I like to think I'm pretty nice when it comes to reviewing video games. I can find enjoyment from everything from Sonic 06 to The Last of Us, so when I say Banjo Kazooie made me the happiest out of any video game I've ever played, I mean it.
Rare gives you these giant open worlds. They plop you in these extremely strange and varying environments, push your should and say, "Go, do everything." When I say giant, I'm not talking about scale, games like Saints Row IV give you a huge open world but most of it is just side quests and repetitive menial segments to try to give you this illusion of a giant open world. No. By 'giant open world' I mean that each world gives you a ton of stuff to do that includes loads of collectibles and fun side quests that support the game rather than limit what it can offer. Each world is extremely diverse and differs a lot from the others, in the era of games this baby is from, graphics weren't at all quality so creativity was valued over things looking pretty.
Collecting Jiggies and Musical Notes will be what you are doing the most. These can usually be found pretty easily, but to collect them all, you'll usually need to collect Mumbo Tokens to turn into an alternate form which includes vehicles or an animal of some sort; you'll also need to locate all of the Jinjos, these little guys aren't usually in plain sight and are hidden in little nooks and crannies throughout the map. Finding these guys will get you the final Jiggy in a level.
This game relies heavily on Banjo and Kazooie learning different moves. These moves are all (like the worlds) very diverse and serve different purposes. For shooting at thing, Kazooie learns an egg move that comes in handy and she can also learn to fly on lift-off button areas. At first, remembering which buttons to press to do your moves can be a bit tricky, but it gets easier as you keep playing.
The mascots, Banjo the bear and Kazooie the bird, are both adorable and iconic. Unlike Mario, these two speak A LOT (especially Kazooie) and both have unique personalities. Banjo is basically a big brawny bear that's sincere and kind but can also be a bumbling idiot a few times, he kind of has a hero complex (but that's not evident until the later games). Kazooie is a bird that, unlike Banjo, is snarky and sarcastic; she serves as a foil to Banjo but she is still a good guy.
I'm not going to spoil the story because you should play the game and experience the story yourself. The villain, however, is named Gruntilda and she is a witch. She's this vile rhyming prude who doesn't have a lot of character in the first game except somewhat sadistic and pure evil.
Lastly, let's talk about the sound design. Gang Kirkhope is like the freakin' Picasso of music, if by music you mean video game music and Picasso mostly just did his art for about a decade from the early 90s to early 2000s. The music and sound in this game correspond accurately to what Banjo is going through. The music in Mumbo's Mountain is vivid and rambunctious while the music in Mad Monster Mansion is ominous and eerie. This really enhances the gameplay as the environwment around you is represneted perfectly.
BUY THIS GAME. This game is a literal masterpiece. It doesn't matter if you get it through Xbox Live Arcade, Rare Replay, or the classic N64 edition because this game is a must have. If you've heard of this game and have interest, the review above doesn't even paint a picture that's close to what you'll actually be playing. The game is an underrated Casablanca in terms of how amazing this game is.
yes: I recommend this product