Banjo-Kazooie was the first game I ever played. I remember my mother played it and she loved it. As a small child, no older than 5, I managed to delete her file at the final boss, Gruntilda.
She’s never played it since.
But a while later, when I started making sense of this insane world, I tried it out. It was, to understate it, amazing. My feeble little mind was completely blown. There we no remnants of my brain to be seen. And because I enjoyed it so much, I have came back to it every couple of years, only to be reminded of that sense I had when I first played it. Even without my nostalgia-goggles on, I can definitely say it is one of the best games ever created, and this is why you should play it.
I love this game for much the same reasons I love Yoshi’s Island, that being that it’s the best example I can think of in it’s genre, that being a 3rd person adventure platformer. And although I love how the game feels and behaves, I mostly love it because it has so much charm. This game is filled to the brim with witty dialogue and characters, colorful environments, and an overall sense of warrantless adventuring that companions you the whole game. In short, it’s a really light and fluffy game that is bound to make you smile quite a bit.
The premise of this game is pretty simple. You (Banjo) run around and use your bird (Kazooie) in a variety of ways to defeat enemies and get to the Jiggies scattered around 9 different worlds. It’s basically a giant collect-a-thon. Wait, don’t leave! I know a lot of people cringe when they hear a the phrase “collect-a-thon”, but I’ve never really understood why. I’ve said this many times before, but I feel that any game, any mechanic and any idea can be awesome if properly executed, and Banjo-Kazooie is no exception. Even if the goal is simple and unsophisticated, that doesn’t disqualify it from being a good one. Anyways, I digress. It may be a slightly overdone mechanic, especially in the N64 age, but it’s till executed masterfully.
I can say with utmost confidence that the game plays well, but as I said above, the game shines not in that, but in everything else. A synopsis of the story is as follows: Gruntilda the witch is jealous of your little sister Tootie’s beauty. She abducts Tootie in a dramatic fashion, and it’s up to you, Banjo, to save her by progressing through Gruntilda’s lair up to the top, and defeat her. Again, a fairly banal scenario we have here. It’s a cookie-cutter example of “X steals Y, who is dear to Z. Z goes on a quest to defeat X and save Y.” But as they say, it’s not about the destination, but about the journey. Gruntilda’s tower happens to be a magical one, and has several portals to different themed worlds, all of which contain solid gold puzzle pieces that you use to finish puzzles of other worlds, which unlock the portals to there. Writing it down points out how absurd the setup is, but nonetheless, it does the job. In these several worlds, you meet a plethora of talking animals with colorful personalities. In the second world, for instance, you meet a crying hippo, Captain Blubber, who has lost his gold in his own boat. How sad. In the third world, you meet a giant robot (cyborg?) shark who acts as garbage disposal for Gruntilda, and lives a miserable life in a murky, polluted pool. That’s a little more sad than Captain Blubber’s story. There are many, many more acquaintances you will meet.
In regards to the world environments in which you travel, all are incredibly different from each other. You travel to, in order, a mountainside, a treasure-laden beach, a sewer-like system of dubious importance, a swamp home to a giant alligator and turtle, a winter valley that a monstrous snowman occupies, a desert riddled with ancient pyramids and sphinxes, a haunted mansion and it’s grounds, a run-down construction bay for ships, and finally, a meadow with 4 distinct seasons. Whew! As anyone would have noticed, no two worlds are the same, and all are equally fun, even if some are a little more frustrating than others. They also have no shortage of things to do and obstacles to overcome.
I could talk more about this game and the things in it, but I’m sure you just want to go about your day. Banjo-Kazooie is a fantastic game that was an integral part to setting me on the path of what I am doing today. It is a game of great variety and charm, in addition to being quite a bit of platforming fun. As I have said in the past, don’t be a pirate or emulate this game. Being the sole proprietor of the downfall of international economies is not cool.
872 furs/1038 schoolfriends