In order to free Tootie, you must go from level to level and collect 10 jigsaw pieces (Jiggies). These jiggies are then fitted into blank picture frames which then construct an image of the next level, giving you access. You must do this again and again and again until you ultimately open up the final boss battle with Gruntilda. Although this may sound repetitive, I assure you it’s not. Each level has its own design, and features new skills to be learnt and landscapes to me mastered. These range from Clankers Cavern to Freezeezy Peak to Gobi’s Desert.
What are the selling points to all these levels? Access to Mumbo, and the soundtrack. Now Mumbo is a character, a very peculiar character and my personal favourite character. He is a witchdoctor with a skull for a head, and if you collect enough Mumbo-tokens, he will use his powers to transform you into a different creature. These vary from mission to mission. For example, in Freezeezy Peak you become a walrus, allowing you to cross icy water. In Mad Monster Mansion, you become a pumpkin, allowing you to access small areas and move over prickly vines with ease. My final and favourite example, is in Bubble Gloop Swamp, where you are turned into a crocodile, giving you access to the mini-game and be able to cross the swampy waters. The reason I tell you all this is because I want to try and describe the childish nature which ultimately hit mini-me in the face.
Onto a more technical side of things, the game was originally released on the Nintendo 64 in 1998, and was met with critical acclaim. The game spawned a sequel, entitled Banjo-Tooie. This game involved stopping Gruntilda’s sister from rebuilding her body after the massive beat down she received at the hands of Banjo and Kazooie.
Anyway, in 2008 Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was released for the Xbox 360, which involved a different play style. The game shifted to a more vehicle dependent method of playing, involving all the missions to be completed by building your own vehicles. This game also came with a free download for the original Banjo-Kazooie on the Xbox dashboard, which had a few added changes. Nuts and Bolts featured a new system called Stop ‘n’ Swap. This system involved picking up boxes from the original Banjo-Kazooie, giving you access in Nuts and Bolts. An example of this is if you swim into the newly added Shark Bait Island and climb to the top on the original, you unlock some new items for your vehicles in Nuts and Bolts. Not only did this provide an incentive to go back and play the original (which you shouldn’t need because it’s just so awesome!), but it also added some new smaller things that those old enough to remember the original might enjoy.
So there it is. My rant on why the Banjo-Kazooie series is one of the greatest of all time. I feel that despite the technological advances of Call of Duty or Forza, Banjo Kazooie beats them for me on every level. I urge anyone who wants to get back into contact with their inner child to either pull out their old N64 to play, or go onto the Xbox Live games market and download them. This game will satisfy kids and adults alike, and can even light fires that even time can’t kill. Want an example of that? Just turn your heads to me.