N64 on GBA
Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge is the first pocket sized adventure for these N64 heroes and it’s not a bad first attempt. Banjo’s newest quest involves a weak plot line and flattened 3-D world, but it is still a decent game.
This newest GBA game plays out very similarly to the N64 versions. The story is relatively stupid. Supposedly, the ghost of Grunty is now in a robot and sends Kazooie back in time. Banjo then follows by way of Mumbo Jumbo’s magic. It’s funny because nowhere in this game are they trying to alter things in the past to make them right in the future. They go back in time, but they don’t really do anything about it. Luckily, the story isn’t really the most necessary part of this game anyway.
Anyone who has played either N64 adventures will know how this game is played. Different types of items must be collected in bulk to take control of new moves and open passageways. Music notes, puzzle pieces, eggs, and small characters that need rescuing are all back. Once a certain number of music notes are collected, then a new move will be rewarded. This is an imperative part of the adventure. Puzzle pieces will be needed in order to travel to different worlds. A clever summary screen shows all the items missing from the press of the Start button.
Since this game is a platformer and takes place with an overhead view, it is difficult to judge the height of cliffs and jumps. The player will be able to tell that there is a difference in height, but you won’t know if you can make the jump. It may look like making a certain jump possible, but you’ll find out that it is actually the tallest jump in the game.
Since this game is based on collecting everything in order to progress, the player may become lost and will need to backtrack many times. The levels are big enough to lose your sense of direction since you have to search every corner of each level for items. The backtracking may become painstaking too. Players will find themselves deep into the game, only to be forced back to a very early level only now they can climb and use ladders. I don’t fully enjoy the “get moves as you go” approach. I think that this game should give you all of the moves from the beginning to avoid needless backtracking.
Occasionally, the player will get the opportunity to play mini games and boss battles. These are usually a simple fun way to stray from the main game. However, these mini games can only be played with one player. There is no two-player linking option. This would have increased the replay value of this game especially because there are some clever mini games such as sheep fishing and racing down long slides. The boss battles are usually very easy to win and can be beaten the first time you play them. This will either please or anger the player.
The controls are very simple to use. When you first start out, you will have a very limited amount of moves you can pull off. Within time, more moves will become part of your inventory. Each move can be pulled off easily even though there are only four buttons on the GBA. For example, Banjo learns how to swim early in the game. However he can only swim in water where there are bubbles. To submerge yourself, only a simple tap of the “R” button is needed. When underwater, “A” is used to control your height and when you are about to drown, just tap “R” again to surface. Each move is simple enough to pull off in every situation.
The graphics are very clean and detailed, and Banjo has some pretty smooth animations as well. Everything moves gracefully without dropped frames. The environments are simple and colorful, but the only real negative is the shadowing. As previously stated, the shadowing makes it difficult to determine the height and distance of a jump. The artists probably did the best job they could, though. Since this game takes place in an overhead view, there will always be problems with platform heights. Other than that, the game looks just like it did on N64.
The music consists of the same score that was on N64. This music is pleasant and perfect for this platforming adventure game. However, there are some sound effects that will make you want to turn the volume down. Whenever a character talks, they grumble. Just like they did in the N64 versions, characters kind of “Meep” like Beaker the Muppet does. This honking noise is very, very annoying. I wish there was an option to turn voices off. I like the fact that they included this function to remind players of the N64 games, but it just sounds awful coming from the monaural GBA speaker.
While this game is good, there are still some flaws. The jumping from platform to platform can use a little bit of work because it is difficult to judge distance and height. It is also the player’s duty to collect everything in the game. Some people will hate this game for this reason. Some people just want to blow right through a game, and then go back later and collect what they missed. This game forces you to collect everything from beginning to end.
I think that all the moves should be giving to the player from the start. I understand that Rare probably does this to give the game a more RPG feel, but then the player will have to waste a lot of time backtracking. And since the levels are pretty big, you will find yourself getting lost.
Despite the fact that this is Rare’s first Banjo-Kazooie game for GBA, it is still a decent, fun platformer. If players are searching for adventure, then look no further than Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge because it will quench a gamer’s thirst for a solid quest. However, if you are looking for multiplayer, stay away from this game. This game doesn’t offer a linking function of any kind and it’s a shame because some of the mini games would have worked great for a single-pak link. If you are one of those people that like to collect everything in a game, then this is the perfect game for you. But overall, it’s still not a bad game.