There's no denying that the GameCube has a handful of platforming games which are worthy of praise. From well-known games such as Super Mario Sunshine and Wario World, to underrated gems like Vexx and Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy. Indeed there's plenty of games from the genre which you can enjoy.
However, when we dug deeper, we stumbled across other hidden gems that sadly did not get the praise they deserve. One of these games that I picked this time is Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. A cute, colourful and fun game by Team Sonic, the developer behind the well-known Sonic games. But who would've thought that they had this game under their sleeve ready and loaded to come out back in 2003? Nobody.
So, how does this game still hold up in terms of visuals, controls, the story, and the overall atmosphere? Let's find out below!
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is a platforming video game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Nintendo GameCube in 2003. It was ported to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X in 2006, for release in Europe. While the game was praised by critics and journalists, it sadly did not sell well enough to warrant a sequel. Luckily, SEGA is still doing justice to its games, hence why you can notice Billy in other games including Sega Superstars, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.
The story puts you in the shoes of Billy Hatcher, a young boy from the human world. While he was running around and playing with his friends, he gets chosen by the Menie-Funie where he is sent to a world full of chickens. Billy will eventually learn that he was chosen to save the Chicken Elders and return the missing light to Morning Land. His journey won't be that easy as the evil crows will try anything under their sleeves to destroy his heroic intentions.
If you ask me, the story was clearly meant for children. Yet, that doesn't mean adults cannot enjoy it. Honestly, I always wanted to wear a suit like that, a smile on my face, and a big thumbs up.
The world in Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is nicely designed. It is divided into six levels, and each stage has its own unique specific soundtrack. This fine addition will break the boring feeling of listening to the same music over and over.
The first level in the game throws you in the forest where your first mission is to free one of the elders. After that, the game starts introducing you to certain objectives and what are the main goals you have to do. Once you free the elder, and bring the missing light to the land, you are then tasked to collect items that are required to unlock the upcoming stages. Lastly, the last stage is mostly about defeating a boss to unlock the next world. Another addition I liked about the game is having the capability to play with Hatcher's friend. For example, once you defeat the stage's final boss, you will have the choice to free one of your friends. Once one of them is freed, you can access certain levels using him/her.
Now let's talk about the mechanics. Well, you see, Billy doesn't have any ultra moves, nor any super powers under his belt. He can run jump and climb up ledges. However, in order to perform any sort of attack, Billy needs an egg. (Not a small one, but a giant one). Luckily, the game is brimming with eggs, so don't worry when they break, another one will pop-up right in front of your eyes in no time. These eggs can be used to attack enemies either by launching it unto the enemy which in return bounces back, run over them, or jump and squash them. Once you destroy an enemy, it will leave a fruit behind. What you should do at this moment is roll over it, and you'll notice the egg will start getting bigger and bigger until it reaches its full size.
That doesn't mean the size doesn't come with benefits. One of the advantages of having a giant egg is that it deals more damage. In addition, players can hatch the egg which contains an animal inside. These animals will come in handy when you need them the most. I should also inform you that each animal holds a certain ability, so make sure to check them all out. Lastly, giant eggs are essential if you want to perform a double jump or if you want access rails. With a small egg, you're prone to fall to your death. If I had to compare these mechanics to another platforming game, I'd say probably Monkey Ball or Super Mario Sunshine.
Let's talk about what's frustrating in the game. There are actually two things that annoyed me in the game, and I kind of thought about dropping the controller off the window because of it, but I'm glad I didn't. The first one occurs when you are performing a double jump to reach a higher area that Billy cannot reach on his own. It seems easy, but if both Billy and the egg don't land entirely on the platform you're aiming for, Billy will simply let go of the egg, leaving it stuck on the ledge. This result will force you to backtrack and find another egg, grow its size, and repeat. If somehow the same thing happens, you're bound to repeat the same thing which is personally annoying. The other issue is when the egg suddenly decides to launch itself into the water. ( This will hurt your feelings when it's a nice sexy egg). Other than that, the game doesn't have any other major issues that will break your enjoyment.
Sound and Aesthetics:
Billy Hatchet and the Giant Egg excels in terms of the world demonstration and especially the soundtracks. Oh, boy the soundtracks are so amazing. It's one of the things that kept me going in the game. It's honestly sad to say that they don't make happy games like these anymore. Billy Hatcher is definitely in par with Klonoa series in terms of creating a fantastic, cheery, and nefariously catchy world that will remain forever in your memory.
What can I say? Team Sonic has surely learned from their past works like Sonic Heroes and Nights Into Dreams. Thus, they managed to deliver an underrated game such as Billy Hatcher. I can guarantee you that there's nothing like it, but what hurts the most is that there will never be a sequel as it sold poorly according to SEGA.
Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg may be frustrating when climbing those ledges, but for what it provides? it's definitely a great underrated game worthy of your precious time. This game is also recommended in case if you are having a bad day. I am one hundred per cent sure that this game will definitely ease the pain and frustration. What are you waiting for? go hunt it down!