, it reminds me that life is not as stressful as I believe that it is and I should stop taking things too serious. I need to enjoy things for what they are and not be bitter about it if it did not meet my imaginary expectations. Keep an open mind and find some enjoyment in what you can make of what you have. I know this philosophy does not apply to everything, but at least with Shadow, you can have fun doing whatever you want with him.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone, and thank you for joining in this year’s advent calendar!
There is something special about Dragon Quest’s opening. All of them share the same classic opening theme that makes them instantly recognizable. Most of the openings just have a title screen, but sometimes you can not help but to just pause and hum along with it. For something so simple it feels grandiose and you know to expect a remarkable journey to follow. Out of all eleven mainline games, there are two in particular that I really enjoy.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
The recent entry to the mainline games, Dragon Quest XI has a lot of impressive elements going for it. Along with the new HD look, the opening had to match the beauty of the world. What better way to do that then feature a recording of the main theme performed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. The last time the orchestra recorded the opening was for the eight game in the series. Since then, I believe that this is the best version of it yet since you get a full orchestral sound instead of a horn feature (coming from someone who enjoys powerful brass sounds). The orchestra complements the visuals soundly and adds that extra layer of depth to the movie.
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
What this intro lacks in a live orchestra soundtrack, it makes up for what it shows. Nine’s intro was the first time that showed more than just a title logo. It showed off what the game is about; questing, fighting monsters, and sharing your stories with companions. It felt like for the first time, Square Enix wanted to introduce the series to newcomers and show them what the series was all about. Though the DS was underpowered at the time, it was a smart move to bring this series to this platform since everyone has a DS at the time. I see a lot of recognition for this game even though it was not on a home console and I believe this opening was a great way to greet new players into an astonishing game.
And the award for making me tear up over collected emotions goes to Monster Hunter Tri’s opening. There is something about this intro that just fills me up with many emotions that is hard for me to describe. I would say Monster Hunter is my favorite franchise and it all started with this game.
Nothing special happens in this intro, but it does do something that later games do not. Most intros in the series now focus on a group of hunters working together to take on the game’s featured monster(s). This puts emphasizes that the game revolves around you and your friends hunting down these powerful creatures; which yes of course that is what the game is about. What the others fail to capture is the grand scale of the world you are in. Tri’s opening only features the monsters until the very end. You get to see how the monsters interact with one another and the struggle between predator and prey. You see these powerful herbivores being chased away by these small predators who are then weaklings compared to what lies in the sea. It all accumulates to a standoff between two powerful forces, a Rathalos, the king of the skies, versus a Lagiacrus, the lord of the seas. Immediately you see who is in charge of this world and they do it without showing off the even scarier monsters in the game. The entire focus is on the main characters of the game, the monsters themselves. I never thought of the hunter being the main character of the series since they do not add anything to the world. The monsters are the ones who carry the story and shape the world, so it feels natural that you would want to showcase them and their power.
The track is also powerful to me and I want it to play on any venture I take when walking in the woods.
Originally I was going to go with “Zephyr Memories” from the DS and PC version of Final Fantasy III. It is such a beautiful song and sets the mood for the adventure that is about to unfold. Then I remembered Final Fantasy XII existed and my mind completely changes. Sonova chocobo does the music in this game kick ass. What is essentially Final Fantasy: Star Wars, the opening does a great job in letting you know that this is Final Fantasy, but gets straight to the point of what is going on.
The opening starts with the traditional prelude to the Final Fantasy series. An excellent thing to do in my opinion since it gets players familiar with the idea that this is a Final Fantasy. In an earlier entry, I mentioned how familiar themes are good to have in an opening to reassure fans this is what they are expecting and not something completely foreign. You see the world and it looks like a fantasy world with some futuristic elements represented. The visuals look astonishing especially if you are playing the Zodiac Age on PS4 or Xbox. The inviting feel of the world speaks grand adventure exploring this beautiful world on both land and air.
And then the music changes. We see not Darth Vader and his clones of other younglin killers to this tone that sounds like something played during a grand battle. That is a sinpet of “Flash of Steel,” one of the many great tracks in this game. You then see fleets of airships being deployed and massive armies fighting. You see airships falling out of the sky and striking the ground where more battles are taking place. The scene went from beautiful and wonderment to facing the harshness of war; grounding the player that there is a mission that needs to be done, and it won’t be an easy one. At the end, the music changes again to the classic fanfare that everyone knows; again returning to the familiarity of the series. I forgot to mention this, but until now, the prelude to Final Fantasy had not been used since Final Fantasy VI (technically it was used in XI, but only fancy people with internet back in the day could play it) and would be the last time it was used in a mainline entry (well again technically it is used in XIV, but not a mainline single player game). In the final scenes, the cast of characters are shown along with bosses and a final shot of a crystal (again we haven’t seen one of those since late game IX I guess). It felt like the developers wanted to knock this game out of the park by once again returning to their roots while also introducing some new ideas instead of changing the entire world altogether. I do not believe any other Final Fantasy game could come close to a stellar introduction than the one XII sets up (we will see what Final Fantasy XVI through C does though).
The names Snake. Naked Snake. I had to ask myself if I wanted to go with this opening or the one from Metal Gear Solid 2. MGS2’s opening feels classic with the theme song of the series playing in the background, but how could that beat that band, those visuals, or that singer!? Snake Eater hits it right out of the gate with that big opening that is a homage to classic Bond movies. It gets the player into the mindset of you are playing a spy, there will be a lot of stealth involved, and things are going to get sexy. This opening leaves such a good impression to anyone who hears it that my wife wanted to talk about it as someone who just heard it for the first time. I will turn things over to her now.
Okay. There are three things about this opening that I love, just from the standpoint of the song and opening, not even relating to the game.
1: The homage to classic 60s and 70s Bond movies is beautiful. I grew up watching those movies with my dad (Diamonds are Forever is still my favorite) and just the composition of the song and they way it’s sung is spot on with that style.
2: The singer is AMAZING! As someone who has a vocal music degree, the singer, Cynthia Harell, (who also sang the ending song “I Am the Wind” for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) kills it. The soft opening lines to the powerful chorus and the intense bridge is exactly what this song needed.
3: The song itself. When he sit back and actually listen to the lyrics, it is just an emotional and powerful song.
“I give my life, Not for honor, but for you. In my time, there’ll be no one else. Crime, it’s the way, I fly to you! I’m still in a dream, Snake Eater”
Those are the lines from the chorus. If that isn’t emotional by itself, wait until you hear the context from the game. Carlton showed me the ending cutscenes (very very long ending cutscenes) and the way the final shots of the game go along with those exact lyrics is just amazing.
I have never played this game, probably won’t, but I will say I love this opening because of everything about it. And when you add in the context of the game, it just gets ten times better.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled nerdy gamer boy. I’m off to try and find a shiny Eevee. (They are my favorite.)
Thank you Kat! And thank you everyone for tunning in!