The Top 7… RPG towns that explode

The town: An airborne, prehistoric kingdom of scholars and scientists kept aloft by hyper-advanced technology.

Exploded by: Lavos, a giant parasite that feeds off the energy of the planet and is just generally a dick, and Queen Zeal, whom Lavos is apparently controlling.


It’s hard to think of a more potent example of hubris than Zeal, the floating kingdom that considers itself to literally be above all creation. Active during 12,000 B.C. and populated by a bunch of snooty magic-users who actually founded a city devoted to the study of sleep, Zeal is a cool place to explore despite the ridiculous elitism of its residents.


They're so elitist, in fact, that anyone who can’t use magic is banished to a caveman-like existence on the planet’s surface.


Unfortunately for the Zealots, they’ve recently tapped into a new power source: Lavos. Misunderstanding the creature’s parasitic nature and world-ending intentions, Zeal has built a power plant called the Mammon Machine, which draws on Lavos’ otherworldly energy.


Since it was built, it also seems to have hardened the heart of Zeal’s queen, who gradually becomes possessed by Lavos as her civilization grows more reliant on the beast’s power. Greedy for more, she orders a second Mammon Machine built at the bottom of the ocean, so as to be much closer to the world-devouring beast. Naturally, this has the effect of awakening Lavos, which is probably exactly what it wanted.


With everyone else stunned by Lavos’ power, Crono stands against the monster and is apparently vaporized for his trouble.


Not content with just taking the life of the game’s hero, Lavos breaches the surface, sprays everything with lasers and brings Zeal crashing slowly, tragically down to earth.

Above: That last thing is a tidal wave, in case it isn’t clear 

Once again, we see the tragic results of being a bunch of greedy jerks and trying to harness forces beyond your understanding and whatnot. Here, watch a video of it:

The town: A gleaming metropolis that was built way out at sea and may or may not actually be real.

Exploded by: A massive, technology-destroying monster named Sin.


Easily the most futuristic city ever to appear in a Final Fantasy game, Zanarkand is all soaring towers, breathtaking water sculptures and giant holographic screens, and it seems to revolve around Blitzball, the most excruciating sport ever to be haphazardly shoehorned into an RPG. We’re introduced to the city through the eyes of Tidus, a young Blitzball star who makes his way through crowds of fans, alone, as he walks from the city’s docks to its stadium.


Midway through Tidus' game, however, Zanarkand suddenly comes under attack by something that roars in from the sea. In seconds, Tidus goes from wowing the crowd to running for his life through the crumbling city.


The creature at the heart of the destruction, Tidus soon learns, is some kind of enormous weapon named Sin, which at first appears to look like this:


But which we later find out looks like this:

Zanarkand’s destruction might at first seem pretty cut-and-dry – it’s demolished by Sin because of its ridiculous level of technological advancement and Sin’s tendency to destroy technology – but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. See, Sin isn’t actually destroying Zanarkand, because Zanarkand isn’t real. It’s a dream city that’s kept alive in the real world by plot elements too convoluted to explain here. Of course, that doesn’t make it seem any less real as you try to guide Tidus through the city’s collapsing freeway system.


It all ends with Tidus being apparently betrayed by his mentor, Auron, and hurled into the belly of the beast as it sucks up half the city along with them.


True, we barely knew Zanarkand, and its destruction is really just a prologue to Final Fantasy X’s story. But with its sheer awesome scale and unique giant-monster method of destruction, it’s still one of the most memorable RPG-town-destructions in recent memory. Here, watch it and see:


  • SumthingStupid - May 18, 2009 11:42 p.m.

    That's a good list, and fallout 3 was first:)
  • Major_Wuss - May 18, 2009 11:46 p.m.

    All great games. Explosions are fun.
  • girl - May 18, 2009 11:58 p.m.

    so many explosions in final fantasy
  • Hurricrane - May 18, 2009 11:59 p.m.

    rofls good article but it seems you guys are running out of ideas XD
  • KatamariLovesSpock - May 19, 2009 12:24 a.m.

    Hehe, I think Megaton was the only town out of those that I actually ENJOYED the explosion... >> Plus, Moira was annoying... I was hoping to kill her when I did that... >>
  • Defguru7777 - May 19, 2009 1:14 a.m.

    I knew Megaton would be on the list. And I love how every other one was Final Fantasy. Interestingly enough, the option to nuke Megaton is removed in the Japanese version. Burke does not exist. I wonder why... Oh yeah. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ReCaptcha: 3,600 weariest
  • Gonzo4Life - May 19, 2009 1:16 a.m.

    i knew right away that meagaton was going to be atleast number three kuz after all how often do u git 2 nuke a whole f*cking city by yourself? but yes CuddlyBomber. to much FF
  • Spybreak8 - May 19, 2009 1:35 a.m.

    You know I never really noticed it but this happens as well in Guild Wars (Prophecies Campaign). They level the city with fire and stone causing the player to jump ahead to a post apocalyptic world. It worked wondrous for me as I had explored the ruined world but I enjoyed seeing the transformation and new creatures. Interesting article, a lot of FF here.
  • yoreAtowel - May 19, 2009 1:47 a.m.

    something really big always gets destroyed in final fantasy games, think about it.
  • michaelmcc827 - May 19, 2009 1:56 a.m.

    WTF is this shit? Damn, I know it must be hard to come up with ideas but...ugh, I don't even wanna listen t TDAR 52 now, this shit is so repetitive and boring now...Megaton was in last week's top 7... As much of a long-time fan I am of GR, this is really stretching it. It simply isn't enjoyable, top 7s like this...
  • tysr36 - May 19, 2009 1:56 a.m.

    I LOVE blowing up Megaton.
  • Fishow753 - May 19, 2009 2:23 a.m.

    Just sayin, Fallout 3 wasn't mentioned in the top 7 for 2 straight weeks. It has been mentioned for 3 straight weeks.Two of them involved blowing up Megaton, and last weeks talked about the children of the atom, located, dramatic pause, in Megaton!
  • crabbo - May 19, 2009 4:03 a.m.

    Nice article. It never occurred to me before, but damn do Final Fantasy games have lots of exploding towns.
  • Sebastian16 - May 19, 2009 4:09 a.m.

    They're all fucking Final Fantasy! I HATE THOSE GAME RAWR RAGE FUCCCCCKCKCKCC
  • TrIp13G - May 19, 2009 4:13 a.m.

    But what about Kvatch? You know, from Oblivion?
  • DBAX47 - May 19, 2009 4:28 a.m.

    i was a little worried that fallout 3 wouldnt be numero uno
  • ssj4raditz - May 19, 2009 5:25 a.m.

    Wow, I have witnessed every single one of these first-hand!
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - May 19, 2009 6:15 a.m.

    Kvatch? Kvatch is like a tire fire; it never blows up, it's just always burning. Lahan was in the running, too, but was ultimately edged out so I could shoehorn in more Final Fantasy. My bad.
  • joabbuac - May 19, 2009 9:32 a.m.

    I love these top 7s....why top 7 anyway Jade Empire could of been there too....that had a good destructive opening

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