This game is the first in the excellent Banjo-Kazooie series, which is a spin-off for the character Banjo, from Diddy Kong Racing. The story starts with Banjo fast asleep in bed and his sister, Tooty, outside chatting with Bottles the Mole. Then, all of a sudden, Gruntilda the witch flies down, grabs Tooty and flies her back to her castle so that she can suck the beauty out of her and put it into herself. Not the most serious of storylines, but then again it’s not the most serious of games and that doesn’t change the fact that it is absolutely wonderful.
To get to Tooty, Banjo, along with his talking pet breegul Kazooie, must make their way through Grunty’s expansive castle. You may think that just making your way through a castle doesn’t sound too fun, but, when I say expansive, I really mean it, inside she has created various ‘worlds’ which Banjo must make his way through in order to get to her. There is a very big variety of worlds too; you get to explore a swap, a haunted house, a forest, a docking bay and even the stomach of a cyborg whale, that’s not all of them either, and they’re all populated with interesting and amusing characters. All of these worlds are very brightly coloured and accompanied by an amazing soundtrack, giving every area such an amazing atmosphere that even just walking around and not getting on with things is fun. All of this, for me, is combined with a lovely sense of nostalgia, making it a firm favourite.
The world which I enjoyed the most was one called Click Clock Woods. This, as I’m sure you’d expect, is a wood, which is a nice enough place to adventure, but Click Clock Woods is much more than that. You can choose whether you visit during spring, summer, autumn or winter and things are different depending on how they have been affected by the seasons. I love this idea so much, it’s inspired a photography project of mine, which regular readers may know about, but I am getting off topic.
The only problem with the game is that it’s too short! It doesn’t really take that long to do absolutely everything, and you can only pass so much time wandering around levels you’ve already beaten. The Xbox 360 edition of the game is even worse in this regard, as once you collect a musical note (there are one hundred notes hidden in every level), it is gone forever, whereas in the other version you can go back to a level and collect all of the scattered musical notes over and over again. One the other hand, the 360 version does connect to Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, which is quite an exciting addition. Overall, this game stands as a real pinnacle in the world of 3D platformers.