Best of ND 2013: Top Ten: Rare Games

Rare made a lot of hits for Nintendo over their time together. Which game reigns supreme?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 01/02/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

2) Banjo-Kazooie / Banjo-Tooie

Banjo-Kazooie Screen

Platform: Nintendo 64 (1998, 2000)

What started as an SNES fantasy game about a boy named Edison fighting the pirate Captain Blackeye eventually proved too much for the 16-bit system. Miracles had already been worked with Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct, but it was clear that Rare’s next game was going to have to transition to Nintendo’s new console in order to reach its potential. The game, then called Project Dream, went through quite a bit of restructuring before transforming into Banjo-Kazooie. When Rare’s platforming masterpiece finally arrived, players everywhere were floored by its vibrancy and tight controls.

It’s hard to condense everything that makes Banjo-Kazooie so special into a handful of lines. The game’s graphics were akin to a Pixar movie; splashes of water sent droplets cascading downward, emanating ripples at their points of impact, sandy dunes practically shimmered with heat, and the rusted teeth of a giant, metal shark looked painfully sharp. Banjo and Kazooie’s moves also enriched the experience, sending the duo soaring into the sky, bombarding enemies with eggs, and trotting up extreme inclines. Grant Kirkhope’s plucky, twanging score was the icing on the cake, as everything about Banjo-Kazooie was perfectly done. Banjo-Tooie is bigger and lengthier, and though it didn’t outdo its older sibling, it was equally compelling and deserves to share second place. Banjo-Kazooie might have lost its way at Microsoft, but when the franchise called Nintendo home, it was at the top of its game.

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