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Reviewed by Mike Wales What are you supposed to think about a game that stars a big, goofy honey bear named Banjo who wears tight yellow shorts and carries around a raucous, red-crested breegull in his bright blue backpack? Sounds like a puzzling combination, right? Amazingly, the creative and kooky folks at Rare made all the pieces fit in Banjo-Kazooie, the latest and greatest 3D adventure for the Nintendo 64. The action starts when wicked witchy-poo Gruntilda nabs Banjo's cute kid sister, Tooty, to use as a test subject for her beauty-stealing invention. Banjo sets out immediately to the rescue with his inseparable companion Kazooie stashed in his backpack. The bear-and-bird duo must use constant teamwork to overcome the many obstacles in Gruntilda's cavernous lair. Banjo's brute strength comes in handy in beating up on foes, while Kazooie's locomotive versatility enables the pair to scour the world in search of the necessary pieces to solve the puzzles of the place. And if controlling a bizarre bear-bird pair isn't enough, players can seek out witch doctor Mumbo Jumbo to undergo a variety of magical transformations. Banjo and Kazooie can learn more than 20 different moves, and they'll need them all to make it through the nine nightmarish worlds inside of Gruntilda's Lair. Banjo-Kazooie takes the classic item-collecting game formula from Super Mario 64 and pumps it full of steroids. Players must literally collect over a thousand items during their adventures to open all the twisting tunnels, polluted pipes, and tortuous passages that lead to the final confrontation with Gruntilda. Throughout the adventure, you also have to learn more gory details about Gruntilda's personal habits than anyone really wants to know because there will be a test at the end of the game! At, we'll take you through the many worlds of the game, pointing out highlights, introducing characters, and even revealing a few secrets along the way. And just like in the game, you'll need to pay attention because there will be a few pop quizzes! Answer the questions correctly, collect all the puzzle pieces on the Web site, and you'll get a special bonus! By the time you explore the entire site you'll know why Banjo-Kazooie is the greatest adventure for the Nintendo 64 yet!

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