Get Jiggy With It on the Small Screen
It was a big blow for Nintendo gamers when the news that Rareware, makers of such fantastic titles as the Donkey Kong Country, Diddy Kong Racing, Jet Force Gemini, Killer Instinct, and Conker franchises were bought out by Microsoft of all companies. However, even after Microsoft's purchase of the company, Rare still was able to create games for Nintendo's handhelds, specifically the Game Boy Advance. This was due to Microsoft not having a dog in the portable fight. Regardless, THQ went on to publish all of Rare's GBA efforts. The first finished project that came out of the publishing deal was Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, a portable entry that played similarly to the series' entries on the Nintendo 64. What it amounts to is a fun diversion for a short while... a very short while.
After the events of the original Banjo-Kazooie, Gruntilda the witch is stuck under a gigantic boulder near Banjo and Kazooie's home. Her faithful henchman Klungo comes up with a mechanized body that ol' Grunty can transfer her ghost into. The newly mobile Mecha-Grunty drops by Banjo's house and nabs Kazooie, taking her approximately two decades in the past, as a plan to make it so Banjo and Kazooie will never meet. Thus, that means the dynamic duo will never have the opportunity to defeat Grunty in the events of the original Banjo-Kazooie. However, local shaman Mumbo Jumbo uses his mystical powers to send Banjo back in time in order to put a stop to the green witch's mischievous plot.
|For Banjo especially, home is where the honeycomb is.|
The main difference between Grunty's Revenge and the N64 releases that preceded it is that this Game Boy Advance entry is played in an overhead perspective. Obviously it's due to the technical limitations of the GBA hardware, but at the same time the general feel of the N64 Banjo-Kazooie games is retained.
|Foes new and familiar call|
Grunty's Revenge home.
|Use the Talon Trot to go faster than normal...|
|...Or use it to climb steep slopes.|
|It wouldn't be a Rare game without a|
"fetch me this many thingamajigs" mission.
|Banjo's usually not this forward with robots...|
What is also sweet in Banjo and Kazooie's handheld outing is how great the visuals look. Don't be fooled by the enlarged screens of this review, which stretch out the resolution beyond what you'd see on the Game Boy Advance. Grunty's Revenge is a great looker, and its prerendered visual style is a major part of that. The music and sound effects feel like they were plucked directly from the N64 games, albeit with lower sound quality, and that is a tremendous accomplishment all in all.
|My, what big hands you have!|
[SPC Says: 7.25/10]