originally previewed this game back in the summer
of 2001 when it was called Diddy Kong Pilot. A lot
has changed since then. Rare has left the right arm
of Nintendo to assume the position over at Microsoft,
Diddy Kong has been removed in favor of the Rare trademarked
"Banjo the bear" and the GBA has been upgraded
into the SP and a new handheld system has arrived
on the scene. It's been a wild 3 and a half years.
what of Banjo? How did his game fair? Relax Timmy,
the answer is "Just fine". That is, if you
like playing games that would have been acceptable
three and a half years ago. Banjo Pilot smacks of
contractual obligation as in "We Had No Choice
But To Finish This Game and Release It...That's Why
Perfect Dark Zero, Conker and Kameo Are Late....Sorry."
That's not to say Banjo isn't mildly amusing; it certainly
is, but the audience has left the building and the
"me too" kart-style action with airplanes"
in Banjo Pilot won't have players lining up to experience
Mario Kart with airplanes and that's exactly what
you have here. Since even Mario Kart on the GBA was
already looking long in the tooth, you can imagine
that some of the luster has definitely worn off on
this genre in 2005. It needs technology to give it
a boost in the ass and the GBA isn't up to the challenge.
Had this project been upgraded in every department
- graphics, gameplay, control - and programmed for
the DS I'm sure given Rare's usual track record of
impressive playable titles, this review might have
had a different outcome.
game performs admirably on the small screen and Rare
has no trouble moving a handful of characters on the
screen at one time. The levels are colorful, bright
and players won't have any trouble locating exactly
where they need to go. Unlike Diddy Kong Racing on
the N64, players are confined to the tracks and can't
explore beyond them. The level designs aren't particularly
impressive and if I can borrow a Hollywood saying
for a moment, it seems that Rare phoned in the racing
enviroments. There is little imagination in the tracks,
although they do run the gamut of worlds culminated
from Banjo's previous N64 adventures.
control is tight and responsive although I have a
few minor quibbles about configuration. The "gas"
is assigned to the A button, while tight turns are
mapped to the R shoulder button. Weapons and items
are mapped to the B button which I found incredibly
awkward and this setup cannot be altered. Because
of utlizing the R button, your hands will be set up
in the classic thumb on the button, index finger on
the shoulder. This means you'll have to take your
finger off the gas to use a weapon or an item. It
would have been much better to map this function to
the L shoulder button as your left index finger is
there anyway and it has nothing to do. Another infraction
is the inability to change the direction in which
Banjo moves up or down - if you want to move up, you
have to press down. If you want to move downwards,
you have to press up. I understand this is the way
flying machines tend to work but I hope no one will
mistake Banjo Pilot for a flight simulator. An option
would have been thoughtful.
won't need a university degree in "Banjo"
to understand the incredible depth of Banjo Pilot.
Let's face it, the gameplay and the characters are
about as generic as can be. The only people who are
truly jumping for joy at this release are the true
blue Banjo the Bear fans and Rare, who have finally
delivered this one and can move on. I'm betting Rare
is jumping just a little higher....