While the world and his dog are currently enjoying Banjo and Kazooie’s third outing, I’ve found myself absolutely loving the original, which has recently been released on Xbox Live Arcade.
While there are a few issues with the emulation – a few sections, particularly when Banjo is swimming, suffer from horrendous slowdown – this is otherwise perfect. Indeed, it begs the question, why on earth hasn’t Microsoft allowed Rare to release more of its back catalogue on Live Arcade?
After all, aside from Nintendo, only Rare themselves came close to creating essential N64 titles, and while some of them – Donkey Kong 64, Diddy Kong Racing – still belong to Nintendo, there’s still plenty of other titles that we’d love to see resurface. Where is Jet Force Gemini? Where is Blast Corps? Where is Perfect Dark? It seems bizarre that Microsoft spends a small fortune on the popular British developer and doesn’t actually allow them to do what they do best; create highly innovative and genuinely great games.
Granted, the likes of both Viva Pinata, Kameo and Banjo Kazooie 3 are a massive return to form, but I don’t want to see them creating (admittedly good avatars) I want them to be able to do what they’ve always done and the release of Banjo Kazooie makes me want it even more.
Beautifully structured, full of genuinely engaging characters and extremely tough in places, this is easily one of the best games currently available on Microsoft’s service, and when you consider some of the past titles we’ve rated over the years, that’s high praise indeed.
Rare has already revealed that Banjo Tooie will be arriving sometime next year, let’s hope some of its other classics aren’t too far behind.