Ah yes, Mario. He invented the plat-forming genre, which is still going on today, even though some are changed up a bit to be more interesting, but I digress. Still, there were some pretty interesting plat-forming games after Mario came out, like Sonic the Hedgehog, Kirby’s Adventure, and Wario Land. But, we are not here to talk about any of those guys. I am here to talk about one of my favorite games of all time in the plat-forming genre, and one of my favorites of all time, Banjo Kazooie for the Nintendo 64.
Now, let me just state that again, I just love this game. I also love the sequel, but that’s for another day. I might be a little biased with this game review, but it’s only because I believe this to be one of the best games not only for the Nintendo 64 but one of the best games of all time. So, is this game as good as I say it is, or am I being too biased? Pick up your banjo and umm, kazooie and let’s get started!
The setting of this game takes place in the Land of Spiral Mountain, where the game starts inside the mountain of the lair of the evil witch, Gruntilda. She asks her magic cauldron if she was the prettiest one of all, and you can guess what the cauldron said. She then finds out that a young female bear named Tooty is the prettiest one of all, and is filled with rage! Next, the game sets us up at the house of our main hero, Banjo, and his bird sidekick, Kazooie, where Tooty has walked there to hang out with her older brother. Before she could step inside however, she is kidnapped by Gruntilda and taken back into Spiral Mountain so she could take her prettiness from her. Not so far away, Bottles, the mole tells Banjo and Kazooie about what happens, and then our two heroes set out to Spiral Mountain to save Tooty from the evil witch.
The company Rare that made games like the Wizards and Warriors series, Goldeneye, Conker’s Bad Furday, the Donkey Kong Country series, Donkey Kong 64, and the ever-so-difficult Battle Toads also made Banjo Kazooie. Knowing it was Rare that made some of the best games of all time, I was excited, since the Donkey Kong Country series was one of my favorite series of games. Rare usually has the plan to push every game they make to the limit of the Console’s hardware limitations, and I commemorate them for that since not everyone does that, even today.
The game play style is of a non-linear plat-forming action adventure game. You control Banjo, while Kazooie sits in his backpack. As you travel across 9 huge worlds and complete multiple challenges in each world, you are required to collect what this game has in the form of golden jigsaw pieces. It’s like Mario collecting gold stars in Mario 64. You learn multiple different abilities during the game. like rolling into enemies, shooting eggs using kazooie, and multiple other moves you learn from Bottles the mole. If you are wondering, “how do I learn all these amazing moves?” well. how Mario has golden coins and Sonic has golden rings, Banjo must collect gold musical notes, which are required to open up new areas and learn new moves.
The worlds in the game are just awesome and fun to go through. Each level has about ten jigsaw pieces and you have to get them in multiple challenges, like going through mazes, fighting bosses, or just helping out fellow characters in each level. Since we are talking about all the awesome characters, I think I’ll list a few. There is Gobi the camel, Trunker the palm tree, Mumbo the shaman, Captain Blubber the Hippo, and multiple other quirky characters that are in the game.
The graphics are just amazing. I mean, not a lot of games look this good on the Nintendo 64. The only other games that look this good on the system are Orcarina of time, Conker’s Bad Furday, Mario 64, and Donkey Kong 64. The music is also one of the shining moments in this game. Grant Kirkhope, who did many Rare games like Donkey Kong Land 2, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and other Rare games composed the music.
Now, it’s time to shoot an egg and get the golden jigsaw pieces of the bad parts of the game. There isn’t a lot of bad things that I can say about this game. The only real things I don’t like about the game are the lives. I mean, I don’t mind them as much, but it seems pointless by today’s standards of plat-forming. Another thing is that some of the challenges are a little unforgiving, and they will screw you over if you are not careful. It has happened to me and it will happen to you, though these are just small gripes that I have with the game.
I just can’t say enough about how much I love this game. It’s fun, creative, and just great to play. I just wish Rare didn’t get bought by Microsoft. I wish they could make more great Banjo Kazooie games besides the ones they just made. I would highly recommend buying this game for your N64 or downloading it off Xbox Live.
This game gets a 9 out of 10