Recently, I discovered a cool little program for the PC called PSXVideo that lets you view (and convert to AVI format) CG movies and FMV in various Playstation 1 games. Now I don't have to play through games like, oh, Parasite Eve (which I played years ago) just to see the pretty CG. Speaking of pretty, it's funny to watch the videos of intros and endings of classic PS games and see how nicely (or badly) they've aged. These days, CG intros to games are about as complex, detailed and epic as full-blown movie trailers (check out the Tekken 5 and DOA Ultimate intro movies)... but there are still classic intros that still stand up to the test of time and make me want to dust off the old PS1 discs for a re-play.
The Soul Edge intro. Still as sharp as ever after all these years.
The best scene: Siegfried escaping a crushing fate.
Sophitia's nudity was censored in the US version.
Taki kicks demon butt while showing off hers.
The opening CG movie of the original Namco weapons fighter is, in my book, perhaps the greatest intro movie of the PS era. No other PS1 game can equal the rocking opening movie- a series of various scenes showing the game's cast of warriors, assassins and weirdos engaged in battle or in bathing (as in the case of Sophitia). Set to a rocking, fast-paced song, the video just gets your heart racing and your hands aching for the controller. Too bad the game's sequels (Soul Calibur 1 and 2) ditched CG intros for realtime demos... Oh well. This is a great vid to just watch every now and then.
Law being assaulted by fireflies, looks like.
The original Nina Williams in action.
Yeah, these days the Tekken series is known for great CG. The series' intros and endings from Tekken 3 onwards pretty much solidified Namco's claim to fame as masters of the videogame movie. However, they weren't always like that... The original Tekken intro really looks first-generation CG. But hey, to get to where they are now, artists and videogame creators had to pass by these stages, right? For me though, the original Tekken intro has a cool nostalgia factor which I love even to this day. Really.
No fancy CG here, except for some simple scenes... most of the intro to arguably the best chapter of this beloved RPG series is made up of various character art. But still, the direction of the scenes and the GREAT music just makes for a rousing opening for an epic quest. This is one of my favorite intros, and the game itself is one of my favorite RPGs of all time. Recognize.
We took fighting game intros for granted a lot during the days of the PS1, since there were so many of them. Still, not every game is a Tekken or a DOA, and some of the less-known brawlers had cool CG. One of the better ones was the intro for Ehrgeiz, a free-moving fighter from Squaresoft (Makers of Final Fantasy). Showing off the various fighters in cool situations made for an awesome introduction to a pretty cool game overall.
Final Fantasy 8
While I still believe that Final Fantasy VII is the best FF ever, and that the sequel FF8 is a piece of trying-hard, unadulterated pap trying to capitalize on the previous chapter's thunder, I have to admit that the CG movies in the 8th Final Fantasy game are pretty incredible. The battle between Seifer and Squall, the lovely Rinoa Heartilly, and the promise of an epic story of love, magic and adventure was excellently set by the intro movie... unfortunately the game turned out to be more teenybopper than epic, and the story incomprehensible. Aaaah, what the heck. The intro was awesome. Moving on.
There are tons more cool PS intro and CG movies worth mentioning... the cinematics of Final Fantasy VII, the great creepy videos of Silent Hill... ah, those were the days when it was like Christmas every week and coolness resided in every CD. They don't make 'em like they used to anymore.
Perhaps these days we're all a bit harder to please, or maybe we've seen it all. It takes a lot more to please us these days, but whatever happens, the gamer in me will always love and enjoy a good intro. Whether or not the game after it is worth the bucks we paid for them. Heh.