Atmosphere plays a huge role in almost any video game, and few thinks are as atmospheric as Mother Nature when she is pissed. Rolling thunder, pounding rain and fierce lightning combine with ferocious winds, bringing destruction, fear and even death. It's no surprise that thunderstorms have been incorporated into video games. It's something that is symbolic to us as humans, and that we naturally associate with darkness. Here are my picks for the top 10 thunder storms in video games.
#10 - Animal Crossing, Summer Thunderstorm
In Animal Crossing, you may at some point during the Summer months receive a thunderstorm. It doesn't have any adverse effects, and in fact it's pretty cool. Like normal rain, fish become plentiful and you can catch coelecanths. The only real difference is the thunder sound effect, the general darkness of everything and really cool lightning flashes (they're especially cool when you're inside a house). The reason it's #10 is the fact that it really doesn't do anything other than rain, make noise and flash. It's just there.
#9 - Super Smash Bros. Brawl, PK starstorm
Alright, so it isn't a "storm" in the conventional sense, but it IS a storm. PK Starstorm serves as the final smash of both Ness and Lucas from the Mother series. The attack is exactly what its name implies - a storm of falling stars. The attack can be easy to dodge on larger stages, but on a medium to small size sage, your going to need some swift fingers to get out of the way.
#8 - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Ganon chases Impa and Zelda
Imagine Link's terror when he returns to Hyrule's Market only to find Zelda fleeing with Impa from Ganondorf on horseback. He probably didn't even know what to do! As Zelda throws the Ocarina of Time into the water for Link, Ganondorf rides over the bridge on a menacing, black horse as thunder rolls. This is a prime example of a storm being used to represent evil, and this is surely one of the most memorable scenes from one of the most memorable games.
#7 - Final Fantasy X, Thunder Plains
Thunder Plains is home to several electricity themed monsters, a huge open field, and one nasty storm. Be careful crossing it, as you could get struck. It doesn't cause damage to any of your party members, but it knocks you back, impeding your progress. It doesn't sound very bad, but it's extremely annoying. One of several memorable scenes from this game for me is Rikku cowering in fear of the thunder. For some reason, I just can't forget Thunder Plains, even though Ive already forgotten the majority of the game.
#6 - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Song of Storms
You're probably hearing the tune in your head just from seeing the notes.Ocarina of Time finds itself a second spot on the list with the Song of Storms. The Song of Storms brings about a thunderstorm which can appease frogs, wreck windmills, reveal hidden lairs and look really cool. The coolest part? You, the player, induce this raging wonder.
#5 - Pokemon Sapphire, Kyogre's Storm
When Team Aqua awakens Kyogre from his slumber, he creates a huge storm that threatens to flood the entire world. As first pleased with this result, Team Aqua's leader, Richie, rejoices. He soon discoveries that the downpour is much harder and must faster than he had imagined, and that they were all in grave danger. It is then up to the player to quell Kyogre's wrath.
#4 - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Cyclos' Storm
Cyclos is one of two gods of wind, along with his brother Zephos. When Cyclos' monument was destroyed, and forgotten, he began traveling the see, using his power of cyclones to wreak havok. When Link nears, he envelops himself in a large cyclone and begins to draw his boat near. If Link can hit him with a well places and well timed arrow, he will cease the storm and teach Link the Ballad of Gales. If Link fails, he will be sucked into the cyclone, and thrown somewhere randomly in the Great Sea.
#3 - Left 4 Dead 2, Hard Rain
Once you reach the end of this campaign's map, a hurricane hits and you have to backtrack over all of it again in a torrential downpour that slows, blinds, and disorients you. the sound of the rain falling is even loud enough that characters begin to yell, and eveything sound a bit drowned out by it. This is easily one of the best examples of how to pull off the effects of a real storm in a video game...well, except the zombies thing. Don't worry, if you get lost in the disorienting downpour, I'm sure Ellis will tell you stories of his buddy Keith to help pass the time.
#2 - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, The Great Storm
The absence of the water deity Jabun allowed Ganon to cast a spell on the Great Sea. An endless downpour began to fall all over the land of Hyrule, and could only be stopped by Jabun himself. Naturally, Link sets out to find Jabun as well as the 3rd pearl. This is easily one of the most memorable moments of the game due to the atmospheric change caused by, not only the endless storm, but the dark, foreboding music that plays during this section.
#1 - Harvest Moon Series, Hurricanes/Typhoons
I chose Harvest Moon's inclement weather as the number 1 spot simply because it is the most realistic and accurate depiction of a violent storm. You can't go outside on a day when a typhoon or hurricane hits your farm. The next day, to your dismay, you will find your yard littered with debris and your fields ruined. Forget to put Bessie in her stall last night? Well, someone might have a dead cow on their roof, then. Perhaps you are disappointed that I didn't pick a more epic, fantastical storm for the number 1 spot. It still hold true, however, the the Harvest Moon franchise has one of the most realistic depiction of storms, and that, in my opinion, makes it epic.