Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Title Screens That Say A Thousand Words: Gaming's Best - Part Three

Title screens are like the covers of books. They can give you an idea of what to expect about a game before you play it. The best ones really get you excited to dive into your new game, or even a game you've played and beaten dozens of times. That's what this series of articles highlights-- the best of the best in title screens in gaming history. This time around, there are even links to YouTube videos showcasing the title screens in action. (Just click on the game names.) Part one and two of this series can be found here and here. With that, let's get to the eight newest games with title screens that are abundantly awesome.

Persona 5 (PS4, PS3)

Red silhouettes of the main characters wearing white masks, clothes and jackets waving in the breeze of subway trains speeding in and out from view? That makes for one stylish title screen, and if the Persona series of games is anything, it's that they're stylish. Few games can make characters standing on a subway platform seem so awesome, but Persona 5 does this wonderfully. Different segments of the title screen, like the new game or load game prompts, bring with it different angles and central focuses, making for a deliciously cool title screen to start us off.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii U, Wii, GCN)

Taking cues from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time's title screen, Twilight Princess in its original Wii and GameCube versions as well as the Wii U HD iteration updated the idea of Link riding on his trusty steed Epona through Hyrule Field. This creates some amazing visual imagery while a haunting vocal theme plays. This enchantment concludes with the camera taking focus off of Link for a brief moment before once again refocusing, now the green clad hero is in his wolf form, making a chilling and powerful howl. It's magical like many moments within The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess story proper.

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3, 360, PC)

Bad ass. That's all one can say about this title screen for Batman: Arkham Asylum, developer Rocksteady's first foray with the Dark Knight that made the studio abundantly famous for making a truly terrific superhero game. The title screen sees Batman standing tall with muscles rippling and cape flowing as he looks over a nighttime sky, complete with ominous clouds and a bright, massive moon glaring right back at him. This title screen like many for games are like the cover of a book, in that it lets you know that you're going to be in for one hell of a ride. And those who thought that had their opinions reaffirmed quite quickly.

Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

Let's continue from something dark and brooding to something bright and cheery-- the world of the Sprixie Kingdom in Super Mario 3D World! The game's title screen runs through a series of skits of sorts that see Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Blue Toad running around and getting into mischief in a similar environment set in different times of day. One has all four characters scampering about after transforming into their cat selves while another sees poor Luigi being chases by a swarm of miniature Goombas. It's a delightful set of skits that are enjoyable to view more than just once.

Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)

We're not through with you yet, Mario! With summer quickly approaching, what better way to celebrate than with a game that drips with the thematic feel of summer locales and vacation that Super Mario Sunshine possesses in great amounts! The title screen is small but sweet, like a kiwi or mango. It slowly reveals each word of the title before having Charles Martinet's long running Mario voice shouting with glee, "Super Mario Sunshine! Woo-hoo!" The cheerful voice, bright blue sky and white clouds in the background, and glistening sun all make this title screen memorable despite its short length.

Halo: Combat Evolved (XBX)

Many of the greatest title screens are simple, and in many ways, Halo: Combat Evolved is a game that has such a title screen. It involves the camera circling and roaming around the titular, colossal Halo structure while Martin O'Donnell's theme plays, featuring some jaw-dropping vocals. Also like many of the greatest title screens, Halo's gives players an idea of the type of game they're going to be playing, one that will send their pulses pounding with its action and being in awe by the awesome presentation.

Mega Man X4 (PS1, SAT)

We conclude part three of the best title screens in gaming with a double dose of Mega Man! First off is one of my favorite entries in the franchise, Mega Man X4, the first Mega Man X game to release on the PlayStation and the only one to release on the Sega Saturn. While many of the title screens and animations that began this article were rather lengthy, Mega Man X4's is simple, but awesome all the same. An energetic theme followed by an amazing guitar chord leads us to a blinding flash, zoomed out X entering the picture, and the reveal of the game's logo and title screen background. Also, who doesn't love a robotic voice going. "Mega Man. X-4"?

Mega Man Battle Network (GBA)

We move from the X series of Mega Man games to the Battle Network ones. The original Mega Man Battle Network released on the Game Boy Advance in 2001. It sported an action-RPG grid-based battle system using chips for main attacks as well as an engaging story. This pick for a great title screen might be a nostalgic one, but I think it really wowed players back in 2001 on the GBA hardware. With a sweet theme, a scrolling background, and cool logo, Mega Man Battle Network is a delight of a title screen to look at and listen to.

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