There are some moments that can only be described as epic. You know the type; those instances in a game that just make you go wide-eyed. Maybe the hair on the back of your neck stands on end, and perhaps, for the bladder impaired, you even wet yourself due to the sheer coolness of what just happened on the screen. In a form of entertainment littered with spectacle, though, it can be hard to decide what is the finest, greatest, most "Spartans, prepare for glory!" sort of moment. We here at TGR believe firmly that no gamer in need should be left behind and as such I’m here to present a list of the most over-the-top-epic moments I could think of, and no, Aeris — or is it Aerith? — getting skewered is not on the list.
5. Final Fantasy VIII (Opening FMV)
Even though it is one of my favorite all time games, I can still admit that Final Fantasy VIII is not a creature without its flaws. The first few hours are almost laborious to get through, and there are plot twists that would make M. Night Shyamalan raise his eyebrows. That being said, FFVIII has one undeniably cool opening sequence. Everything in it, from the music to the motion capture and of course the breathtaking CGI, was top of the line and it still shows today. I can’t think of a single opening cut scene to beat this one. I am so confident in the coolness of this, that I challenge you watch and not find yourself exhilarated. It’s a shame some other elements of the game didn’t work so well — I still don’t get the point of the whole orphanage thing — but Final Fantasy VIII has at least three minutes and thirty seven seconds of undeniable epic-ness to its name.
4. Shadow of the Colossus (‘Train Heist’ Colossus)
One of these days someone is going to make a list like this that consists solely of Shadow of the Colossus moments. From the first fight to the last, SotC is just one massive moment after another. How many games have you played in which the sole object of many battles is to scale a monster the size of a high rise building and kill it? That said, there is one Colossus that stands out amongst its brethren. Colossus number thirteen requires you to ride your loyal horse Agro alongside it at full speed and then leap onto one of its wings. The rest of the match is pretty basic in terms of the game itself, but overall its just a very unique concept that seems tailor-made for anyone who watched one too many westerns in their day. Now if only someone would do something about the game’s god awful controls…
3. God of War 2 (Fighting Atropos)
God of War is a franchise that pretty much looks at Greek mythology and thinks to itself, "What is the most over-the-top way we can kill off all of these characters." Case in point is the fight with Atropos. You’ve just finished the first round against the Sisters of Fate. One of the sisters, Atropos, brings you to the past where you find yourself standing atop the giant sword that Kratos used to off Ares in the first game. There are arguably more straightforward, more bombastic moments in the franchise, but few are as creative as this. You have to stop the Fates from destroying the sword while burdened by the knowledge that even if you can’t stop her, it’s over anyway. It’s a brilliant, unexpected set piece that often gets overlooked in favor of more straightforward moments of brutality.
2. Metal Gear Solid 4 (The Microwaves)
The odds just keep getting stacked higher and higher against Snake throughout Guns of the Patriots. At the beginning, you discover he’s old and dying. Then you find out that Liquid has essentially gained control of an army to rival that of the United States. Then there are the bipedal organic tanks, the Beauty and the Beast corps, Vamp…. The list just keeps going on and on until really, there isn’t anything left to throw at him except the kitchen sink, or in this case, the microwave. The game’s climax is easily when Snake has to walk through a hall filled with microwave emitters so he can upload a computer virus to stop Liquid. It amounts pretty much to a drawn-out quick time event with with lots of rapid tapping of the triangle button, but that does nothing to degrade its dramatic quality. The screen splits early on, so on one hand you can watch Snake while he crawls on his hands and knees through an oven that is literally cooking him, and on the other you’re given the spectacle of your allies desperately trying to hold off Liquid’s vastly superior forces. When Snake stands up on the end, it’s a triumph would make Leonidas himself say, "Awhooh!"
1. The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (Fighting Ganon)
Having just beaten Ganondorf, and with Link and Zelda escaping from his rapidly crumbling castle, it looks as if all is well in Hyrule. Then you hear a sound. Link pushes Zelda behind him and draws the Master Sword. Out of the rubble bursts Ganondorf and he doesn’t look too happy. Brandishing the Triforce of Power he transforms himself into a giant monster, traps you in a ring of fire and knocks the Master Sword out of your hands and out of reach. Things look pretty bad for our pointy-eared friend. While the battle itself is actually pretty easy, the tone and mood it sets are purely epic…especially when it’s 1998, you’re ten years old, staying up past bed time, and have never before dreamed that such a moment was even possible in a video game. When you finally bring Ganon down for good, well, there isn’t a word to describe the feeling. It’s sheer gaming catharsis.