Banjo Kazooie puts you in the role of a big bear named Banjo, and his little bird friend named Kazooie. From the get-go, the characters seem cheesy, but nothing can prepare you for their totally obnoxious voices. Remember the teacher's voice in Charlie Brown? Well, everyone in BK has this strange disorder, and your only means of understanding their strange vocal moans is by reading the subtitles at the bottom of the screen. If you find this excusable (and I did after a little while), then you are almost ready to take BK seriously. That is, until you get very sick and tired of Banjo's pathetic, Mario-sound-a-like voice. Sorry, but when I think of a big bear, I dont think of him sharing Mario's trademark high tone.
The plot is not too horrible, considering that it is somewhat amusing at times, and strays away a tad from the usual formula of games like this. If one thing must be said though, Rare is becoming obsessed with kidnapping. In BK, an evil witch kidnaps Banjo's sister so that she can steal her good looks (what makes a bear good looking in the first place is way beyond me, but if the folks at Rare are into that thing, kudos to them). Banjo must save his sis, but first he has to wander through a series of levels and traps in order to do so. This brings me to my heavy complaint with the game....
It is just too much like Mario, even though its nothing like Mario. Let me elaborate. Banjo stole most of Maro 64's trademark moves, like the butt stomp, the slide, the backflip... the list goes on and on. So basically, you can tell that Mario was a huge inspiration for Rare during the development of BK. I dont blame them really, considering that Mario 64 is no doubt the staple for 3D platform titles on the N64. Also the various goals that you must accomplish in each level (such as finding 100 music notes, or freeing 5 little colored creatures), are almost identical to Mario's 64 bit debut. The problem is that there is nothing new, and frankly, if I am going to play a video game that resembles Mario 64, I want a character that is a little more appealing than a cutsy bear. And yes, I do consider a fat plumber to be more appealing than a cutsy bear.
So even if you do enjoy the fact that you are a hairy beast who imitates Mario, there is one thing that no clear minded person can appreciate about Banjo Kazooie: the soundtrack. The first day I brought BK home, I took it to my room, popped it into my N64, turned it on, and.. I swear to God... the music made me laugh hysterically at its stupidity. I saw Banjo gayly playing away with his queer little jungle friends and I had to think to myself "why the hell is Rare doing this to me?". Sorry, but this kind of music just is not my thing. But pay close attention to catch on to an even greater glitch: Banjo's mutliple personality disorder. As you frolick homosexually through the fields, Banjo's Mario voice screams through the valleys. Get in a conversation though, and Banjo reverts to his usual "duh.. huhu" retard tone. I smell a conspiracy....
Not a lot to comment on BK's control. If you have played Mario 64, you know what to expect, exept for the more redundant camera control. You cant swing it around like you may want to. All you can do is have it flying around freely, or you can bring it behind your back. No big deal though, as BK's control is surely its most rewarding feature.
So if you are into the bear thing, and you dont mind lots of "butt jokes" (in fact, the word "butt" is probably used more in BK than in any other game), then give Kazooie a try. And before all you Kazooie lovers e-mail me and tell me I suck, read the review again... did I say ONE thing that was not correct?
~Andrew the Game Master