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[Every Thursday, Gamer Limit gives you a blast from the past with either its Retro Reunion or Bargain Bin series]

It’s a sad truth that some of the best games ever made never really manage to sell a lot of copies.  These diamonds in the rough eventually find themselves sitting in the bottom of bargain bins all across the world, waiting for some lucky soul to pick them up and discover their true greatness.  One of these games is the highly acclaimed Beyond Good and Evil.

Developed by Ubisoft Montpellier Studios and released back in November of 2003 for PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, and PC; BG&E was hailed by critics as one of the best games of the year.  Unfortunately, it did not resonate well with the public and posted horrible sales figures, quickly dropping off the charts into oblivion.  Since then, the title has garnered a cult following of beloved fans who adore both the game, and its incredible cast of characters.

Read on to find out more about this extraordinary bargain bin title, which deserves your attention.

Beyond Good and Evil tells the story of Jade, a young female photojournalist living on the planet Hyllis who spends most of her time looking after a group of orphaned children.  Assisting her in these good samaritan ways is her pig Uncle Pey’j, who is a mechanic extraordinaire.  Together, they have turned an old lighthouse into a sanctuary for these young children who have found themselves without any parents thanks to the evil alien armada, the DomZ.

At the start of the game, the DomZ have just recently begun attacking and invading the peaceful mining world of Hyllis, taking many of its citizens hostage in the process.  Coming to the planet’s rescue is the elite group of super soldiers known as The Alpha Section.  Led by the intimidating General Keck, the Alpha Section has come to the planet swearing to eliminate the DomZ invaders once and for all.  It quickly becomes apparent however that they aren’t as good at combating the aliens as they, or the news, claim.

Not trusting their new so called “saviors”, a rogue underground news organization, known as IRIS, begins investigating The Alpha Section.  What they soon discover is that it’s The Alpha section who’s actually behind the DomZ kidnappings.  Not wanting to go public with this knowledge until they have more proof, IRIS hires on Jade to help them discover more clues to unravel this government conspiracy.  Along the way, she is assisted by her Uncle Pey’j, who is more then he lets on, and by Double H, and ex-army IRIS operative who suffers from a bad case of amnesia.  Together they set out to discover the truth and save their world once and for all.

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One of the most interesting things about Beyond Good and Evil is its multitude of gameplay styles.  The best way to describe the game is as an action-adventure with elements of stealth, puzzle solving, and photography thrown in.  It also happens to rely very heavily on a cart racing game mechanic.  Now, how often do you find a game with all those different types of gameplay?  The problem is that while it tries hard to do so many things, it doesn’t exactly do any of them exceptionally well.  The gameplay suffers because of this, but not so horribly that it detracts from the enjoyment of the title.

The gameplay really exists to tell an extremely unique story that, still to this day, is extremely unconventional.  What makes Beyond Good and Evil’s story so interesting it’s eerily similar to real world current events of the time.  Developed during 9/11 and the U.S invasion of Iraq, the game tells the story of a government who’s willing to use fear and lies to control and manipulate an entire population.  Hopefully I don’t have to spell out the similarities between the Alpha Section and the U.S. government, which resonate throughout this entire title.

The game also tackles the role the media plays in war, showing how it can be used to spread government propaganda.  Of course the main protagonist, Jade, uses her journalistic skills to try to bring down the government, another role that media outlets can play.  All in all, the title tackles real world subjects that most other developers wouldn’t go near.  Many people see this as the reason why the game did so poorly when it was released.

At the forefront of the story is the game’s strongest element; it’s lovable and memorable list of characters.  I say this time and time again, but it is next to impossible these days to find video game characters that you can actually connect with on an emotional level.  So many developers are content using the same cookie cutter personality types over and over to tell their story.  You have the rough and tough super soldier, who couldn’t put two words together to create a coherent sentence if his life depended on it.  Or, you have the extremely attractive female characters, who enjoy wearing the tightest leather outfits they can find while trying to get revenge for the death of someone they love.  Seriously, is it that hard to come up with an original idea for a game character?

Beyond Good and Evil comes along and just destroys all preconceived notions about what types of main characters can carry a game’s story.  Jade is not some unrealistically hot girl who’s great with a gun and loves showing off her hour glass curves.  She’s just a plain old journalist with a huge heart, who dresses as inconspicuous as she can in order to get the story.  Then there’s Pey’j, a fat pig who is as brilliant as he is witty and funny.  I can’t tell you how many times I burst out laughing at some of the hilarious quips that came out of his mouth.

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Rounding out the list of main characters is Double H, who actually is the super soldier of the game.  The interesting thing is he’s not actually so super, since he’s lost his memory and doesn’t know what he’s doing.  He quickly becomes the comic relief of the game once Pey’j is taken hostage.  Together, these three crazy personalities form a team unlike any other.  What’s even better is that the voice acting for these characters is spot on and some of the best ever done.  That, combined with some incredible story telling, results in a group of main characters who are some of the most “human” digital personalities ever created.  By the end of the game, you feel like you know each and everyone of these people like they’re your best friends.

Another great thing about Beyond Good and Evil is its presentation, specifically its visuals and soundtrack.  The world of Hyllis is one of the most beautiful settings you’ll find in any game from the PS2/Xbox generation.  Not only did Ubisoft create the world using a very wide color palette, they also filled it with plenty of life.  The sprawling planet feels like it’s truly alive, with plenty of people going about their day, inhabiting the game world and making it feel like a breathing entity.  Hover cars jet from place to place as people travel to and from work.  Boats fill the harbor with all sorts of different cargo and passengers.  Then there is the animal and plant life, which is abundant in all corners of the planet.

Besides the visuals is a soundtrack that is so memorable it is actually featured in the Video Games Live musical tour.  I haven’t played the game in well over four months, but I can still hear the main theme playing in my head if I really think about it.  Composed by Christophe Heral, the music is a mix of Eastern European styles along with Asian and Indian influences.  It’s truly one of a kind, to say the least.

I honestly can’t stress enough how incredible Beyond Good and Evil really is. The game combines an incredible real world story with some of the most memorable characters ever created.  Considering you can pick up a brand-new copy of it for around $12 on Amazon, the title is seriously worth your consideration.   While it might be six years old at this point, the game holds up remarkably well, which is a testament to the amount of hard work and love the Ubisoft Montpellier team put into it.  Go and buy it now, take this fantastic game out of the bargain bin and give it a home in your game library.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

  1. Man I loved BG&E. Hopefully the 2nd one is still on tack.

  2. The only problem I could ever find with BG&E was that the combat was a little bit shallow, but the story, characters, music and setting was just so great… I couldn’t stop playing it until I beat it and already craved more. Every once in a while I get a hankering for some Jade and boot it up again in my rusty old PS2.

    Oh, and check this OC Remix of the theme song – it’s just terrific: http://www.ocremix.org/remix/OCR01189/

    • avatar Bandits

      Review by for Rating: I am 14 years old, and while some people may think that is a litlte bit too old to still play Gameboy’s, It’s my guilty pleasure. Now, onto the product. Let me just say this is a fabulous improvement from our Game Boy Advance. Yes, the GBA was a great system. But come on, as we progress in this world; Electronics will get bigger and better. I think one thing I am most satisfied about the SP is it’s great built in Light screen. Let’s face it, most people that are or have been playing GBA are going to complain about the same thing. They can’t see what they are playing on the screen. Fortunatley, Nintendo has released us from our annoyance. The SP has a great built in light that’s is absolutley perfect for playing in the dark. I know I myself love to play into the early hours of the morning under my covers without having any lights on. What I also enjoy about this SP is the Charging ability. I admit, this will save me tons of money for AA batteries. All it takes is plugging in the charger and hooking it up to the Gameboy, and BOOM! in 45 minutes your gameboyis fully charged for a good couple of hours of intense action play! The last feature of this that I find unique and satisfying is the cover. You can open and close this Gameboy. Not much I can say about that, except it’s a great way to prevent scratching the screen and damaging it. Overall, EXCELLENT invention. GREAT JOB NINTENDO!

    • avatar Moklesur

      Robert,Was at the game and here’s what’s on my mind:Weber St. has always plaeyd Wyo tough. Two years ago it was 29-22 Wyo-Weber.First game jitters all around, but Brett Smith was fun to watch and you see why he’s the starting QB.The real score should have been 35-25 if you take-away the goofy hand-off to Smith, 2nd play of the game. But 35 points were about what everyone expected of Wyo Offense.What is bothering me is why were there a lot of shifts on the Wyo Defense? It was like they didn’t know their assignments, guys moving around trying to get into position? From what you’ve seen in the scrimmages, etc. is there truth to DC saying the defense is much more capable?No doubt Weber St has good coaching, they probably get a lot of their talent from BYU and Utah players that leave these schools to go to a place where they’ll see playing time, and FCS schools are going to be fired up for taking down a Division I school. Even if the defense was marginally better than they were last night with one less Weber touchdown, that makes it 35-19, isn’t that what everyone predicted?

  3. avatar randombullseye

    I need to play this.

  4. I’ve been wanting to play this for so long, but it’s still not backward compatible on my ruddy PAL Xbox 360!

  5. @Simon: Do you have a PC? You could always download it on Steam for only around $10.

    • avatar Berkaycan

      It’s not his age that you should crcneon him about. It’s his intelligence. If he can manage to hold the GameBoy correctly without dropping it, then it should be okay to get him one. Most of the good games for the GameBoy are Nintendo games, which means that its a great system for young children.

    • avatar Auth

      Our Defense was absolutely holribre against a poor team, if this is how they play to an opponent such as Weber I can’t wait until they play teams in our own conference. If this is how the defense is going to play it’s going to be another long year for the Pokes. What was up with Knapton and Biezuns, they were not near as good as they were talked up to be. I hope it was just an off game because the defense was absolutely holribre. Come on guys gets your head out of your ass and play some ball.

  6. Bonus! Thanks, Shawn. Will do.

  7. Yea, thanks Shawn! I missed out on this one upon release, and a trade deal I had on it fell through, so I definitely need to grab it.

    • avatar Keith

      niftynufty / @kNIGHTWING01 Do you have any regrets about benicomg a games reviewer? What would you be if you weren’t a games reviewer? Was it hard to become a games reviewer, or were you just the right face at the right place at the right time? You don’t have to reply if you don’t want to, I have asked HEAPS of questions.

  8. Man, everyone keeps talking about this game, and I still haven’t picked it up!

    *kicks himself*

    (Note to self, kicking oneself is extremely difficult to do)

  9. I meant to buy this on release, but like most games I desire I ended up waiting for a cheaper price. Boy did I get a deal-6 bucks

    • avatar George

      RG,Wow what a game I sure like the 4 man front on the D tonight.. I don t think we had much prsrsuee and they had a hard time stopping the run for some reason. But our 2 best LB were out of the line up forgot that. Great heart from all the kids not to give up and continue to fight for 4 qrts. I think when SDSU stopped the clock was a big plus, we may not have settled down enough to get the kick off, what do you think Brady called TO and we were able to settle in for the kick. It showed Dave talking to Ian before the try the announcers were saying to leave him alone.. great win and on to the next one.Steve

  10. avatar Rengina

    If you’re a parent wiathcng this video, and you’re let your young child play Mature games, especially online, please reconsider. Or hide a mic in the room where he plays when you’re not around It’s terrible hearing how unruly, crude, and juvenile children feel they can get when they’re online with no one around. THIS is the problem games can exacerbate. Unattentive parents. It’s really amazing how a child will act when they KNOW they can say anything they want w/out any reprocussions.

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