Banjo Kazooie tracks the story of the dynamic duo Banjo and Kazooie in their quest against the witch Gruntilda. Defeated in the last game by Nintendo, THQ's title picks up directly after this. A mechanical Gruntilda is resurrected and travels back to erase Kazooie from the picture. Banjo must then follow her to prevent her from eliminating the successes made in the first game, including saving his pal Kazooie.
Grunty's Revenge is a platform game in the vein of Spyro. On the Game Boy Advance, it is a colorful universe for Banjo to travel in. The assortment of characters you'll meet is as zany as the names themselves.
The magic about Grunty's Revenge is its ability to get in a good rhythm. Every platform title has power ups, upgradeable skills and boss battles. Grunty's Revenge paces all of this so as to keep the game fresh and interesting at every juncture. In the beginning, Banjo has no skills other than jumping over his enemies. Then he learns his first attack move. Then he learns how to dive into water to open sub-levels. There is a constant feel of progress so you know you're working towards something.
The levels in Grunty's Revenge are laid out much like the Spyro titles.
There is a super world map level. There are enemies here, small puzzles, so on and so forth. Interiors of structures, like houses or waterholes help extend the world map into more objective driven interiors. Some of their layouts are quite smart. For example, one required changing Banjo into a mouse and then revisiting it to complete the mouse hole portion.
There are currencies throughout the game you have to collect. In order to change Banjo's form or open up new moves, you have to explore some of the level and come up with enough jingling change. Again, Grunty's Revenge does things right by making the collecting part of the game. It's something to do while you're going through the level. But it's not the whole entire game, which is a good thing.
In terms of audio, Grunty's Revenge has a short but pleasing soundtrack. There isn't any speech so all of the characters speak gibberish during dialogue scenes. At first, they sound cute. As you hear the sheep go bah-bah-bah the tenth time, I was looking for a way to turn it off.
As a platform game, Grunty's Revenge isn't too tough. Grunty's Revenge never frustrates nor does the finish line seem too out of reach. It also doesn't fall into the trap of making the player wander around aimlessly. Even if you don't know where you're going, you'll eventually achieve your objectives by exploring once anyway.
The only thing going against it is its use of the platform game motif. By this time in the Game Boy Advance lifecycle, Grunty's Revenge is being released into a field of competitors full of marquee names and mascot characters. I really liked Grunty's Revenge though. It isn't an outright revolutionary game but it has a lot of charm. The vibrant graphics and animations really spruced up the presentation of the title. Younger players will find the quaint story attractive.