Many Nintendo developers seem to prioritise gameplay above story telling. Indeed, earlier this year, Eiji Aonuma said that the story shouldn't stand out in a Zelda game, while it takes about 10 seconds to tell the story of a New Super Mario Bros game. However, this attitude hasn't held Nintendo back when it comes to producing some fantastic cutscenes which do a great job of telling stories. I've compiled a list of five cutscenes from relatively recent Nintendo games that really stood out to me. So get ready for explosions, implosions, disco dancing, nightmarish visions, and flashbacks. Warning! Contains spoilers!
1. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - History of the Twili
I was speechless. What had I just witnessed? What had just happened? Why had the magical and enchanting world of Hyrule that had given me so many happy childhood memories descended into the stuff of nightmares so suddenly and brutally, leaving me with an overwhelming desire to adopt the foetal position and question the point of my very existence?
If I'm honest, I could have filled the entire article with cutscenes from Twilight Princess because it's full of fantastic cinematic moments. However, I'm sure you'll all agree that this one stands out simply because it is so chilling.
One of the things that really resonates with me is how it opens with the familiar Sacred Realm theme. Fans of Ocarina of Time will have instantly recognised the music and associated it with the story of the three Goddesses, the creation of the Triforce and the Sacred Realm.
So, with this music playing in the opening and what would initially appear to be another reminder of that story in the accompanying text, it makes fans believe that they know how it's going to play out. So you go along with it and, sure enough, that familiar story about the Triforce and Sacred Realm is told again. However, the camera pans down on Ilia as the haunting music plays to reveal her holding a dagger.
Then everything changes. You've been lured into a false sense of security. What follows? Just a series of absolutely bizarre and freaky visual metaphors which represent an equally strange extension to the Sacred Realm tale; about murder, betrayal, corruption and the imprisonment of the people who would eventually become the Twili. The scene ends with clones of Ilia floating upside down. Is she crying or laughing? I... I don't even know. The final words of this scene are: "Never forget that..." which is rather scary. Did someone want to ensure the emotional trauma of this scene was everlasting through subliminal messaging?