#4: More Star Wars?! (Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight) – Released: 1997
In 1997, we were starving for more Star Wars. The movies ended with Return of the Jedi in 1983. It wouldn’t be until 1999 that we’d get The Phantom Menace — and the less said about that movie, the better. Kids that got into Star Wars watching their parent’s VHS tapes needed something substantial, and Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight delivers.
This classic from LucasArts puts you firmly in the Star Wars universe with FMV actors and lavish 3D production for a video game. Watching real characters using blasters, lightsabers, and force powers was a delight, blowing my tiny mind when I was just a kid hungry for anything related to the force. Classic Star Wars aliens appear, there’s a cool Han Solo-esque showdown with an assassin droid! It’s dark in a way that Star Wars rarely was, and it captured the right tone. If any FMV gets to sneak on this list, it’s the Hollywood intro cutscene of Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight.
#5: Manor Infiltration (Vagrant Story) – Released: 2000
Vagrant Story is a game a lot of us didn’t play — it’s niche in a way that Metal Gear Solid on PS1 absolutely was not. Everyone knows Metal Gear Solid! But what if I told you there was an even better MGS cutscene in a different PS1 game? Just watch the full clip above. The scene is long and involved, but it still blows me away to this day.
It’s all about the composition, the shots, the (nowadays very crude) 3D environments and characters. The music, dialogue, cuts, sound effects, and style all match together in a slick way very few games can manage. Even to this day! It sets up your character, a ‘Riskbreaker’ special agent in a fantasy land, infiltrating a mansion that’s been raided by a mysterious organization. When your main character shoots and kills the main villain, only for him to stand up and summon a massive boss that kicks off the game, you know you’re in for a wild ride.
Watch more awesome intros on the next page.