Joseph Rositano
07 May, 2009

XBLA Banjo-Tooie Review

360 Review | It really does sound quite absurd, adventure of a bear and bird.
The past six months have been great for Banjo fans. Not only were they treated to a delightful new entry in the franchise, Nuts & Bolts, but the original Banjo-Kazooie and L.O.G.’s Lost Challenges DLC were also released on Xbox Live. This brings us to the final piece of the collection, Banjo-Tooie. Like Kazooie the port was handled by the folk at 4J Studios and hasn’t really undergone any major modifications, but for returning veterans and new comers alike, it’s worth a look for some classic platformer gaming.

Banjo-Tooie is set two years after the original game. Gruntilda the witch is still trapped under a boulder, but one stormy night her sisters come to the rescue and free her. The old hag hasn't faired all that well stuck in a ditch; her skin has rotted away, leaving nothing more than a walking skeleton. During the commotion, Gruntilda blasts Banjo’s house with a spell which kills Bottles, and now the witches plan on draining the life force of the entire Isle O’ Hags to restore her body. Banjo and his faithful companion, Kazooie, must set out to put a stop to the witch once and for all.

Good old Mr. Patch, one of our favourite bosses.

Good old Mr. Patch, one of our favourite bosses.
Banjo-Tooie essentially takes the foundations of the original game and adds a few new elements. Players still spend their time exploring levels collecting jiggies (jigsaw pieces), musical notes and jinjos, all the while learning new moves to add to their arsenal. Replacing the Mumbo tokens are little pink critters called Globos, which are used by the new character Humba Wumba to transform players into all sorts of creatures and machinery including a T-Rex, a submarine and even a snowball. Mumbo Jumbo also takes a more active role this time around, with players being able to take control of him and cast magic spells to, for example, summon a giant golden statue, heal sick dinosaurs and revive dead aliens.

While the foundations are more or less the same, one of the things that stands out most in Tooie is its level design. While Kazooie featured open-ended worlds, Tooie takes things to the next level by breaking them up into multiple areas. A dominant example is Hailfire Peaks, which is a mountain consisting of a fiery volcano and a snowy ridge. Aside from these two main areas, the level also features a number of caves to explore. As a whole everything just seems bigger and more expansive in Tooie, so if you like exploration you’ll be occupied for quite some time. Another notable design choice is that sometimes you’ll need to complete tasks in multiple levels to obtain one jiggy. For instance, in the Mayhem Temple stage one of the NPCs is looking for a statue, and its actually been stolen by a caveman in a later level. It’s this sort of backtracking that is both a positive and negative element in Tooie. On one hand it’s different from the original game, while on the other it can be a little daunting at times trying to remember what needs to be done.

Splashed throughout the game are various mini-games which can be played alone or, once unlocked in the main quest, with friends. Some of the mini-games involve shooting targets in on-rails segments, popping balloons and jumping through hoops to gain points. Admittedly these unfortunately feel a bit tacked on, but considering the sheer size of the rest of the game, they offer a nice break here and there.

Yellow shorts is the way to go, not yellow all over.

Yellow shorts is the way to go, not yellow all over.
As mentioned in the introduction paragraph, not a whole lot has been done to change the port, but that said there are a few notable tweaks. Firstly, the game has received a nice HD makeover. You’ll still get your N64-style graphics and the like, but everything just runs smoothly and looks great. Secondly, the notorious Stop & Swap feature has been fully realised. Those who have a save file for Nut & Bolts and own the XBLA port of Banjo-Kazooie should have been able to collect the special eggs and ice key in the latter. Those items unlock a few bonuses in Tooie, though while not spoiling much, we’ll just warn you it’s nothing overly good so don’t get your hopes up. Finally, online leaderboards have also been integrated to track your total game time and high scores for individual mini-games.

To be quite frank, if you’re a fan of the series or just want some classic platformer gameplay, there’s little reason why you shouldn’t purchase the XBLA port of Banjo-Tooie. It offers a nice trip down memory lane, holds up surprisingly well despite being an eight year old title, and has been given a HD polish and online leaderboards. Let’s just hope Rare don’t take another eight years for a brand new home console adventure.
The Score
Classic platformer gaming that will have you reliving the glory days of the N64 console. Whether you're a fan or a newcomer, there's little reason why you shouldn't purchase the XBLA port of Banjo-Tooie.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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4 years ago
It really does sound quite absurd, adventure of a bear and bird.
That's a BK quote, not a BT quote! :P

Still, I loved this game on N64. I still have my old game cartridge which I play every now and again. Such a brilliant game...
4 years ago
Hahaha, I was waiting for someone to point that out. icon_razz.gif
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  29/04/2009 (Confirmed)
Year Made:

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