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Will play most anything: 2/6/12

And here we go again!


Oh man I still hate that shark on this level even today.
Oh man I still hate that shark on this level even today.

There are a couple of games that come to mind when I think of games from my youth. (Which, admittedly, isn't really all that long ago at all). My first video game system was a NES, and while I was terrible at pretty much all games, I really liked to watch my dad as he played them. And he's continued to play games with me, even going so far as to be a member of a TF2 clan today. He's a pretty awesome guy.

Anyways, one of my fondest memories is sitting with my dad on the couch and watching as he beat Banjo-Kazooie, using his standard Caravella-esque game play style of collecting absolutely everything like a crazy person. As far as I'm concerned, Banjo-Kazooie is one of the classic 3-D platformers of the N64 era (this is back when I was a die hard nitendophile). At that time, Rare, the people behind Banjo-Kazooie was what I suppose you would call a 2nd party developer for Nintendo. They did work exclusively for Nintendo as far as I can remember, and were even given Nintendo properties to work with like in Donkey Kong 64. The last game that Rare did for Nintendo was the polarizing Star Fox Adventures, a game that I admit I never played because it was extremely dissimilar to one of my all time favorites, Star Fox 64. Rare was then bought by MIcrosoft, and became a developer for them.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was an interesting title by Rare, one that I eagerly purchased soon after release. I enjoyed the game, but it was just too different from the Banjo-Kazooie that I knew and loved. That's not to say that a modern platformer collect-a-thon in the vein of those older games is a good idea, but I suppose it's what my nostalgia tinted mind wanted. I never finished Nuts and Bolts unfortunately, thought I'd still like to go back and finish it some time. The vehicle building was creative and unique, and the music was awesome.

And so we finally come to the game that this is supposed to be about: Banjo-Kazooie. Re-released on XBLA back in 2008 alongside a pre-order promotion that was included with Nuts and Bolts, I was ecstatic to play the old game again, as my ailing N64 had it's fair share of issues.

So did it hold up?

My 200 gamer score for the game says yes. (And I don't give a shit about achievements).

The game received an upgrade to 1080p, which actually manages to look pretty fantastic despite the fact that I'm pretty sure there are no new assets made or anything. The cartoonish art-style manages to hold up really well. The other big change was the massively improved draw distance. It makes it really hard to go back to the N64 original in my opinion, after standing on top of the lighthouse in Treasure Trove Cove and being about to see the treasure chests opening and closing down below instead of a soupy white fog.

There's a good possibility that it's just my nostalgia talking, but I loved going through the game again. Especially considering I never beat it as a little kid, it was rewarding to finally complete it, getting 100% of all the collectibles.

Now, that said, I did it all in practically one sitting. The game, if you know what you're doing, really doesn't take all that long to complete, although it doesn't feel short or insubstantial or anything. (It is much shorter than Banjo-Tooie though). I was kind of surprised at how much I remembered, even with the later levels. The one thing I found I didn't remember well though was the difficulty. Banjo-Kazooie really is quite an easy game in my opinion. It's certainly not hard to beat at the minimum, it only starts getting difficult when you start trying to 100% it, and even then it's not so bad. That said, a couple of challenges stand out. Most notably, the entire level of Rusty Bucket Bay wants to kill you really, really badly. And it even brings back that damn shark! It's still one of my favorite levels from any game ever though, a big part of it being the level's theme, which is simply amazing.

I am listening to that song right now on loop as I write this.

There are so many little things about Banjo-Kazooie that makes it stand out as a game that was lovingly crafted. It's the little things. The way that the lair theme meshes into the level themes as you walk near the level entrances, or the way the music changes to a simpler tune as you go underwater.

I simply can't accept that it's just nostalgia clouding my judgement on this game. I'd say this breezy old-school 3-D platformer is certainly worth the $10. And you may as well get Banjo-Tooie as well, that game is pretty good too, albeit much longer. The interconnected levels are still one of my favorite things in any game ever, but the difficulty, mostly from gigantic and confusing level design, is much higher.


I'd like to say that awful title is a joke, but if I don't leave that alone I will sit here for hours trying to come up with a better one.

Like a freight-train of feelings delivered straight to your skull! (Sorry Ryan). Here's more Katawa Shoujo OST!

The way this song rises and falls is absolutely gripping, fitting for a song that plays in the big decisions of most every route. It's funny, I chose this uploader for this song because picture is less spoiler-filled. I suppose if you're looking for music from the game you'd have played it already, but the big drawn art pieces tend to have really important moments in them, the other picture certainly was of one in Hanako's route. That said, if you've read my other posts then you've gotten plenty of spoilers from that. Whatever. Listen to the song.

Here's one from left field.

I don't actually know if I like this song or not. I'm serious. But every time I played Saint Row I found this song stuck in my head some time or another. I had to seek it out on youtube, and then I favorited it. And then I was looping it behind my homework. Maybe it's because I was trying to figure out what the girl is saying in the background at the end of the song, I have no idea. So maybe you shouldn't listen to this.

Here, I'll make it up to you!

Really, all you need to see up there is Bastion. It gave me chills when they launched into Setting Sail, Coming Home.

And that's a wrap!