Review by TheMadcapLaughs

"A sequel to Banjo-Kazooie? Of course itís great"

Banjo-Kazooie was one of the first few 3D platformers and is certainly among the best – it was fun, looked great for an early N64 game and was quite witty. A few years later we got Banjo-Tooie and let me just say it doesn't disappoint.

The story goes that Grunty has been brought back to life by her two sisters, though it must be said she is only borderline alive as she is merely a walking, talking skeleton. To solve this problem she plans to return to her lair where she will drain the Isle O Hags of all its life force – however she only does this after blasting Banjo's house which kills Bottles in the process as well as releasing a multitude of enemies un to the poor old Isle. Now you, aka Banjo and his trusty backpack-filler Kazooie, must go off to take down Grunty and save the Isle.

The last game Banjo and Kazooie had a lot of great moves to perform which really helped make the game as great as it was. Trust me if you liked the moveset in the last game you'll love this games moveset. The pair have several new moves as well as being able to fire not just one but five types of eggs (including an awesome remote controlled bomb egg) in both first and third person. However probably the biggest addition is that now Banjo and Kazooie can split up allowing you to control one of them on their own. This adds to the puzzles greatly as Kazooie has most of the attack power as well as a huge jump height and long gliding distance allowing you to reach virtually anywhere, meanwhile Banjo also has various advantages such as being able to carry people in his backpack as well as being able to get in to his backpack for various purposes. This really improves the game and is a great addition.

Of course it's not just you and Kazooie as you can now control Mumbo, the shaman, who can go about zapping people with his stick as well as casting spells that can bring statues to life, levitate large objects and many other things – one unique thing per level. However, I hear you ask what has happened to transformations, after all Mumbo was responsible for the four transformations in Banjo-Kazooie including turning Banjo and Kazooie in to a Crocodile and a Bee – the transformations were nice, but nothing great. NOW they are great as they return at the hands of Wumba, a mystic who spends the entire game hiding in various wigwams around the worlds. Why are they great now? Now they are more fleshed out as playable characters, they are needed for far more puzzles, there are more of them (9 in total) but most importantly they are more fun.

The first thing that will strike you about the new levels in this game is that they are big – heck, they're massive. The average level in Banjo-Tooie level is probably something like four to five times larger than the average level in Banjo-Kazooie. You might be thinking this is a bad thing as surely it would promote tons of backtracking and confusion. Well…no. Admittedly there is a bit of backtracking but for the most part warp pads make up for this. As far as confusion goes there are only a couple of levels that may confuse you but the warp pads and landmarks do serve as an indicator of where you are.

There were a couple of bosses in the last game but they certainly weren't anything amazing. They added some variety to the game but they didn't make the game. However the bosses in Banjo-Tooie are truly superb. There's one every level each of which is genuinely menacing and rather funny – some of them even have brilliant methods to take them down. They aren't as good as bosses in the 3D Zelda games, but they certainly aren't far off.

As I said the bosses are funny. That certainly isn't the only source of humour in the game though as the majority of the characters will put a smile on your face and make laughs escape your mouth. It is a very witty game.

There were a few minigames scattered around the last game and they were all reasonably uninteresting. This time the minigames are quite a bit better. To make things better though there are now multiplayer minigames most of which are pretty damn fun.

The graphics look absolutely superb – better than some early PS2 games. Everything looks detailed and is easy on the eyes. Everything except one thing – the frame rate. The frame rate isn't terrible but it does struggle a bit now and then. It isn't bad enough to damage your experience too much, but it does stop Tooie from being the best game on N64 graphically. I'm going to say the same about the music that I did with Banjo-Kazooie because it really is a very similar case; The music is…different. I'm not about to call it brilliant, yet at the same time it is quite catchy and really sits well with the moods of the game.

The game will probably last you about 20 hours on a playthrough and that's ignoring multiplayer. It is a great game that is fun, funny and certainly not easy. This is a game that is well worth playing.

Gameplay = 9.5/10
Design = 10/10
Graphics = 9/10
Music/Sound = 8.5/10

Final Score = 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/15/08

Game Release: Banjo-Tooie (EU, 04/12/01)


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