So, yesterday was a bit of a swine.
After the usual days work, I got a call from the boss at half past five to ask for help setting up a laptop for a demo. I eventually got a remote connection to the laptop which was running like a pig in treacle and discovered that the system and database were both from 2009 and required lengthy upgrades. The database upgrade was the major stumbling block as it kept crashing with various errors (mainly because it was a sql database rather than Oracle) and we were forced to concede defeat at ten o'clock. If I'd had even a day's notice, I might have stood a bit more chance of sorting it in time. Bah.
As alluded to on Tuesday, I have finally completed Beyond Good and Evil and it really was a work of art, final boss battle notwithstanding (which required learning a pattern of attacks with the controls reversed). It has many similarities with the classic Zelda games, mainly in the rhythm of the 'dungeons' (for want of a better word) which involve a mix of exploration, puzzle solving, stealth, climactic boss battles and upgrades to health and equipment. An unusual gameplay mechanic involves photographing different species of creatures and sending the results off in exchange for money - gotta catch 'em all! The bright, colourful graphics and catchy music are distinctively European, which makes a refreshing change from the usual Japanese or American styles, and the HD version adds a spit and polish to something that was already pretty special for its day.
The characters are engaging - particularly the protagonist Jade and her uncle Pey'j - an odd pig like alien, and the plot delves into uncovering a conspiracy involving an alien invasion in collusion with an oppressive security force. The camera controls are awkward in places, such as in tight corridors or small rooms, and inverting the view is essential for the first person hovercraft and spaceship flying shooty bits. There are some wonderful set piece action sequences and cut scenes that give the whole game an epic feel and the ending teases a possible sequel, which is apparently in development (depending which gaming websites you read). I know I've said it before, but this is an essential game. It's available on PC, Gamecube (playable on Wii with classic controller), PS2, and Xbox live arcade and PS3 downloads, so you have no excuse really - go play!