Return of Sonic Team
Sega’s Sonic Team has an outstanding history of producing high quality, highly playable games. Obviously it all started with the outstanding, mascot-creating Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis/Mega Drive back in 1991. Since then, Sonic Team has continued producing Sonic games, but it has also created other outstanding titles. NiGHTS will forever be one of my favorite Saturn games. Phantasy Star Online and Samba de Amigo on the Dreamcast once again reminded us that Sega had some of the most talented and creative designers on the planet.
After the Dreamcast’s untimely demise, Sonic Team was stuck converting some of its older titles onto the currently standing consoles. We’ve been waiting for something new, and finally it has arrived. Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is the latest from Yuji Naka and his Sonic Team, and it’s available only on GameCube.
As many of you can guess, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is the heartwarming tale of a boy and a really big egg. The story is quite bizarre, which is initially played out by a CG video in the game and with this prologue from the manual:
Morning Land is a peaceful land inhabited by chickens. One day, a terrible fate befell the land. Black Crows empowered by a mysterious magic appeared as ferocious monsters bent on keeping the world in eternal night. The Chicken Elders whose voices bring dawn each day were captured and sealed within golden eggs. Without their morning cries, the world will remain engulfed in darkness and human hearts will be consumed by evil. Now, only young Billy Hatcher and his friends from the human world can defeat the Crows, release the elders, and return morning to the world.
That’s some strange stuff. Essentially, you’re a human boy in a magical chicken suit, fighting crows for the freedom of all chicken-kind to restore morning to the world since darkness is evil.
Well, elaborate, or even sensible, storylines have never been Sonic Team’s forte. Sonic Team has always been about originality and gameplay, so let’s take a look at those aspects of Billy Hatcher.