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Old 03-07-2011, 02:23 AM   #58
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Banjo Kazooie – Xbox Live Arcade
Originally available on Nintendo 64

Back in the mid-ninties Nintendo revolutionised 3D platforming with the incredible Mario 64. When Banjo Kazooie came out it was widely regarded as the Mario killer. The comparison was a little unfair. Despite being similar in control and presentation Banjo was a different style of game. Rather than a world with 6 tasks like Mario in Banjo you have to collect Jiggies, there are 10 in each world and some are unreachable because you may not posses the correct move or because you need to visit the shaaman to transform into a certain creature.

The game Features 9 main levels and a huge game world to explore and is identical in every way to the N64 version. Ok, the resolution has been bumped up and the 2D sprites redone in HD. Purists will notice the giant N' has gone from the intro screen (Yet Banjo still sits on a gameboy in his house) but aside from that the game is identical. The controls map nicely to the 360 controller and remain as flawless and accurate as the original. So you can see this isn't a lazy port. However, with so many great remakes out there I can't help but think that remaking the whole game with the ‘Nuts and Bolts/Viva Pinata’ engine would have been better. Still a few blurry textures aside it looks good enough.

The levels and characters are a strong point of the game. Whilst the dialog isn’t spoken it is at least amusing and each level is colourful and sufficiently different from the next. Ok it uses a lot of stereotypical platform locations: Snow, Sand, water but each level has been carefully crafted and you will actually spend very little time running between tasks wasting time like you will in the sequel. Banjo learns new abilities in each level and each of these abilities is intuitive and easy to pull off and the 2 characters seamlessly work together as one.

As someone who has previously played Banjo it was hard to asses the difficulty of the game. Many of the tasks nowadays seemed absurdly easy. For example a high jump or 2 or 3 easy platforming sections a to collect a jiggy and generally I grabbed 95% of what was in the levels first time. Ok I know roughly where things were but even later less memorable levels to me like the Haunted House level I completed with the greatest ease. Experiences gamers that went on to play The likes of Mario Sunshine/Galaxy may find this a little one dimensional in structure. Gone are the days of executing a high jump or very basic series of jumps for a Jiggy. Still Banjo's charm comes through and if you never got a taste of the N64 classic I strongly recommend you pick this one up. There really isn't a bad thing I can say about this game. The controls are spot on. The camera is perfect. It certainly isn't a sloppy port. If you played the original then you can make your mind up whether you want to go back for nostalgia reasons but for me this represents one of the best games of the 1990's and still holds up as a superb game today. If you missed out and you like platform games this is one of the best on the 360 (and one of the best 3D platformers ever).

Pros - Great port. Precise controls. Great level design.
Cons - could have remade in HD. May seem easy by today's standards. It is exactly the same game as 10 years ago.

Overall - 89%
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