Weekly Game Music: Jack-in-the-Box! (Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg)

Here’s a happy circus music from Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg: Jack-in-the-Box!, composed by Mariko Nanba and Tomoya Ohtani. It’s a relatively simple composition that experiments with many circus-related sound effects. It also doesn’t sound creepy, even when it’s dark.

The plot behind Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is simple: Morning Land, the parallel universe where its always morning, and its denizens consists almost entirely of chickens and roosters, is overtaken by the dark and evil crows. Meanwhile, back in the other universe, Billy Hatcher and his friends finds a beaten chick. Quick to identify the culprit, Billy handily defeats the crows flying nearby. Apparently, this is enough to convince the Holy God of all Chickens, Menie-Funie. He transports Billy to Morning Land, and instructs Billy to use the giant eggs to squish all enemies, and bring morning back to Morning Land.

Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg is a platformer designed by the creators who made the Sonic series horrible: Yuji Naka and Shun Nakamura. Believe it or not, the game is actually really good. Part of it may have to do with a gameplay that, also believe it or not, have similarities with Katamari Damacy. When Billy picks up an egg abundantly scattered around the level, he can use it to make taller and longer jumps, as well as defeating enemies by rolling into them. Picking up fruits will make the egg larger, and once it reaches its size limit, you have an option to hatch it. A hatched egg provides either pets or items. Pets are used offensively to destroy enemies with great power and range. Items can replenish your health (the only way, I might add), provide another life, give you new abilities, and so forth. Both pets and items can also be used for puzzle solving as well.

The other big part that makes Billy Hatcher fun, of course, is its design takes from Super Mario 64. Billy has to collect Courage Badges, the game’s equivalent of a star, to progress further to the next level. This means you’ll be revisiting the same level often, with various different missions such as racing, defeating a set number of enemies, and hatching a specific egg. Additionally, many flaws from the Sonic games has been ironed out in this game. The character’s speed, for example, has been slowed down significantly, so cheap deaths are rare. Since the level isn’t designed like a race track, you have more control over the camera, and thus, less likely to encounter it getting stuck in inappropriate places. Lastly, the physics and components are very responsive. The only element I found annoyingly glitchy were the parallel rails.

Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg was released for the Gamecube. No other port exists, although there are rumors a sequel may be in consideration.


Extra!

Title: Lullaby Of Snow Mountain
Game: Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
Composer: Mariko Nanba, Tomoya Ohtani

Title: G.I.A.N.T.E.G.G! ~Opening Theme~
Game: Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg
Composer: Mariko Nanba, Tomoya Ohtani
Comments: The children are spelling out, GRAB EGG.


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