From the moment you pop Banjo-Kazooie into your N64, you know
you're in for hours of cute insanity. The characters serenade
you with their favorite instruments, which happen to correspond
with their names.
Players who brake only for cool-type video games will be tempted
to pop Banjo-Kazooie right out of their Nintendo 64, but stick
around and you'll be treated to a grand Nintendo adventure.
Banjo-Kazooie, while it resembles Mario 64 in looks and even feel,
is so much more. For starters, the breadth of moves the combo
of Banjo, the honey bear, and Kazooie, the breeze gull, can pull
off is staggering. Six levels into the game -- and these are huge
levels -- you'll still be learning maneuvers that are necessary
to complete the stages.
After a quick introduction to Banjo's basic abilities, the bear-bird
team makes a break for their arch-enemy's castle. The castle of
Gruntilda, the evil witch, holds the portals to nine worlds, while
the castle itself is an elaborately designed series of great rooms
and passageways, full of secrets all its own.
The worlds themselves are huge, even epic. As in Mario 64, Banjo
and Kazooie can roam wherever their skills will take them, tromping
across a snow- covered tundra, over an arid desert and into a
haunted mansion. While the backdrops are standard video game fare
-- they all appeared in Mario 64 -- the level design is impeccable.
The game relies less on quick reflexes and more on brain activity,
forcing players to solve riddles in order to earn puzzle pieces,
which open up new levels. You'll spend more time trying to find
and collect items than beating up on baddies.
The storyline of Banjo-Kazooie offers a pleasant diversion from
the action. Staying close to the plot of Snow White, Gruntilda
has kidnapped Banjo's sister Tooty to steal the comely bear's
looks. Gruntilda's better half, her sister Brentilda, magically
appears here and there to inform Banjo and Kazooie of some of
the evil witch's dark secrets. For example, she cuddles with a
huge, sweaty baboon in bed at night. You'll want to write these
tidbits down, because you'll need them later in the game.
In all, Banjo-Kazooie is an unquestionable masterpiece and reason
enough for die-hard PlayStation fans to at least rent the Nintendo
64 for a few days. It's a shame there aren't more titles like
B-J for the N64, but then again, how much cuteness can one person
-- Robb Guido, Times correspondent
Business | Citrus | Commentary | Entertainment
Hernando | Floridian | Obituaries | Pasco | Sports
State | Tampa Bay | World & Nation
© Copyright 1998 St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.