Back in 2017, I played and reviewed the original Yooka-Laylee game over on Virtual Bastion, the spiritual successor to the much-loved Banjo-Kazooie series, made by the very same people who brought us the famous bear and bird duo back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I had some mixed feelings about the game, and owing to the fact that I wasn’t alone in my feelings, considering the game’s lukewarm reception, I assumed that was that. Yooka-Laylee was a rather unsuccessful experiment to revive a long-lost style of game from the dead, and there was a good chance we’d never see our chameleon and bat pair ever again. And then, much to probably everyone’s surprise, along came Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. And while I wished Playtonic luck in their endeavors, I must admit that I was a bit reluctant to give the series another chance. Continue reading Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Renews My Hope in the Franchise
The Duck is a big fan of collecting things, be it pins, Funko figures, plushies, and more. Silly though it may be, I really like collecting items revolving around some of my favorite things, namely video games and Disney. My collecting in the former category has gotten a lot more interesting ever since I discovered a really awesome website called Fangamer. (Sponsor me, Fangamer!) They seem to specialize in games that are well-loved, but which have a smaller presence, if that makes sense. I mean, if you scrounge around, you might find a Mario or Zelda-related item, but games like Okami or Hollow Knight have their own categories and thus, a much larger emphasis. Continue reading Banjo-Kazooie Plush, Hollow Knight Pins, and More Random Goodness
Good day, dear readers! I decided to do Inktober this year, which is a little drawing event where you get a topic for every day in October to draw and ink, either digitally or in the traditional way. You can start the first day of September, which means I have been giving myself two days per picture. And let me tell you, I am feeling extremely tired from drawing far more than I’m used to…. Continue reading Inktober 2019 Highlights Week 1
Since last year, the Duck has returned to the piano with a renewed determination. In that time, I have taught myself six songs, all of which I recorded and uploaded to our Virtual Bastion Youtube channel. Those videos have also been posted on my blog and listed below, for added convenience and exposure. Continue reading Listmas 2018: Piano Songs (Past and Future)
The Duck has recorded another song on the piano, this time a tune quite befitting this most spooky of holidays, the church music from Banjo-Kazooie’s Mad Monster Mansion! Though I am uncertain what the monsters are mad about, I do know that this song was really fun to play, even if the faster part at the end took quite a bit of practice to get right. It is also totally truthful and not fanciful storytelling that Motzand himself taught it to me, and you can all believe this without question because I am a very honest and trustworthy Duck who has never given anyone any reason to doubt me…. Continue reading Spoopy Music: Mad Monster Mansion
Fans of the Banjo-Kazooie series have long-awaited a true sequel since Banjo-Tooie’s release on the Nintendo 64 in 2000. When Yooka-Laylee was finally announced as a spiritual successor to the much-beloved pair of platformers, I’m sure every Banjo-Kazooie fan jumped for joy. Many people, like myself, hoped that Yooka-Laylee would harken in a new era of great platformers in the style of those we had grown up with during the late 90’s. Now that I have completed the game, what is my verdict?
Honestly, I don’t think we’re quite there yet. Nevertheless, it’s a big, big step in the right direction. Continue reading Yooka-Laylee: A Game with Good Intentions
I am slowly making my way through the 30 days of video game topics I started…probably a few years ago, and today we have finally reached…number 12. I’m not even halfway done yet! Yikes! Well, this topic involves a game everyone should play, and I had to put careful consideration into which one I would pick. Not only do I have a lot of great games that I would definitely recommend to others, but I wanted to make sure my choice wouldn’t also be used in other 30-day topics in the future. After careful consideration, I ended up going with a game that is very special to me, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Continue reading Day 12: A Game Everyone Should Play
I used to be quite the “Pokemon” fan. I have since, for whatever reason, outgrown my interest in the series, but it used to be such a big thing for me and has gone on to make a rather large, though somewhat indirect, impact on my life, that I needed to write a post about it. “Pokemon”, if you’re not familiar with it, is a series that manifests itself in many forms, including cartoons, card games, video games, etc., involving Pokemon trainers that catch creatures called Pokemon, which they use to fight in battles and such. It’s a rather simple concept, really, but addicting (oh, the countless hours I spent collecting Pokemon and leveling them up in “Pokemon Silver”). I hear that there are now more than 500 kinds of Pokemon, which I find a bit crazy at this point, but okay. (For me, the original 151 will always be THE Pokemon.)
The series first caught my eye quite a while ago, when I was rather young. I saw Pikachu, the most famous Pokemon of all, in a store, and I thought it was quite cute, and when I brought it up to a friend at school, he asked me if I was a fan of the series. Well, to be honest, I had actually not even heard of it yet. As I said, this Pikachu thing was pretty cute, but I didn’t know what it was. It was at this time that my friend enlightened me, and I became an instant fan. I found the anime on TV, and I made it my goal to learn the names of all 151 Pokemon (yes, that’s all there were back then). I watched the show and found sites on the Internet (my first major expedition into the mysterious terrain of the world wide web), and I made a list of each new Pokemon I found. In a way, like Pokemon trainer Ash Ketchum, I wanted to collect all the Pokemon…even if only in list form. Continue reading How Pokemon Made Me a Gamer
If you have ever played the original “Banjo-Kazooie” games, you know they were quite a treat to play. This series starred, as you can easily guess, two characters named Banjo and Kazooie, a delightful bear and bird team that worked together to accomplish all kinds of things, from collecting Jiggies and notes, to saving Jinjos, and defeating enemies, including the evil, rhyming witch Gruntilda that serves as the villain of the series. The main games of the series, “Banjo-Kazooie” and “Banjo-Tooie”, were a really great pair of games for the Nintendo 64. Even though they came out over ten years ago, I have still not grown bored of them, and I still count them as some of the top games ever made. But, as is far too common, series either end or turn bad. In the case of “B-K”, I wish it had ended. I really do. Because many years after the first two games were released, Rareware created another game on the XBox 360, a game that will forever be known in my mind as disappointment in tangible form. “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts”.
First, let me just say that this game, well, it’s not…it’s not a bad game, exactly. It can be fun. It is different. It can certainly be challenging. But, it is a terrible, terrible “Banjo-Kazooie” game. I mean it. Terrible, with a scoop of spiders on top. T-E-R-ribble. I won’t even mention the fact that the graphics, while good, are of a style that make our heroes look rather hideous, and why is Mumbo wearing overalls…and working as a mechanic, of all things?! I won’t even mention that there are barely any worlds now, and they are not very interesting. Or that the music doesn’t stand out to me whatsoever anymore. What I will mention is that this game has no soul. It’s like our delightful series found itself face-to-face with a Dementor from “Harry Potter” one day and did not make it away unscathed. This game is soulless, and that is why, even though it can be fun, it is a dirty, rotten, no good, “Banjo-Kazooie” game.
For one thing, the game in no way even resembles previous games of the series. The first two involved the teamwork of Banjo and Kazooie, where Kazooie could attack with her beak and shoot eggs, fly, and run up steep hills with her hardcore talons, while Banjo, I must admit, is not good for much else but toting Kazooie around and grabbing onto ledges. And not being as mean. But still. Now both characters are actually pretty useless. Kazooie carries around this magic wrench that can pick up stuff, and Banjo drives. They retain none of their previous skills whatsoever, except for walking. And even that they don’t need, as the game revolves entirely around vehicles, which also has no relation to the series. What, because Banjo got turned into a sentient van once, the series is all about cars now? I think not.
So the entire game, every bit of it, involves talking to a bunch of soulless versions of characters from the original two games, but devoid of any humor or personality like they used to have, and completing challenges with vehicles. While the vehicle idea can be fun, as you can not only use quite a variety, like cars, planes, boats, helicopters, which can jump and shoot and carry things, but you can also pretty much build anything you like, as well. This can be a fun concept, and I did like building some crazy vehicles and finding creative ways to win challenges. It just has no place in a “Banjo-Kazooie” game. They should have created a new series in which to use this idea. I wouldn’t have bought it, but there was no need to sacrifice our poor bear and bird. It doesn’t feel like a “Banjo-Kazooie” game in the slightest, when Grunty is driving all over the place, while I’m chasing her down with a tank. You can include music from the original games and have characters that look, on the outside, like familiar characters, but it is not a “Banjo-Kazooie” game. It just isn’t.
So I can’t say I hated every minute of this game. I did have fun, while at the same time being disappointed time and time again as characters I used to like demonstrated that all their charm and personality was indeed sucked from them. This game is just a soulless imposter, parading about with “Banjo-Kazooie” in the title. It’s a real shame, not so much that such a bad “B-K” game was made, but that this great series has this stain on its reputation now. “Still don’t like the vehicle-based gameplay?” asks LOG during a loading screen. The fact that you even had to ask, Rareware, means you know full well that fans wouldn’t be happy with the changes, so either make us an actually good “B-K” game or never make one again. I can’t stand to look at zombified “B-K” characters ever again.
Ducks and Bolts
“Banjo-Kazooie” and “Donkey Kong 64” are two games I really enjoy for the N64, and My Two Caps discusses the good and bad aspects of both. An interesting read.