North American box art
4J Studios (Xbox Live Arcade)
Microsoft Game Studios (Xbox Live Arcade)
|Release date(s)||Nintendo 64
Banjo-Tooie is a platform and action-adventure hybrid video game developed and published by Rare in 2000 for the Nintendo 64 as a part of the Banjo-Kazooie series. It was first titled Banjo Katooie, however, this name was scrapped early in the development phase. The game is the successor to Banjo-Kazooie and was one of the most anticipated sequels for the Nintendo 64.
The game's story takes place two years after Banjo-Kazooie and one year and ten months after Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge. The antagonist, Gruntilda Winkybunion, and her sisters, Mingella and Blobbelda, are planning to restore Gruntilda's body to its original form. Banjo and Kazooie, along with Mumbo Jumbo, must stop them before it is too late.
Similar to its predecessor Banjo-Kazooie, the game features three-dimensional worlds containing items to be collected. Among the items are golden jigsaw pieces ("Jiggies") that are used to complete jigsaw puzzles that unlock the levels. Instead of exploring the hub world in search of incomplete puzzle boards as in Banjo-Kazooie, a singular board is used within a temple where Jiggywiggy resides. Whenever the player has obtained the number of Jiggies required, a timed puzzle-completion challenge can be played, after which Jiggywiggy grants access to each world. Each puzzle challenge requires more Jiggies than the last.
Musical notes return in Banjo-Tooie, but are used to learn new moves from the drill sergeant Jamjars. He is the brother of Bottles and takes over Bottles's role from the first game. Mumbo Jumbo also returns as a playable character that can venture out into each world and use specific magic spells to help Banjo and Kazooie proceed. Replacing Mumbo's previous role of transforming the duo into different forms is Humba Wumba, a medicine woman and Mumbo's rival.
Another feature introduced in Banjo-Tooie is the interconnectedness of its worlds. In Banjo-Kazooie the titular duo would be magically transported to each level via special doors in Gruntilda's lair. In Banjo-Tooie the levels are physically connected at multiple points and are effectively extensions of the Isle o' Hags hub world. In addition, the train Chuffy can be used to migrate minor characters between some worlds that contain stations.
Following from where Banjo-Kazooie left off, Banjo and Kazooie defeat Gruntilda and escape Gruntilda's lair after they rescue Banjo's sister, Tooty, from her clutches in the previous game. Gruntilda is then sent hurtling towards Spiral Mountain and is buried alive under a boulder. Two years have passed since Gruntilda's assumed death. While Banjo and Kazooie are playing poker with their friends Mumbo Jumbo and Bottles, Gruntilda's sisters Mingella and Blobbelda arrive in a large digging machine, the Hag 1. They destroy the boulder and free Gruntilda, her time spent underground having rotted her flesh away and reduced her to a skeleton. Seeking revenge, Gruntilda destroys Banjo's house before fleeing with her sisters. Banjo, Kazooie and Mumbo all escape in time, but Bottles, believing it all to be a trick on Kazooie's part (as had happened before in their card games), is caught in the magical blast and killed. The three remaining friends decide to put an end to Gruntilda's plans.
Following the witches' trail, Banjo and Kazooie arrive at Jinjo Village in the Isle o' Hags, where King Jingaling, king of the Jinjos, explains that his subjects were frightened away by the Hag-1 and scattered throughout the island, and gives the two their first Jiggy to help find them. Meanwhile, Gruntilda's sisters introduce her to a cannon called the Big-O-Blaster (B.O.B.) that will restore her body by sucking the life force from any given target. They test B.O.B. on King Jingaling, who is turned into a zombie. Gruntilda plans to charge B.O.B. long enough to blast the entire island. The witch's most loyal minion Klungo is sent out to hinder Banjo and Kazooie in their progress by fighting them. After taking many beatings from Gruntilda as punishment for losing, Klungo eventually gives up and abandons her.
Finally reaching Gruntilda's fortress at Cauldron Keep, Banjo and Kazooie confront Gruntilda and her sisters in another trivia game in which the losers will be flattened under one-ton weights. The two dispatch Mingella and Blobbelda while Gruntilda escapes once more. They then reverse the effects of B.O.B., bringing both King Jingaling and Bottles back to life. They, along with Klungo, celebrate at Bottle's house, while the rest work to finish Gruntilda. The two enter the top of the fortress and defeat Gruntilda, destroying most of her body and the Hag-1. Banjo and Kazooie return to Bottles' house with their remaining friends (Jamjars, Mumbo, and Wumba) to find that everyone else has celebrated without them. The game ends with everyone playing kickball with Gruntilda's head, who swears to have her revenge.
Banjo-Tooie was developed by Rare and designed by Gregg Mayles, who previously worked on Banjo-Kazooie. Development of the game started in June 1998. Originally, Rare planned to include an additional mode, called Bottles' Revenge, where a second player could play as an undead version of Bottles and take control of enemy characters to hinder Banjo in his quest. The idea was ultimately scrapped because the developers ran out of time to debug it, even though they admitted that "It did work rather well". Bosses were also meant to be able to be controllable by the second player, but the only boss that the developers had working when they dropped the mode was the third one, Old King Coal. The developers originally aimed for a fourth quarter 1999 release, but the game was ultimately delayed. The game was presented at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2000.
Banjo-Tooie was part of a long chain of critically and commercially successful games on the Nintendo 64 from Rare upon the time of its release. However, due to being released at the end of the console's lifetime, the game suffered from a mild depreciation in sales. The scores were consistently very high, rivaling its predecessor Banjo-Kazooie. IGN praised the multiplayer system and its characters but criticized the graphics for framespeed problems during certain points in the game.
Xbox Live Arcade version
In 2009, Banjo-Tooie was released as an Xbox Live Arcade game for the Xbox 360. The Xbox Live Arcade version received generally favorable reviews from critics, with a GameRankings aggregated score of 77.00%. Bottles' Revenge remains inaccessible in the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game. 4J Studios, the developer of the XBLA Banjo-Tooie, noted that their intention was to faithfully port the game rather than extensively revise it by reinstating Bottles' Revenge.
In Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, a new feature was also added to the game to unlock extra content. Stop 'N' Swop II, which would be unlocked once the player collected the Gold, Silver, and Bronze eggs from inside the three BK Game Paks scattered in Spiral Mountain and the Isle o' Hags. Once it becomes unlocked after the eggs are hatched by Heggy the hen, a message will appear, telling the player that the items unlocked through Stop 'N' Swop II will be usable in a future Banjo game. 4J Studios, the developer that worked on the XBLA version of the original Banjo-Kazooie game, was commissioned by Rare for the new version of Banjo-Tooie.
A trailer for Banjo-Tooie was added to the Xbox Live Marketplace on April 10. The video, entitled "Happy Easter Banjo-Tooie" shows more of the game's Stop 'N' Swop features with Heggy the hen and the eggs. It was released with Gamerpics featuring the six eggs and ice key, as well as the new gold, silver and bronze eggs. A premium theme was released the following day. On April 22, a conventional trailer was released showing the game's graphical enhancements. An interview with 4J Studios revealed that multiplayer gameplay would remain offline for the XBLA release. On 25 April 2009, the Rare Witch Project released a news article along with a video of the use of the Stop 'N' Swop items in the XBLA Banjo-Tooie.
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