Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg review
Hatches a bad chick
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg was one of the games I got with my Gamecube one Christmas back when I was a kid, intrigued by the Gamecube. After playing through, I enjoyed it a lot. It reminded me of a Nintendo 64 game I enjoyed called Glover. However, unlike Glover which is still an enjoyable experience from time to time, this game has now become a scar upon the crucifix, as it reminds me of why the Gamecube copped a lot throughout its release. Especially nowadays at the age of 18, I feel embarrassed plaything through this, as it feels too kid friendly. Am I getting too old, or something? I realize that age is not a factor here, and kids do not exactly give a stuff; provided that they have copious amounts of fun, it doesn't matter how bad or good a game is. Thinking about it now, though - through its many technical downfalls and inferiorities when stacked up against far superior platformers, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is certainly not something I'd recommend to anybody, especially my children. If they crave this action so, Glover is the way to go.
This is a weird one, but not exactly in a good way. It starts off with a murder (or gang of crows) stealing the morning. At this moment, prepare to throw logic out of the window, but at least pray for something inventive and out of this earth. Unfortunately, the most that we get is a transgendered young boy who can hatch chicken eggs, and when he hatches some, the next batch he hatches until he dies will be superior to what he would've hatched, had he not hatched the first one. I was expecting more far out scenarios, but was never delivered.
Average graphic work, really. Billy Hatcher hosts vibrant and colorful surroundings, though not in the way that makes you feel good; it's in the way that makes you feel like your life is slowly slipping away. It looks a little too child friendly, and a bit as if it tries to alienate older people from playing, though it fails at that, as I still feel a little inclined to play it. Suffice to say, the colors don't exactly hurt your eyes or nothing; they're just a little too vibrant, and not in a surreal way either. The rest of the in-game graphics are a little too N64-like, and there shouldn't be much room for that in a Gamecube game released in 2003. If it tried for a Pixar look, it did an okay job I guess, but technically speaking, it lacks a lot of textures that, if added, would make the game look better.
Oh lordy lordy lord... I really hate this feature in this particular game... If you aren't playing this game while the television is set to mute, or if you're without earplugs, expect your hearing to be distorted permanently. The soundtrack was designed by the devil himself, with short repetitions of upbeat tunes that really crawl under your skin like maggots, especially after the third repetition. The sound effects seemed to have been forged by angry Korean animators during the animator's strike (you know... that one strike that took place at the end of the writer's strike and at the beginning of the actor's strike...) as a means of revenge for not getting paid enough, as they are all out of place and sound ridiculous at the times that they are used. And then there's Billy's grunt, which you hear all the time, and if you can picture the sound of a 40 year old virgin grunting whilst orgasming after rough mastubation... yeah, you may want to use your imagination here, folks.
So this should be where the game starts to shape up, right? Well, sort of. Yes, it looks fun, and may be for some people. However, when looking at this objectively, it's... really nothing you can't find a better version of on this system alone.
The basic premise for this is that you're rolling a giant egg. You need eggs because without one, Billy is nothing more than dirt. He cannot fend for himself, nor can he even run. It's when he gets an egg, that the magic happens, as Billy can surprisingly run faster (okay, it's more like rolling, but I wonder how he survives being squashed a fair few times like that) and can defend himself. Once it gets to a certain point, it can either hatch, or not hatch and dispatch of enemies very easily. Should it choose to hatch, it'll help out Billy to the best of its abilities... not very much. The chick is easily disposed of if the enemy attacks it first, meaning you probably should keep it in its egg, unless its a powerup; in which case, hatch it!
But other than that, it's your typical 3D platformer; get from point to point, do some stuff, get keys, unlock doors, collect stuff; the usual sort of thing expected from the likes of Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie, approaching in the same way Super Mario 64 would. You enter a level and do a mission.
However, unlike Super Mario 64, you can't really explore a level. God forbid you do something other than the intended mission! I know that Super Mario 64 only had certain elements when a certain star was chosen, but it didn't dramatically change the level design. Billy Hatcher, on the other hand, decided "stuff it" and barricaded all but the intended path, leaving level designs linear and boring. In theory, this would make the game too easy, but lo and behold, the game decides to further mess with your mind, by putting in cheap obstacles! With an over-abundance of pits and instant death traps, you'll probably find yourself in a hospital some number of months later after taking severe blows to the head from your wall. Add a couple hundred points of frustration due to some really sensitive movement controls - if the control stick is even halfway to the end, you'll be rolling very, very fast; often leading to your death. How fun...
In order to make a platformer bad, you need to make a few key elements bad - level design, controls and camera angles. It's committed two sin so far; can it do three? Yes is can, because the camera is atrocious! Often, you'll be attacked by surprise due to you not being able to see it. Whether its from behind or above, you cannot anticipate it because the camera just can't seem to see anything in those directions - only forward. You haven't much view of what's behind or above! It gets to the point where you may as well kiss your sanity goodbye.
Story: Mind-numbing and devoid of all logic, WHILE not being very inventive or funny, the premise for this game is, at best, an excuse to don a hen suit, hatch chickens, super-size eggs and flatten terrorists. The story receives a 2/5
Graphics: Although it looks nice, there aren't really any sort of textures, and many of the models and surroundings look very N64-like. 3/5
Sound: Everything here - from music to whatever little voice acting - is ear-*bleep* 101 at its finest. Must have had a good lecturer. 1/5
Gameplay: Rolling an egg around and completing missions Super Mario 64-style, while trapped in a VERY linear death trap ridden level design... yep, sounds riveting. However, it isn't a suitable replacement for any platformer, especially Glover. 3/10
Even though first impressions are everything, I would've loved to see a sequel, hoping to improve on all that is wrong with this one. It would be a much more marvelous idea than violently *bleep* Sonic for all his worth. But unfortunately, this is nothing more than a forgotten Gamecube platformer that reinforces why it didn't quite win the sixth generation console war; lackluster third party support, made most obvious through this game.
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