Advent Gaming Calendar 2019 Day 20: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Credit to Aska49’s YouTube Channel

Question. How do you terrify an eight year old into being afraid to touch a video game? If you are my older brother, just start up Banjo Kazooie. For me, it was the opening to Majora’s Mask. At the time, and maybe still to this day, this was one of the scariest openings that I had encountered, and I had gotten to the baby stage in Zombies Ate My Neighbors so I knew fear by then. After watching your brother play hours of Ocarina of Time you wouldn’t expect the next game to be a horror film; because it is!

So what’s so terrifying about it? You see Link in this new town and everything seems lovely. You have this festive song playing in the background and you get to see around Clock Town. A similar feel to Ocarina’s opening where you saw Hyrule Field and knew this was where you would be sending your time. Clock Town is a huge location even big than Hyrule Court and Kakariko Village combined, so seeing each district is nice. Again, everything is hunky dokey, until the music starts to shift into a minor key; and we all know minor key equals not happy. You then see our main antagonist, Skull Kid, standing on top of the giant clock. At this point you see him and ask yourself who is this funny looking kid and why is he less menacing than Ganon? Then, you see the true menacing force, the moon. You see the moon, he smiles back, the music is doing that weird suspense moment between two notes, and then the title fades in.

At eight years old, there have only been two things that had made me jump behind the couch to hide from what I had just saw. The first was Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and the second was Return of Jafar (yeah I don’t get it either). Never has a game made me feel completely uncomfortable, even before the game had started. That is why this game’s opening is so perfect and I love and hate it now. The set up is perfect for the tone of the game and it never lets up the entire time. To this day I can only sit back and watch my brother play this game over and over because everything feels too stressful to me and I like playing games like Dark Souls. Zelda is suppose to be fun and lightheaded and not Red Light, Green Light with the freaking moon!

An excellent opening to a fantastic game. The 3DS remake makes the moon look silly so it loses the effect to me. Still not playing that version either.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 21!

Danamesx

Advent Gaming Calendar 2019 Day 19: Suikoden II

Credit to SpaceRunaway’s YouTube Channel

Onto yet another game franchise where I (my wife) have all the games and I have yet to play any. When retirement hits me 50+ years from now maybe I will finally get to it. All of the intros to Suikoden are good, but the second on takes the cake for the one I enjoy the most.

A compressed but nice chorus intro shows important characters, key symbols, and fire; lots of fire. You see characters fade in and out with armies shown and the music getting more intense towards the climax. The music and visuals are executed perfectly together to pull the exact feeling that you should have during each scene. You should feel intimidated when crazy screaming man turns around while standing on top a hill of corpse (my favorite part of the opening). You should feel that there is hope somewhere out there with the shoot of the plant in the ruined town. Speaking of that shot, I feel that the opening would have been perfect if it ended there. It would give the player a sense of determination to get through the game in order to see a brighter future. Instead, we are treated to character images of what I assume to be all the characters in the game since there are around 108 characters that you can recruit. Nothing wrong with this part as it feels good that each character is represented as potential saviors in this story, but let’s be honest you will find the ones you like using and will stick with them. The others are completion fodder. Overall a solid resonating opening that is always fun to watch even when I do not know the story behind it (I refuse to look up the game’s story as I would like to be surprised when I do actually play it..eventually). I promise that this will be the last entry on a game that I have not played all the way through.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 20!

DanamesX

Advent Gaming Calendar 2019 Day 18: Persona Q2 – New Cinema Labyrinth

Credit to Tealgamemaster’s YouTube Channel

I enjoyed playing Persona 5. It added a lot of features to shake up the Persona series and injected a lot of style to it. I may prefer Persona 4 over 5, but I cannot ignore how stylistic it is. That is why in my opinion Persona Q2 has more style than Persona 5. For reference, I have played through P5 once, watched my wife play it three times, and watched as she 100% Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. The only substance of Q2 that I know of is just this opening, and mmmmm this opening gets me pumped and energetic than P5.

So what is it about this opening that makes me like it more than P5? For starters, it conveys the setting and theme of the game. The returning cast of the previous Persona games (rip P1 and P2 characters) are brought together to solve the mystery of this cinema. A better understanding than P5’s dancing in the streets and PQ1’s “hey everyone is here” intro that is cool to watch and listen to, but lacks the impact factor. The last comparison I will make is that unlike the other openings, this one (in my opinion) peak my interest alone with its opening. With the mainline series, I rely on previous experience to know that it will be good. With PQ2, I knew that the first game was fun but didn’t hold my attention for long, but I wanted to play this one just based on the theme and how clean of an entrance it make. That, and one other factor.

This song kicks ass! Shoji Meguro will always be one of my composers and none of his tracks (mostly) disappoint. If I ever did a list of my favorite tracks from video games, this would have to go somewhere on my list. It is hard to describe it other than it is something Meguro would make. You normally get a rapping verse during a battle or important scene, but here you are treated to one without having to start the game. It gives players a taste of what is to come and if more tracks are as good as this one. A good tactic that might be true, if I listened to any other tracks. As much as I talk about how this intro wants me to play this game I wish I could take it off the shelf to play it. Not that it is a bad game (I think) I just need to listen to the opening more and more for me to eventually get to it. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 19!

DanamesX

Advent Gaming Calendar 2019 Day 17: Wild Arms

Credit to ShinigamiKyo’s YouTube Channel

I do need to get around to playing Wild Arms one day. I have always had an interest in playing them, but I have never found the time to get around to doing that. It is an interesting mix of fantasy set in the wild west that is wholly unique to this day. The first Wild Arms was a success and things looked great, until it didn’t like back in 2007 when the last game came out. I am not sure what happened to the franchise afterwards, but people I know tend to praise the series for better or worse.

The thing that captivates me with this opening is all of its style. This opening reminds me of an old anime like Trigun or Cowboy Bebop. The setting is a fantasized wild west world where things look bleak and dusty. There are grave markers everywhere signifying that this is a harsh world where many people die for what they are searching for. As a contrast however, none of the characters shown have the look of despair, but more so of determination and resolve. There is never a shot of a robust town or lush forest to downplay the world of this game. Characters are mostly alone until the last shot with the three main characters. There are scenes of magic to show that there are mystical elements in play. These things help solidify the world to which you are about to embark on and it is a telling one. Again I have not played the game before, but I do really like this opening. Another great detail is the song choice for the opening. The guitar and whistle have strong connotations to the west and it brings the charm of the setting to life.

When I do eventually get around to playing this game I hope my thoughts about this opening change a bit. There could be hidden meanings behind the grave markers or the dog tag left on the specific one. I’ll give myself another year or three before I can fully appreciate this theme.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 18!

DanamesX

Advent Gaming Calendar 2019 Day 16: Kingdom Hearts

Credit to gocalibergaming’s YouTube Channel

Oh Kingdom Hearts you magnificent confusing thing you. I never got into the Kingdom Hearts franchise until I started dating my wife. Her passion for these games finally peaked my interest and I gave the games a shot.This opening represent mine and possibly others first thoughts when playing this game.

What is going on? Why are his shoes so big? Why does the ocean hate everyone? Who are these people? Oh my those PS2 in game models! Why is this song so catchy? What the hell is going on? Why do I have a feeling one of these characters is going to be completely useless? Why does the water not ruin his spiky hair? Is drowning a thing in this world? Where’s Mickey Mouse? The game promoted Disney characters so where is Mickey? That guy with white hair is evil right? I played enough JRPGs to know white hair characters are evil. Does this kid know how to dress? Why is his belt so high? This looks nothing like Disney World! Why is Snow White at the bottom of the ocean. What even is this game anymore?

….I’m sure it will be cleared up by the end of the game!

Jokes aside, I really do like this opening for being extremely cryptic and memorable. Not only are there things hidden in the scenes, but it is accompany by “Hikari” (or “Simple and Clean”) by Utada Hikaru. This would become the main theme of the series and it fits very well with the narrative. You could play this song almost anywhere and at least one reluctant fan will jump up and start singing along. We will revisit the idea of iconic themes later on.

Just like the events of Kingdom Hearts, nothing is ever straightforward and once you get somewhere, Normura stubs his toe and gets a new idea that he shoves in the game somewhere; confusing things much further. Everything in the opening looks cryptic and tends to serve no purpose. The only explanation that I have is that Sora is trapped in the currents of an endless ocean. He is pulled by the currents to go where it tells him to go and never of his own free will. And once he is able to get out of the water, some crazy force tells him that he is not allowed on solid ground and literally drops him back into the ocean. I will say that the final shot with the stained glass of Snow White was visually impressive and it got me wondering why Snow White was featured. The only thing that I could think of is like how Snow White was the first animated Disney film, the represented the beginning of Sora’s journey to what would hopefully be a multimillion dollar franchise.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 17!

DanamesX