Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg

ジャイアントエッグ~ビリー・ハッチャーの大冒険~, Jaianto Eggu: Birī Hatchā no Daibōken, lit. “Giant Egg: The Great Adventure of Billy Hatcher”

GOOD MORNING~!

Today we review Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg (or simply Billy Hatcher), a 2003, 1–4 player egg-rolling platformer for the Nintendo GameCube, created by Sega and Sonic Team, the same creators behind the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Yuji Naka is the game’s producer. Shun Nakamura, Atsushi Kanno, and Mizuki Hosoyamada are the game’s designers (the latter of which is the game’s director), and Mariko Nanba and Tomoya Ohtani are the game’s composers. The game uses the Sonic Adventure 2 engine. The NA and EU box arts both have the “From the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog” tag on it.

Just to let you know: I’m not a farmer, but I did visit farms during trips when I was at school. You cannot roll eggs like that.

LET’S GO~!

Here are the game’s plot and gameplay

No, not the crappy “they see me rollin’, they hatin’…” pfft!

The story begins with a peaceful fantasy world by the name of “Morning Land”, where the Chicken inhabitants live in peace and harmony. But all that is shattered as Dark Raven and his army of Crows assault Morning Land, catching the inhabitants by surprise and shrouding Morning Land in a blanket of unnatural, eternal night.

Meanwhile, being late to meet with his friends due to oversleeping, the slightly mischievous Billy Hatcher races out of his house to go meet them. Upon arrival, Bantam tells Billy he is late, showing him a pocket watch in the shape of an egg. And, being some sort of tradition among the four friends, Bantam Scrambled, Chick Poacher, and Rolly Roll prepare to dish out a consequence on Billy, but they’re stopped by the weak chirping of a chick. Two Crows that are looming nearby dive at the chick, as if they’re finishing it off, but Billy intervenes, saving the baby chicken by fending the Crows off with a stick. The chick suddenly begins to glow, transporting Billy and his friends to Morning Land, with Billy ending up in Forest Village.

COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!

Billy Hatcher has a unique style of gameplay revolving around rolling large eggs. The player controls the hero, Billy, who cannot do much by himself aside from moving and jumping. However, he becomes a powerhouse once he finds an egg. While rolling an egg, Billy moves faster and is more agile. He can also dash, throw and return the egg along the ground, slam the egg down from the air, and Billy can travel on rails and fly through rings.

Rollin’ eggs

The color-coded eggs themselves are another gameplay element. As Billy runs over fruit while holding an egg, the egg gains maturity and gets larger. When the egg’s maturity gauge completely fills, the egg flashes and is ready to hatch. Then Billy can hatch the eggs, which can contain helper animals, character power-ups, and extra lives. With variables such as egg size, helper animals, and personal power-ups, Billy Hatcher can be played in many ways. Different animals can come out of the same eggs, and some creatures are vital to progressing through certain challenges.

Players should be wary of their handling of the eggs, as they take damage when attacked by enemies or impact certain obstacles. The egg gauge in the lower right-hand corner of the screen begins to crack, as does the egg Billy wields. When the egg takes enough damage, it is destroyed and no bonus comes from it. Eggs can also be ‘lost’, i.e. put into positions or situations that the player cannot retrieve them from. In such cases, the egg will disappear from its position after several seconds of inactivity and will ‘respawn’ in its nest of origin, but will lose any maturity the player earned for it. Some characters from other games appear in certain eggs, such as Sonic the Hedgehog or NiGHTS. These specific eggs are marked with the Sonic Team logo on them.

Different eggs within the game prefer certain fruits, and gathering these fruits will make the egg’s maturity gauge grow faster. The fruit of the game is divided into sets of big and small, with the bigger fruits generally being more potent than the smaller ones. Some eggs are easier to hatch than others, and require less fruit than others. Certain item eggs hatch the fastest, while the GBA Minigame Eggs take the most fruit.

Characters

Clockwise from top: Bantam, Chick, Billy, and Rolly
  • Billy Hatcher (Kobayashi Hikaru): The main protagonist of the game. A slightly mischievous boy from the human world. With courage bestowed upon him, he has been chosen by Menie-Funie to save the Chicken Elders and return the Light to Morning Land. Billy would appear in various other Sega titles, as he did including Sega Superstars, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.
  • Rolly Roll (Yamaka Yuka): The game’s sole female playable character. A lighthearted and carefree girl. She always tries to help others who are in trouble, but can sometimes be a bit “scatterbrained”. Her outfit is similar to that of Amy Rose from Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Chick Poacher (Takahashi Kento): Chick may look small but his spirit is strong, giving him a misplaced air of superiority. He has a tendency to act before thinking, which always makes his friends a little nervous. He wears teal goggles on his head and seems to have the biggest of the chicken combs on his head. He is the only one who wears mittens and goggles, and his outfit is similar to that of Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Bantam Scrambled (Nagasawa Hideaki): The heavy and powerful friend of Billy, Rolly, and Chick. He wears the largest and most distinctive clothing of the entire human crew. Bantam is a gentle giant and only uses his strength to look after his friends. Despite his rough outward appearance, he adores cuteness but hates injustice. His name is misspelled as “Bamtam Scrambled” in the NA manual.

I didn’t own the actual game, but saw the game’s commercial… if you have this game with the (dusty) old GameCube, you need to make sure it works. We’re waiting for an HD rerelease, which is likely not happening.

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A no-paywall 1980s/1990s pop-culture blog that covers anime, manga, and video games from the past. (no longer active)

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Cory Roberts

Cory Roberts

American freelance illustrator and manga artist who specializes in shonen fighting manga with 1990s/Y2K aesthetics. (He/him, straight)

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