In a distant star system, presumably sometime in the future, there is a peaceful mining planet named Hillys. The peace of this planet was shattered not long ago, when mysterious alien monsters called the DomZ invaded this part of the galaxy, striking in surprise attacks, and kidnapping people away to who-knows-where. A military organization called the Alpha Section appears to be keeping the DomZ attacks at bay, but they don't seem to be doing a very good job.In Beyond Good & Evil, the player assumes the role of Jade, a young woman who lives on Hillys with her adoptive uncle, Pey'j. She makes a living as a freelance photojournalist and runs an orphanage in the lighthouse she lives in. One day, after a DomZ attack, she is contacted by the Iris Network, a subversive underground press organization and resistance group, that seeks to expose the truth about the Alpha Sections and rally the people of Hillys against them. She accepts their offer, reluctantly at first, and infiltrates Alpha Section facilities to take pictures of their suspicious activities.Designed by Michel Ancel of Rayman fame, the game plays like a Sci-Fi twist on The Legend of Zelda. It combines simple yet engaging combat, with vehicle action, puzzle solving, stealth, and photography challenges. The environments are detailed and beautiful, the characters are interesting and well-animated, in a stylized balance of cartoonish and realistic. It was released for IBM PC, Xbox, PS2, and GameCube, but sold few copies on any platform.The PC version of the game was even packaged free with a certain brand of cheese in Canada in early February, 2009.Needless to say, the gaming community pretty much went nuts when Ubisoft surprised everyone at their press conference/marketing event in mid-2008 by showing a trailer for Beyond Good & Evil 2. From that point on, the game got stuck in the ninth circle of Development Hell, and seemed to go through endless rumor cycles of being cancelled, not cancelled, moved, and more. As of 2013, the sequel has been put on hold until the next generation of consoles, as the current tech was deemed insufficient for the dev team's vision (or so they say).Not related to the book by Friedrich Nietzsche under the same title. At all. Or, for that matter, the second game in the Xenosaga trilogy. And not to be confused with the Above Good and Evil trope.
Beyond Good & Evil provides examples of:
Achilles' Heel: The Alpha Sections are vulnerable in their air tanks, and can be taken out if hit from behind. (One will fix another's tank, if there are two of them together. This can actually let you knock the buddy out, too, if you get the first one to face away while being fixed.)
Pey'j, on the first boss: "In the eye, Jade! That's his Achilles' Heel!"
Ambiguously Brown: Poor, poor Jade. The surest way to start Fan Wank regarding this game is to ask this simple question: "So what ethnicity is she anyway?" Depending on who you ask, she's black, Hispanic, Native American, olive-skinned European, Asian, Arab, Caucasian but with a tan, or any mixture of the above. Evidence seems to be that you see her as what you want to see, and some think that she was deliberately created to be ambiguous so more people could identify from her, with In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race as justification.
A number of other characters seem to have this going on as well. Double H is very tan, but it's not clear if he's just suntanned or if it's his natural color. And Hahn seems to be obviously a Bald Black Leader Guy, but he's rather pale and also appears somewhat Asian.
Anti-Frustration Feature: While dying in most places makes you lose any items you used after the checkpoint, the Looter's Caverns and final boss return items to you after you're sent back to a checkpoint.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Several of the game's music tracks contain lyrics in nonsensical languages, with a few recognizable phrases sprinkled in. (The exception is "Fun and Mini-Games/Spanish Bar," which is, in fact, in Spanish.)
Bilingual Bonus: At least one song in the game isn't all in Foreign Sounding Gibberish—the mini-game/competition song has some lyrics in Spanish, about pretty much what you'd expect a mini-game-song to be about (specifically, racing).
Also, bits and pieces of Secundo's dialogue are in Spanish.
And Italian. And French.
Black and White Morality: Unabashedly so - Jade and the IRIS Network are completely 100% good, the Alpha Sections and the DomZ are completely evil. Several reviews specifically criticized it for this, as its (publisher-mandated) title seemed to imply a greater degree of moral ambiguity.
Black Speech: The DomZ language. It certainly doesn't help that a lot of the time it's either being spoken with a deep, snarling voice in the recurring Dancing With DomZ theme or by the DomZ High Priest's Voice of the Legion.
Bookends: The game begins and ends with a shot of Jade awakening from a meditative trance, accompanied by variants of the same song.
Border Patrol: At the borders of the main map, you'll get the warning "you are now leaving territorial waters". If you continue, you'll get picked up and carried back.
Bragging Rights Reward: Collecting all the pearls gets you a minigame that has no effect on the game proper, and taking pictures of every animal gets you an album containing all the pictures you took of said animals.
Chekhov's Gun: If you check Pey'j's inventory you'll spot an MDisk you can't do anything with. Later on, Pey'j gives Jade the MDisk just before he's captured by the Alpha Sections, and it turns out the it contains important information about Jade's past, as well as telling you about the Beluga.
Chekhov's Gunman: Secundo is seen onscreen twice at the start of the game. You hear his voice every time you acquire certain items, and he comes in handy at the climax.
Collection Sidequest: The animal photographs. You only need to take two at the very least, enough to pay your bills and advance the plot. The first ten also give you the enhanced zoom, which is highly useful for both the rest of the photographs and missions. Its primary purpose after that is to earn money, which can be done other ways. It's the easiest way to make money, though, and will give you plenty of overhead, especially if you buy the animal tracker which marks targets on the map.
To a lesser extent, the Pearls. Yes, you need a certain amount to purchase the appropriate upgrades in the game, but getting them all nets you a mini-game.
Comic Book Time: Trying to keep track of how much time as passed in the main plot can be a little disorienting. When you bring Double-H back to headquarters to save him from the DomZ parasite, you're told it'll take a few weeks for him to recover, but as soon as you leave the room he's perfectly fine, and no matter how quickly you get to the Moon, Pey'j will have spent three weeks in a DomZ torture device. Either there's a lot of unseen Time Skips, or Jade is spending days, if not weeks, inside the Alpha Sections facilities.
Context-Sensitive Button : There are two "action" buttons in the game: One for Jade, and one for whoever is following her. The gameplay is heavily based on this.
Continuing Is Painful: When continuing after dying Jade will only be at half of her maximum health, or just four hearts if you've collected enough health increases. This is painful in some moderately tricky stealth sections which feature instadeath traps. Some players don't bother healing up from there since another death is probably just around the corner.
Curse of The Ancients: Pey'j both plays this one straight and subverts it. On one hand, he's prone to several "Consarnits!" and "Conflabbits!" On the other hand, his favorite epithet appears to be the decidedly less ancient "Sweet Jesus!"
Controls for taking photographs switched camera control from one joystick to the other in the PS2 port. This is hell when trying to take a photo during combat.
And if you're playing on the GameCube, try going between this game and Star Fox Adventures. (Or better yet, don't—unless you like mad flailing.) Both have staff combat. Both have partner mechanics. Both have similar inventories. Both are Zeldalikes. Both have completely different controls. (Yet not different enough to stop you from getting confused.)
Controlling the (game) camera is a pain as the X and Y axis cannot be reversed separately and they operate halfway between most games standards. (Most games have tilt left to look left but tilt up to look down, this has left for left and up for up and you can only reverse both at once.)
The final boss inverts your movement controls, which happens between checkpoints so you have to use both the normal and inverted control in the same checkpoint if you fail.
Detail-Hogging Cover: The "box art" for the HD rereleasereally ramps up the detail, to slightly creepy extent. The HD game does look slightly nicer, but the cover suggests an almost complete graphical overhaul.
Easter Egg: If you talk to Yoa at various points in the game, she'll tell you some incredibly helpful things. The problem-she barely speaks a word of English, so what you understand amounts to a vague and unhelpful hint, and you probably won't figure out what she meant until it comes up in the course of the plot. The only indication that she's said anything important is her use of the phrase "batahn-batahn", which context suggests is roughly "tadah".
Just a little thing, and it's not exactly hidden, but Pey'j waves if you point the camera at him.
Enemy Within: Jade, who is revealed to be the human incarnation of Shauni, possible queen or goddess of the DomZ, who is important for their survival. Though it isn't really a split personality, but Jade herself actually being Shauni. Might add a bit of Fridge Horror to the story.
Erudite Stoner: The Mammago brothers. Despite being the best mechanics in the land, they're rather, uh, "mellow." Suspiciously mellow. The original concept art for their garage had a marijuana leaf on the door, but they cut that for some unfathomable reason. And while in English the three have the names Hal, Babukar and Issam, in the original French the first one is called Haile.
Escape Sequence: Two of the Alpha Section bases Jade breaks into feature these at the end, forcing you to flee the Beam Spam of the soldiers chasing you.
Pey'j jumping into the pit to save her, while shouting at the top of his lungs. He immediately makes himself a distraction, buying Jade time and defeating the monster.
Double H, mangling Jade's name even as he's enthusiastically swears his loyalty to her. Right after that, he uses his head to get them out of there, and then falls down a pit because he forgot to stop in time.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Double H always goes by his codename, despite the fact that he never addresses anyone else by their codenames. There's one cutscene where he gets called "Hub," though.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: What's with that scar across Pey'j's eye, huh? Fehn (the literal kid) also has one across his nose.
Fehn could have gotten it when the DomZ took away his parents in an attack.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: Your first quest is to take photos of an example of every single living thing on the planet. It keeps you well funded so long as you keep up with it, and you get an album of all the photos you took if you manage to get all of them.
And then, to a certain extent, the pearls. You don't need all of them to progress, but you get a fun little reward for it.
Groin Attack: Shoot a projectile at the crotch of a guard and watch them double-up in pain. It's fun!
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Double H is about a head and half taller and three times as wide as Jade. Heck—most non-child male NPCs dwarf her. Of course, her and Pey'j invert this trope—she's a head and a half taller than him, although much skinnier...
Hyperspace Arsenal: A literal one, the S.A.C.(Synthetic-Atomic-Compressor) device on Jade's hip stores physical objects as energy patterns for later retrieval.
Idle Animation: Jade places her hands on her lower back and thrusts her chest out, stretching. And that's pretty much the only bit of Fanservice you get. Jade's partners have them, as well; there are a couple different ones for each character.
Invisible Wall: Justified. The field of play is bounded by sentinel spires that shoot oddly harmless bursts of energy to turn Jade back if she attempts to "leave territorial waters." It fits well with the general theme of a government that doesn't trust and can't be trusted.
Ironic Nickname: "Peepers," the blind man who fronts for IRIS. (Well, ambiguously blind, anyway. He always wears dark glasses, his gaze is unfocused, and he identifies Jade by smell, but he somehow knows when she approaches, doesn't have a cane, and somehow manages to "see" a picture put up on a screen.)
James Bondage: Both Pey'j and Double H get their time in the, uh, cage.
Justified Criminal: One of the pearls (which is hardly necessary to complete the game) is located inside an apartment. Covertly stealing the room code and the pearl within causes Jade to comment that she has more need of it than its previous owner.
Final broadcast from "The Hillyan Word", mouthpiece for the Alpha Section. "The truth has finally been revealed by our trustworthy colleagues from the IRIS Network. The Hilllyan People have joined forces to drive the Alpha Sections out of Hillys. Once again, the honorable journalistic profession was able to show that it had a preponderant role in history."
Lantern Jaw of Justice: Double H has one. A briefly visible, Dummied Out early character model for him actually suggests that it used to be bigger, and Hahn had one as well.
Mood Whiplash: Silly setting plus serious plot—and Tear Jerker scenes combined with outright slapstick—equals one very confused, but at least entertained—audience.
Mook Chivalry: Crochax will always attack one at a time, even when they outnumber you five to one. Averted with many other enemies, though, such as the Alpha Sections soldiers.
Mook Maker: Several areas include devices that continuously vend robot enemies on demand. This is meant to help you disable certain barriers by turning them into projectiles.
Mysterious Waif: Yoa. She has no plot significance that we know of—yet—but she's so strange it's hard not to wonder. Plus, she is either a spy or prophetic.
Yoa has a strong physical resemblance to Yorda in ICO, and even has speaks an unknown language like Yorda. Possibly a Shout-Out.
Narrative Filigree: One of the things the game was initially praised for was for the way its setting actually felt like a world, with little details like advertisements, Jade's friendship with seemingly random NPCs, and all the animals.
No Hero Discount: In addition to the normal "making you pay for things even as the world is ending" deal, the game starts off with the energy field that protects you from the aliens failing—because you forgot to pay your power bill.
No Indoor Voice: Pey'j. Being on a stealth mission won't stop him from yelling "I'M COMIN', JAAAADDDEEEE!"
Poirot Speak: Secundo, again. What's weird is that it's never established whether the thing is supposed to be French, Spanish, or Italian. It actually uses idioms from all three languages. (And his grammar is terrible.)
Powered Armor: The Alpha Sections wear massive suits of powered armor. The regular Hillyan army does too—while it doesn't look special, it is laser-proof, and it does provide some kind of strength augmentation.
The Quisling: Fehn Digler. The instant you defeat The Dragon, he even puts out a news report sucking up to the IRIS Network!
Recurring Riff: Two of them. The first, "Redemption," is the game's theme and appears in various places—most notably, as part of the basic lighthouse music and finally in full in the last cutscene. It's the "high point" riff. The second is the music that appears in numerous battle scenes, and even in the Lonely Piano Piece. It's the "low point" riff.
Fehn:[overlooking Double H] So, I see you're bringing home canned food now?
Jade: I swear, he's not like the others!
Shorter Means Smarter: Pey'j is about three and a half feet tall. He's also the smartest person on the planet, probably.
Shout-Out: There's a pretty obscure reference to the creator's most well known creation, Rayman. There's even a fairly well-hidden reference to Tonic Trouble, an even more obscure game by the same creator. To elaborate, the reference to Rayman is in the Factory dungeon. In a fairly out of the way hidden area, you can find a cow skeleton. If you examine the skeleton, you can find a small bug sticking on to it. The bug is Aedes Raymanis, or Rayman mosquito. Fittingly enough, the mosquito is Bzzit, the first boss from the original Rayman and one of Rayman's friends. The Tonic Trouble reference is the lead character of that game, Ed, advertising K-Starkos, a health item.
The official name for the two-legged factory boss appears to be Metal Gear DomZ, if the soundtrack is anything to go by. This is quite fitting considering you fight it after a long stealth section.
Smooch of Victory: Double H tries this on Jade when you beat the final race. Jade's reaction is mixed, at best. Since we don't get to see the actual thing itself, interpret the reaction however youwill.
Space Whale: Megaptera Anaerobia, or "whale that doesn't need oxygen."
Spiritual Successor: To Rayman 2. Both feature a pristine, Scenery Porn laden location invaded by machine-like beings, who kidnap many of the protagonist's friends. Since they were made by the same developer, this is hardly surprising.
Stealth-Based Game: Any area with Alpha Section soldiers will lock down automatically if they spot you. Only by killing them all or sneaking past can you progress. Combat against the Alpha Sections is possible most of the time, but difficult because their shields block your attacks and only drop when they swing their hammer, which has a fair bit of reach. Some areas render it difficult or outright impossible by adding insta-kill floating laser cannons that zap you if the guards see you in their field of fire and guards which cannot be covertly killed. One saving grace is that a guard with a ruptured air tank can't see you, which can be exploited to covertly assassinate them if they're isolated.
Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Although not actually a ghost, Yoa has the appearance of such, and apparently the ability to predict the future.
Stupid Statement Dance Mix: In an interview, the game's composer, Christophe Heral, said that a significant portion of fan favorite track "Propaganda" was created by remixing portions of a telephone conversation between himself and a Bulgarian woman. In the original version, dialogue from the game production team was included, but got cut. (The Bulgarian phone conversation remix is still there.)
Super Window Jump: Pey'j is introduced diving from one of the lighthouse windows and onto the eye creature that has grabbed Jade.
What Could Have Been: A recently-revealed series of design documents for the game reveal that its early design was much different. It featured such things as the IRIS Network (here called, uh, SPOON) having a flying home base, a second alien race called the Nazh, lost characters such as one Colonel Garis, and others.
You Have Failed Me: When you reach the end of the Factory area, you overhear the Alpha Sections chief telling his DomZ boss that the intruders have been captured. As they both notice Jade, the Alpha offers to take care of her himself, but the DomZ kills him.
The sequel provides examples of:
Cool Car: The car Jade and Pey'j manage to crash into a tree in the desert. It makes it here only because it's a hovering car.