Review by nado

"One amazing game every N64 owner should have."

Banjo-Kazooie was created by Rare who was, at the time of release, second party to Nintendo. Rare created many great games for the Nintendo 64; this game, Banjo-Kazooie, it's sequel, Banjo-Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Perfect Dark to name a few. Some people may not want to buy Banjo-Kazooie because they own Super Mario 64, and think they are too similar. Sure, they are both platformers, but as you play through the game, you will notice both are very different.

In Banjo-Kazooie, the player controls Banjo, and Kazooie to an extent. Banjo is a walking and talking bear who wears yellow pants and a backpack, carrying Kazooie. Kazooie is an orange-ish bird who comes along with Banjo on his quest to rescue his little sister, Tooty, from the evil witch Gruntilda. On their quest, they must venture through Grunty's lair in search of musical notes to open locked doors with, and jiggys used to open worlds containing the notes. Along the way, new moves are found, friends are met, and enemies are made.

Gameplay – 10/10

The gameplay in Banjo-Kazooie is fantastic. You explore many areas, consisting of Grunty's Lair, Spiral Mountain, and nine worlds. These are full of jiggys, notes, mumbo skulls, and various other objects used to power up the duo, or to complete a quest. To access the worlds, you will need to find the world's puzzle, and have enough jiggys to complete it. Some jiggys are obtained by defeating bosses, collecting items for a friendly character in the game, reaching somewhere in a time limit, or by exploring all of the small nooks and crannies throughout the game. The bosses battled in this game, although few, are enjoyable to battle. The most notable boss battle in the game is the first one against Gruntilda. It is a stretch to call it a battle, but for anyone who hasn't played this game, I won't spoil it. During the adventures throughout Grunty's Lair and the different worlds accessed within it, you will find Bottles, a friendly mole (at least to Banjo) who will teach you all of the moves and about the items you will need to use to get through the game. He will teach you how to use items on the ground, particularly eggs, feathers, and shoes, and how to exploit your feathered friend's talents to access more areas as you progress. In five of the nine worlds to explore, a shaman named Mumbo Jumbo will have a hut where Banjo and Kazooie will be able to transform into animals (and one vegetable). These let you explore more areas to collect all of the jiggys and notes. Each of the transformations has a strength that lets them explore more areas than the bear and bird, such as the first transformation can walk on steep surfaces. So basically, you are in for a lot of fun.

Graphics 10/10

The graphics are great in this game. There is detail put into everything. When exploring the worlds, you can look at a wall, and depending on where you are, you may see rocks covered in vines, pipes and mechanical looking things covering the stone wall, or various other things. Nothing is out of place with the graphics. On the first level, most everywhere is covered in grass, with some areas in dirt, and you will come across colorful flowers dotted on the landscape. The characters are a bit blocky, but it is hard to notice often times. Everyone has some sort of animation, so all of the characters are alive, instead of mimicking statues.

Music and Sound 10/10

One of the most popular tunes in this game is the amazingly catchy Click Clock Wood Spring one. A few weeks ago, it somehow managed to pop into my head, after not playing the game for 5 years! After determining where the music was from, it inspired me to play this game again. Most of the music in this game is very catchy, and suits the environment well. When walking through Grunty's Lair, the music is rather quiet, just like the empty area that the lair is. However, when you walk near Gobi's Valley, the music becomes more upbeat with a more Egyptian sound, which sounds somewhat like the wind instruments snake enchanters use. When venturing near Freezeezy Peak, the music will change to a more Christmas-y tone with the use of some bells. The music never seems out of place wherever you are, and frequently changes depending on your location. The sound is good as well. There is a unique sound to gathering each item that you will find throughout the journey that suits the item well. A flute is played when a feather is gathered, and a sort of bouncy sound is played when an egg is gathered. The bounce may sound out of place, but when watching the eggs jump side to side, you can see why they use that sound was put there. The most unique use of sound in this game is that of the character voices. Instead of having voice acting, or having a long blip sort of sound, each character has a unique sound that they make when they talk. There are a few sounds that each make, and for as long as text continues to appear on screen from them, they make the sounds. It seems that the sounds are randomized, so you won't be hearing Banjo's “guh” over and over again. Another neat aspect of this voice system is that you can speed up or slow down how fast they talk, slowing down or speeding up the sounds, which can make for some laughs.

Story 8/10

The story isn't very original, the old “pretty girl is captured, go rescue her” is used here. However, there is a twist on it that gives it some originality and makes it somewhat humorous. That twist is that Gruntilda, who kidnaps Banjo's sister Tooty, wants to steal her cuteness with a machine she invented. There isn't very much story development throughout the game, showing that story was not a main focus of the game. I included the dialogue that characters say in this category, because it is story related somewhat. The dialogue is the reason that this category scores high. There is lots of humor in the text, a little for everybody. It never gets old seeing Kazooie and Bottles insult each other for every box of text. Sometimes when wandering around Grunty's Lair, Grunty will chime in to deliver an insult of some form to Banjo (usually calling him fat or dumb) in rhyme. Though the insult may not be exactly laugh out loud funny, the rhyming she does usually is.

Final decision 10/10

This is an amazing game, and everyone who owns a Nintendo 64 should own this game as well. If you do have an N64, but don't have this game, go find it now. It is worth the $15 or whatever your local game store charges for this game, that is, if you can find it.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/20/06


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