(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the September 2003 Pirate Issue of GameCola, back when GameCola was published in a monthly online magazine format.)
I bet all of you are wondering, “Why is he reviewing Banjo-Tooie now? Didn’t he just review the other one a month or two ago?
That is correct. But GameCola is doing a pirate-themed issue and this is the only game I could think of with pirates.
I bet you’re still asking yourself, “Why is he reviewing Banjo-Tooie now? It still doesn’t make sense.”
Sure, there are a few games that are all about pirates, but, wouldn’t you know it, they’ve all been taken, in one way or another. So, that’s how we end up here.
I bet you’re STILL asking yourself, “Why is he reviewing Banjo-Tooie now? It doesn’t have anything to do with pirates.”
That, my friends, is where you are wrong. Banjo-Tooie does indeed incorporate pirates. There’s a swell level in the game called Jolly Roger’s Lagoon. It has piratey inhabitants, a combination bar and motel with a certain piratey theme, and of course, a piratey name. And lots of water.
Moving on to the game awhile, the rock-solid gameplay we experienced in Banjo-Kazooie returns. There have been improvements, such as making note nests, which are basically notes bundled in a, you guessed it, nest. This feature completely eliminates the painstaking search for that last stray note on a level, and, of course, makes note collecting a hell of a lot easier.
The controls are pretty much the same. You know what they say, “Don’t fix something that isn’t broken. Or in the of Banjo-Kazooie, “Don’t fix they controls because they are fine, you idiots.” Rare took that wise old saying to heart.
The story is different, and involves a lot of new characters, though the basic plot is the same. However, instead of something getting stolen from Banjo, his house gets blown up and Bottles gets killed. So instead of going on a rescue mission, he must stop Gruntilda and her sisters from sucking up all life on the Isle of Hags. So in other words, the only thing that is the same about the story is that Banjo, Gruntilda, and Kazooie are all major characters.
The sound and graphics are fairly good. For N64. Now that we have all the next generation consoles, we are spoiled with wonderful graphics and incredible sound. And nothing on the N64 can measure up to that. But, for its era, the sound and graphics are well done.
I’m not going to go into the disappointment of the secret screenshots at the end of Banjo-Kazooie, because that is the biggest downfall of both games. If you want to hear my rant about it, go back to the August issue of GameCola.
This is the part of the review where I rant about the downfalls of the game. Now, you may think there are none, but I am here to dispel that illusion from your mind. The biggest, and worst downfall of Banjo-Tooie (excluding the whole secret screenshots bit) is the way they made it exactly like the original. There are a lot of new things in it, but there is only a small bit of actual variation from the original. I mean, you still go around and collect Jiggies, Jingos, and Notes. There are still moves you learn from holes in the ground, and you still fight Gruntilda after going through about 11 levels of gameplay. I have to give kudos to the fact that Mumbo is a playable character, but other than that, there’s not that much new gameplay features to rant and rave about.
I hated how you couldn’t go back into the old world. Sure, you still collect Jiggies and crap, but why not be able to visit your old haunts and actually get to go into those secret screenshot places?
Gruntilda is extremely easy. When you get to the end of a game, you expect at least two days of hard work trying to beat the final boss. Gruntilda was just one day of hard, annoying work.
Besides many shortcomings, Banjo-Tooie is actually a very good quality game. Definitely not Rare’s best work, but a welcome revival of our old friends, Banjo and Kazooie.