Not all games can impress us the first time around, and for good reason! Even the most basic titles have the tutorial and introduction you need to get ready for the main action. But only in isolated cases do games really surprise us. We’ll look at just such examples. Below are 11 titles that immediately grab attention.
There is no single template for a perfect prologue. In some cases, these are ordinary videos, and in others – levels, which can take more than one hour to complete! It all depends on the games themselves and the goals they pursue. The titles listed below do an excellent job.
Here are the best prologues in release order.
Clash of Swords (Ninja Gaiden) – Year of issue: 1988
This spectacular introduction showed what video games are capable of in terms of storytelling. The music and pixel slideshow caught the imagination of gamers, not to mention the rather mature (at the time) action adventure storyline. This game looks outdated now, but it was a hit in the mid 80’s.
The prologue tells us everything we need to know. Two ninjas run across the field, meet with gazes and pounce on each other. One warrior falls. It immediately becomes clear that a dynamic and merciless game awaits us. Now we want to play one of the hardest titles.
Ridley’s Appearance (Super Metroid) – Year of issue: 1994
Awesome intro melody and lyrics make a special impression. But the most interesting thing happens during the research of the laboratory on an abandoned space station. There has never been anything like it on the SNES: flashing lights, corpses (bloody ?!) and a tense atmosphere. As soon as the heroine Samus Aran finds the missing tank with the alien Metroid, our nemesis, Ridley, suddenly appears.
Neutralize the huge boss and escape. The scene is very spectacular: emergency lights are on, the screen is shaking, and the station explodes. The timer tells you how much time is left until complete destruction. Super Metroid has proven that immersive interactive prologues are no stranger to games.
Sabotage (Final Fantasy 7) – Released: 1997
Moving on to one of the most iconic prologues in video game history. I originally intended to include FF8’s thoughtful (and slightly bombastic) intro, but FF7 was impossible to ignore. In the cutscene, Cloud and Avalanche infiltrate a huge power plant. PS1 supported 3D character models and rendered backgrounds, which meant it was possible to use a cinematic camera.
The scene has been lovingly recreated in FF7: Remake down to the smallest detail and enhanced with new content. One of the greatest gaming prologues just got better 23 years later, on PS4.
Star Wars again ?! (Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight) – Year of issue: 1997
In 1997, fans were waiting for new films to be released. The last part at that time – “Return of the Jedi” – was released in 1983. And about “The Phantom Menace” (1999) it is better not to remember at all. The kids who watched Star Wars on their parent’s cassettes wanted something specific, and Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight did not disappoint them.
LucasArts’ classic FMV game is remembered for its impressive 3D graphics. Imagine the delight of a child at the sight of real actors armed with blasters, lightsabers and power. Interestingly, in Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, the aliens we are familiar with appear. There’s even a duel between Han Solo and a mercenary droid! The game is dark, which is very rare for this series, but the spirit of the original is conveyed. Of particular note is the cinematic FMV intro
Vagrant Story – Year of issue: 2000
Few of us have been able to play it. This is a special niche, unlike Metal Gear Solid, which everyone knows about. Did you know that another PS1 game has a better MGS-style scene? Be sure to check it out. It is quite long, but it still makes an impression.
It’s all about composition, camera angles, (already outdated) 3D environments and characters. Music, dialogue, pauses, sound effects and style combine perfectly – something that is rarely seen in games, even modern ones! The action takes place in a fantasy world. The main character is a special agent “Riskbreaker”. He infiltrates an estate taken over by a secret society. The protagonist shoots the main villain, but he comes to life and calls for help from a huge boss, and you understand that the fun is just beginning.
Where has everyone gone? Bingo? (Resident Evil 4) – Year of issue: 2005
Perhaps this prologue is even better than the iconic zombie scene from RE1 – thanks to the chainsaw. At the very beginning of RE4, Leon Kennedy finds himself in a terrible situation: a distraught villager tries to kill the protagonist with an ax. You are surrounded and you enter the building. This is where the fun begins.
A huge crowd, as if in a trance, approaches Leon. They chant and shout. You are hiding in the house and you hear the noise of a chainsaw outside. RE4’s opening scene is terrifying. She is very different from everything else in the series. Know that this part of Resident Evil is unique.
Infection (The Last of Us) – Year of issue: 2013
Another zombie game. In the prologue, we learn about the main motives of the game: no one is safe; the world is a dangerous place. As Joel’s daughter, you wake up in the middle of the night. Something is clearly wrong.
You talk to your father, walk around the house, and finally, in a panic, run to your car. All of these scenes are playable. As you listen to messages on TV and radio, you gradually begin to realize the seriousness of the situation, and you are seized with horror. Joel and his family are trying to evacuate, but things go awry: the military barrage turned out to be not such a safe place.
The prologue of The Last of Us is a frightening and atmospheric scene. You will not soon forget this scene.
He woke up (Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain) – Released: 2015
One of the craziest prologues in video game history. By far the most unusual moment in all of The Phantom Pain. As the legendary soldier Big Boss, you awaken from your coma. Immediately after this, the enemy squad attacks the hospital and begins to shoot everyone who is there. Wearing the same hospital shirt, you try to survive by pretending to be dead and hiding behind the backs of other patients.
Your problems don’t end there: Big Boss is also hunted by the unforgiving Fire Man and the creepy telepathic child. The first burns everything in its path, and the second summons fiery objects. Yes, you can see a fire whale in MGS5.
Demon Attack (DOOM) – Released: 2016
The brisk introduction is memorable for its simplicity. Here Doom Slayer wakes up and sees a single inscription on the screen: “DEMON ATTACK.” The protagonist doesn’t need to know anything else. Grab a cannon and pour fire on the evil spirits.
But those few seconds aren’t the only reason this scene is so great. During the evacuation from the Martian base, you are contacted by the smug commander. But instead of obeying him, Doomgai shatters the screen, loads the shotgun, and prepares for battle. Watch the scene and you will understand everything. This is real art.
Find Out Yourself (Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) – Released: 2017
Unusual prologue: there are no lengthy cutscenes or even training. Music and visuals don’t mix well. You are simply thrown into a huge closed sandbox without any special abilities.
Once you’ve mastered the mechanics of Breath of the Wild, you finally emerge from the plateau. An unexpected solution for a series known for its linearity. A breath of fresh air: one of the best intros in the entire industry.
Welcome Home (Prey) – Released: 2017
From the first seconds this game deceives your expectations. Arriving by helicopter, you check into an apartment and spend several days in bliss until you notice something strange: the sky starts to blink. Soon the simulation turns off: as it turned out, you were taking part in an unusual experiment. The game proudly announces its ideas in this prologue. Play Prey to the end to make it clear.
The scene is fully interactive. She is remembered for her unpredictability and insanity. Fortunately, the base game is also unique: few titles are like it. Once you get to the finale, you will realize that the intro is a miniature Prey. The developers conducted an experiment on us, putting us in a strange position.
So you’ve checked out my pick of the best prologues in video game history. Of course, I could list 100 titles that deserve their place. What other games could you mention? Write in the comments!