Day 5 and we’re halfway through Obligatory Ice Level Day. And speaking of splitting things in half, it’s time for a very special ice level. One that has an entire TV Tropes page named after it. Of course it’s Hailfire Peaks, from Banjo-Tooie!
I remember when Banjo-Tooie was first announced. It raised so many questions. Specifically the questions of “is Banjo teaming up with a new character named Tooie?” and “wait is that a typo and the game’s going to star Banjo’s sister Tooty?” Nope, it’s just the much bigger, much more elaborate sequel to Banjo-Kazooie! In Banjo-Tooie, the evil witch Gruntilda has returned after the bear and bird um… killed her… in the first game, and is now out for revenge. Killing several of Banjo’s buddies right from the start, she issues a challenge and insists that the duo face off against her once again. Oh, and this isn’t a grimdark reimagining of the first game. It’s still a cartoon comedy! Which is nice because that means everything is still covered in googly eyes.
Hailfire Peaks is probably one of the most famous “fire/ice” stages out there. And it really does its gimmick pretty well! The Lava Side is a volcanic land full of, well, lava. Creepy hands made of molten rock try to grab you, fire imps fly around and try to knock you into the volcanoes, and flaming meteors crash straight into your noggin. The Ice Side is a frosty place, crawling with yetis named Biggyfoot (“Biggyfeet”??). Both sides have demon-like enemies called Gobgoyles, though they have fiery and icy variants depending on which side you find them. But not only that, aliens have crash-landed into the Ice Side! Alph, an alien seen in an earlier level, crashed his UFO into snow and lost track of his three kids. If you help him track them down, he’ll reward you with a Jiggy piece! You can also find an igloo that’s home to Boggy the polar bear from the original Banjo-Kazooie. Boggy tells you he’s pretty hungry, and really the only thing that will make him happy is if you give him a fish caught in the Lava Side of the world. I guess he needs his food to be properly boiled in flesh-meltingly scalding water. The most obscure cameo, however, is Sabreman. Sabreman is actually the star of Sabre Wulf, a pretty old game that Rare released way back in the ’80s. You can find him lost in the Ice Side, but if you bring him to his camp in the Lava Side, he’ll greatly appreciate it. The shaman Mumbo can even turn Banjo into a snowball. In the Ice Side, you can roll around in the snow to gain mass and health. Some puzzles involve entering the Lava Side as a lump of snow, but you have to hurry along, since you stand a snowball’s chance in… well… the Lava Side. The two bosses of this world are Chilli Billi and Chilly Willy, who are fire and ice dragons that live in the tallest mountain peaks. You can choose who to visit first, and whoever you go to will mistake Banjo for the pizza delivery guy, only to attack when Kazooie says they don’t have any pizza. Each dragon attacks by whipping their tongues across the ground and breathing projectiles at you. When you beat one and visit the other, the second dragon will recognize you as the guy who beat up his brother before attacking. All in all it’s a pretty fun, neat little ice level!
… oh also you murder a pair of married, sapient ice cubes. Just throwing that out there.
Dragon, aliens, AND casual murder? Sign me up! Get the full wallpaper here.
Rare’s known for having awesome music in their games, so let’s get to it. Hailfire Peaks (Ice Side) plays in most areas in the Ice Side. The Ice Crater plays when you reach the peak of the ice mountain. And while we’re at it, here’s Freezeezy Peak, from the original Banjo-Kazooie. And here’s Everfrost Peak, Walrus Cove, and Frosty Village, all from the Snowflake Mountain area of Diddy Kong Racing.
Of course, this means there are quite a few remixes too. This guitar mix of Hailfire Peaks is by FamilyJules7x. This cover of Freezeezy Peak is by Ace Waters. This jazzy take on Frosty Village is by insaneintherainmusic, while this version of Walrus Cove and Frosty Village is by Tetrimino. And this Snowflake Mountain medley is by FamilyJules7x.
Hope you all are hanging in there. Maybe sometimes you want to be alone, or sometimes you go through a difficult journey. Still, I hope you get to reunite with the people you care about, whoever they may be! Nothing like having good people in your life, especially during the holidays. Until then, tune in tomorrow for the next ice level.