EGG: Elemental Gimmick Gear
E.G.G. (abbreviated), Elemental Gimmick Gear (abbreviated)
Hudson Soft (Japan), Vatical Entertainment (N.A.)
April 4th, 1999 (Japan), December 28th, 1999 (N.A.)
Cover art for EGG: Elemental Gimmick Gear.
What Is This Game?
, aka, Elemental Gimmick Gear
, is a 2D, top-down perspective action-RPG/adventure title, in the vein of Zelda
, Secret of Mana
and Beyond Oasis
. The game tells the story of the mysterious “Sleeper,” a man found in the cockpit of a strange bipedal machine uncovered from the ancient ruins of the world of Tokion. The Sleeper is taken to a laboratory for analysis, along with his machine, where scientists discover that the machine is over 5000 years old; and that the Sleeper is alive and healthy, but despite all attempts, will not wake from his comatose slumber. Over time, the Sleeper’s machine is studied, as he remains deep in sleep within the laboratory, and the people eventually begin to create copies of his egg-shaped mecha, using them for labor and work, giving the machines the name "Elemental Gimmick Gear
", or "EGG
" for short.
100 years pass after the discovery of the Sleeper and his machine. One day, without warning, the mysterious ruins extend a multitude of violent, mechanical tentacles, rooting themselves into the earth and bringing with them the destruction of all in their path. Just as the sudden appearance of the giant tentacles emerge from the ruins, so does a thick fog, which surrounds the ruins with its layer of gloom, giving the ruins a new title to the people of Tokion: Fogna. Just as this crisis emerges, so does The Sleeper finally emerge from his slumber within the laboratory, having not aged a day since his discovery over one hundred years ago. Under the care of the scientist Dr. Yam, son of the YAM Ruin Laboratory founder, (the facility dedicated to study of the ruins) and Selen, a fellow scientist under the care of Dr. Yam, The Sleeper’s awakening comes as a shock alongside the sudden danger emerging from the ruins. However, awakening under the watch of Selen, who has watched and cared for him for a time, she allows him to leave without alerting the other scientists, hoping he can somehow solve the mysterious threat of Fogna. With no memory of his own past, and only a new name (Leon by default, unless you choose to rename him) given to him by Selen, The Sleeper, along with his EGG
, head out into the world of Tokion to save the dying world and solve Fogna’s mysteries; even as he and his machine are just as much mystery, both to those around him, and to himself.
From here, The Sleeper will set out on an adventure of Zelda
-esque gameplay proportions. As The Sleeper, you’ll talk to people in town, explore the countryside, battle other creatures and mechs, take on dungeons full of devious puzzles, fight bosses, and gain items and upgrades, all while unraveling the mysterious story behind The Sleeper, Fogna, the EGGs, and the world of Tokion. Combining lovely hand drawn 2D graphics with occasional 3D boss battles and prerendered cinematics, EGG
is a beautiful adventure with a gorgeous look and sound with a world and style both ethereal and dreamlike, yet at the same time, mysterious and foreboding.
Prepare for a mysterious journey in the world of Tokion in Elemental Gimmick Gear.
Ah, the Dreamcast. We hardly knew thee. I was enthralled by it long before it ever launched, swept up in the massive hype behind it, and when it finally arrived I was clamoring for one. An avid admirer of Sega’s often-troubled-but-always-inspired efforts, the Dreamcast held my interest both for the revolutionary power and graphical capabilities of the system, but also for the special place in my heart which Sega’s unique brand of creativity, style and innovation held. The Dreamcast did not disappoint me when I got my hands on it; the capabilities of the system wowed me, but what wowed me even more were the variety of fascinating and unique first and third party titles coming out, and waiting at the gates. I was enthralled. Sadly, my hopes and dreams were crushed far too soon thereafter, when, barely over a year after I’d gotten one, Sega made its tragic announcement that the Dreamcast was not faring well, and that they would be ceasing support for the system, and exiting the console business.
In a way, this was both a tragedy and, yet, a sort of odd blessing for me, as a passionate Dreamcast owner. While I was nearly in denial that this amazing new system I loved was dying, it also resulted in a swift price drop across the board, not just to the console and its accessories, but also to its library of games; a library that proved incredibly vast and varied for a system that, in the end, lasted barely over two years. A relatively broke kid at the time, with my primary source of income coming from the few dollars I could earn working for neighbors and relatives, the tragedy of the Dreamcast’s failing at the same time allowed my love for the Dreamcast and its library of games to thrive; with games and accessories dropping to dirt cheap prices on Ebay, the Dreamcast became the first console I was able to consistently afford new games and accessories for on my minimal budget. While I was in denial over the Dreamcast’s defeat, I was simultaneously in gaming heaven.
The Sleeper awakens after one hundred years in the Yam Labratory, much to the surprise of scientists Dr. Yam and Selen.
As prices sank and the PlayStation 2 rose, tightening its iron grip on the market, I was squeezing every last bit of gaming bliss out of my faithful Dreamcast. I found myself putting the vast majority of the money I earned into the Dreamcast and its library of titles, and it was almost intoxicating, having so many great titles to choose from, on a system which not only was still consistently wowing me, but now also fit my boyhood budget. Amassing a sizeable collection of Dreamcast games in a short time span, few titles escaped my grasp, and even fewer escaped my attention. From the big, triple-A titles, to the smaller niche ones, to the high-res PC and PS1/N64 ports, to the massive library of import titles which never came stateside, the Dreamcast had one hell of a selection for such a short-lived console, and I was on top of it, sucking up every bit of gaming goodness I could.
was one of those titles I swept up in my Dreamcast frenzy, and, while almost entirely forgotten (or, perhaps, not noticed in the first place) by the rest of the gaming community, it left a lasting impression on me, both as something fresh and unique in the Dreamcast library, and as a nostalgic reminder of gaming from earlier generations. EGG
is one of many forgotten but wonderful niche titles on the Dreamcast, a system overflowing with hidden gems. I was enthralled by EGG’s
gorgeous 2D art, its intriguing techno-organic setting and its challenging but satisfying traditional action-RPG gameplay. In many ways, EGG
is both a lovely throwback to 16-bit gaming, and at the same time, something entirely inspired and all its own. In an age where 2D, old-school gameplay was being somewhat neglected in light of the incredible new technology at the industry's fingertips, EGG
was a refreshing change of pace and a fascinating little game bursting with personality and style. Fans of old-school action-RPGs, stylish hand drawn visuals or those with a true appreciation for niche titles and stylistic excellence in gaming must dig up this forgotten relic of Dreamcast excellence.
Setting out into the world of Tokion will prove to be a mysterious journey of self-discovery for The Sleeper....
History, Release and Reception:
was developed under well-known Japanese publisher, Hudson Soft, by a little-known development team by the name of Birthday. Birthday was, and is, a nearly unheard-of developer, especially outside of Japan; having primarily worked under Hudson Soft and Namco for most its existence, with relatively-little credit ever given to its name, Birthday remained under the radar for the entirety of their existence. Prior to EGG
, none of Birthday’s games had ever left Japan, their resume including mostly Japan-only turn-based RPGs, with their best-known work being on the Daikaijyuu/Kaijyuu Monogatari
games, a series of turn-based RPGs released for the Famicom, Super Famicom, Game Boy and Game Boy Color under Hudson Soft’s name.
Birthday's previous titles included a number of Japan-only turn-based RPGs, such as the Daikaijyuu/Kaijyuu Monogatari series, which saw numerous installments on the Famicom, Super Famicom, Game Boy and Game Boy Color.
It is almost an oddity that EGG
ever saw a release outside Japan, really. Released a few months after the Dreamcast’s launch in Japan to relatively little attention, it came as a pleasant surprise when small-name North American publisher Vatical Entertainment announced in November 1999, just a couple of months after the Dreamcast’s debut in North America, that they would be bringing the little-known title stateside by the end of the year. Vatical themselves, much like Birthday, were never well-known, and had largely stuck to releases for the Game Boy/Gameboy Color, with a few occasional N64 and PS1 releases. Although Vatical had a few Bomberman
titles under their belt, and had recently published some N64 titles such as Shadowgate 64
and Top Gear Overdrive
, most of their releases were low-profile.
With little public attention and no advertising, EGG
was unceremoniously released at the end of December 1999 in North America, amidst a rapidly growing library of titles for the Dreamcast. EGG
was quickly swept up in the tide of Dreamcast releases and went largely unnoticed; although it did gain very positive reviews from the publications and websites which noticed it. IGN have the game a very positive review score of 8.0 out of 10, mentioning some quips with the combat and English translation, but otherwise finding the game to be satisfying and extremely likeable. Planet Dreamcast also gave the game an 8 out of 10, praising the game’s graphics and music, and calling it part of a “dying breed of 2D overhead action-RPGs,” going on to say it is “one of the better ones of recent years.” Reviews for EGG resonated this same vibe across the board, from anyone who took notice of this diamond in the rough; Gamespot gave EGG
a 6.8 out of 10, Shin Force gave the game an 8.0 and Game Revolution gave it a “B” on its letter grade scale.
Despite a positive reception from members of the press who played it, EGG
was overlooked and quickly forgotten, due in part to the game’s niche appeal as an “old-school” title in an age of revolutionary new technology, but perhaps more so, simply due to the quiet release and almost complete lack of advertising or press leading up to or following the game’s release. Birthday was not heard from again, EGG
being their final game, and, likewise, Vatical Entertainment disappeared as well, after the fall of the Dreamcast lead to the cancellation of a few possibly higher-profile releases for them, including a cancelled port of System Shock 2
itself has been, sadly, almost entirely forgotten since. Even when the Dreamcast is reflected upon by gamers, this small but wonderful title has still gone largely overlooked. And that is a true shame, because EGG
is not just a wonderful game, but also a title that stands out as a unique and inspired entry into the Dreamcast’s library of hidden gems, cult classics and revolutionary titles. Certainly, all who have played it agree that EGG
is a very special piece of Dreamcast gaming; the few Youtube videos on it praise the game for its gorgeous art and old-school gameplay, and nearly all user reviews that can be found for EGG
are positive; it has just four on Game FAQs, but of them, all are extremely positive, praising the game with a 9, two 10’s, and a 7.
is sadly forgotten and overlooked, even by Dreamcast fans. And this is a shame, because EGG
has all the makings of a cult classic, and is a title which truly stands out amongst the Dreamcast’s library, both for its concept and quality. If you own a Dreamcast, and have a love for traditional action-RPGs, EGG
begs to be dug up, experienced and given the long-overdue appreciation it has missed out on for so long…..
EGG has seen very little awareness, but almost all who played it agree it is a title any action-RPG fan should discover......
is a lovely game, but there are a few quips and scruples with it, and its appeal is, admittedly, to a somewhat limited audiences. There is so much to love about EGG
, so first, let’s get the bad out of the way….
Probably the most legitimate complaints about EGG
lie in those about its combat and, more specifically, its boss battles, which take place in 3D. To be specific, normal combat, outside boss battles, is not problematic at all, just rather simplistic on the whole. While you’ll gain upgrades and abilities, ultimately, the core combat itself comes down to “punch, punch, punch…..and punch.” Outside that, there is also the ability to do a powerful spinning attack which will send your EGG
whirling around the screen at high speeds to collide with enemies; the downside being that it will slowly drain your HP. But there is much more to the basic core of combat than that….it isn’t flawed per se, just rather simplistic.
Combat is a bit simplistic, but still works well.
Boss battles, on the other hand, are a bit more legitimately problematic. EGG
takes place almost entirely from its 2D, overhead perspective; with the exception of boss fights, at which point the game goes to 3D, usually within a small, contained “arena” type room, where the boss battle takes place. Generally, the boss fights and fighting mechanics function the same as the normal 2D combat, however, they are simply not as well-designed as the rest of the game, have a somewhat clunky and inaccurate feel and, although each boss has a bit of their own “trick” to them, the boss battles generally follow the same routine and feel rather repetitive and uninspired. Boss battles are always a stiff challenge, so they are always rewarding in the end, but part of that challenge comes from the fact that the combat feels clunky and imprecise in them, and that the camera can be a bit awkward and stubborn. They aren’t terribly, horribly broken, but they do have an unpolished, tacked-on feel to them which is uncharacteristic to the rest of the game. What’s more, the boss battles would have functioned better and probably allowed for more variety and precision if they had simply been done in the same 2D, overhead style as the rest of the game. Overall, the boss battles aren’t some huge, broken issue with the game, but rather just something that feels tacked-on and unpolished; like a last minute 3D addition to what was meant to be a fully 2D game. The best way to sum up my thoughts on the boss battles is to say that I picture the team working on what was meant to be a traditional, old-school 2D action RPG, when somebody said….”listen, guys, we need to put in SOMETHING that’s 3D….this is a ‘next-gen’ system, after all……I dunno, make the bosses 3D or something.” Likewise, where the rest of the game’s hand-drawn 2D visual look positively gorgeous and overflowing with detail, the graphics in boss battles, while not ugly by any means, feel a bit bland. While they are not broken nor do they detract from what is overall an amazing game, the boss battles are clunky and a bit unnecessary, and feel uncharacteristically uninspired, amidst what is otherwise a game that feels very passionate and inspired.
The 3D boss battles in EGG are a bit of a low-light. While functional, they are a jarring transition from the rest of the game and feel a bit tacked on.
Some issues with the boss fights aside, I can find very little to really call “flawed” with EGG
. One issue some may have is with the game’s steep difficulty. EGG
is a homage of sorts to classic action-RPGs, and it will put the skills which fans of the genre have honed since the SNES and Genesis to the test. EGG
follows a very similar structure to a game like Legend of Zelda
in its pace and progression; you’ll go to town, buy items, speak to people, do some minimal side quests, roam the overworld, and go to dungeons, where you’ll solve puzzles, fight enemies and ultimately face the boss of each one, unraveling the story along the way. But don’t think EGG
will let you off as easy as Zelda
is tough as nails and pretty merciless as times, both in its puzzles and its enemy and boss difficulty. This is not a flaw, really; in fact, I absolutely loved it, as I’m always up for a hearty, legitimate challenge. But fans should know that EGG
is a tough game, and those without the patience to overcome some its more devious dungeons may find themselves frustrated. One other minor scruple is that the game suffers from the occasional slowdown when there is a lot of action on screen; but this is a small issue which is ultimately of little effect on the game overall.
There’s not much else to really call EGG
out for than these few issues, though, really. If you’re a Dreamcast owner, and a fan of classic Action-RPGs and adventures, read on, because EGG
should be making its way to the top of your “to-play” list…..
Why it’s Worth a Second Look:
is a forgotten relic of Dreamcast lore which is worth a look from any Dreamcast owner, and is must-play for any Dreamcast fan with a love for classic action-RPGs and adventures. There is so much for fans of the genre to love here, that this wonderful title should quickly move to any fan of the genre’s to-play list….
EGG's 2D visuals are gorgeous and filled with intricate detail.
First and foremost, what will be immediately noticeable to any who play EGG
are its gorgeous visuals. EGG’s
world is a wonderfully imaginative techno-organic sci-fi setting, with a remarkably distinct look and style, and huge credit is owed to the artists and graphical designers at Birthday who so brilliantly brought this world to life with the gorgeous, exquisitely-detailed 2D graphics and art throughout the game. Environments are lush and bursting with color, and the contrast between the lush greens of the organic world and ancient depths of the ruins clashing with the mechanical forces rooting themselves into the otherwise pure and earthy world of Tokion makes for a strikingly memorable world and an instantly unique and fascinating style. Likewise, while sprites and character art are small and at times minimalist, the characters, mechanical designs and enemies all have a similarly distinct style to them that completes EGG’s
remarkably original world and brings it to life with its own, imaginative style. The end result in a gorgeously detailed and realized world, which simultaneously draws inspiration from an array of sci-fi and fantasy sub-genres, and combines them to create something all its own. EGG’s
distinct style and visuals will leave a lasting impression on any who experience it.
Aside from the lovely 2D graphics throughout EGG
, I also loved the style and look of the occasional cutscenes in the game. To anybody who watches the game’s intro cinematic, this unique look will be instantly apparent. Combining 2D animated characters with prerendered CG, the look is unique, captures the feel of EGG’s
world beautifully, and is pulled off with excellence. These cinematics are few are far between, but what there is of them are very nice, and serve to complement the game’s already excellent visual presentation.
Cutscenes combine traditional 2D animation with prerendered CG.
Speaking of EGG’s
wonderfully imaginative and creatively brilliant world and style, the story, setting and adventure itself are all just as engaging as the visuals themselves, and in many ways, all of these elements complement each other perfectly, working together to create a fascinating and engaging world and experience. The tale EGG
tells is mysterious and interesting, and is greatly enhanced by how brilliantly realized its setting is. The setting of EGG
in and of itself was so fascinating that I wanted to unravel its mystery just to know more about this fascinating world, and while the story itself sometimes takes a back seat to the gameplay and exploration, it is always driving the player forward, consistently lending to the genuine sense of mystery and discovery throughout the game at all times. It was a tale and world I truly wanted to unravel the mysteries of. The origins of The Sleeper, his EGG
, the ruins and the world of Tokion are shrouded in mystery, and it was all a joy to discover. Just as the setting drove me to unravel the story, so did the story drive me to explore the setting, and the way the tale and gameplay complemented each other in this manner is proof of how fascinating an experience EGG
is. Likewise, by the time the credits rolled, I felt EGG
was a very “complete” game, and was fascinated, satisfied and even moved by the experience I’d had in the world of Tokion.
The world of Tokion is fascinating to discover and explore.
world is a joy to explore, on that note. It’s beautiful hand-drawn 2D graphics make for a world that is always a pleasure to behold, and there is both a constant feeling of discovery and, at the same time, a somewhat friendly, homey feeling about it all. EGG’s
world is not particularly huge, really, and you’ll find yourself returning to the same small town and surrounding areas often; but this is not a weakness, it actually is one of the game’s strengths, which suits the atmosphere of the game, reinforces a feeling of connection with the people of this part of Tokion, and creates a growing feeling of “home” with the game’s surroundings, as The Sleeper himself becomes more accustomed to the places and people around him, who in turn begin to accept him and look to him for help. The size of EGG’s
world and the fact that the game has you revisiting the same places and people often is ultimately a very good thing, which simultaneously manages to never hinder the feeling of adventure and discovery when exploring the ruins and outskirts of its world. If anything, the cozy area of the world you find yourself in and around, filled with familiar people and places, establishes a bond between the player and the game’s world and people, which goes hand-in-hand with the story and adds a significant weight to the game’s immersion and emotional connection.
You'll leave your EGG to explore some parts of town.
Exploring the world and ruins is always exciting, and there is a feeling of accomplishment as you build your character in a particularly Zelda
-esque fashion, gaining upgrades, increased health and new abilities. While the lush overworld is always a joy to behold, the dark, foreboding dungeon areas of the ruin are just as interesting, and are an incredibly satisfying challenge to overcome. EGG’s
dungeon areas play out in a familiar fashion to any action-RPG/adventure game, but what makes them so great is the particularly devious puzzles and intricate construction of the dungeons themselves. Each area of the ruins will put the skills of any fan of the genre to the test, and EGG
manages to achieve a balance between a tough challenge, both in its mind-bending puzzles and its challenging enemies/bosses, while still never becoming too over-the-top; you’ll always feel challenged, but never like the challenge cannot be overcome.
Exploring the ruins will put your mind and skills to the test.
is a game which achieves a very strong and distinct atmosphere, and that atmosphere is much the result of the game’s gorgeous visual style, but also its lovely musical soundtrack, as well. EGG’s
soundtrack, like much of the game, harkens back to the sound and feel of classic 16-bit RPG soundtracks. EGG’s
soundtrack is lovely, filled with a sense of adventure and emotion, and has the distinct 16-bit sound of something like an orchestral score that has been digitized. The soundtrack radiates feelings of adventure and nostalgia, and, as with so much of the game, fans of 16-bit RPGs with fall in love with its familiar, yet distinctly original, sound. EGG’s
soundtrack is fitting and completes the mood and atmosphere of the game, and on top of it, is highly memorable; even today, over a decade since I first played EGG
, I still find myself humming its most memorable tracks.
You'll gain various power-ups and upgrades throughout your quest, bulding your EGG into a more powerful and capable machine.
The thing about EGG
that is hard to put down into words is just what a wonderful and memorable experience it all comes together to create. EGG
will simultaneously have you feeling nostalgic for the days of 16-bit gaming, while providing you with an experience that is fresh and original even as it pays homage to old-school action-RPG adventuring. EGG
is so consistently a joy to see, hear and play that the whole experience becomes something almost cerebral. Its setting and concept are so unique that, even as you recall the older titles which served as its inspiration, and even as it follows many of the gameplay concepts prevalent in so many similar titles, you’ll still never feel like you’ve taken this adventure before. EGG
follows a structure of gameplay and progression very similar to the “usual” action-RPG/adventure formula; if you’ve played through a Zelda
title or Beyond Oasis
, you’ll know what to expect from the general feel of the gameplay, and the progression of the adventure, as you talk and buy items in town, explore the world, uncover secrets and side quests, and ultimately prepare for and enter the game’s labyrinthine dungeons to solve puzzles and defeat menacing bosses. But what makes EGG
great is that it takes this well-proven formula and creates a game that is so inspired, unique and beautiful around it. Any game can copy an established formula; but to take an established formula and create something all its own and fascinatingly original with it is impressive. And to maintain a nostalgic feeling of homage and never feel like it’s just “copying” the titles it was inspired by, is a hard balance to achieve, and a real accomplishment that EGG
does it so perfectly. EGG
does all this with ease, and creates an engaging story and creatively inspired setting around it all.
EGG establishes a strong feeling of connection between the player and the world of Tokion and its people.
Once you finish EGG
, there is not a lot of incentive for replay value, however, your stay in Tokion will not be one that is short-lived. Clocking in at somewhere between 25 to 35 hours, EGG
is of healthy size for a traditional action-RPG. The adventure lasts just the right amount of time; nothing in EGG
felt like fluff or filler, there is just the right amount of optional content and side quests (which, likewise, don’t overwhelm or distract from the main story and quest), and the story and bulk of the game never hits any hiccups, nor does it fly by too fast; overall, I would describe the pace as steady throughout, never losing the player’s interest or feeling rushed. Gameplay itself is satisfying and rewarding throughout, as well, as the player steadily gains upgrades for their powers and health, and the somewhat basic upgrade/leveling system for the EGG’s
various abilities (attack, defense, mind, etc) works well for the game, and makes for a satisfying experience in which your character constantly feels like he is growing and becoming more powerful, creating a feeling of accomplishment as you move forward. The game moves at an almost leisurely pace at times, but once again, this is part of what makes EGG
such a pleasant experience; getting to know EGG’s
corner of Tokion is a fulfilling experience, and the steady pace and progression of the story and main quest do an excellent job of conveying a feeling of fascination and connection with EGG’s
story and world.
Uncovering the depths of EGG's world and tale is mysterious and fascinating.
Elemental Gimmick Gear
is a lovely game that simply fell through the cracks. Developed by a near-unheard-of developer and brought to North America by an equally obscure publisher, EGG
saw very little in the way of advertising or press upon release, quickly washed away amongst a sea of oncoming Dreamcast releases in the console’s opening months. As a decidedly classical game, both in gameplay and graphical presentation, EGG
was a bit of an oddity, as well, in a time where the gaming industry was gearing up for a revolutionary new step in technology; and perhaps this, too, cemented EGG’s
position as a niche title. However, in a time and on a console that was moving so boldly towards the future, EGG
simultaneously served a quiet reminder that, even amidst the revolutionary new ideas and technology being set forth into the industry, the classics and classic concepts were still every bit as solid and strong as ever. It is only a shame that more people didn’t notice; because for any gamer with a love for classic gaming and a soft spot for 16-bit action-RPGs and adventures, EGG
will almost undoubtedly prove to be an immensely satisfying experience. From the classic gameplay, to the gorgeous 2D visuals, to the lovely music and thoroughly unique and engaging setting and story, EGG
is sure to intrigue and enthrall any with a love for the classics. Any who own a Dreamcast, and have a love and appreciation for the 16-bit classics of the action-RPG/adventure genre, will find a true diamond in the rough with EGG
. This forgotten Dreamcast classic is overlooked far too often, even by fans of its genre and system, but any who take the time to dig it up will find a wonderful journey waiting for them in the world of Tokion.
EGG's journey is one every action-RPG adventurer owes it to themselves to take.
Who Should Play It?
Any fan of the action RPG or adventure genres, especially those of the 16-bit era. Dreamcast aficionados looking to discover and play some of the system’s lost classics. Fans of science fiction or “techno-organic” styles and settings. People with a love or appreciation for hand-drawn, 2D art or creative art styles and settings in video games.