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Yeah, this review is probably due to nostalgia more than it should be. But I don't care. I still love this game.
Banjo-Tooie is the sequel to 1998's Banjo-Kazooie, also on the N64. Banjo-Kazooie played in a similar way to Super Mario 64, with the player entering worlds and trying to collect a multitude of objects. The charm of the game was in its memorable characters, from the titular Banjo and Kazooie to each enemy and boss the player fought. The witch Gruntilda served as the game's Big Boss, and she always spoke in rhymes, which added great humor to the game.
As amazing as the game is (in my opinion), it is criticized for being a collect-a-thon by some. This is true to some extent, but I still feel that the game is enjoyable enough to ignore this.
Enter Banjo-Tooie, two years later. The game was teased at the end of Banjo-Tooie, and some thought it was a joke. But it was not. And what gamers were in for upon entering the world of BT was beyond anything they had seen in the original.
Everything about Banjo-Tooie is bigger, better, and crisper than the first game. The worlds are absolutely massive, and many of them link together through secret passages. The jiggies, which serve as the game’s main collectable, are much harder to come by. No longer would players enter a level and be able to claim all of its jiggies in a short time. Each level, even the first, contains spots that cannot be reached until the player progresses further.
The Bear and Bird start with all of their moves from the last game, which is nice because you don’t have to waste time re-learning them. New moves, including new egg types and the ability to shoot in first-person, really increase the scope of what the characters can do.
The music, just like the music in BK, is absolutely phenomenal. Grant Kirkhope, who composed the score for both games, is a master at what he does. Every piece of music in the game feels tailored for the area that it represents. In the same vein, the characters are even more memorable. Dialogue that is more fleshed-out and lively characters makes for a much more immersive experience.
The game is funny, which is also a huge draw. References to other Rare games are fun to spot, and the game constantly throws humorous dialogue at you. I particularly like some of the answer choices at the trivia challenge near the end of the game.
I could go on and on about this game. It is an absolute masterpiece. The levels are varied and impressive, the graphics are sharp as ever, the gameplay is a blast… It is just an overall marvelous game to play. It even has its own mystery: The infamous Stop ‘n’ Swop, which Rare planned to be a way to unlock bonus content to owners of both games. It was never implemented, which makes seeing the items in the game enigmatic and interesting.
Everyone should play this game. It took everything that made Banjo-Kazooie what it was and improved it in every way humanly possible, and then some. It is the epitome of 3D platforming, and I am honored to be able to review it. Now, if only Banjo-Threeie were real…