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This is one of those games that is going to stay with me forever.
Banjo, a happy-go-lucky bear, and his inseparable bird friend Kazooie are living their lives at Spiral Mountain. Their days filled with fun and happiness. Banjo's sister Tootie is a pretty young thing, and they spend their time making music and having fun. Until . . . Gruntilda the evil witch sees just how pretty Tootie is, and decides to steal that beauty for her ugly ol' self. Grunty kidnaps poor Tootie, leading Banjo and Kazooie on a mission to save their sibling and friend, respectively.
The writing is funny, camp, and intentionally immature. The character voices are all done with little barks, chirps, growls, and snippets of words that give it a unique sound. In addition to all of this, I think the best part of the game is the gameplay.
Structurally, it plays much like Super Mario 64. You unlock various worlds to explore by collecting shiny items, and you collect other smaller items in order to use your special abilities that you gradually learn throughout the game. The reason I like this more than Mario 64 is that you don't start out knowing the majority of the moves that your characters can use. In Mario 64, you pretty much start out knowing all of the maneuvers that are available.
Another thing that I adore about this game is the soundtrack. Each world has it's own theme song rendered in MIDI format. However, depending on where you are in a particular level, it will change instrumentation and tone to match the area. It's all very happy music, and I love every second, even though it doesn't have anything even remotely resembling metal.
Finally, I really think that this should be an essential play for anyone with a '64. It's prime material for both speed and 100% running, as well as just casual play.
Game Traits applied to Banjo-Kazooie (N64) by matrixrunner