Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the crisp weather and the beautiful colors. I thought I would celebrate autumn’s coming by writing about my favorite games that reminded me of the season … but I couldn’t really think of any.
I asked my coworkers for help, and my editor, Jason Wilson, asked if I meant fall as in the season. Well, duh, I thought. It’s not like I’m trying to write about games that about the act of falling.
And then I realized that would be the much better story.
So, now that it’s September (I don’t care what science says, it’s pretty much autumn now to me), why not get into the fall spirit by playing through these games that feature some memorably drops, dives, and plunges?
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Wii — 2006
We usually associate Metroid more with exploration and isolation, but Metroid Prime 3’s most memorable sequence features a long fall.
Ridley shows up in just about every Metroid game as a boss. By 2006, it was hard to make encounters against the pterodactyl-like alien unique. Corruption’s Ridley fight, however, stands out by having you fight it while you both falling down a massive corridor.
It’s like the video game equivalent of the Gandalf/Balrog fight from The Two Towers, and it’s awesome.
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance
3DS — 2012
This one has “drop” in the title. Dread Drop Distance is similar to other Kingdom Hearts games with it action role-playing game battles through various levels inspired by Disney movies. But before you can enter a level, you have to go through a Dive sequence.
This is similar to the Gummi Ship sequences from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2, which are on-rails spaceship shooters. But instead of a ship, you’re falling as one of Dream Drop Distance’s two characters, Sora or Riku.
You don’t need a 3DS is you want to experience the falling action yourself, as an HD version of Dream Drop Distance was included in the recent Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue for PlayStation 4.
Mega Man 2
Nintendo Entertainment System — 1988
Mega Man 2 is a challenging 2D platformer with plenty of sections in which a slight mistake will send you falling to your death. But some of its most brutal levels will task you with falling through corridors of spikes. One wrong move to the left or right will instantly kill you.
But Quick Man’s stage, and its barrage of instant-death lasers shooting across the screens from both sides while you try to fall to safety, might be the most challenging part of the game. If you’re able to beat this section without the Time Stopper weapon from Flash Man, then you have some serious Mega Man skills.
The Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword
Wii — 2011
Link lives in a floating city in Skyward Sword. If he wants to get to the world below, he has to fall there.
Jumping off a flying island isn’t as dangerous as it sounds, since you have a giant bird friend who will catch you. The falling in Skyward Sword is one of its highlights. It’s thrilling to jump off some ledge, soar down toward the clouds, and then land on your feathered friend.
Falling has become something of a Zelda tradition now. In Skyward Sword, you have a sailscloth to help slow your descent. The item returns in Breath of the Wild, now called a paraglider, once again making sure that Link can jump off just about anything without risking death.
Xbox 360 — 2007
Super hero sandbox games often give you the ability to run, jump, fly, or climb up massive buildings. And what do you do once you’re up there? Jump off, of course.
Crackdown wasn’t the first open-world game to let you dive off of skyscrapers, but it’s still one of the most memorable. The Agency Tower loomed across the entire map as its tallest structure, and this was still during the early days of Achievements. Almost everyone wanted to unlock “Base Jumper,” which you earned by jumping off the tower and landing a body of water below.
It’s a long climb to the top of the building, but the vertigo-inducing plunge down is always worth it. Maybe Crackdown 3 can give us a similar thrill when it finally comes out next year.