I used to have a Nintendo 64 as a kid, and one of the games I had owned for it was this one - Banjo-Kazooie.
Even to this day, nothing has topped this game for me. Oh, some games have come incredibly close, but this game, for me, is
one of the best games I have ever played in my entire life.
A first glance at the storyline may make people believe
it seems like a Super Mario 64 rip-off. Well, if it is, then it does not matter one little bit because it's still
amazing. In fact, I'd go as far as to say this is better than Super Mario 64. The whole formula of rescuing
a damsel-in-distress is still there, but it's been perfected. The bottom line is, Banjo's younger sister Tooty has been kidnapped
by the evil witch Gruntilda, who wants to steal Tooty's youth, so there's a little bit of Snow White-esque stuff there, with
Gruntilda wanting to be the fairest of them all. Of course, it's up to Banjo and his grumpy bird friend Kazooie to rescue
Tooty and save the day.
Once you are thrown into the game, you can choose to learn the basic moves in tutorials or
not, so new gamers can learn the control scheme and people who have played it before do not need to be put through a tutorial
for things they're already aware of. This I felt was a good thing to add. The game does not truly begin it's epicness however
until you reach Gruntilda's lair.
For it's time, the lair, which acts as an overworld, is pretty huge, with a total
of nine levels in which you have to search for notes and 'jiggys'. Jiggys are used to open up new levels, and there are ten
found in each level. Notes are used to proceed throughout the overworld to get to the other levels. There are various doors
found throughout Gruntilda's lair, each with a number on it which is the amount of notes you need to open the door. In each
level, there are 100 notes. As well as each level consisting of 100 notes and 10 jiggys, there are also five birds known as
Jinjos and collecting all five in a level enables you to earn a Jiggy. There are also Mumbo tokens in every level and even
in the overworld, and collecting the specified amount enables you to take them to Mumbo, so he can use his magic and transform
you into another animal.
The gameplay in Banjo-Kazooie follows Mario's 3D adventure in a lot of ways, but
it's vastly improved in many ways. For one, Banjo and Kazooie can use a lot more moves than Mario ever could in his first
3D outing, ranging from firing eggs at enemies out of Kazooie's mouth, springing (using spring boards of course), flying,
stomping, as well as the standard stuff such as punching and swimming.
Another massive improvement over Super
Mario 64 is the overall size of the game. Banjo-Kazooie is massive. Much like Mario could explore Peach's
castle and several worlds inside, Banjo and Kazooie explore Gruntilda's lair and nine fascinating, memorable and well-designed
levels. The graphics also look amazing for their time, using a lot more detail than what was found in Super Mario 64.
music is also mostly light, and really fits the levels well. It's incredibly memorable as well. The sound effects really fit
too, and sound good. The character's do not speak, but the noises they make to signify they're talking when text comes up
with their faces next to them? Hilarious.
The one gripe I had with Banjo-Kazooie ultimately was it's camera,
which can be annoying at times until you get used to it. You'll find yourself in control of the camera a lot of the time,
so it can be easily remedied by putting it where you want it.
Overall, Banjo-Kazooie is still a classic, still
one of my top favourite games ever, and I recommend it to anybody, especially if you're a lover of the platforming genre and
especially if you've played and loved Super Mario 64. In my opinion, no Nintendo 64 collection is complete without