Beyond Good & Evil & Codified Boundaries

With the recent release of Beyond Good & Evil – HD on Xbox Live Arcade, I thought I might honor the occasion by revisiting a post I made while playing the original game some years ago. It might actually be of some benefit, as it points out a game killing bug I encountered. BG&E-HD might not suffer from the same problem, but just in case they didn’t mess too much with the code, you’ve been warned.

Glitches

[originally posted to 1up on Sep. 7, 2006 at 9:46 am]

I might have missed my calling in life. Maybe I should have been a play tester. I keep encountering bugs in the games I’m playing. And not just weird graphical bizarreness, but errors that keep one from finishing the game. Sure, they’re probably all commonly encountered and have been documented excessively on the internet, but it does seem like I keep encountering these things rather frequently of late.

BG&EI’ve been replaying Beyond Good and Evil (yes, I am suppose to be writing. Would you believe that my wife made me play a game so that she could hang out with me while I was playing and read the instructions for File Maker? And that she called it “romantic”? Yup, I’m glad I married her!) and the other night encountered a glitch on the Slaughterhouse level that makes it impossible to finish the game. What’s worse, is that if you didn’t recognize the problem, you have plenty of opportunity to save, forcing you to eventually restart your game from the beginning (unless you keep lots of old saves). For those who somehow missed the wonder that is Beyond Good and Evil (not to be confused with Xenosage II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose), it is a game published by Ubisoft that came out in 2003. I always think of it as an rpg, but it’s not. It’s a 3d adventure game that features exploration, stealth-type puzzles, simple brawling-style combat, some racing, and Pokemon Snap (in that you earn money by taking pictures of the various life forms on your planet). While the underlying plot is pretty cliche, the story is told in a very interesting way, and the world is very detailed and full of life. Not a very difficult game, and some would say short, but a very pleasurable experience.

Anyway, once you enter the Slaughterhouse, you have to park your hovercraft at a gate. I think that this level is divided into three sections, each section containing one of your mission objectives. So, at the gate, you exit your craft, and attempt to tackle the first section. The terrain forces you to separate from your computer controlled partner. After a little exploration, you will quickly discover that you need his assistance in order to continue. Once you figure out how to get your hovercraft on the other side of the gate, your partner can access the area with you.

Now, here’s the problem. If you’ve played the game before, or if you prefer to explore off the beaten path, you may do the following tasks out of sequence, which seems to delete your partner from the game. The game expects you to explore alone and discover that you need help to get to the next area, and/or have your partner help you access what becomes a blocked passage. After that, you are suppose to discover that you can use the gate to access a path to circumnavigate the blocked passage, making it unblocked. If you go there first, which also requires the assistance of your partner, when you come back through, he will be forever gone. Sure, you’ll still trigger dialogue segments at the appropriate times, but only his disembodied voice will be present. Since it doesn’t crash the game, and because you can still go to, and complete, the second section of the mission without your partner, you could save a number of times before realizing that you are screwed. Bravo, Jade.

In conclusion, BG&E remains an excellent game, but be careful, and follow the programmer’s intended course of action.

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