Thursday, December 12, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 165 - Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge

Did you ever hear the tragedy of Banjo-Kazzoie 3? I thought not. It's not a story console warriors would tell you. It's a Rare legend. Back in 2003, a year after Microsoft bought Rareware from Nintendo, the third Banjo-Kazooie game was made by Rare and published by THQ for the Game Boy Advance. Despite the obvious limitations of the hardware, Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge for GBA is a surprisingly solid Banjo game that does a good job of replicating the 3D platforming experience on a handheld. Keep reading for more on Grunty's Revenge and to watch gameplay.

It seems like most people forget that after Microsoft bought Rare they still allowed Rare to release Game Boy Advance and even Nintendo DS games. These games include Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge and DKC1,2,3 for GBA and even Diddy Kong Racing and Viva Pinata for Nintendo DS. These games still retained Rare's signature style and humor well after Microsoft bought them. But let's keep pretending like Microsoft ruined Rare for the lolz anyway. Rare ruined Rare, okay? Just look at the steaming trash pile that is Yooka-Laylee, made by mostly ex-Rare devs, and you'll see Rare was doomed with or without Microsoft. But that is a discussion for another day.

Banjo-Kazooie Grunty's Revenge is a pre-sequel where Grunty kidnaps Kazooie and goes back in time to try and stop Banjo and Kazooie from stopping her the first time. Mumbo Jumbo then sends Banjo back in time as well. 

Obviously, the jump from N64 to GBA is pretty massive in a negative way, so you can't expect Grunty's Revenge to look or play like BK or Banjo-Tooie. Instead it is a sort of top-down pseudo 3D platformer that actually still manages to play a lot like the N64 games. You run and jump around, get new abilities, smack enemies, find jiggys and musical notes and other collectibles, and generally have a good time. It looks surprisingly good and actually sounds exactly like the N64 games. It only takes a few minutes to get used to it and then it really just feels like you're home. 

It's a shame most people either forget or don't want to remember that it even exists. It's solid.