Road to Stampers Forever: Day 5
The end is nigh for my 100% playthrough of Banjo Kazooie, so my main mission of the day was to conquer the final level and finish off ol’ Grunty.
Let’s see how I got on…
(Check out previous days here)
Banjo Kazooie: The BK journey comes to an end!
Click Clock Wood was the final world standing in between me and Gruntilda, and it’s a really well designed level with great music. There are a few Jiggies where you have to do something in each of the seasons of the year consecutively which really stand out, and it’s satisfying when you complete them. Something I will say however is the bee transformation is under-utilised, which to be honest I found to be the case for the majority of the transformations, particularly the bee and the ant. Barring a couple of Jiggies, they’re largely useless, and it’s frustrating not being able to transform back to Banjo and Kazooie on the fly, instead having to trek back to Mumbo every time.
After nabbing the last note in Click Clock, I moved onto the final stage, which takes the form of a quiz, testing you on details throughout the game . At the time I remember thinking this was a really clever way of underlining the whole experience, and playing it again I felt the same. It was surprisingly tough too, some of the questions are close-up screenshots from stages and can be pretty obtuse.
After the quiz it was onwards and upwards to Gruntilda, who again I found surprisingly difficult to beat, with the arial segment of the battle particularly challenging. Lining up the diving beak attack is tricky, and I needed quite a few tries before I nailed it.
Upon completing the game, I realised it strikes a really clever balance between letting players who haven’t collected everything finish the game in a satisfying way, and rewarding those who have taken the trouble to grab everything. Because I had every Jiggy and note, I was able to access top-ups for feathers and eggs, as well as a honeycomb painting that doubled my healthbar. I didn’t do this back in the day, and it was good to get something tangible for my completion.
I’ll be sad to move on form BK. It’s not only held up far better than I expected but was actually better than I remember. The music is worth the admission alone, but the consistent level of quality and variety throughout makes it a true classic.
Battletoads Arcade: Rather than delve straight into Banjo Tooie I thought I’d cleanse my palate of the bear and bird and try something different.
I’d breezed through Battltoads Arcade’s snapshots so fired up the main game to do some hopefully straightforward milestones.
It’s a challenge, but nowhere near as challenging as its home console equivalent. Because of the arcade nature it gave me infinite continues, which trivialised the already watered-down difficulty and allowed me to breeze through it in a couple of hours.
It’s a weird animal, this game. The production values are clearly high, with great graphics and animations, and it retains the satisfying controls of the original. However, Battletoads Arcade is disgusting. And not in an ‘arty’ way that would be commendable. It’s disgusting in a genuinely nauseating and distasteful way. The gore is turned up to eleven, and the the grotesque designs of the enemies (and protagonists, for that matter) do little to endear you towards them.
It’s a fun game to play, and I nabbed three of the five milestones (one will require me to beat the game with the two other toads – sigh).
Grabbed by the Ghoulies: I fired this one up again and it’s safe to say the initial novelty has worn off, and what’s left is a very drab and boring affair. It’s hard to believe this is the same team that brought us the N64 classics, but there we are. Aside form the graphics and the odd but of humour, Ghoulies is a chore to play. I didn’t get too far. Also, the map in this game is possibly the most useless I’ve ever come across.
Jetpac Refuelled: I enjoyed a light breeze through the first 15 levels, getting 2 milestones as I went. The difficulty definitely ramps up rather quickly, but I didn’t get frustrated, so that’s a good sign.
Attic Attack: I polished off Attic Attack’s milestones, which mostly consisted of running between rooms randomly until I found the goal. I haven’t touched the main game of this yet, and I can’t say I’m relishing the prospect.
Battletoads: Nailed the tunnel snapshot, easy-peasy after playing through most of the main game going for the milestones. Moved onto a snow tunnel chasm challenge, which is proving tricky.
Overall a good day. Finishing Banjo was great and I’ll miss it. I’ve heard mixed things about Tooie, but I’m looking forward to going in completely blind.