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Banjo Kazooie

Developer: Rare | Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 05/31/98 | Genre: Platform

After the creation of Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, company after company attempted to surpass the quality it gave. Although Mario 64 was one of the first 3d platform games, nothing has been able to top it. Capcom, Eidos, Sony, Sega, and others have all tried to outclass Mario 64 as the premier 3d platform game. The newest company to attempt this is Rare. Now Rare has something that few, if any, companies have. That is, have access to Nintendo themselves! This one factor really gives Rare an unfair advantage. Rare, with the help of Nintendo, set out to create the ultimate 3d platform game ever! Before you get too excited, is Banjo Kazooie the greatest 3d platformer ever? Well, lets just say Mario 64 is still number one...

First of all, Banjo Kazooie is a good Nintendo 64 title because of the graphics. No other company, not even Nintendo themselves, can pump out great graphics like Rare. Goldeneye, Diddy Kong Racing, and now Banjo Kazooie have shown Rare knows how to utilize the Nintendo 64 Hardware like nobody else. Probably not until Nintendo's own Zelda: OoT is released will Banjo Kazooie's graphics be topped. The reason Banjo is such an eye-candy showpiece can be seen in the colors used in the game world. More than that, BK's polygons don't contain as many sharp edges as seen in other games. This means characters and game environments seem more realistic! After witnessing the graphical masterpiece, known as Banjo Kazooie, one can only imagine what future improvements Rare can make...

Next, the humor found throughout Banjo Kazooie sets it apart from other titles. During the course of most 3d platform games, the player runs from stage to stage, seeking out certain items. While BK also includes the above, it also adds a bit more.... Going from point A to B in Banjo results in "humorous riddles" told by the evil witch. These pop up room by room, level by level. The humor doesn't stop there, it actually infects the game world. Walking around, the player won't help but laugh when he or she sees a big witch face, that looks like the enemy, carved in stone at the entrance of the castle! The characters themselves also move and appear different from most 3d platform games. These above "humorous" items really give Banjo Kazooie character that most other games lack.

Finally, Banjo Kazooie proves it should be in your Nintendo 64 game library because of gameplay. Lets face it, a good portion of current N64 titles contain little or no innovation towards the gameplay. Now I am not judging the Nintendo 64 by making the above statement. The Sony Playstation's game library has problems, just like any other system. The point is that Banjo Kazooie is a breath of fresh air for the N64. With BK, Rare decided to change the normal 3d platform game elements up. You see, in most platformers the player goes through each level trying to get a star or some sort of treasure. Also, the gamer usually plays through the levels with a set number of moves. In Banjo Kazooie, some of the above rules have changed. While it is true the player searches each level out for a "treasure," he or she also learns new moves as they progress through the game. Starting out with a basic jump and punch, a mole must be found throughout the multiple worlds to learn more advanced moves. This really adds an enormous amount of innovation to the gameplay and this method should be used by other developers in one form or another.

We can clearly tell from the above that Banjo Kazooie is an excellent Nintendo 64 game title. While it is not quite as good as Mario 64, BK should still be considered a must buy. In this age of mindless sequels and copy-cat games, it is refreshing to see a title like Banjo Kazooie. Great job Rare, we all eagerly await your next title!

By Kaleb Rutherford - 01/22/01
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Screenshots for Banjo Kazooie

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