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Memories of SEGA: Intros

In this edition of Memories of SEGA, Awinnerwasyou looks back at his favourite intro sequences.

 If it’s one thing I really miss in this generation of gaming, it’s the intros. Back then, many intro sequences had a real wow factor to them, particularly if Namco were involved. Anyone who ever saw the intro to Playstation fighter Soul Blade (the precursor to the Soul Calibur series!) will know what I’m talking about. However, this isn’t Memories of Playstation, this is Memories of SEGA, and it’s fair to say SEGA games had many memorable intros of their own. In this special edition, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite SEGA intro sequences with you all. These probably aren’t my top five, or are they in any particular order, but they do mean arguably the most to me. So, let’s check them out!

 

ESWAT- City Under Siege

SEGA’s futuristic law enforcement title saw three different incarnations in all, each somewhat different from each other. As well as the original arcade game, there was a Master System version that took its cue from the arcade version, but had different levels and level design. Then there was the Mega Drive version, which took the basic premise of the arcade version, then super charged it. It also had a very classy intro. Although I first saw the game in action at a friend’s house, I never got to watch the intro.  That wouldn’t happen until I went to a restaurant to celebrate a relative’s birthday. There was a special arcade cabinet that featured several Mega Drive games on it, which could be selected at the press of a button. Among those games was ESWAT, and it was here I got to see the intro for the first time. And I thought it was pretty damn awesome. It takes on the form of a systems check for the ICE Combat suit worn by ESWAT members, and quite cleverly at the time, was also a credits sequence- yup, you can see some brief credits here as well! I loved this one back in the day, as it perfectly captured the futuristic setting and looked so cool to boot. I think most of us wanted a cool robot suit as a kid, and this intro certainly made me wish I did!

 

Thunder Force IV

How do you know you’ve made a great intro to your game? When it makes even people who aren’t big fans of its genre wants to play it! That’s exactly what happened to me with the intro to Thunder Force IV. Though I love Shoot-em-ups these days, back then I wasn’t too keen on them. I always found them a bit too challenging for my liking. With that in mind, Thunder Force IV was not a game I was particularly interested in when I first saw it. Sure, it looked pretty, but I didn’t think I’d really enjoy it at all. That changed when I watched the Mean Machines Sega 101 Turbo Tips video which I wrote about way back in episode five of Memories of SEGA. The game was featured on the video, and it just so happened to show the intro. Quite frankly, my jaw dropped. This was the first time I had properly seen the game in action, and for someone who didn’t like shooters at the time, I was really impressed. I believe the intro had much to do with that- it looked great, it sounded fantastic, thanks to the awesome riffs of Lightning Strikes Again, and was a perfect complement to the intense action that was about to follow. It made me really want to play it, so that in itself is what makes this intro so special to me.

 

Virtua Fighter Kids

Take Virtua Fighter 2 and make the characters super deformed (i.e. big heads and small bodies), and you have Virtua Fighter Kids. Originally released in arcades, this cutesy take on AM2’s classic fighter ran on SEGAs S-TV hardware- basically a Saturn in an arcade cabinet. This meant porting the game to the Saturn was not only quick and easy, but would also be quite faithful to its arcade counterpart. That’s exactly what we got here, and like any decent arcade port in the 90s, there was a CG intro thrown in for good measure. I first got the chance to watch it when my local Electronics Boutique had the game on display, and I immediately fell in love with it. It sees the kiddified fighters hang out with their adult counterparts- and mostly beating the snot out of them. No, it wasn’t the most epic or awe inspiring intro, but it didn’t need to be. The quirky humour was all it really needed.  A very silly intro for a very silly game- just perfect.

 

Virtua Cop 2

The Saturn port of the original Virtua Cop proved a big hit when it was released in 1995, so it would only be a matter of time before its sequel got the same treatment. Released in 1996- a year after it originally debuted in arcades, the Saturn version of Virtua Cop 2 was another cracking conversion, and a great game to boot. Much like Virtua Fighter Kids, it also got a new intro exclusive to the console, and it was one I remember very well. This intro was one I first saw at one of the gamepods at Virgin Megastore, where the game was playable, and it was one I immediately found to be very cool. It serves as an introduction to the three main heroes, as well as each of the three end of level bosses. In particular, watching Rage, Smarty and Janet run down the catwalk near the end just seemed so badass at the time. While I do feel it’s a little dated these days, it’s nonetheless still a great intro to watch. Now, if only the series got a new outing…

 

 

Streets of Rage

The intro to the original Streets of Rage is, for me, a masterclass in atmosphere. It’s mostly a wall of text detailing the plot, as well as a scene introducing our main heroes, but it was so wonderfully presented I couldn’t help but love it. Though the city background was very cool and moody looking, what really set the tone here was the sublime music. Clearly taking its cues from Enigma’s classic track Sadeness Part 1, this masterpiece of gaming music truly did a magnificent job of giving the intro that sense of mood that really set it apart from other beat-em-ups. Of course, it also gave a good idea on how good the soundtrack to the rest of the game was! One thing particularly worthy of note was that there was a slight difference between the PAL and NTSC versions of the intro. The European PAL version was 17% slower than the NTSC version of other territories, and in many games, that also made the music slower, too. Not so with Streets of Rage, as it was one of the lucky games where the music was the same speed as in other territories. However, with the game running slower, and the music playing at regular speed, the music actually stopped playing before the intro finished! This is the version you see below. I actually think it works better this way though, especially during the transaction to the title screen. What do you think?

 

This is just a small selection of the SEGA intros that I find most memorable. Other good examples include Red Zone (which even used FMV- near unheard of on a cartridge!), Arcus Odyssey, Chakan, Fighters Megamix and many more. There’s just something about a good intro that really gets you into the mood to want to play it. Sadly, although some games these days can still have great intros (like the Tales series), for most part they just don’t seem to have the same appeal as they used to, which is a shame. But there’s no doubt the classic intros of yesteryear will forever live on in my heart, and in many others too.

With that, I regret to announce that Memories of SEGA is going on hiatus for a while. I’ve not been in the best state as of late and felt it’s about time I took a break from a lot of things. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for, but I do hope to come back as soon as I am able. Until then, I’d like to thank all of you for sticking with Memories of SEGA until now, and I hope you all enjoy what’s to come in the future!

6th December, 2015 - 15:03 GMT Awinnerwasyou Article viewed 3195 times 1 Comments

Comments:

santefering 27th January, 2016 - 02:10

Epic article and I must say I first played streets of rage at night and the intro music and dark setting is simply done but so superb and is like watching an 80 VHS movie like death wish.lol


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