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Banjo-Kazooie (N64)

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    39 Reviews
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      15.05.2011 22:05
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      A classic N64 platform game from the golden era of Rare and a must own for the N64 or XBLA.

      When it comes to infusing fun and originally into their creations Rare back when they were on top form in the N64 era were the masters of their craft. Even when the game in question can be said to be a imitation of another well known title, in this case the superb all time classic platformer Super Mario 64, but this is certainly no carbon copy but a fun and innovative game in it's own right.


      In Banjo-Kazooie you play as a cartoonish bear called Banjo and his best friend Kazooie who is a bird contained within his backpack. These two characters work together in order to thwart the schemes of the evil witch Gruntilda who holds Banjo's sister in her clutches. This is your typical Saturday morning cartoon and damsel in distress fare but it serves to set the scene for classic 3D platform game action.

      Story 10/10

      It's a rare (or a Rare) game indeed that deserves 10/10 for anything but this game contains just the right amount of originality, cliche and humour for both children and mature gamers alike. Another thing well worthy of praise is the dialogue, especially that of the evil witch, Gruntilda, (Grunty for short), who speaks in clever rhymes. Not only is Gruntildas dialogue well written it is also quite funny.

      Gruntilda thinks she is the prettiest creature alive (though she's really an old hag) and asks her magical cauldron called Dingpot to confirm this, in the classic Sleeping Beauty story style. And so she sets off to kidnap Tooty with the aim of placing her in a beauty swapping machine and so stealing Tooties good looks. And so it's up to Banjo and his friend Kazooie to come to her rescue and save the day. You get to see the result of the beauty swap in a cut scene whenever you lose the game, which contains some slightly adult humour. So all in all the story is cliched yet also fresh and humorous which for a video game is a refreshing change from the norm.

      Gameplay- 9/10

      The first thing to mention is that the game control is excellent and responsive with a number of moves to learn and use throughout. There is a diverse variety of interesting levels each containing plenty of collectibles and other items to collect and aid you in your quest. The levels are contained within nine different worlds (and a main hubworld), to enter each world you have to collect jigsaw pieces called "Jiggies". Jiggies are placed in picture frames to unlock each new world.

      New moves are learned from a character called Bottles a shortsighted Mole. These moves enable you to fight enemies and reach otherwise inaccessible areas. The controls are very easy to learn. Whenever Bottles teaches you a new move, he tells you exactly how to use it, and what buttons to use. The instructions are clear enough that even a beginner will have no problem learning the controls, though swimming is a little trickier to fully master.

      While the game world is expansive the levels themselves are relatively short and can be completed within half an hour so there always is something new to do and see. It is somewhat rare (Rare) to find yourself bored or wandering around not knowing where to go or what to do as can sometimes happen with games of this type.
      Your lifemeter is constructed from honeycombs (seeing as you're playing a bear) you start with five of these losing one per contact with an enemy or other hazard. Defeated enemies will always leave a honeycomb so defeating them is essential if you want to replenish your depleted energy. There are also empty honeycombs to collect, six of these will grant you an extra unit.

      Rare certainly went to town on the collectibles in this game 94 Jiggie pieces out of 100 are required to unlock every world in this game and progress to the end game boss battle with Grunty. This is not as daunting a task as it sounds however as many Jiggie pieces are relatively easy to acquire compared to say the gold stars in Mario 64 which take a great deal more effort.

      The final fight with Grunty herself is challenging almost to the point of being unfair however. Certainly you can see that Rare didn't set out with the intention of making this as a purely children's game it has the right amount of challenge (as well as humour) for adults as well.
       
      So all in all this is a finely crafted, well polished and fun to play game, it makes extensive borrowings from the gameplay elements of Mario 64 but it adds it's own unique twists and style.
       
      Graphics- 9/10

      For the N64 these are some truly superb graphics. The characters (and the items as well) are very well detailed and textured while everything else everything has colourful and shiny look, which fits the cartoonish tone of the game. Everything is well animated and there is very little slowdown the game mains a smooth framerate throughout. This is certainly one of the better looking N64 titles out there and it shows how Rare was one of the few developers to really properly harness the full potential of the N64 console. One very minor fault to mention I the occasional clipping issue, hands and feet may sometimes go through the odd wall but this isn't anything that detracts too heavily from the polished look of the game.


      Sound- 8/10

      If there's one thing Rare knew how to do when it came to the N64 it was producing some of the very best music tracks you will hear on the system. Each and every level has a tune that is worth listening to and you often find yourself humming alone to the action.
      The game doesn't include real speech however the characters make gibberish noises that are translated in subtitles. While real speech would have been better it's certainly understandable given N64 cartridges had memory limitations. One amusing touch however is if you hold down the A button while they're talking you increase both the speed at which they speak gibberish as well as the pitch.

       
      Longevity-7/10


      This game is just the right length it is not too short to be over before you have a chance to really start enjoying the action and it isn't too long as to get boring either. However once completed it doesn't quite give you compelling reason to replay, particularly as you will likely collect almost all the items and mini-games in your first playthrough and of course the story remains the same. The main adventure can be completed in around 12 hours but this is a decent length for a platform title.
       
       
      Final Word

      Banjo-Kazooie is among Rare's best work, a classic 3D platform action game and a title that deserves pride of place in any Nintendo 64 owner's collection. The new version on Xbox Live Arcade is well worth checking out as well. The 360 version includes updated visuals, improved draw distance and of course achievements which are always nice to earn.

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        21.03.2011 20:51

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        A truely brilliant game. I'd still play it now. Colourful and fun, great for all ages.

        This is simply (in my opinion) the best platform game of all time. The designers, 'Rare' have made other hits, like Goldeneye, Perfect Dark and Donkey Kong.

        To non-gamers, it may be unknown, but it shouldn't be.

        It all starts off when the evil witch, Gruntilda kidnaps Banjo's (the bear) little sister. From then on, you face a daunting task of a getting her back. Your bird Kazooie will help, helping you with different moves, taught by your friend Bottles (a mole)

        The gameplay is superb, the graphics great for the time, and the music is extremely catchy! Movement and moves are really easy to pick up, as you are gradually taught things throughout the game. Things are made clear in the game, so it won't be EASY, it's just helpful! You're likely to play this game for a while! It's not easy!

        The game is incredibly vast - there are about 15 levels, some are pretty big. The levels are excellently thought out. There are different themes, like a haunted house, a beach, a desert etc. Each level has brilliant characters - friends and foes.
        As you advance, enemies will get better, and Jiggys will be harder to obtain.


        You need to get Jiggys. There are 10 in each world, and they look like a golden jigsaw piece. These will help you advance to the next level. There are also musical notes to collect - these will help open doors to get further into the castle.

        With the help of your voodoo friend, Mumbo, you can turn into different animals in the levels, which will help you get Jiggys.

        The final battle is good, but what is REALLY good is just before this. You get to go on a GAME SHOW held by Gruntilda, with questions on the whole game, on the music, the characters and other trivia from levels.

        A few years later, Banjo-Tooie was brought out. This is even bigger, but not quite as good.

        This game is really worth playing, it will take you a long, long time to complete, and isn't easy. I highly recommend it. Simply stunning.

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        27.07.2010 16:04
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        gotta to give it a try, i'll hopefully own it one day, but that's unlikely to happen!

        This is a great nintendo game for all the family - in fact it was one of my favorite ones and I always used to borrow it from video game stores or from friends who have owned it and I was so upset that i actually never owned it! But it was such a good game to play!

        The story is about a bear named Banjo and his bird friend Kazooie, and his little sister Tootie are about to go on an adventure together, while Tootie is talking to Bottles the mole, a friend of Banjo, the evil witch Gruntila kidnaps Tootie for an experiment, as the evil wants to be beautiful and turn the most beautiful person ugly, Banjo has now got to recuse her before it's too late! However on Banjo's quest he must collect jigsaw pieces to help him go into certain worlds and help other people in that world as well as his little sister, while in these worlds he must find eight different colored dragons. There are people who that will help him, like a good fairy who is actually the evil witches' sister and some usual man would will change Banjo into other animals such as spiders but this is for a good reason! Not a bad reason! And not forgetting Banjo's good mole friend Bottles.

        This was the best Nintendo I've played and it was a real shame that i couldn't actually own it on Nintendo game, but i will find it again one day and have another go cause I just loved it so much and it's a great Nintendo game for all family of all ages so anyone can play it really! five out of five stars!

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          25.01.2009 20:23
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          Rare's peak game, there isn't another one like it.

          One morning while Banjo the honey bear is sleeping soundly Grunty, the fat ugly witch, swoops down from her lair and kidnapps Banjo's sister, Tooty! Kazooie the breegull quickly alerts Banjo and the strange duo run outside. From this point there are only crazy colorful adventures full of equally colorful and very well written characters including Bobbles the short sighted mole, Blubber the sea captain, and Mumbo the shamen. All the characters have unique personalities, speech impedaments, and quirks. All of them also play a vital role in the game from rewarding you with jiggies to transforming you into a pumpkin or even teleporting you! You encounter these creatures are you explore Grunty's massive lair witch acts as an overworld. There are 9 worlds for you to explore exluding Grunty's lair each with 10 jiggies, 100 notes. Jiggies are used to open new worlds and notes are used to break Grunty's musical spells so you can advance further through her lair.

          As you progress through the game it becomes increasingly more difficult and just completing the game will take you a long time. It begins simple enough with basic puzzles and some new moves to find in the 9 worlds. But after a while you are presented with near impossible challanges of platforming, timing, and just plain skill. At its core Banjo-Kazooie is an adventure/platformer. It combines both elements of these genres perfectly. You will have to climb massive trees via hopping across skinny branchs! Your fighting skills will be tested during the bosses and finally versus the evil Gruntilda! But you will be tested in many other creative and usually just plain strange situations. Even after you complete the game there is still 26 extra health peices to collect, 900 notes to find, and 100 jiggies to earn. Not to mention the three official secrets which will make the game a good deal easier for you. But have no fear! Even if you get stuck on a jiggie for a while, have to backtrack often, or just get stumped by a puzzle, you won't get bored. Rare put too much detail into this game for you to ever be bored.

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            17.03.2006 21:17
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            Great game for anyone

            This was my first ever Nintendo 64 game, which I got on Christmas day with my Nintendo 64 console. I have been playing it ever since, and come to know it very well, and in my view it's a great game, not just for kids but for people of all ages.

            The main characters are Banjo the honey bear, and Kazooie the breegull. When Gruntilda the witch kidnaps Banjo's little sister Tootie to steal her good looks with a machine, Banjo and Kazooie set off to rescue her. They are helped along the way by Bottles the sort-sighted mole and Brentilda, Gruntida's fairy sister.

            The first enemies you come across are a carrott, an onion and a cauliflower. Evetually you fight mummies and living boxes of TNT.

            There is a wide variety of different worlds, ranging from green meadows to an old abandoned ship called "The Rusty Bucket".

            Although the game may seem easy at a first glance, there's really a lot more to it that makes it more complex and sometimes difficult to complete. It did take me a few years to finally complete it, although I was a young kid at the time I started it.

            There are 900 musical notes to collect, which allow you to progress through Grutilda's Lair. These can sometimes be hard to find, but most of the time you just come across them as you go along. Jiggy's open the different worlds. There are 100 of these to collect.

            One of my favourite parts of the game, is a big quiz you complete towards the end to free Tootie, but the game isn't fully completed after it, although you do get credits.
            The quiz asks you questions about the game itself. For example, some of them give you a picture of a hard to recognize area and you must answer the correct world it is from. Others ask about characters, music on the game, voices, Gruntilda (answers come from Brentilda so be sure to remember what she tells you about Grunty!) and some send you back to challeneges you faced earlier in the game. Each question has three options.

            The game has no bosses. Some big enemies need to be defeated to get a Jiggy, but there are no enemies that must be defeated in order to progress with the game.
            You do fight Gruntilda at the end.

            Overall, this game is one of the best N64 games made, and I would highly recommend it to any gamer. It is available cheap now, unlike it's hard to find sequel, Banjo-Tooie.

            I have seen this game for sale many times on ebay, and also amazon on the marketplace. It is available for about £4 or less second hand but working fine and with good instructions and box. It's even cheaper to buy the cart on it's own, and still not much more to buy new. Maybe about £7 at the most. Ebay and amazon are the best places to try, you can easily find good prices here.

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              17.08.2005 22:51

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              This game is simple but great fun!

              I was given Banjo Kazooie as my first Nintendo 64 game for Christmas a few years ago, and still enjoy playing it now. I completed it with great challenge, but I enjoyed going through each different world/level, as the difficulty rose. Banjo is a loveable bear whos sister is kidnapped by an evil witch. By using your controls and a series of moves, help Banjo and his conpanion, Kazooie find her. The game is great for children and adults of any age, and provides fun for hours on end. Apart from the slightly irritating music and catchphrases, this game is great. The quality of the graphics is good, and the instruction manual tells you everything you need to know in order to play successfully. Happy playing!

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              23.06.2002 02:53
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              What do you get when you cross a bear with a bird? Give up? Aw, c'mon, you haven't even tried any freaky genetic experiments yet . . . okay, what if the bear just wore a backpack that contained the bird in it? Okay quit guessing you get Banjo-Kazooie. The object of Banjo-Kazooie is simple - rescue your sister (What not you compleatly dim girlfriend, but where is the romance?) from the hands of the evil witch before the witch steals her youth and good looks. Sound easy? Not likely. In order to accomplish this feat of daring-do, you have to storm the witch's castle, travel to various magical lands, solve puzzles, kill monsters and turn into various creatures. So the graphics are good (colourful well drawn and genrally top notch), what about the gameplay?. There is a central world around which the action revolves, the witch's castle. From there, you collect puzzle pieces to open more worlds, to get more puzzle pieces, to open more worlds, etc. Each level has a different theme, from the deserts of Egypt to the ice caps of a glacier. Each level is fairly big and adds to the immense scope of the game. As you progress through the different levels, you learn new moves that are crucial to your ability to win the game. Once you have all the moves, every button on the N64 controller gets used. Though the control can get a bit confusing at times. (I quite often waste gold feathers or an egg flys out of a very uncomfortable position pressing the wrong c button.) they are not to hard to master. Being a platform game, there is a lot of jumping. But even though the game is jumping intensive, the jumps are easy to gauge due to the beautiful graphics. Though there are some parts where the jumping becomes a hassle. (this is mainly due to the camera angle see later.) With a bird strapped to your back, you'd imagine that you might fly. Indeed, at points you will have to use your feathered friend to reach new heig
              hts. The flight allows you to view all the level for a few red feathers. The sound and music help establish the overall mood of the game nicely. The cartridge format leaves voices out of the mix, (although 1 character burps while you read and my immature side finds this very amusing.) but background sounds and other effects are well-done. The only real problem with Banjo-Kazooie lies in the auto-camera.(grrrrrr) Some areas confine the camera to a specific point, sometimes obscuring a crucial enemy. Other times, the camera will not be in the right position to gauge a jump properly. I'm happy that they included a button that places the camera directly behind the bear. Without that button, I would have been lost and have had to write a strongly worded letter. Although you get used to some bizarre camera angles as you play the game, it still can be quite annoying. Of course, the game follows the basic formula of a platformer - kidnapped female, evil castle, jump on enemies, etc. But the reason the formula still exists is due to the fact that, occasionally, it works really well. Banjo-Kazooie is a case where the cliche works to perfection. Although we question Nintendo's blatant violation of the genetic cloning ban put in place, they did so for a good cause, and a good game.

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                25.09.2001 02:58
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                • "Not original"

                Banjo Kazooie is a great game that sums up a lot about why the N64 failed. It's a great game - it exudes playability and really uses the N64. It's also indicative of the public's perception of the N64 - Primary coloured, childish themes and a 3D platformer. These preconceptions bely what is in fact a classic. Banjo-Kazooie is a platformer where you control two characters. A bear, who has a bird in his rucksack. The evil witch Gruntilda has kidnapped Banjo's sister, and aims to steal her beauty for her own. You are shown the consequence of failure when you run out of lives (rare). As the player you have to collect Golden Jiggys (jigsaw pieces). Banjo-Kazooie is not original. It wholeheartedly rips off Mario 64. Even the outwardly original concept of the two characters reflects Mario's cap gimmick - Banjo uses Kazooie to fly, Mario uses the Wing Cap. Banjo uses Kazooie for invincibility, Mario uses the Metal Cap. Banjo does go beyond Mario in certain aspects, with the shamen - Mumbo Jumbo, who can turn the character into other useful objects, which adds to the gameplay in the short term. It's helpful to think of Banjo as not containing two characters, but one, a character with a lot of moves. On this poit, Banjo lacks the easy charisma of the Marion games - someone should have told Rare, the creators, that adding a pair of eyes and calling it "xxxxx the xxxxy" does not qualify as characterisation. The game plays well, although it does not have the intuitive control of - yes - Mario 64. If you ever fall of a cliff or bump into an enemy it won't be due to the controls. It might be, however, due to the camera which sometimes refuses to budge and needed a bit more work. Don't be fooled by the primary colour scheme and childish themes as mentioned above. The game contains enough substance for gamers of all ages - 3 to adult - I liked the way that you could co
                mplete it relatively quickly, but to get all the jigsaw pieces might take a while, and there's always the opportunity to beat your best, something that Nintendo didn't think of. I would give this game 5 stars. It's been well thought through and is a great - classic - platformer. Rare built on this success with the excellent Donkey Kong 64 and Conkers Bad Fur Day.

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                21.08.2001 02:41
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                Banjo Kazooie is yet another great game by nintendo, there are many levels to explore and puzzles to solve which makes this game last unlike some games which you pay for and finish in a day. The training at the beginng of the game is very use full as it tells you all the things you (banjo) and kazooie your bird can do. Further in the game there are puzzles to solve and levels to complete in these levels there are notes available which will unlock doors and get you further in the game. There are also different moves you learn like teching kazooie to fly and jump higher. The point of going thriugh all these levels is that Banjos sister is kidnaped by an ugly witch for her good looks and you need to rescue her. Im some levels you will encounter mumbo he is the spiritual wizard that can turn you into anything from an ant to a buzzy bee but you need to pay him mumbo tokens which you pic up in the different levels of the game. If you are new to nintendo and its games i would recomend this one as it is a great laugh. i wont let on any more about this game as i dont want to spoil it for you so go out and get it.

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                22.07.2001 20:11
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                • "Just a fraction too easy"

                Rareware have always delivered great games and this is no exception. As an 11 year old Nintendo fan I have quite a lot of experience of several platform/puzzlers. Easy controls, a huge amount of moves and a bright cartoony style make this a great one. Banjo-Kazooie is a great game for platform/puzzle fans. One annoying thing is that the bulky appearance can get TOO bulky. For example, when a character speaks, the speech balloon fills up around a quarter of the screen, so when 2 people are talking, you lose half the playing area! There is no end to the great, puzzling fun with thousands of hidden bonuses. Even after you've defeated the final boss enemy, you'll want to get every musical note, jigsaw piece, hollow honeycomb and all the other collectable items. It takes AGES to finish so provides good value for money. I feel it would appeal to kids more but is intended to be a family game. (If only my parents were willing to play it with me!) It's an absolutely BRILLIANT game. The pop-up gags add to the cartoon element of it. Well worth getting.

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                  09.06.2001 03:55

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                  A "Dream" Come True There's no denying the fact that Banjo-Kazooie borrows from Mario 64 in more ways than one. Both games are extremely cute 3D platformers with a variation of the same story, a near identical control scheme and a strikingly similar theme of levels. Mario collects stars. Banjo and Kazooie collect jiggies. Mario has a butt-stomp. Banjo and Kazooie have a beak-stomp. Banjo doesn't just copy Mario 64 though, it expands upon the game. For example, Banjo's worlds are bigger, more detailed and are filled with interactive characters at every corner. The Banjo-Kazooie team work as exactly that; some objectives require the use of Kazooie's wings or ability to run up hills while others are perfectly suited for Banjo. The result is an addictive balance between the two characters. The astounding amount of detail put into Banjo-Kazooie is clearly visible from the game's start. After viewing Rare's inventive logo animation, players will be treated to an opening sequence of Banjo-Kazooie and friends playing the game's opening theme-song. The animation is perfect, colors bright and music cheerful. It all feels so Nintendo-like that it's almost eerie. Before beginning the game, first-time players must select a save-file for their particular adventure as no memory pak is required. Rare has made three save-files available so that multiple Banjo-Kazooiers can play different games and save their progress. Each save-file is represent by Banjo-Kazooie in a different position. For example, players choosing save-file three are treated to Banjo and Kazooie playing Nintendo's Gameboy. Gamers selecting a different save-file may see Banjo sleeping in a bed. It's a very unnecessary interface that many developers wouldn't have bothered with, but Rare has gone the extra mile to give the game that much more character. This is the general theme of the Banjo-Kazooie; everything, no matter how small and seem
                  ingly unimportant, has been tackled with extensive detail and that's one of the reasons why the game is in a league of its own. After selecting a game and viewing its opening storyline, which illustrates Tooty's kidnapping by the evil witch Gruntilda in real-time, (a la Goldeneye and Starfox), players begin the adventure just outside of Banjo's house. The first thing players will encounters is Bottles the mole, who teaches the bear/bird duo the maneuvers they will need to know as they progress the game. The Point Before I can explain how the game is played I must first explain how the levels work. There are a total of nine levels plus one huge world (called Gruntilda's Lair) that connects them all. Levels are represented by unfinished puzzles hanging in various areas of Gruntilda's Lair. Players must go into the levels, beginning with Mumbo's Mountain, and collect various items in order to fill in these puzzles and open up new levels and areas. Sound complicated? It's actually not so bad. As Banjo and Kazooie travel to various levels they need to accomplish a set list of objectives: retrieve 10 puzzle pieces (called jiggies) per level, collect 100 musical notes per level and rescue five stranded Jinjos (colorful creatures) per level. The jiggies work to fill in unfinished puzzles and open up new levels. The musical notes, when enough are collected, enable access to blocked-off areas of Gruntilda's Lair which players must access in order to open up new levels. And the Jinjos? Well, when players collect five of them in a level they receive a jiggy. Simple enough. Gameplay I've established the point and the maneuvers of Banjo-Kazooie, but how does the game actually play? Rare has once again managed to improve upon Super Mario 64's tightly-tuned gameplay formula by combining the differing attributes of the bear/bird team with lots of well-crafted character interaction and objectives that natura
                  lly slide right into position. Levels are designed in a way that's completely non-linear, enabling Banjo-Kazooie total freedom to explore and discover new areas at a player's speed. Sony's Crash Bandicoot was designed in a restricted 3D fashion because, according to the game's developer, too much freedom can be a bad thing. By restricting players to a set path, the Crash team could keep the action constant and eliminate tedious exploration. Rare tackles that problem taking an entirely different, preferred approach. Players can go anywhere and do just about anything. However, wherever they go, Rare has thrown certain tasks and objectives in their way so that there's a point to everything. Huge worlds, complete freedom, lots of action -- problem solved. Also, the game isn't limited to straight platform action. There are loads of mini-games that need to be solved, from spelling out certain words to obtain a jiggy to making sure that a band of light-bulbs don't get eaten before they can make it to a Christmas tree; from helping a pirate find his lost treasure to racing a polar bear through the snow -- there's so much to do that complete freedom is a necessity. The game gradually increases in difficulty and the later levels can be downright nasty. Players hoping for something to compete with the standard set by Super Mario 64 won't be disappointed. Character interaction enhances the game greatly. As Banjo-Kazooie make their way through the giant world the team periodically encounters new characters, both good and bad, all of which have something to say. For example, in Mumbo's Mountain, the game's first real level, Banjo-Kazooie must retrieve an orange and give it to a monkey in order to gain access to the pillars above. Once the orange is collected it talks (via a text box at the bottom of the screen and random, very wacky Rare sounds), explaining that it is an orange to players. This happens from everything to Grunt
                  ilda, who constantly interrupts Banjo-Kazooie throughout the game to rhyme off a few sentences about how she will defeat them, to a pair of boots, which explains how it will benefit the duo when worn. The writing is extremely clever and right on. It's not hard to tell that Rare has thrown in a few demented double-meanings in certain character interactions [see tree with nuts]. The game's writing really comes into play through Gruntilda's crude rhymes and by talking with the evil witch's good sister, who gives necessary hints that must be remembered in order to beat the game. Another necessary interaction takes place with the game's resident shaman, Mumbo. Mumbo tokens are hidden in random locations throughout levels. Once collected, these tokens are used as payment for Mumbo to transform Banjo-Kazooie into anything from a termite to an alligator. Certain areas in the game can only be reached when playing as alternate characters. For example, some of the swamp-lands cannot be walked on by Banjo-Kazooie, but the alligator has no problem navigating them. Other areas can only be reached when playing as the termite and so on. Just another way in which Rare has enhanced its 3D platformer over Mario 64. Nine huge worlds plus one overworld and a final face-off with Gruntilda make up the game Graphics Beautiful. This is the best looking game for Nintendo 64. Imagine Super Mario 64. Now add unsurpassed texture design, worlds five times bigger, clear-cut objectives, well-crafted enemies and characters, a depth of visibility that is absolutely mind-boggling, smooth framerates that hardly ever hitch and spectacular art. Let's face the facts here, Nintendo 64 has had its share of bland looking games and a big reason for that is because of limited texture resources. Textures are used again and again and before long the entire game looks the same. We're not sure how Rare does it, but Banjo-Kazooie is s
                  o rich in texture design that the worlds are almost too detailed. To really appreciate just how clever the developer is here, perform the following: while playing the game take a look around the world. Any level will do. Notice how everything blends together perfectly with little to no seams in textures? Now, using the C-up button, zoom in on a wall and examine it. A closer look reveals small seams in textures, but from a distance of only a few feet away it's impossible to tell. This is excellent texture use. Also, to avoid framerate drops Rare has utilized an effective draw-in process that doesn't eliminate backgrounds or giant structures, but gradually fades-in small objects like jiggies and musical notes as a player comes closer to them. Because of this, players can see miles into the distance with no fog. Flying high atop a level and looking down reveals the world in its entirety with no slowdown. Very well done. Each world looks completely different from the other. Mad Monster Mansion, for example, is filled with graves, a low-fog that hugs the ground and a moon that hangs high in the sky. Treasure Trove Cove, on the other hand, is surrounded by the sea and features mountains that stretch forever into the sky. The game employs excellent visual effects; swimming leaves splashes and puddle-trickles, haunted houses glow with pre-lit colored lighting, and each character animates hilariously. A visual delight. Sound If I had to describe Banjo-Kazooie's sound in one word it would have to be dynamic. The music constantly changes to reflect a player's location, shifting to instruments that best convey specific worlds. As Banjo and Kazooie prepare to enter the witch's lair, for example, the melody switches from a soft tune to a tense, faster-paced beware-song that lets players know where they are going. This happens all the time and in every level. It's all very Disney-esque. Imagine a cross between Pirates of the Caribbea
                  n and Teddy Bear's Picnic rendered with different instruments ranging from pizzicato strings to church organs depending on the level -- and it's all crystal clear and in stereo. Sound effects are equally impressive and, as far as I'm concerned, range among the best for the console. Each character has its own unique talking sound sample, whether it be Banjo, Kazooie, Gruntilda, an orange (screen time: 5 seconds), a pair of boots, a jiggy, a musical note, or a termite. Early on in Treasure Trove Cove Banjo-Kazooie encounter a sad hippo-pirate who has lost his treasure. The pirates voice is made up of a few mixed samples of different burps. The combined effect is disgusting and hilarious at the same time. Later on, while playing Mad Monster Mansion, players meet up with a toilet who explains in a farting voice that Banjo-Kazooie are too big to make their way down him. It's excellent. We could go on and on about how great the sounds are in this game, so let's just stop here by saying that you'll find yourself amazed and amused time and time again.

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                  09.06.2001 03:18

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                  Some people think that Banjo Kazooie is a load of old tripe and should never of been published in the first place but I disagree. The fact that it can be enjoyed by children of all ages (5-95) is great and the graphics are brilliant. It could of been better if the characters spoke instead of mumbled but its still great the way it is. One of the best parts is when after all that hard work you can sit back and relax while the end movie is running and you are amazed at how long it took you to complete it.

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                  08.06.2001 18:41
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                  There are many games producers that consistently create thoroughly entertaining, playable and enjoyable games. Rare is definitely one of them. You don’t have to look far to see what I’m on about – Goldeneye, Diddy Kong Racing, Perfect Dark and this absolute classic, Banjo Kazooie. It’s a 3D platform game whilst managing to include an adventure element that’s both difficult and humorous. Not many games can make that claim. As Banjo the bear, you head out with Kazooie to travel through an enormous amount of levels that are very cleverly linked together enabling a totally fluid element that allows you to return to previous levels but only advance to the next when you have completed the previous one. Some levels will return but the season will be different – one level may be a doddle in summertime but just wait until you have to return in winter, it may well be a whole different story. Visuals: Bearing in mind that this is on the slightly dated N64, this game looks stunning. The very appealing bright cartoon style graphics are colourful, detailed and functional. The characters have a great level of detail and the game levels are all very different from each other. You will find that at times the game suffers from pop up in some of the larger levels but this is only with regards to the elements within the level. You’ll be able to see as far as you like, but you won’t be able to see enemies past a certain distance even if you can see the point where they actually are (hope you know what I mean by this!). Sound: Great stuff all round. From the lively welcoming game intro right through the game you’ll hear a lively and varied soundtrack. Each level has its own music, the sound effects are brilliant and at most times very appropriate to what is happening – some of the enemies make some very funny noises when they’re killed! The only thing missing is speech. There are
                  a few points in the game where you are spoken to by characters and all you get is an imitated speech noise with subtitles. A little annoying but of course there is a limit to what can go on to those N64 cartridges. I’m sure that’ll all change when the Gamecube arrives. Features: Huge levels, hilarious and challenging characters, genuinely tricky gameplay and a story that is aimed at the younger end of the market but remains an attention grabbing experience for adults too. This game took me quite some time to complete and it’s very progressive. As you go through the game you actually learn how to control Banjo and it’s a very good way of getting to grips with the character without having to endure any seriously dull training moments. The very first level teaches you the basic movements but as you progress to later levels you’ll learn some of the more adventurous moves including climbing onto Kazooie (to run and jump faster) and you can even fly thanks to your feathered friend in later levels! Humour is also a key point here and unless you’ve had yours removed at birth then you’ll find several comedy moments here to keep the game very light-hearted. Gameplay: If there is one thing that Rare know how to do then it’s producing a game that looks and plays like a dream. Banjo and Kazooie are quite simple to control despite the large amount of moves that are to be learnt. The difficulty is tweaked to what I would call perfection. It’s nice and simple at first but as you get to later stages you’ll find that things become a little more tricky but you should be able to overcome any problems you encounter even if it takes a couple of goes. I know I had this for a very long time and I did eventually complete the game, that last ‘boss’ level is a pain!! Now that this game is available at a steal you have no excuse not to try it out. It’s no
                  t the sort of game you can rent for a few days, this will last you weeks even if you’re playing it for a couple of hours a day. Great fun to play, challenging and funny – what more could you possibly want from a platform game? Rare have taken Mario64, added humour and a pinch of that special magic to produce one of my favourite games. MR.COATES

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                    28.05.2001 10:18

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                    It's a good game - Advantages: It's FUN - Disadvantages: NONE

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                    15.05.2001 18:21
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                    • "You'll probably like the sequel better."

                    Well, Rare have given us a yet another excellent game in the form of a Banjo-Kazooie. This is a classic platformer that will keep you entertained endlessly (until you've completed it that is!). You take control of a bear called Banjo. You are drawn to rescue your younger sister who has been kidnapped by the local witch. The witch wants to take your sister's beauty and become young again. Well, let's face it, if you or I were a witch we'd do the same thing. You have a faithful friend with you on your journey, your friend Kazooie, who is a bird. So that is the main story. However it isn't that simple. Getting to your sister is a totally different story. You have to go through loads of levels and sub quests to get to your sister. And even when you reach her you have to defeat the evil witch. This is no small feat either. Have no fear though, because you have a guide throughout your travels. His name is Bottles and he is a shortsighted mole. He pops out of the ground every so often to teach you a new move for you and Kazooie to perform. Once a new move is learned, you don't have to learn it again. You can use it whenever you need to. You never control Kazooie for long periods of time, but he is used in moves, when he pops out of Banjo's backpack. He never leaves the backpack however. The levels in the game are amazing. They are beautiful and have a good variety of things for you to do. You have to release these funny little creatures on each level. They are called Jinjo's. You have to release 5 of them on each level. The same 5 on each level strangely. Rescuing them is well worth it though, as you'll find out later in the game. There are the usual bad guys for you to defeat, but they are normally just one hit kill type of bad guys. You must collect musical notes on each level; there are 100 on each). These notes allow you to open sealed doors. These have been sealed
                    by the evil witch. These doors have numbers on them. These tell you the number of musical notes you need on each level to get through each door. So when you leave a level, and go to a door, you can enter through it if you have the required number of notes. Through each door are new levels. This format is repeated to get to new levels. Perhaps one of the best features of the game is the ability to be changed into a different creature on each level. A shaman called Mumbo Jumbo changes you into a different thing if you give him tokens that the evil witch has stolen from him. Often you have to change into a different creature to get to a certain part of the level. Only that type of animal has the ability to get to the required part of the level. I don't want to spoil any of the surprises for you but you do get changed into creatures such as ants and crocodiles. You can find out the others for yourself. When you get towards the end of the game, you start to leave the linear format of the game and move onto some new and inventive ideas. I won't tell you them but suffice to say that you won't be disappointed. Banjo and Kazooie is a masterpiece. Rare have once again bedazzled us with their game developing skills. Once you have completed it and you're thirsty for more, you can try the sequel, Banjo-Tooie. But that's another review.

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