Banjo-Kazooie Reviews

  • Aeris GainzbrahAeris Gainzbrah376,075
    16 Apr 2009
    46 9 3
    For me, 1998 was a long time ago. In terms of gaming anyway. Ten years ago I was only 13, and although many don't really consider it being retro the Nintendo 64 era is pretty retro to me.

    I remember Banjo Kazooie as one of the first titles that really had me hooked. I remember spending endless hours fixed to the screen trying to 100% the levels - almost always unsuccessfully - but still. It's certainly one of the earliest games that I actually dedicated myself to. Not just picking up and playing it, but really putting alot of time and effort into it. In saying all of this, first time round I never actually managed to finish it...

    When I got wind of the news that BK was to make it onto XBLA, I was over the moon. Not only is it a classic release - but a lengthy one.
    I also got pretty exited with the offer of a free early download of the original game with the pre-order of Banjo Kazooie - Nuts and Bolts, almost a month before the actual release.
    I took full advantage of the offer - although my copy of N&B is still sealed a massive six weeks after release..... *cough*...

    So, Banjo Kazooie follows the story of the Diddy Kong Racing character Banjo, and his feathered friend Kazooie which - despite her size - lives in Banjos backpack...
    Nearby, Grunty - a typically ugly, green witch - discovers that... Believe it or not... She is not the prettiest lady in the land. That would be Tooty, Banjos younger sister. Grunty has her kidnapped and Banjo & Kazooie set out to save her, before Grunty uses her wicked machine to steal her beauty for herself.

    B&K make their way to Grunty through her lair, which consists of levels in which 'Jiggys' (jigsaw pieces) and musical notes are collected in order to complete pictures throughout the lair to progress to the next level where you will collect more jiggys and so on and so forth - in an almost Mario 64-esque play style.
    The game itself can provide you with hours of decent playtime - which more than justifies it's 1200 point price tag,which I know alot of people aren't too keen on.
    The game play is consistently fun - with varying challenges of which some will leave even the mostly skilled gamer screaming at the TV or sending their controllers flying (Gobis Valley, anyone?) Yet still - even the more difficult tasks keep me hooked and trying, rather than going down the turning off and sulking route I usually take.

    The game has had a polish in terms of visuals and looks fantastic. Colourful and sharp.
    Unfortunately the trademark 64 camera angles haven't been fixed - so expect the occasional camera fit before you go hurtling in the opposite direction. This can get tiresome when your carefully making your way across a teeny bridge above lava of the instant death variety. Trust me.

    Overall - even to todays standards this title has alot to offer. It's good fun - plain and simple. It provides hours of entertainment for people of all ages. It could easily be enjoyed by someone new to the title - aswell people like me who spent their childhood playing it. We can but hope we see more games along these lines heading our way too.

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    SaikredLong time ago you wrote this but I thought I'd chirp in anyway since I just read it.
    I think you did a pretty good job to be honest, thumbs up for sure, and better than most of the other reviews on Banjo Kazooie.

    Also, I agree with your "N64 Retro" thing, the N64 was the first console that got me "Properly" into gaming with the likes of Banjo, Mario 64, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark and the likes.
    Posted by Saikred on 13 Aug 10 at 11:47
    Gilbert PrimeI have never understood the mindset behind XBLA shortchanging the achievements in all their games. If it were a simple game, fine but Banjo-Kazooie is neither short nor easy. If Xbox went through the trouble of porting it, they might as well have given it a full set of achievements to encourage more players.
    Posted by Gilbert Prime on 17 May at 00:31
  • YemethYemeth301,836
    27 Dec 2008
    32 3 6
    Yes, you are not seeing things. The 1998 N64 classic has made its way to the Xbox Live Arcade, complete with an HD makeover at a hefty 1200 Microsoft Points.

    When this game first came out on the N64, I remember recieving a promotional VHS tape (VHS? Whats that? lol) showcasing the game in all its wacky levels and crazy moves. I like it, so I went out and bought a copy. To this day, it still remains as one of my favourite and most cherished youth gaming memories, rivalling that of Super Mario and Donkey Kong, and even excelling against them in some aspects as a definitive platformer.

    The game revolves around the kidnapping of a young girl, Tooty, by a witch called Gruntilda, in order to transfer Tooty's beauty (which I fail to see...) into herself (which she's desperately in need of). Now, Tooty is Banjo's little sister and as a good big brother should always know, ALWAYS save your sister from a decrepid old hag. Banjo is a bear, but not just any old bear. He strolls along with a female (surprise surprise) bird called Kazooie. They're collaborative partnership is the driving engine of the games premise and as a duo they will end up tackling the challenge faced head on, with the aid of you, mr/mrs gamer of course.

    Already im hearing moans and groans about its unoriginality or its cloneness of Super Mario 64, but I beg to defer. What makes this game so special in my opinion is its sheer novel value. The characters, levels and events will imprint into your memories for a long time, they are simply unforgettable. This is up to you to find out, I wont be spoiling anything today.

    Your journey will take you across a host of different environments, meeting an array of memorable NPCs, guided by a moley godfather type character named Bottles and a shaman named Mumbo Jumbo who'll be subjecting you to all sorts of body altering wizardry throughout the whole game. Blanket this will a smart collection system of honeycomb pieces and musical notes and you will be left with a charming package of collectability, gameplay, character building and storyline. The scale of this game is very impressive, the worlds themselves are large, but the extra-worldy navigation through Gruntilda's lair will leave you confused due to its sheer magnitude.

    No multiplayer at all in this game, this is one for the lonesome, yet soothingly attractive to a younger audience if they decide to watch or even have a play themselves. All ages should give this game its deserved chance on their screens and Xbox 360's. Platformers this novel and this classic dont come by very often. A mention goes for the achievements too, they are well balanced and should provide something for both the casual gamer and for the collectathon completionist.

    You're looking at 8-10 hours to fully complete for the average gamer so if you are struggling to find something worthy of your 1200 points, and think other cheaper arcade games are a bit 'meh', look no further than Banjo Kazooie, great value for that price and an unrivalled gaming experience on XBLA to treasure.
  • HelmarocHelmaroc151,963
    09 Mar 2010 19 May 2011
    23 0 0
    Back in the day Rare was on top of the world. They were constantly pushing out new, and sometimes innovative, games year after year for the N64, with the likes of Donkey Kong 64, Goldeneye 007, and their grand opus, Banjo Kazooie. After the huge success of Super Mario 64, many other games tried to copy it, with none coming as close as Banjo Kazooie. Now, it's been remade for XBLA, with slightly buffed up graphics and some leaderboards, but does it stand the test of time, or should it go back to where it came from?

    Like most platformers back then, the story was simple, and unimportant. Basically, the evil witch Gruntilda has captured Banjo's sister Tootie, so she can transfer Tootie's beauty over to her. It's up to Banjo and his bird pal Kazooie to rescue Tootie and finish off Grunty.

    As I said, it's a simple, yet slightly chamring, story. You won't care much about it while playing though.

    Basically, there are 9 different levels connected by an overworld that you must traverse through. In each level, there are 10 jiggies you must collect. These jiggies are used to finsih various puzzle boards, so you may unlock the next level. There are also 100 notes in each level, used to open various doors in the overworld, allowing you to explore more of Grunty's castle and find new puzzle boards to unlock more levels. The notes are scattered throughout the levels, while the jiggies are found through various different ways. It's a tried and true formula and it works great in this game.

    Throughout the game, you'll also meet various characters. Bottles the Mole will teach you new moves, Mumbo will turn you into various animal or objects, that can only be used in the level you were transformed in, and Brentilda, Grunty's sister, will tell you various gross facts about Grunty that are used later in the game. Gobi the Camel also shows up a few times as some great comic relief. Each level also has their own unique characters. For example, Treasure Trive Cove has a fellow named Blubber while Freezeezy Peak has Boggy the Polar Bear, who shows up in later games in the franchise.

    One of the few new features are the leaderboards, to see how you rank up against other people, in relation to fast you completed each level. Another new feature is that now, when you complete level, the notes you collected will be permanently collected, unlike in the original version where it only saved your high score, menaing if you went back to the level, you would have to recollect all the notes.

    So basically, the game has a simple design, which is easily compared to Super Mario 64, but that is never a bad thing.

    There are many, many different moves in this game, way more than in other platformers. Most are used in conjuction with Kazooie. Examples are giving you an extra boost when jumping, shooting eggs from her beak, using her beak to stab people or using her as a protective, golden shield. Some Banjo specific moves include punching and rolling. One you will use quite often is using Kazooie to run faster; Banjo is just too slow by himself. Many of these moves are used in various situations, usually to get a Jiggy or get to another part of the castle.

    As mentioned earlier, Bottles teaches you most of the moves, so even if know how to use them beforehand, you won't be able to until he actually teaches you. Besides just Banjo and Kazzoie moves that are performed by themselves, there are some that need ammo, or an item. For example, flying uses red feathers, the protective shield uses gold feathers and shooting eggs needs, well, eggs. There are also various shoes, like runnign shoes to go even faster or boots to walk through normally hurtful terrain, though these can be only be used for a set period of time.

    All these great moves make for a thoroughly enjoyable game.

    First thing you will notice is that this still looks like an N64 game. It does have alot smoother and brighter graphics than the original version did, though.

    The next thing you will notice is the AMAZING music. I love it. I constantly hum it at random times, and I'm sure you will too. It is seriously one of the reasons I love this game so much. When people say music isn't a big factor in a game, they haven't played a game with such memorable tunes as Banjo-Kazooie has.

    Another thing you may notice is the lack of voice acting, which was normal for the time period. Instead, you get text that is accompanied by random garbles from each character. Luckily, these garbles don't get too annoying, at least for me. The actual dialogue is also pretty humorous at times.

    All in all, this is a great game; it's one of my personal favourites. The levels are varied and large, the music is catchy and there is a wide plethora of moves. If you haven't experienced this classic, what are you waiting for?
  • JungleWookieeJungleWookiee239,537
    06 May 2011 10 May 2011
    10 3 2
    Back in 1998, there were some harsh debate about it being as good or not as the other poster boy for the N64 3D platformer games. And that is saying something as this other game basically defined the genre for the years to come.

    So Rareware gives us at the time one of the best games for the N64 console, and today, this XBLA re release offers slightly better graphics and achievements. How great is that ? Anyway, let's review it a bit.

    Graphics :
    It was beautiful back in the day, really. Everything is colorful and all, the environments are diverse enough to not be boring, including Grunty's Lair. This XBLA version gets a minor update, but it isn't really noticeable other than character faces. You are playing a retro game and you know it by how it looks. Perfect Dark HD gets a much better upgrade in comparison, so it could have been better and that's too bad.

    Audio :
    Wonderfull soundtrack making all of its scores an Ear Worm. Grant Kirkhope is a really good composer as every Rare title from the late 90's get great music, and Banjo-Kazooie is no exception. Sound effects are well-done and funny, and contribute to the fun atmosphere of the game. Back throwing an egg in a Mad Monster Mansion flower pot and getting a Thaaaank Youuuu from beyond is a great experience by itself.

    Gameplay :
    Here is the frustrating one. The game is classic 3D platformer at its finest and you spend most of your time running around collecting Goodies. The controls are great, even if some button combination seems odd because of the 360 pad, like the use of the golden feathers. Banjo and Kazooie respond quite well and have a nice and diverse move set, making the whole experience pleasant and never repetitive. But there are two real flaws. First, the camera really is outdated, hard to control and you will find yourself falling or running into enemies from time to time because of it. And second, the underwater controls are just awful and the camera issues just makes it worse. The second to last level in the game is largely considered the hardest just because of its aquatic parts.

    Achievement :
    Pretty good list IMO, most of them just require to play the game and are really hard to miss, some ask a Hundred Percent Completion and some other are completely skippable if you don't know what you're doing. They are pretty easy anyway and you don't have to force you out to get this, you will just have to enjoy this great game.

    Conclusion :
    Banjo Kazooie was a great game back in the day, and it still is if you enjoy the 3D platformer genre. The camera is a bit frustrating at time, but it will not ruin an otherwise great experience.
    01 Aug 2010
    12 6 1
    Banjo Kazooie was released in 1998 on the Nintendo 64. It was one of the best games in that point of time and today is classified as a game of all time, up there with legend of Zelda.

    The genre of this game is puzzle and adventure with elements of RPG to it.

    I was only about 5 years old, but according to my parents that all I used to play. Gaming at that stages wasn't big at all, not many people had a 64. Looking back it was the only game that I found challenging with also trying to collect everything in the levels. Could only do Mumbos Mountain for memory, at that time I couldn’t get past the note door to get through to Click Clock Wood. I finished the whole game 12 years later, without using any guides.

    I always wanted to be a bear when I was a kid, thanks to this game that came true for me. So you are a strong and smart bear. With a cheeky but helpful Chicken (Who is a female, but I didn't found out till Nuts and Bolts came out)

    A friend told me that B&K was on XBLA, I thought that was really cool. I couldn't wait to get MP for it. When I downloaded it, I listened to the song at the start for about an hour before I pressed start.

    The story is a green ugly Witch called Grunty, who founds out that she isn't the prettiest girl in the land of Spiral Mountain, she goes on her broom to kidnap Tooty who is banjos sister and takes her back into her lair to transfer Tooty into an ugly girl and Grunty into a hot lady.

    Bottles who is a mole helps you through out the game by teaching you skills that you need and also want. You go into the lair and there are 10 levels that have notes and jigsaw pieces. Notes are used for getting into the next are, where the jiggys are used to ope new levels to play on. Each level is more challenging that the last. It is the same as it was on the N64. The play time is about 20 hours and also the game never gets boring. There are some challenges where it's nearly impossible to do, but throwing the controller at the TV never helps. (Collecting every note on Click Clock Wood).

    Compared to the N64 version this B&K has had a few things fixed like once you collect a note, it doesn't appear when you die. Also the picture itself can be played on HD, sharper and smoother. The music for the game is famous, enjoyable and can listen to it over and over . Only complaint is that the camera angle controls, but that didn't affect me.

    On of my Favourite games, totally worth the 1200, also for the achievements hunters, it’s an easy 12 achievements for 200 points. Recommend this to everyone.

  • StephenGamesXB1StephenGamesXB1393,220
    01 Apr 2017
    4 1 0
    Banjo-Kazooie is the kind of game that lures you in with a whimsical and humorous story and world, but underneath lies a game requiring classic platforming skill. Originally, Banjo-Kazooie released in June of 1998 to immediate critical acclaim and commercial success and cemented a reputation for itself as a premier 3D platformer. Yet, somehow I managed to miss out on it. But now, I've fixed my grievous gaming error and played Banjo-Kazooie as part of Rare Replay. Those that play it and recall the original release will find a few stark differences from the Nintendo 64.

    Most notable is a change in difficulty with a collectible. In the original release, music notes would repopulate in levels if you left them without finishing the level. But now the Xbox rerelease allows you to leave a level and then return with your collected note tally intact. Otherwise, the game is the same as it was released.

    Banjo and Kazooie are relaxing at their home when the witch Gruntilda steals away Tooty in the hopes that she will steal her beauty. Banjo and Kazooie wake up and Seth out to save Tooty from her clutches. Being a platformer from the late '90s, that is all the story you should expect, but this doesn't need anymore. It's entertaining all the shame.

    Gameplay has you navigating multiple worlds in an attempt to find Jiggies, musical notes, honeycombs, and creatures called Jinjos. Precision jumps and environmental puzzles are largely the name of the game with a few water-filled levels that somehow aren't terribly annoying. However, the most annoying part of the game in my experience was Gruntilda's trivia game. In it, you'll have to answer questions about the game itself. Pay attention to sounds, music, sound effects, and even the names of the characters you come upon as all come into play.

    Don't expect amazing things with graphics from this, as the original look of the 1998 release is intact. As such, large polygonal shapes and bright colors permeate the game but to great effect. This is a game that seems to smile with you as you journey through it's worlds.

    In order to complete the game to 100% and earn each of the twelve achievements, you will need to find most of the collectibles. Aside from the collectibles, there are achievements for finding a spell book named Cheato three times, chomping red Yumblies, and in solving Secret Jigsaws. Of all the achievements, only three are not needed to beat the story. Chances are that most players won't have a problem in completing this game.

    If you are a '90s kid, or just want a shot of retro fun, load up Banjo-Kazooie on your Xbox 360 or Xbox One, and enjoy the game that arguably put Rare on the map.

    Graphics: 8/10
    Sound/Music: 9/10
    Difficulty Level: 4/10
    Achievement Difficulty: 3/10
  • Sir Noncy DorpSir Noncy Dorp223,159
    01 Nov 2021
    1 0 0
    Ga-huh! Banjo-Kazooie makes it's way to the Microsoft platforms in its original Nintendo glory. Bear and bird team up when an innocent girl is kidnapped in order to restore the beauty of an evil, yet powerful witch. The pair soon finds that rescuing Banjo's sister will be no easy task, and their journey will take them to several dynamic locales.

    There's a certain charm that I feel a lot of modern games tend to lack when it comes to characters, and I think Banjo-Kazooie serves as a brilliant example of that charm in question. What's the villain's motivation? She wants to be beautiful. It's simple, almost childlike, but still understandable. Are our two heroes very alike? No, not at all. Kazooie is mean and impatient, while Banjo is slightly unintelligent and I would argue to an extent even gullible, but the flaws in these two characters allow them to constrain the other from going too far. Why is a bird living in a bear's backpack? There's no time to ask, go stop the witch!

    Gameplay is another part of this title that really shines. Although in some instances players may be left feeling frustrated. Most of the moves in the game are easy to learn, but hard to remember when it comes to using them in sequence. Performing them efficiently can also be quite difficult, I for one struggled with air attacks. Morph this with an occasional spastic camera man, and you're in for a bad time every now and again. Overcoming an obstacle is rewarding, but sometimes not rewarding enough. It's in these rare moments that Banjo-Kazooie starts to slip a little.

    Aesthetically speaking this game is a complete pleasure. Players are given the opportunity to explore several different locations. From hillsides, mountains, deserts, and shipyards, there are a vast amount of places to go, and people to see. Another fantastic touch is the variety of music. The musical cues in this title are some of the best, bringing back familiar themes, but alternating them to fit the scene. Many games I've played tend to miss this mark, but Rare hit the bullseye here.

    If I had to complain about anything, it would be a certain portion of the game that occurs towards the end. I'll try to be rather vague to avoid spoilers, but essentially you're temporarily required to rely not on your skills in the game's mechanics, but something else entirely. There's no warning of this in the game itself, so you'll be completely unprepared if it hasn't been spoiled for you. However this was not a good thing. Despite knowing which way to go, actually getting there was beyond frustrating. Even if I had been paying attention to every minute detail in the game, I highly doubt this portion would have been much easier.

    The achievement list for Banjo-Kazooie is what I wish other developers would look to for examples. Rare expects you to do nothing more than truly just one hundred percent the game. Sure, finding random collectibles may not be the most entertaining thing in the world, but it does cause you to explore every nook and cranny in the world, and I don't think players should be asked to do more in a platformer like this.

    I would recommend Banjo-Kazooie to everyone, except for people who don't enjoy platformers. While it is a great game, if you're not a platforming type of gamer, this will only frustrate you, and make you hate this genre even more. However outside of the few game mechanic flaws that Rare implemented here, Banjo-Kazooie remains standing as a champion of world building that few games have been able to meet the standards of since.

    Overall Score: 86/100
  • DaBoysVanFredjeDaBoysVanFredje231,190
    08 Feb 2021 08 Feb 2021
    1 1 0

    During the review I will not go deeper into storylines or tips and tricks. In my opinion i twill spoil the fun factor of the game. If you really want to know all-in and outs, you can always look at the achievements section.
    In order to give a well-argued opinion of the game, I decided to test it against five basic criteria. I weigh each criteria on the basis of 3 options. 0 star, 0.5 star or 1 star. All of this combined will be my total of stars.


    Banjo-Kazooie is a single-player three-dimensional platform game with action-adventure elements, in which the player controls the protagonists Banjo and Kazooie as one character from a third-person perspective. The main objective of the game is to find and collect various collectibles in the nine themed worlds. The player needs these objects, among other things, to unlock new parts of the game. Thanks to the open design of the worlds, the objects can often be obtained in a non-linear order. Later in the game it is possible to visit the different worlds in their own order, as long as the player has acquired enough objects in the previous worlds. The entrance to the worlds are interconnected by Gruntilda's Lair, the central hub world of the game.

    Banjo and Kazooie can perform many skills that are gradually learned by their friend, Bottles the mole. The basics are explained to the player in Spiral Mountain, the location outside Banjo's house that serves as a tutorial area. The duo learns there to jump, climb, swim and fight. These skills are further complemented by Bottles in the first six worlds. Some skills require specific items to be collected and maintained. For example, eggs are collected and used as ammunition to shoot at targets. Red feathers make Banjo and Kazooie fly, while golden feathers make them temporarily inviolable.

    The main collector's item are the Jiggies; golden puzzle pieces that unlock new worlds. Each world hides ten Jiggies that are rewarded when Banjo and Kazooie overcome specific challenges. In addition to navigating the worlds, these challenges are often a matter of solving puzzles, winning mini games, helping NPCs, and defeating enemies or bosses. One Jiggy is awarded in each world when the player manages to find all of the five little creatures called Jinjos. In some worlds, by collecting enough Mumbo Tokens, Banjo can be transformed into another creature by the shaman Mumbo Jumbo, giving the player access to previously unattainable Jiggies. When the player finds the unfinished puzzle lists in the hub world and has collected enough Jiggies to complete the puzzle, a new door will open to the world depicted in the puzzle. In addition to Jiggies, the player can collect 100 music notes in each world, which are needed to unlock the music doors in the hub world and unlock new sections of Gruntilda's Lair.

    Additionally, full honeycombs are rewarded when the player defeats an enemy to replenish Banjo and Kazooie's health bars. The player can carry up to nine extra lives at a time, which can be found scattered throughout the game in the form of a golden Banjo trophy. It is also possible to increase the health bar limit by one honeycomb when the player has found six empty honeycombs, of which each world hides two. When the player's health bar is depleted by an enemy, trap, or environmental damage, the player loses a life. When the player runs out of extra lives and causes a game over, a cutscene plays where Gruntilda is successful and steals Tooty's beauty. A game-over has hardly any effect on losing a life; instead of the player spawning at the beginning of a world again, the game will restart and the player will be returned to the entrance to Gruntilda's Lair. Apart from the musical notes, the collected collectibles are preserved.

    Playtime... 0/1 star
    Less than 20 hours of playtime

    Banjo kazooie is a title that stands on its own. You cannot compare this with how games are built nowadays. Back in the days it was an awesome game and it still is, just a little short ...

    Replayability... 0,5/1 star
    Something further to play for
    No interesting multiplayer

    Unfortunately no direct multiplayer function added to give it an extra challenge. Leaderboards have been added, but more could have been done here. I personally would have loved it if there had been a speedrun mode, where you compete against friends and other players. All in all, it remains great to dust it off again and play timelessly with the (dumb) bear and (sarcastic) bird again and I hope it will always remain so.

    Achievements… 1/1 star
    They can be achieved 100%
    Game must be completed 100%

    All in all, a solid list that makes full use of the (limited) possibilities within the game.

    Fun to play…1/1 star
    Nostalgic +
    Camera +
    Controls +

    Banjo - kazooie has a timeless design that suits the time it came out. The strength of this remake is that they haven't tried to fix anything that wasn't broken. the simple design just fits perfectly and does not necessarily require an upgrade. The only thing that needed an upgrade was the camera system ... and they succeeded perfectly. You can turn the camera in the right direction almost at any time. The controls have also been transferred perfectly to the new controller.

    Recommend to others…1/1 star

    Hell yeah! (with a little bit patience)

    Banjo Kazooie is for sale for 15 euros. That is a bit too much for my eyes, but for the classic gamer this is simply a must have. My preference (if you have the patience) is to pick it up when it is free with gold or ultimate. It is worth the wait.
    Would not buy it.


    Playtime 0 star
    Replayability 0,5 star
    Achievements 1 star
    Fun to Play 1 star
    Recommend to others 1 star

    Total a decent 3,5/5 stars!

    P.S. come on guys, you have to reboot Conker’s Bad Fur Day… i need it !
  • Removed Gamer
    Gamer has been removed
    2 12 3
    When I politely asked my friends to buy a Xbox Live Arcade game for 1200 MS points, they must have thought I had lost it.

    However, Banjo-Kazooie is, in my opinion, the best platformer ever to have existed.

    The characters are brilliant, the charm is unique. The humour is very catchy, and the music? The music is the best I've ever heard in my entire life.

    Overall, this is probably the best game on the Arcade (aside from Tooie - but more of that later!).

    If you're looking to buy an XBLA (or even a full) game, Banjo-Kazooie should be next on your list. Rare smoke some amazing drugs to come up with these mascots, you know.