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Banjo-Tooie (Nintendo 64)

90
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Lawnmower Man (140)
Written on  :  Nov 21, 2009
Platform  :  Nintendo 64
Rating  :  4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars

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Summary

How to do a Sequel 101

The Good

Banjo Tooie's most noticeable improvements are in the new moves the game added on top of the solid moveset from the previous game (although the previous move set feels very similar to Mario 64, it still works). Some of the new moves include the ability to grab onto ledges (something that all platformers need to implement from now on), new types of eggs to shoot at enemies (fire eggs, grenade eggs, and others), and even a new first person mode (for special events in the game), which plays out almost like Rare's N64 Classic 007 Goldeneye.

Banjo Kazooie is also a much larger game in scope as well as gameplay. The game itself contains even more levels than the previous game, and the game takes place on a large island with several sub continents (versus the previous game's castle). The game also has new mini games as well, which are fun to play (most of them anyways) and can all be played in the brand new Multi player section. Each stage in this game features an Epic Boss Battle that are all challenging (some more than others) but can be beaten with dedication.

For its time, Banjo Tooie features some very impressive graphics. The character models are smoother than the previous title and even compared to most N64 titles they look impressive. And, as always, Rare delivers and excellent soundtrack for this game with some very catchy background tunes and an epic theme for boss fights as well.

The Bad

Banjo Tooie openly and excessively uses what have now gone on to become cliches in the gaming world. The whole way to advance the plot is by collecting jigsaw pieces, and it only goes from there. Players will be collecting cheat book pages, musical notes, lost Jinjos, honey combs, eggs, feathers, and many, many more things during their duration of play. Finding all these hidden do-dads and such only leads to endless wandering trying to find everything. And the game still implements a "Talk to the mole before you can do this" philosophy, which is aggravating and almost insulting for veteran gamers.

Banjo Tooie also contains a well above average amount of functions to perform and even the already button heavy N64 controller has a hard time keeping the pace. Players will be pushing two buttons at once, tapping and holding the same buttons to perform all different functions, and doing all sorts of weird controller juggling and finger gymnastics just to play the game. While Rare did a good job at trying to keep it all manageable, players who have not touched the game in a very long time will not be able to remember all of the functions.

The final large problem is that Banjo Tooie contains an unhealthy amount of back tracking (visiting previous areas in the game). While it contains trains, silos, and other methods to get you where you need to go faster, it doesn't change the fact that it still requires you to visit destinations you have already cleared and left behind a very long time ago.

The Bottom Line

Banjo Tooie is a classic of the Nintendo 64, improving on the solid engine of its predecessor and becoming a much greater game than it had any right to be. Though with its age gives a strong aftertaste, players will still find a very satisfying game that they will enjoy for many more years to come.