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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Episode 1

It dawned on me that all throughout doing RPG and Adventure Game of the Year I didn't really get to highlight one of the major things that makes me want to play games again regardless of how many times I've beaten them or haven't: certain plot threads. You know what I'm talking about...it's usually an hour or so's worth of content that either makes or breaks a game for you.

I could include various examples, but I figured why not just jump right into it and present you with five that I absolutely loved? As a general disclaimer, these are in no particular order and I may present multiple ones from the same game. For now, I will present five and I will attempt to find youtube clips for them. If I can't, well, I'll just try to explain them the best I can.

Final Fantasy 7 - Opening/Bombing Mission

I understand that a lot of younger gamers and probably gamers that really weren't into console RPGs at the time are quick to say that FF7 was overrated and to them I say GO GET YOUR SHIT FUCKED. Anyway, it's hard to believe now, especially with the graphics looking as dated as they are, but seeing Aeris moving there was pretty impressive back in the day.

However, that's obviously not the highlight. You get her walking and all we really knew at this point was it was another Final Fantasy game, probably rife with all kinds of medieval stuff and magic and whatever and-OH SHIT...cars and shit! What the what?! Oh my Jesus tittybang...there's this big ass futuristic city and...oh my damn...there's this big ass crescendo of music to hype my shit..and oh my God and fucking shitting motherfucking train...and...and...yeah, it was kinda one of those moments.

But even better? As I said in the forums, two of my favorite tracks from the game come back to back. First you get the bombing mission music, complete with the awesome pre-rendered backgrounds and a few cutscenes, then you get the kickass mako reactor theme, which is all futuristic and sci-fi-like. Not only that, you get the awesome new 3D graphics for the field characters, enemies, and battle characters...then you get the bombing theme again as you have this countdown timer and shit!

And then, BAM...motherfucking huge ass explosion. And you know what? You got all that in the demo, too. What a great way to hype up an excellent game. Seriously, I could play that scene over and over again and never get tired of it.

Breath of Fire 3 - Balio and Sunder's Constant Pursuit

I should probably mention there MAY be some spoilers here, so, yes, in advance, I apologize if you haven't played these games or if you haven't played that far into them (but you totally should). In any case, I will...TRY...to keep these spoiler free. Balio and Sunder, well...they're bastards. Yeah, they're bastards that are sent to hunt you down for...reasons...and they don't...fucking...STOP...EVER.

They are RELENTLESS. You feel like for the longest time, they just won't ever give up. I mean, sure, it's just a video game, but GODDAMMIT...they just won't...STOP...until finally...FINALLY...you tough it out with them in the ultimate battle. Mano a mano! And-OH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT...WHAT THE FUCK DID THEY JUST DO OH MY FUCKING GOD CAN I...CAN I REALLY FIGHT THAT??!

And then you do...and you win...YOU WIN! Oh my God! It's over...it's...it's over. Seriously, when you get through that long, tough ass part of the game, you feel so relieved. It's such an amazing experience, especially when you look back on it. Trust me, if you've played this game, you needn't a further explanation. And if you haven't played this game, well, it isn't a slow starter, the music is awesome, the pacing is good, and while it probably isn't the best of the series, it's still a badass RPG all around.

Final Fantasy 6 - Phantom Train

Have you played FF6? If so, go ahead and skip this. You already know what I mean. If not, well, here goes. Cyan is an awesome and, in my opinion, well developed character. This is one of his best moments. Now, it's been over 10 years since I've touched the game, but basically at one point early on you reach the Phantom Forest where it's "rumored" (i.e. "definite" in video game logic) the fabled Phantom Train resides.

The Phantom Train is a mythical beast of sorts that transports the dead to the other side. Of course...Cyan just lost his wife...and child. So naturally, when presented with the opportunity...well, you get the idea. Not only is it an awesome and straightforward dungeon, but there are a number of gripping moments, especially toward the end, which of course I won't spoil.

FF6 has a LOT of moments like this, but this is easily one of my favorites. The gameplay, characters, level design, plot, writing...just plain EVERYTHING comes together. It's an amazing scene, yet again, for an amazing game.

Final Fantasy 10 - Opening/Events Leading Up To Wakka

FFX isn't one of my favorite games. In fact, the other two FFs on this list beat the shit out of it any day of the week. Now again, that's not to say it's a bad game...it really isn't. Great? No, but pretty good, especially with the battle system, sphere grid, and...well, I'm getting off track, but you get the idea. But seriously, watch that scene. Now that's only part of what I'm talking about.

Ironically, where the game actually STARTS is where I think it fails the most...after you meet Wakka. Why? Because Wakka's a goddamn Jersey trash WANNABE. On a good day. Sure, Tidus is annoying and obnoxious, but hey, he's the main character and he's supposed to be an oblivious idiot so everything's explained to him in this new and magical world.

Now I'm not saying the game isn't fun, but I AM saying I didn't like any of the characters (maybe Auron), the plot was fairly flat, blitz ball is FUCKING stupid, and I felt like the music was better on other FFs. Anyway, the events leading up to Wakka are actually pretty awesome. You have an awesome intro, a great introduction to the main enemy, Auron, fear, anger, isolation, confusion, and a whole lot else...then fucking Wakka.

Now again, I'm not saying the game is terrible, but it could've been a lot better and it had a lot to live up to. Even still, this intro and the events leading up to Super Douchebag Boy are pretty damn awesome and well worth playing the game for, if even for just that.

Brutal Legend - Opening/Intro Mission

One of the coolest parts of Brutal Legend? You guessed it...everything included in the intro. Why Schaffer couldn't have just made a better streamlined combo system sorta like what God of War has, a better map/GPS system, and gotten rid of the bullshit RTS battles, I really have no idea. All the same, the awesome intro and the events leading up to actually being able to access the open world? Classic.

There's just so much awesome shit going on here. You're introduced to Eddie, his major issues with the world of today, the world of metal, Ophelia, The Deuce, The Tainted Coil, the axe, the awesome powers of your guitar, and in general a fuck ton of awesomeness as far as the world of metal...which I said already, sure, but often I found myself having fun just riding around seeing all the crazy awesome stuff and listening to rockin' tracks.

I would argue it's as if each and every mile of landscape is one big awesome scene that must be experienced, but this is especially true regarding the moments of the demo. I agree that the game could've been made better, but from an artsy and overall "feely" angle, Schaffer hit this spot on and I wouldn't have it any other way.


At this point, there's very little to conclude. Really, I enjoyed making this article and I plan on making more, but hey, it's up to you. If you think it's crap, I'll try to work it into something else, but as it stands, there are plenty of games that are GREAT...at least at certain points. Again, that's not to say these titles weren't great in their own ways, but these scenes especially helped define the games and they're overall awesomeness.
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About gunsageone of us since 2:58 PM on 04.11.2008

I've been gaming since 1987. I used to be a big Nintendo fanboy, then Square jumped the shark, so I followed. Eventually I realized neither Square nor Nintendo were the only companies out there worth following and my collection more or less speaks for itself now. I love to meet up with people on XBL, though I haven't done much online with the Wii. I've also been writing game review articles since 2004 on the old Project Wonderboy, then Morphine Nation, and now back to the new Project Wonderboy and various other sites.

I also help out in writing for a local videogame store website (VGMX). Not much else to say, really, when it comes to gaming. I wouldn't consider myself an expert, but I would say I'm experienced.

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