It seems like everywhere you look there is another story talking about that meteor that fell over Russia. Now that everyone’s sights are set on these, it seems like meteors are dropping everywhere. From San Francisco to Florida, the figment of movie imagination and Bruce Willis is becoming a close reality. Now everyone is wondering what the we should do to prepare ourselves for meteorocalypse. Not us though! Meteors have found quite a few ways to make themselves known in videogames, and we’re going to look back on them. So get your telescopes ready and duck for cover as we look at the Top 10 Videogame Meteors!
Before we start, some ground rules.1. Asteroids, Meteors, and Meteorites are the same thing. The name is determined by its proximity to earth.
2. I’ll be lifting the 1 game per franchise rule for this top 10.
3. The meteor chosen has to be present or be the catalyst to something bigger in the game’s world.
4. In terms of meteors and meteorites, if it landed like a meteor, I’ll count it. Uh… you’ll see what I mean.
Let’s begin this list with the oldest representation of the mysterious space rock. In Asteroids you piloted a spaceship (represented by a triangle) and shot at large rocks that stood in your way. They start out large and move slowly at first. But as you shot them, they became smaller and moved faster, thus much more harder to shoot. As you progressed, more and more rocks entered the play field, eventually sealing your fate. Such was the way of the videogame back then, neverending and ever difficult. To this day people still compete for the top score in Asteroids. Surely they will be ready to take down any that may threaten Earth.
The beginning of Earthbound is strangely similar to the events that happened in Russia. Everyone is waking up and heading to work or are still asleep. Then all of a sudden BOOM, everyone is awakened by the sound of a bomb-like explosion. Big difference of course is that in Earthbound, it was still the middle of the night. The police barricade the path, blocking Ness from going any further. Later that night, Pokey knocks at the door to tell Ness that Picky is still at the impact site. So Pokey, Ness, and his dog head up to investigate now that everyone is back at their homes sleeping. They find Picky napping near the meteor and wake him up. Before leaving, a bug named Buzz Buzz emerges from the meteor. Claiming to be from the future, Buzz Buzz warns Ness that in ten years, a great evil known as Giygas will doom the world, making it fall into eternal darkness. Upon heading back home, Ness and crew are attack by Starman Jr. This serves as a warning to Ness that this ten-year gap isn’t something to just think about now and take action later. The time to act is now!
Being that StarFox on the SNES was a sci-fi game, it was only a matter of time until you came face to face with a meteor. Hell, in two difficulty levels, an asteroid belt is the second stage. But we’re here to talk about one, a meteor so huge, it’s a stage. It’s called… Meteor. Yeah, not a very creative name (and not a very accurate name), but it serves its purpose. The stage is played like a planet stage, with a floor at the bottom and structural obstacles in your path. The stage is one of the last ones in the easiest difficulty levels, and it’s not too challenging. The Dancing Insector boss might be a bitch to fight, but some flying skill should keep you alive. Probably crazier with this stage is the fact that Andross converted a frickin’ meteor into a base! These guys are crazy!
So far we’ve seen meteors as a somwhat natural occurrence. What about meteors as a weapon? Well, this is where Advance Wars comes into play. The game’s big bad, Sturm, has a meteor as his CO Power. In the last mission against him, you’ll be commanding three separate armies and it can be very easy to bunch up units from all three sides at once. This is not a good thing in this fight as Sturm’s CO Power, Meteor Strike, targets the biggest cluster of units and knocks their HP down to two. And since the impact radius is large, it’s enough to nearly decimate an entire army if his own units are close. And since this is the first thing he does if his CO meter is full, he will curbstomp the shit out of you if you’re not careful.
So far we’ve seen meteors as both a natural occurrence and as a weapon. Now how about as a counter-measure? That’s the premise of Meteos. In the intro FMV, meteors (called meteos) are descending on many different planets and are making them violently explode if too many hit the ground. On planet Geolyte, the inhabitants witness the biggest coincidence in their lifetime. If 3 (or more) meteos of the same color line up, they will shoot back up into orbit and away from the planet, taking any meteors that fall on them with it. After seeing this, other planets begin doing the same thing to save their own planets. Thus the Metamo Ark is launched to stop the evil planet Meteo from launching anymore of these destructive rocks into these planets. In the actual game, they look more like regular puzzle game blocks. However they launch and explode like meteors.
Now back to meteors as a weapon. One look at the logo of Final Fantasy VII, and you know that a meteor is involved in the game’s storyline. The Final Fantasy series has had its fair share of meteor mayhem, what with Tellah in FFIV trying to cast Meteor, and a meteor in causing the wind to stop in FFV. But in FFVII, like Advance Wars, a meteor is a massive weapon of destruction, moreso than any other Final Fantasy game. Sephiroth summons Meteor using Black Materia in hopes of making it crash into the planet, thus forcing the planet’s lifestream to heal itself. Sephiroth plans to go to the concentration of lifestream and become a god. The meteor takes two days to make impact with the planet. In that time, Midgar is spiraling out of control with people panicking and the powers that be trying to figure out a way to stop it.
In Days of Ruin, a meteor shower put the world into ruin, killing almost the entire population and destroying any semblance of civility. Crops are dying at an exponential rate, and dust clouds block out the sun. It’s kill or be killed in this new world, and raiders are taking what they can get. Old war wounds are reopened and an all-out war ensues. A dictator sees the opportunity to create a new nation. And a maniacal scientist takes advantage of this opportunity to put his inhumane experiments to work. The scientist instigates the conflict among many parties, giving them weapons and armies that they can use as they see fit while he sits back and records battle data. To make matters worse, a virus known as the Creeper is spreading across the land, killing young people with plants and flowers growing inside them from the inside-out. When you think about it, that’s a pretty disturbing disease to have. Even one of the characters, Lin, stops another from describing its details. It may have been a small event, but this meteor shower changed the world.
Like Days of Ruin, the actual meteors themselves in Ace Combat 04 are just a small event that are talked about in the beginning of the game. It’s what these meteors do that sets the story in motion. In the first cutscene, the narrator briefly touches upon meteors falling from the sky and the Erusian army creating a meteor defense system, Stonehenge. While he himself doesn’t talk about it much, you yourself will know its destructive power. Stonehenge is a circular system of cannons that was made to shoot meteors out of the sky and prevent any further damage to the continent. However, the army also saw this as a useful tool of war. When fired, the resulting shockwave is enough to blow an aircraft off course and out of the air (or just blow it up). When an alert comes up, you’d best start flying low. But that’s not all. While you’ll get your chance to take out Stonehenge, something much bigger lies in wait, also meant to take out meteors… but in orbit. On top of that, a meteor shower is occurring during that part.
If you’ve studied Prehistory, you’ll know that man and dinosaur never coexisted. You also know of a theory that a meteor was what wiped out the dinosaurs. Chrono Trigger however only latches onto the meteor theory. When traveling during the prehistoric age, you’re told by the locales of a red star that glimmers in the sky. It’s menacing, but nice to look at. However, as many years go by, that star becomes bigger and the denizens (namely the Reptites) realize that it is not a star, but rather a meteor. Ayla calls this meteor “big fire,” or in their language, “Lavos.” The impact that follows wipes out the reptites and any record of them, and throws Earth into an impending Ice Age. It is later discovered that Lavos was no ordinary space rock, but an alien that was lying in wait to destroy the world. That time came in 1999 when it would emerge from the earth and rain down destruction upon the world.
I’m kinda cheating by placing the whole trilogy here, but when your game needs three entries to show the extent of the damage, it’s one hell of a problem. In the first Metroid Prime, a meteor made of a mysterious presence called Phazon made impact with Tallon IV, a planet once inhabited by the Chozo. The phazon that this meteor consisted of started to eat away at the planet and forced the Chozo to evacuate the planet. Any that stayed eventually died and their spirits corrupted by the phazon. Any Chozo still alive were killed by these corrupt spirits. But that’s not all. The Space Pirates seek to weaponize Phazon for their own gain and began experiments on themselves to create stronger pirates. They manged to make an extremely large pirate infused with phazon and use it against their biggest threat, Samus Aran. But… again that’s not all. At the impact crater, a metroid, called Metroid Prime, fed on phazon, becoming larger and woefully corrupted and gained an outer shell. Upon its demise, desperate to stay alive, Prime began to rapidly feed on any surrounding phazon, even snatching away Samus’ Phazon suit to feed itself as she ran way. What Samus didn’t know was that it find a use for that suit.
So a phazon meteor sapped away at that planets energy. We’ve seen that before. But what about a phazon meteor that splits a planet into two dimensions? That’s the premise of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. It’s here where we see The Luminoth of Light Aether and the Ing of Dark Aether at war. When Samus arrives, the Luminoth have already put themselves in stasis after being curbstomped by the Ing, hoping for a savior to end their plight. Then comes the revelation that Metroid Prime lives as Dark Samus and followed Samus to Aether. The problems don’t end there as in the third game, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Samus’ fusion with phazon near the end of the first game comes back to bite her in the ass. It’s now slowly corrupting her and she needs a new suit to keep it at bay.
So now that we know more about meteors, we should be prepared to act. Mobilize some spaceships to make them smaller. Make sure no dumb kids sleep next to the impact site. Make those earlier spaceships take out any sentient lifeforms on the meteors. Make sure no one has any telekinetic powers over meteors. If any get too close, line three up to shoot them back into orbit. Again make sure no crazy whackos have any control over meteors. If those meteors do fall, it’s every man for themselves. Make sure your government it not a bunch of douchebags and turn an-anti meteor system in a weapon of war. Get some kids to time travel and stop that thing while its still dormant (if the meteor is in fact alive). And finally, if all else fails, we bailout and leave cryptic messages for an intergalactic bounty hunter.
Missing: the evil Meteor NPC in Maniac Mansion
Ahhh, I forgot about that!