It Started With A Kiss Cutscene: Our Favourite Game Intros

By Alec Meer on December 27th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

like a pork sausage

Intros: such an important part of all the games which made us. First impressions count. First impressions can be indelible, even if what follows is eminently forgettable. Here, then, are just a few of the PC game introductions – be they CGI, FMV or in-game – which we just can’t seem to forget. What, delightful readers, are your favourites?

Be warned: all the videos follow. Your browser may have a little cry.

Fallout:

X-COM:

Ultima VII: Black Gate

Day of the Tentacle:

Sam & Max Hit The Road:

Full Throttle:

Bioshock:

System Shock 2:

Quake III: Arena:

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Another World:

Chaos Engine:

Syndicate Wars:

Limbo of the Lost:

Homeworld:

Moonstone:

Stunt Island:

Command & Conquer: Red Alert:

The Stanley Parable:

Portal 2:

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War:

Prey:

Empire Earth:

Dungeon Keeper:

Half-Life:

And the worst…

Cool Spot!

I really fancy some 7-Up.

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219 Comments »

  1. USER47 says:

    No love for electronic old men?:)

    And you forgot Outcast! It’s post-intro credits scene, but still:).

    • Lambchops says:

      The voxels popping up, the pointless dip into the water to show off the (for the time) pretty water effects; ah the nostalgia.

      The music is still stirring and wonderful though and the game is still amazing.

      It may officially be the 57th best PC game of all time but it’s in the top 10 in me heart.

  2. b0rsuk says:

    Rune!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxVLt4oY7jA
    A game created by the founders of Raven (Heretic, Hexen, Shadowcaster, Shadowkeep).

  3. Nick says:

    In case anyone wants to know, the music in the Full Throttle intro is called Legacy and its by The Gone Jackals.

  4. Syra says:

    Final fantasy 8, fallout, dawn of war.

  5. newc0253 says:

    Icewind Dale. Not the best game ever, not even the best CRPG ever. But the combination of the voice acting, writing and music really captured the atmosphere of the game.

  6. Jp1138 says:

    Stunt Island!! Someone kickstart a new Stunt Island, please!! :..(

  7. Hodge says:

    I’m being naughty and posting an Amiga intro, but only because the PC version’s one is apparently rubbish.

    Cannon Fodder!

    • Gap Gen says:

      Oh yeah, I forgot that a) it had that kick-ass install, and b) you had to manually specify your sound card otherwise the sound wouldn’t work.

  8. dangermouse76 says:

    GTA Vice city is my favourite forever.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag6H1e1rXJ0

    Never get bored of it.

  9. jwns says:

    Dark Earth

  10. garret11062 says:

    Well… I’ve been reading this site from the very beginning and this topic made me register so I could comment. Of all the nerve… ;)

    Having said that, Hellgate: London. Never has a trailer made me want to play a game more, and never have I been more disappointed when the actual game never attempted to match the grittiness and intensity of the trailer:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4ID0i7_N0g&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DY4ID0i7_N0g

  11. HungryDave says:

    What, no Space Hulk??? One of the best! (well, that cheesy rock bit can go…)

  12. int says:

    I love the original Carmageddon intro.

  13. Pharos says:

    I loved Tom Baker’s narration in the Hostile Waters cutscenes. It doesn’t go for easy melodrama but is carefully restrained.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUOBXdLfu0g

  14. Shakes999 says:

    Aw man, I still laugh at the Sam and Max intro. Im gonna have to load it up again. I think I still have the original box with discs. It was one of the first games with spoken word stuffed on to floppys that I remember playing and it blew me away back then.

  15. Lone Gunman says:

    Age of Empires 2

  16. Kyrickell says:

    My addition to this list would be Interstate ’76′s intro. I’d watch that over and over and not even bother to play the game sometimes.

  17. antnioferreiramelo says:

    my classmate’s sister makes $67 hourly on the laptop. She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her check was $20187 just working on the laptop for a few hours.

    why not try this out…. http://23jobs.com

  18. Lambchops says:

    Little Big Adventure 2

    It’s the first glance you get of its stylised cutscene graphics, which still hold up nicely today thanks to the art direction. Plus Dinofly (poor Dinofly)! Plus that music just makes me smile.

    There’s better cutscenes later in the game but I still remember being amazed by this as a kid even though it was in a tiny boxed window because my computer at the time couldn’t handle playing it full screen.

  19. DiamondDog says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3pf7o-9OOk

    IT STARTED WITH A KISS!

    Sorry… erm, video games?

  20. JadedPrimate says:

    I am curious if anyone at all here remembers the old Trex Warrior. For those days, it had a great intro.

  21. Bugste81 says:

    Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight. Best Star Wars FMV. Really missed it in Mysteries of the Sith.

    • DrScuttles says:

      Jedi Knight arrived during the void in which the idea of more Star Wars films still felt like a good thing. It didn’t matter how cheesy the FMV was, it had lightsabers! Force powers and shit! Far more impressive than that whiny farmboy Luke ever managed.
      Great though Mysteries of the Sith was, the highly compressed game engine cinematics were indeed a disappointment compared to our hirsute hero and the Very Large Hams of his foes.

  22. Quiffle says:

    I always loved the intro for Abe’s Oddyssey.

  23. Spacewalk says:

    Born! Born of lifelong strife!

    • Shadowcat says:

      I always liked that one too; however the phrase “but there are whispers of discontent” always struck me as being either the ultimate understatement, or otherwise really poor writing. It’s one of those lines where you’d think that surely someone in the writing and recording process would have said “uh, hold on…”

  24. TWChristine says:

    I always liked the Curse of Monkey Island one! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL0086T-u6A

  25. kalirion says:

    I remember really liking the Crusader games’ intro videos, but years later watching them I can’t help but wonder about the … morality of the Silencer’s actions in both.

    No remorse about failing to warn his comrades of impending doom.

    No regret about killing some innocent techs.

  26. Carra says:

    The Witcher 2 has an amazing intro:
    http://youtu.be/YJ_KtvVvolY

    Also, no love for Blizzard? Wrath of the Lich King intro:

  27. Shazbut says:

    The intro to LOOM is basically the word LOOM appearing in the EGA night sky, and then swans flying through it.

    However what it is actually saying is:

    “I am beauty incarnate. I am every moment of wonder you ever felt and within me are the mysteries of the universe. I am new yet mythical. Familiar yet completely fresh. Dreams and ancient folklore run in my veins. You see how we are still looking at the night sky and haven’t cut to some macho twat setting something on fire after two seconds? That is because if you can’t look for this long you have no place here.”

    So I think it counts

  28. Drayk says:

    Ok I am a bit emo right here but I LOVE FF8 intro ! (and FF7 too)

  29. CmdrCrunchy says:

    C&C : Red Alert is rightfully in there, and I could write pages about how great the actor that played Stalin was in the mission FMVs, but I had to pick my jaw up off the floor as a teenager when the Red Alert 2 intro popped up. Say what you want about the acting, but the second half had me going ‘Oooooh sheeeet…’

  30. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    I’m a bit surprised nobody’s mentioned the Unreal or Unreal Tournament intros. Unreal was a simple flyby, but very impressive-looking for its day, with a fantastic score. The UT intro is similar, but with a voiceover- and does a great job of setting the tone of the game.

    Unreal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26I-Pw-yPJ4
    UT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLbcXEPHExA

    • LionsPhil says:

      I was going to mention UT, but forgot.

      Also the sheer amount of embeds in this article really does not make Firefox happy.

      • vivlo says:

        Hah ! As it happens, today my comp seems to behave more properly.

  31. yonsito says:

    Must have been Blood Money, back in the days:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh_RgvmO3bQ
    Nowadays, I think the revamped Witcher 2 Intro is very impressive.

  32. cpt_freakout says:

    I used to love some pretty regular -not amazing, just OK- intros as a kid. They just hyped me up so much, and now when I look at them I get a vague feeling of excitement. Apart from that, I remember the music perfectly!
    The ones I’m talking about are Warcraft 2, TIE Fighter, and Syndicate. Man are those Syndicate videos stuck somewhere in my head…

  33. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    A lot of good intros have been mentioned. But not one of the introductions I enjoyed most: that of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. I loved the interactivity and the fact that it can be slightly different in various playthroughs (If I recall it correctly).

  34. Tei says:

    Kharak is burning.

  35. thekelvingreen says:

    Predictably, my suggestions are from the Amiga.

    Frontier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbegNmKRZUM

    Liberation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS35qazA2PQ

  36. acoff001 says:

    “Your appointment to FEMA should be finalized within the week…”

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Everytime I spend a while away from Deus Ex, I convince myself that the intro was actually kind of rubbish. Ingame engine, mostly consists of people standing there talking at eachother or running around flailing their guns irrationally. In my mind’s eye, the bit where it zooms in on Page’s eye near the beginning is cringe-worthy.

      Then I go back and play it again. Hoo boy. Mind’s eye, you suck.

      “Or better than kings…
      Gods.”

      • yonsito says:

        The writing is excellent and it sets the mood nicely.
        I had no idea what was going on though until after I finished the game.

  37. frenchy2k1 says:

    Some classic Mod intro:
    Original Team Fortress (as a quake mod):

  38. somnolentsurfer says:

    Red Alert 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnd0qg4I_MM

    Magic Carpet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WzhJ9tPeEo

    The magazine I was reading at the time had a double page spread given over to a shot from the Magic Carpet opening. Every image from the game was like something out of an incredible dream. I stared at it ever night for months. Of course, on our family 486, only the introduction actually looked that good in reality.

  39. The Random One says:

    This is no classic, and I think it never even came to PC, but 007: Nightfire is the only 007 game that has a proper 007 intro.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJqpLmGd4uU

    It’s worth noting that if you didn’t have a memory card with a save from the game it would actually send you into the first mission, which was set up to work as the in media res short mission most Bond movies start with, and after you finished it’d drop you into the title song. That was the only game that pulled it off perfectly

    • Shadowcat says:

      Heart of Darkness is one of the games where you not only have an incredible intro cinematic, but the cinematics just keep on giving as you progress through the game. And on top of that, the game itself is absolutely superb! (Why the heck is it not available on GOG?!)

  40. Morcane says:

    Dat Homeworld intro. Class.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Without question. There are many good intros out there, but the first 5 minutes of Homeworld still ranks as the most awe-inspiring and heartbreaking.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        This.

        Very, very few experiences in gaming have ever stayed with me as intensely as that one. Even HW2, beautiful and brilliant as it was, never recaptured that.

  41. Text_Fish says:

    If this comment box allowed formatting I would write “QUAKE 2!!!!” so big you’d need ten 24″ monitors to read it (which is probably why formatting is turned off; yeah I see your game RPS).

    The first 10 seconds of the Q4 intro were very promising, but then it gets interrupted by that shouting space marine who’s in … everything.

  42. Chris Wray says:

    My favorite intro ever is Red Alert 2. It has the camp, the cheese and the best version of Hell March. Just outstanding!

  43. bonaccorsi says:

    Warhammer Dawn of War intro is my favorite of all times!

  44. danijami23 says:

    surprised there was no mention of Soul Reaver? I thought that had one of the best intros ever. Very atmospheric :)

  45. aryman says:

    The Witcher 2!

  46. Ethics Cult says:

    Has to include Hired Guns, for the atmosphere!

    Hired Guns

  47. Totally heterosexual says:

    No godhand

    You fucked up RPS