Banjo Kazooie. Who doesn’t love these 2 gaming legends? In recent times, Banjo Kazooie have fallen off of the radar almost completely due to poor management via Rare/Microsoft. Nuts and Bolts should’ve been the death of these two lovable icons. However it seems that they have lasted the test of time after all these years. The games Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie are still being played for nostalgia sake, and even professionally played with speed runs (see Speed Demos Archive for more info). Looking back, I want to talk about my favorite 10 stages of all time from the original two games. I really hope one day we get a Threeie we can be proud of.
Jolly Roger’s Lagoon
Jolly Roger’s Lagoon is a level with an underrated charm. On first inspection, this lagoon is simply a Pawn Shop, Jet Ski shop, and Bar. However the further you get in the game, utilizing Mumbo and his abilities, this stage opens up far and wide. Breathing underwater accomplishes travelling into the deep ocean and going to Atlantis, Davy Jones’ Locker (which by the way is an actual locker), a shipwreck, and a bunch of run down buildings that hold many challenges. With me being a child, loving this stage was easy with the jukebox and being able to hear all the old tunes with Jolly dancing in the background. The Lagoon was a very underrated stage in my opinion, and was much more vast and surprising than on first arrival.
Mayahem Temple is the first Banjo Tooie level and it did not disappoint. A catchy tune, the first time Mumbo was playable, and the first time you realize you can collect notes without the worry of dying :) The highlights of this stage were walking around as the bronze statue and belting everything up, kickball competitions, entering a random new world for the first time in Terrydactyland, and playing Counter Strike with Kazooie with the new ability to use Kazooie as a gun. A fun stage to begin a new fun game.
Glitter Gulch Mine
Following on from the first stage, the second in Banjo Tooie was Glitter Gulch Mine. What I enjoyed about this stage was the variety. The saving and racing of Canary Mary, the boss fight with the ever tough King Coal, the prospector and his little friend (no innuendo please), and the general size of the level made Glitter Gulch Mine fun. The theme for this stage was great and just like the last level, I downloaded it to my MP3. I enjoyed the second FPS stage defusing the TNT and using Mumbo to fix up the train line eventually here. I loved the stage connectivity. Glitter Gulch always shined to me.
Clanker’s Cavern was the first real “tough” stage in Banjo Kazooie. Mumbo’s Mountain was an introduction, Treasure Trove Cove was a bit more difficult, but it was Clanker’s Cavern that really struck me as being an upgrade of difficulty. The fact you could drown if you timed your swims wrong, or got attacked by the tentacles underwater made this so hard as a kid. Hardest thing? Getting Clanker to the surface by swimming in the key 3 times. I sucked at that. But this stage had a charm to it. Clanker meant a lot to this stage, and I loved his character. An old trash compactor for Grunty whom you perform cheap dentistry for. This stage is made great by the invulnerability move learned. Who remembers battling the 6 crabs at the far end of the stage? A sewer level that didn’t stink, how about that?
Witchyworld is a personal favorite and I don’t really know why. Collecting tickets, fish, chips and burgers is fun, however the mini game portion is why I think I enjoy this stage so damn much. Jumping around on a newly inflated jumping castle warped my young mind. The UFO shooter, fighting Mr. Patch and Jumping Castle shooting games were enjoyable. I loved the dive tall dive into the small pool for no other reason but I could. Simply put, the level was fun. Also I felt stronger hitting the bell to the top of the strength game. Another thing, where else can you drive a bank van around an amusement park and it make sense? May I remind everyone, that this was the stage where you first see Kazooie and Banjo split as a duo and work individually. That was unique in itself.
Gobi’s Valley was a shock to the system. Sand Eels, flying beetles, hands running (kind of) after you, and mummies in ancient pyramids. These guys made this stage hard. In saying that, the stage was still enjoyable with a fun soundtrack (I should just say that all Banjo songs kick ass), and the puzzles were complex yet fulfilling. The puzzle piece held by the hand was tricky, and also the “climb this to get that” portions were very intense with minor dodgy camera angles. All is forgiven when meeting the camel, who after saving it, begins to hate your ground pound forever more. Good times..
Mad Monster Mansion
Speaking of getting out, Mad Monster Mansion scared me as a young kid. I don’t know why, Mad Monster Mansion had a very eerie and evil presence in this game. The breathing floor before the stage was odd enough. Running tombstones, ghosts and more mummies made this a frightful event. Growing up and replaying this stage, I see a nice charm to the stage as a horror themed level. The piano and hand, Loggo the toilet (who gets used again in the sequel), and as the picture shows above, a sleeping ghost who must not be disturbed. Damn that thing frightened me when I took that extra step too far. I love this stage, but still fear it Oo
Click Clock Wood
Click Clock Wood is the final stage in Banjo Kazooie and by far the hardest. The thing about Click Clock Wood is that it plays on time and seasons making it unique. An event in Spring can change something in Autumn etc. Mumbo and vacation, too hot to work, and too cold is hilarious to see. The climbing of the same tree feels different every time and it is 4 stages in one in theory. The squirrel and their nuts was gold in this game. This stage was more a story than a plain ol’ generic level. This is shown via the bird in the nest. After this was Grunty’s furnace fun, so it was best to enjoy this while you could.
Cloud Cuckooland was a huge stage to say the least. It was loaded with everything imaginable. A trash can, a block of cheese, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and a hive stolen from the last level I spoke about; Click Clock Wood. To sum up this stage quickly, it is the hardest level by far in any Banjo game made to date. The constant enemy spawning inside the cavern, the speed and quickness of all puzzles, and my most favorite moment in BK history; evil Mumbo. Terminator Mumbo Jumbo ruined my childhood and left me with multiple trust issues… This was the last ever BK stage before Nuts and Bolts. End conversation here.
Freezeezy peak is my dead set favorite stage. Why? Everything in this stage works. Boggy the Bear, the presents and his kids, the tree mini game (AHHHH), and becoming a Walrus for various tasks was actually much worth it due to the icy cold water. I remember killing the snowman and being proud of it due to those damn incoming snowballs all the time. The stage highlight for me is the music and the huge Snowman scarf that you ride all the way to the top to see a monster ice cube that will knock you off if you aren’t careful. The stage was so small and yet felt so big. It made sense and was fun. I remember the ice key in the Walrus cave as well. Who tried forever to grab that darn thing?
Thanks for reading my top ten Banjo Kazooie levels peeps and make sure to like us on the sidebar. Maybe I should do A Banjo Kazooie Let’s Play? Talk to us below.