Best Video Game Moments is a series about the memorable moments and mechanics we experience in video games.
Spoiler alert: This post may contain spoilers for the video games it references.
“What you once were” …For Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Just to be crystal clear about this: SPOILER ALERT!
I can’t think of better way to begin this blog series than mentioning KOTOR’s immaculate third act twist.
Learning that your own custom hero is the brainwashed Sith Lord Revan — whose death the supposedly virtuous Jedi faked in a desperate act of self-preservation — is a stellar twist that hits at exactly the right moment. It ties in beautifully with the moral choice system as well as the maturing plot threads involving your other Jedi companions.
The stirring reveal video of your true identity is only made more impactful by the game’s consistent lore-dumping for the Revan persona; a legendary figure that you initially seem so far away from embodying.
Mardi Gras parade …For Hitman: Blood Money
The Murder of Crows mission in Hitman: Blood Money has an incredible atmosphere thanks to the huge crowd of mobile NPCs present in its carnival set piece.
In 2006 this was a remarkable showcase of next-gen computing power that had my jaw dropping the first time I saw it.
Goah’s petrifying magic …For Golden Axe: Revenge of the Death Adder
Whilst the magic powers in the arcade brawler Golden Axe are just as satisfying, I decided to give its lesser-known sequel the nod for this wicked spell that summons a zombie titan to petrify enemies.
Use it on regular foot soldiers and get treated to an extreme close-up of their terrified faces turning to stone!
Secrets …for Tomb Raider
This may end up being the most subtle entry of this entire series.
Whilst Tomb Raider’s secret areas are not an entirely unique concept, it’s the iconic sound effect announcing their discovery that remains stuck in my memory.
“He’s on fire!” …For NBA Jam
NBA Jam is the 1993 basketball smash hit that further established Midway’s aptitude for arcade action.
Score three shots in a row and the digitised voice of Tim Kitzrow yells “He’s on fire!”, with your now powered-up player leaving behind a trail of flames.
These three simple words — interchangeable with “She’s on fire!” — proved culturally significant. Future sports games like NHL Hitz and Deathrow lifted the concept, as well as the verbiage, to carry on the infectious legacy of a good old fashioned scoring run.
I still find myself uttering this phrase when I see someone on a hot streak.