Don't let the game's young look fool you - BK is a sole, deep, and entertaining 3D action game. If you're under the impression that Mario was the only great 3D action game for the N64, Banjo will change your tune.

When Mario 64 debuted, people went ballistic over the game?s flawless graphics and incredibly rich gameplay?and rightfully so. At the time, the game was the perfect showcase for the new N64 system, and made a much-deserved splash.

Now after many delays, Banjo-Kazooie is here?a more complex, more fluid, and more attractive game than its plumber predecessor. It?s sure to have even the staunchest N64 critics raising their eyebrows.

Rare (the creative force behind Donkey Kong Country on the Super NES, and more recently, GoldenEye 007 on the N64) pulled out all the stops while still playing by the book. The company has created a visually dazzling masterpiece with bright backgrounds that display much more depth than Mario?s one-dimensional environments and detailed polygonal monsters that require a little more thinking in their disposal than Mario?s did.

But Rare has also remained true to the classic style of Mario gameplay that made that title so famous. Banjo flies, floats, runs, and jumps through nine levels of mischievous gameplay that keep your fingers busy and your mind racing. You explore mysterious desert palaces, slide through chilly winter wonderlands, and wade through creature-infested swamps?all before you actually enter the levels. The game is layered so that mission objectives, such as collecting musical notes, rescuing allies, and opening doors, can be performed inside and outside the main levels. This makes the game more far-reaching and intricate than most platform pansies competing for gamers? dollars these days.

Multiple objectives will also keep you looking for hidden objects and secret rooms?and there?s plenty of both. You must help out a whole army of Banjo?esque buddies who need you, from a set of Christmas lights who just want to find a tree to a weeping pirate who wishes to retrieve his booty (as in gold, gutter-brain).

With the help of your feathered sidekick (who remains in your backpack, but comes out whenever you need him), you?re put on a full course of fantastic fun which you?ll never forget. Banjo is a bearish keeper, one of the best games for the N64, and a true modern classic.

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