A slightly improved version of a classic.
Banjo Kazooie was originally released in 1998, when platformers were king and everyone was trying to imitate Mario 64. Now, 10 years later the game has been re-released for Xbox Live Arcade with HD graphics and Leaderboard Support. Although it is almost entirely a straight port it is still an excellent game and most definitley worth your $15 (or it was free if you pre-ordered BK Nuts and Bolts).
Teh GraphikzFrom an artistic standpoint the Rare charm is still in full force, as almost everything has a pair of eyes and animates well. Technically, they are not terrible, but still exactly what you would expect. My only fault with the graphics is that there is some occasional slowdown with the frame rate that was not present in the original game. Some may nitpick and say that this version is inferior because of it, but it didn't happen enough to be a bother.
Differences from the N64 Version
The game still appears to be exactly like the N64 game at first glance. However, with some examination there are several differences: 2D sprites have been changed and all the indicators such as your health bar are high res and therefore better looking and all the text in the game is noticably larger and therefore easier to read. The 3D models however, seem to be untouched. Perhaps a side by side comparison is required, but I really didn't see one.
SoundYep, the game has sound. The music, while all synth, manages to be upbeat and charming the entire way through, and all the dumb sounds that every character makes are still fairly humorous and amusing. No changes that I can see from N64.
GameplayObviously where the real meat of the game is. Although platformers are pretty much a dead genre the kleptomaniac gameplay still is fun (although not entirely fresh) and it manages to work to this day. (admittedly my opinion can be considered biased due to my love of the game) The difficulty (while quite a challenge when you were 7) is stupid easy for the first 2 worlds and doesn't become difficult until the last 2. The fact that the difficulty curve is not very steep at all is not a bad thing because there are still enough challenging moments to keep it out of hand holding territory. (Besides, if you want a hard game then Banjo-Tooie is coming out on XBLA sometime in the spring)
Differences from N64
The most annoying part of BK was note collecting because you had to replay the level and re collect every single note just to get all 100 in a level. This was fixed in Tooie and it is also fixed in this version (and you don't have to re collect jinjoes either). This alone makes it the better version. Also, with a N&B save file the Stop 'n Swop content is availible and so you can finally collect the Ice Key! (That allows you to unlock fairly worthless parts in N&B. Hooray?).
ConclusionIf you already own the N64 one and feel confident that you need not purchase this version then you really don't need to. The one significant addition, while most benefical is not exactly game changing. Those who were too young or simply never got around to it are the people who should buy (if you like platformers that is).