Banjo-Tooie Review – Definitive 50 N64 Game #11

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie was a brilliant expansion of the 3D platformer formula established in Mario 64, and revolutionary in its own right. We’ll get to that title a little later in this list, but first, we should discuss its sequel, Banjo-Tooie.

Gruntilda the witch has been freed by her sisters after being stuck under a boulder for two years following the original Banjo-Kazooie – but her body’s not what it used to be. She’s nothing more than a skeleton at this point, and needs to use the Big O’ Blaster cannon to suck the life force out of victims to restore her form. Unfortunately, she’s got the entire Isle o’ Hags in her sights.

It’s a lot more complicated than this… but the basic idea is that you’ve got to stop Grunty before she can charge up the Big-O-Blaster enough to carry out her life draining plan.

As with the original Banjo-Kazooie, all of this is told with great humour. Kazooie regularly makes jokes at the expense of the NPCs, everything seems to have googly eyes slapped on it, and even the ridiculous looping noises that stand in for character speech are so out there that they end up being funny rather than grating.

In terms of gameplay, Tooie picks up right where the original Banjo-Kazooie left off. As the bird and bear duo, you’ll travel across eight main worlds, from Mayahem Temple to Terrydactyland, all of these feeding through the Isle o’ Hags hub world. As should be expected, Banjo Tooie is technical marvel, and these environments are sprawling wonders.

Once again, you’re in search of Notes, Jiggies, and other collectibles. It’s the same combination of platforming and collecting that was so common back in the N64 era, but thankfully free of the repetitiveness found in DK64. Unlike its predecessor, Tooie’s worlds are actually interconnected, and there’s some backtracking required to get everything.

To help mix things up, Banjo and Kazooie receive regular help on their travels from some magical friends. This time around, Shaman Mumbo Jumbo is a playable character good for the occasional spell, and the new sha-woman Humba Wumba is introduced to handle transformations.

There are also a ton of new moves to be learned, and these go so far as to allow the bird and bear combo to split up, and even go into an FPS mode, where Banjo wields Kazooie as an egg-shooting gun.

Tooie also adds a multiplayer component where up to four can challenge each other in a number of mini-games, including kickball and, yes, first person shootouts.

After the sale of Rare to Microsoft, Banjo Tooie was followed-up with a couple of GBA spin-offs and eventually Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts on the 360. But at this point, you can add Banjo and Kazooie to the long list of classic Rare characters being ignored by Microsoft.

Let me know what you think of Banjo-Kazooie and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below. Don’t forget to like this video, share this video, and subscribe.

Check back next week as we head into the Top 10 Definitive 50 N64 Games. It’s getting exciting.