Banjo-Kazooie Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by ACDCGAMER, Sep 17, 2010.

Sep 17, 2010

Banjo-Kazooie Review by ACDCGAMER at 10:44 AM (1,303 Views / 0 Likes) 9 replies

  1. ACDCGAMER
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    Member ACDCGAMER GBAtemp Regular

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    <div align="center"><!--sizeo:6--><span style="font-size:24pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Banjo-Kazooie Review<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->
    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->By ACDCGAMER<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></div>

    <div align="center"><img src="http://i3.iofferphoto.com/img/1161673200/_i/14901253/1.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>

    Wow, it's been forever since I've done a review; in fact, it's been a while since I've been on GBATemp for that matter. But low and behold, I'm back and I'm doing a review of an N64 classic which I'm sure most of you are familiar of!

    To start off, this Rare-developed platformer/action-adventure title was the first of the Banjo-Kazooie series, sporting sharp and colorful graphics that pushed the Nintendo 64 when only a few other games would at the time. With a memorable cast of characters (and there are a lot of them!), solid game mechanics inspired by (and/or ripped off from) Super Mario 64, and a fantastic soundtrack, Banjo-Kazooie became one of several landmark titles on the system. But is it all that's cracked up to be?

    The game has a rather simple, yet humorous plot; taking place in an area known as Spiral Mountain, Gruntilda the Witch seeks to become the prettiest of them all, but after finding out that a bear named Tooty is in fact prettier, she sets off not only to kidnap Tooty, but to physically steal her looks via some contraption. After finding out what's happened, her brother Banjo and his sarcastic bregull partner/friend, Kazooie, set off to rescue her before Grunty's plan comes to fruition, where they have to overcome many obstacles over the course of many worlds as they traverse through Grunty's lair.

    Simply put, Banjo-Kazooie is a technical masterpiece on the Nintendo 64. Featuring incredibly sharp texture work, great animation, and fantastic art direction, B-K is simply one of the greatest-looking games on the system, period. On top of its graphical prowess, the game runs smoothly with no slowdown or framerate drops. Now, this is of course for it's time; Banjo-Kazooie today does of course look dated but my review is focusing on how great this game looked for its time. I am also applying this viewpoint on the game's sound work as well, which is equally spectacular; I really commend Grant Kirkhope for composing such a fantastic soundtrack, but I'm only getting started. On top of such a fine soundtrack is a vast, dynamic array of sound effects which perfectly accompany actions and environments that are present in the game. Whether it's Banjo attacking an enemy, running through some bushes or swimming through water, each sound effect sounds as accurate as you would expect. In addition to this, the music itself changes accordingly as Banjo and Kazooie travel to new areas, doing a seamless job at that. One such example can be found in the change from a song's upbeat to a more soft and relaxed tone when Banjo dives underwater, but so many more instances of this can be found in the game that you really have to play it for yourself in order to truly experience what I'm talking about. Simply put, Rare did an absolutely superb job.

    Gameplay, however, is something that I'm divided on. Borrowing heavily from Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie features game mechanics that have defined the greatest of 3D platformers, yet also uses puzzles and other Zelda-like elements for an action-adventure feel, and Rare does a fantastic job of blending these two genres together. Some aspects that uniquely set apart Banjo-Kazooie into a league of its own, however, include the hilarious dialogue found in the fantastic and <i>huge</i> cast of characters, and some unique gameplay mechanics which allow Banjo-Kazooie to expand on what has already been done well in previous platformer and action-adventure titles. These include the ability to learn new moves in order to progress through new levels as well as to come back to previously-unreachable areas of earlier levels, giving the game a non-linear edge to it. In addition, there are times where Banjo and Kazooie can undergo transformations to adapt to specific levels; for instance, Banjo-Kazooie can transform into a walrus in the ice world, and an alligator in the swamp world, and such transformations also allow the player to reach new areas which can't be reached in any other way. It's awesome to have such variety and depth in a platformer, and fortunately Banjo-Kazooie uses this mechanic extremely well. Really impressive stuff.

    For the most part, Banjo-Kazooie control just fine, easily comparable to Mario. However, there have been a few moments throughout the game that unnecessarily frustrated me; like Mario, Banjo can take damage from falling long distances, but my biggest complaint is that Banjo falls way too small of a distance before he takes damage upon landing on the ground. Now, with Kazooie's help, Banjo has the ability to slow down his descent thanks to the flapping of Kazooie's wings, but only for a short period of time before he falls again. My biggest issue with controlling Banjo's falling was that you can only access Kazooie's flapping skill in certain situations, so to speak. For instance, an ability called the Talon Trot is learned in the game where Banjo-Kazooie can walk up steep hills thanks to Kazooie's talons - this also enables the player to move slightly faster, making it great for travelling long distances more quickly. However, in some cases where it can be easy to fall off of a ledge while Talon Trotting, you can't flap Kazooie's wings if you accidentally fall off of a ledge while Talon Trotting. This causes the player to be unfairly punished for making an almost unavoidable error in their judgment, especially in some areas where the camera views the action from an awkward angle, which can definitely be a problem. While issues with the camera are pretty rare (no pun intended), the camera isn't perfect, which is a real shame because a good percentage of these issues happen in areas where a false step can lead to Banjo's death. Another frustrating moment I had with Banjo-Kazooie's game mechanics happened further on in the game. To be specific, I found it very troublesome to defeat the snowmen in Banjo-Kazooie's fifth-level, Freezey Peak; these snowmen are incredibly annoying to deal with because only one attack can defeat them. This attack is incredibly hard to aim, however, and the snowmens' weak points are also hard to hit due to being small. This combination will undoubtedly cause nearly every player to become much more frustrated than needed, because it's an absolute must to kill every snowman in the level as they are incredibly annoying enemies to have to deal with.

    Don't get me wrong, though; this game is still a lot of fun to play, and definitely has its shining moments gameplay-wise. There are moments where Banjo-Kazooie can legitimately challenge players, and while these moments can also frustrate, the accomplishment of these challenging sections are equally rewarding. By defeating enemies, making your way over treacherous chasms, and solving puzzles, Banjo-Kazooie's charm really begins to shine through and simply radiate its brilliance, especially during its finest moments. It's that huge feeling of accomplishment after collecting that tough Jiggy - Banjo-Kazooie's equivalent to the Power Stars collected in Super Mario 64 - which will keep you coming back again and again to play the game until the very end. And what an end it is!


    <u><!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->Closing Comments<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></u>
    Banjo-Kazooie isn't perfect. While its gameplay is for the most part fantastic, the flaws present in its mechanics are just too significant for me to overlook, and that hurts considering just how much fun Banjo-Kazooie is once you get used to how the game feels. Despite the shortcomings that it has, Banjo-Kazooie really is an outstanding game. If you can look past the issues with its gameplay mechanics, and if you like Super Mario 64 along with Zelda, you will definitely enjoy Banjo-Kazooie for what it has to offer: incredible graphics, sound, and of course, charm. The cast of characters equally entertain along with Banjo-Kazooie's gameplay, making it an experience you don't want to miss or forget... except for the snowmen. Those <i>damn</i> snowmen. Trust me, you'll know why once you meet them for the first time... I still get nightmares to this day.


    <b><u>Presentation</u></b>: <!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b><!--coloro:#00CC00--><span style="color:#00CC00"><!--/coloro-->9<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->
    Some serious props to Rare should be given here; they've created a game full of charm and hilarity, yet equally fun. Hand in hand, it's an incredibly polished experience for the most part. Some camera issues here and there can frustrate.

    <b><u>Graphics</u></b>: <!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b><!--coloro:#48D1CC--><span style="color:#48D1CC"><!--/coloro-->10<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->
    Among the best ever on the Nintendo 64. Banjo-Kazooie is, by every stretch of the margin, an absolutely beautiful game.

    <b><u>Sound</u></b>: <!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b><!--coloro:#48D1CC--><span style="color:#48D1CC"><!--/coloro-->10<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->
    Mind-boggling, dynamic sound effects and a spectacular soundtrack do an incredible job setting the game's mood throughout its entirety. The pinnacle of what an audio experience should be for a video game, at the time at least.

    <b><u>Gameplay</u></b>: <!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b><!--coloro:#64AA00--><span style="color:#64AA00"><!--/coloro-->8.5<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->
    Unique, full of variety, and depth, Banjo-Kazooie is an ingenious combination of ideas not seen before in other platformers before it. Issues with some of the game mechanics can really frustrate at times, but this is otherwise a phenomenal experience.

    <b><u>Lasting Appeal</u></b>: <!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b><!--coloro:#AACC00--><span style="color:#AACC00"><!--/coloro-->7.5<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--></b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->
    Despite the variety of tasks, puzzles, and simply things to do in Banjo-Kazooie, which can take about 10 or so hours to complete, this is still a single player game. Some may find the Banjo-Kazooie infinitely replayable, others won't play through a second time.


    <!--sizeo:4--><span style="font-size:14pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><u>Overall Score</u>:<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--> <!--sizeo:6--><span style="font-size:24pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><!--coloro:#00CC00--><span style="color:#00CC00"><!--/coloro-->9<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--> <b><!--sizeo:3--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->/10<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></b>

    Edit: Image didn't show up for some reason, added a new one.
     
  2. ACDCGAMER
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    Member ACDCGAMER GBAtemp Regular

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    Uh... bump? I hope someone pays attention to this. Not to be an attention whore or anything. =/

    EDIT: Crap. Forgot that bumping is discouraged here. Would appreciate it if someone could remove this post for me.
     
  3. Zetta_x

    Member Zetta_x The Insane Statistician

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    Nice. An N64 game [​IMG]

    I enjoyed this game so much a number of years ago. I remembered before the secrets to get the mysterious items were revealed. I went through so much trouble to try and making my own Game Shark codes to make it work somehow.

    Your review format is nice. Keep it up [​IMG]
     
  4. 0ddity

    Member 0ddity GBAtemp Fan

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    It was OK, although I don't think it deserves a 9. SM64 would be a 9. It's hard not to compare the two, and B-K just didn't entertain me as much.
     
  5. Sephxus

    Member Sephxus GBAtemp Fan

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    Music and level design were definitely Banjo Kazooie's high points. I can't say the same about graphics specially if you compare them to Banjo Tooie.

    Nice review. [​IMG]
     
  6. Canonbeat234

    Member Canonbeat234 Redeemed Temper

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    I enjoyed the presentation you have given it here. Ignore the non-posting lurkers for they seem to be paying attention to PKMN: Ying and Yang. I did like how you given this game despite the fact Rare did made this downloadable on Xbox LIVE. This game is a gem, a classic, a total retro nostalgic walkthrough!

    This to me should be start happening often, people doing review on games from the past and give people insight. However, your whole interview did point out the flaws there were obvious through gameplay. You didn't point out 1 other flaw like how inside each World you have to get a certain move by finding Bottles inside a molehole. Where as in World 3 its completely covered in water/liquid whatever you want to call it...and finding that mole was near-impossible unless you explore the World a bit more. Then again that game was focus more on adventure (exploration) then action.

    In all I did enjoy your review, hopefully the next one will be about. Iggy's Reckin' Balls on N64.
     
  7. ACDCGAMER
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    Member ACDCGAMER GBAtemp Regular

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    You know, when I played this game when I was younger, I didn't really like it so much even though I spent a good amount of time playing it. I didn't beat it until just recently though but now that I've fully played through it I can see why people like this game so much. I mean, I don't think Kazooie is a bad game at all, but slightly overrated in my opinion. Tooie, on the other hand, is just awesome.
     
  8. Arm73

    Member Arm73 GBAtemp Addict

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    Unfortunately I got Banjo-Tooie first, which I finished and truly enjoyed.
    I got Banjo Kazooie a numbers of years later and seeing that it wasn't quite as refined as its sequel, I only played half way trough and then I stopped.
    I just didn't feel compelled to finish it anymore.
    I hope I find the motivation to pick it up again one of those days and finish it, but just like DK64 it was too much items collecting oriented for today's taste.
     
  9. ACDCGAMER
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    Member ACDCGAMER GBAtemp Regular

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    I know what you mean, man. I ended up beating Tooie way before Kazooie. It's strange, though; I didn't like Kazooie that much when I was a kid but I was SO EXCITED for Tooie and so glad that it was so much better compared to the first game when I finally played it. Even today, Tooie holds a very special place in my heart and I will very likely be reviewing it soon! [​IMG]
     
  10. ACDCGAMER
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    Member ACDCGAMER GBAtemp Regular

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    Yeah, but at the time, Kazooie's graphics they pretty much set the standard for the N64. Tooie's graphics were absolutely incredible but dear God was the framerate terrible. I'm so glad the framerate was fixed in the 360 version!


    And thanks guys for the feedback! Now for Guild to post here... maybe. xD
     

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