Review of Banjo Kazooie from Peer Schnieder:
"An evil, ugly witch by the name of Gruntilda seeks to be the prettiest creature in the land. One day, she learns that Tooty, Banjo's sister, is more beautiful than she, (which wouldn't take much) and decides that she must do something about it. So, as Banjo the honey bear sleeps in the comfort of his bead and Kazooie the red crested breegull squawks from his hanging backpack a few short feet away, Gruntilda flies down upon the grasslands and kidnaps Tooty, who happens to be playing in the front yard. Kazooie hears Tooty's cry for help, (if you can call it that) and proceeds to wake Banjo out of his sleep. Unfortunately, the bear/bird duo are too late, arriving just as Tooty and the evil witch ride away on her broomstick, destined for the lair of her wretched castle. Players begin the game just as Banjo and Kazooie set out to rescue Tooty from the claws of Gruntilda.
A "Dream" Come True
There's no denying the fact that Banjo-Kazooie borrows from Mario 64 in more ways than one. Both games are extremely cute 3D platformers with a variation of the same story, a near identical control scheme and a strikingly similar theme of levels. Mario collects stars. Banjo and Kazooie collect jiggies. Mario has a butt-stomp. Banjo and Kazooie have a beak-stomp. Banjo doesn't just copy Mario 64 though, it expands upon the game. For example, Banjo's worlds are bigger, more detailed and are filled with interactive characters at every corner. The Banjo-Kazooie team work as exactly that; some objectives require the use of Kazooie's wings or ability to run up hills while others are perfectly suited for Banjo. The result is an addictive balance between the two characters.
The astounding amount of detail put into Banjo-Kazooie is clearly visible from the game's start. After viewing Rare's inventive logo animation, players will be treated to an opening sequence of Banjo-Kazooie and friends playing the game's opening theme-song. The animation is perfect, colors bright and music cheerful. It all feels so Nintendo-like that it's almost eerie.
Before beginning the game, first-time players must select a save-file for their particular adventure as no memory pak is required. Rare has made three save-files available so that multiple Banjo-Kazooiers can play different games and save their progress. Each save-file is represent by Banjo-Kazooie in a different position. For example, players choosing save-file three are treated to Banjo and Kazooie playing Nintendo's Gameboy. Gamers selecting a different save-file may see Banjo sleeping in a bed. It's a very unnecessary interface that many developers wouldn't have bothered with, but Rare has gone the extra mile to give the game that much more character. This is the general theme of the Banjo-Kazooie; everything, no matter how small and seemingly unimportant, has been tackled with extensive detail and that's one of the reasons why the game is in a league of its own.
After selecting a game and viewing its opening storyline, which illustrates Tooty's kidnapping by the evil witch Gruntilda in real-time, (a la Goldeneye and Starfox), players begin the adventure just outside of Banjo's house. The first thing players will encounters is Bottles the mole, who teaches the bear/bird duo the maneuvers they will need to know as they progress the game."