While there's a million possibilities as to why a video game might stick in your memory for years to come, one of the simplest and most common reasons is because it had a killer opening level to set the tone for the rest of the experience. If a game can grab you by the throat within its very first level, act, or mission, it's bound to be one of the best games out there. This theory is bolstered by the list below, an eighteen game parade of the medium's heaviest hitters that all happen to have some of the most memorable intro levels in gaming.
Whether it be an unforgettable musical theme, insane narrative twist, or utterly impressive gameplay section, all titles on this list know exactly what it takes to hook players right from the get-go. The question is: Which among them is the most captivating? That's for you to decide. Vote up the most memorable opening levels on this list and establish which games truly stole the world's attention with nothing more than a killer intro.
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From a stormy lighthouse to a city in the skies, this opening level has it all. You go from boating with two weirdos in yellow raincoats to stopping a Black man from being publicly tortured in a flying city of white nationalists.
You see a future where the founding fathers of the United States are revered as saviors and gods. It's one of the most insane, dystopian intro levels to any game ever, and perfectly sets the tone for the mind-bending, belief-challenging journey to come.
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This opening level went on to define cinematic storytelling in video games. Starting off on the Polar Express from hell, you awaken on a train that's dangling over a snowy mountain edge. From there, it's your duty to escape before the whole thing tumbles into the abyss below, which involves a whole lot of death-defying platforming and deep breathing.
This intro is pulse-pounding, interactive storytelling at its finest, and is the reason why game development studio Naughty Dog has gone on to become a household name.
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It's action-porn of the finest quality, showcasing all of Olympus's greatest gods going up against the might of Kratos and Gaia, the mother spirit of the earth. It's incredible. Players climb Mount Olympus on a giant tree monster's shoulder and single-handedly murder Poseidon on the way up – all in service of reaching and killing Zeus.
It's one of the most incredible, bombastic opening levels in gaming history, and easily one of the most memorable.
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If there is one game that just about everyone on the planet earth can recognize, it's Pac-Man. And even though the first and last levels are near indistinguishable to the average person, it means nothing.
All that matters is that most human beings have seen the opening level to Pac-Man and can more or less remember it; meaning, that as a quantifiable, statistical fact, it is one of the most memorable levels of all time. Chomp on, Pac-Man.