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Patrick Hope: You’re hot, then you’re cold

Well, we started this month with an ice area, so we might as well do a fire area to balance it out. Or maybe I can do another ice area because I do enjoy them. Or how about I combine fire and ice? Yes, that's the ticket. It's time for the more or...

Well, we started this month with an ice area, so we might as well do a fire area to balance it out. Or maybe I can do another ice area because I do enjoy them. Or how about I combine fire and ice? Yes, that’s the ticket. It’s time for the more or less obligatory journey into one of Rare’s Nintendo 64 games as we explore great levels in video games.
While “Banjo-Kazooie” stuck to a lot of the traditional adventure game standards for levels (swamp, ice, desert, haunted, beach, forest, etc.), “Banjo-Tooie” struck out on its own with some of its more imaginative areas. There’s a gold mine, an amusement park, a prehistoric world, a bizarre grab bag world in the sky named Cloud Cuckooland, and our subject today: Hailfire Peaks, the combo fire/ice world.
Probable geological impossibility of such a place existing aside, Hailfire Peaks is one of those places you won’t likely forget because no other world is like it. The idea of combining standard bearer world types isn’t exactly common, and throwing together polar opposite worlds is really unheard of. That alone makes Hailfire Peaks particularly memorable.
So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Hailfire Peaks are twin mountains ruled by twin dragons, Chilly Willy and Chilli Billi, who respectively breathe ice and fire, mistake Banjo for a pizza delivery boy, and inexplicably live in craters surrounded by cannons pointed directly at them. You can freely go between the fire and ice sides which, in “Banjo-Tooie” fashion, means that to get all the Jiggies, you’re going to have get creative with some puzzle solving moving between the sides.
One aspect which is alternately annoying and great about “Banjo-Tooie” is how the worlds are all linked to each other, so to get 100 percent in one world, you might be waiting a very long time because the solution is in a world you won’t unlock for a while. While a couple of these exist in Hailfire Peaks (such as where you have to turn into a snowball on the ice side, then roll yourself over to the fire side to hit a giant button to start an oil drill that will get you a Jiggy over in Grunty Industries.
This sort of thing isn’t uncommon and can sometimes be needlessly obtuse in how you solve them. But because of the dual world nature of Hailfire Peaks, this also means that you get some instantly creative puzzles that won’t require a lot of guesswork.
For example, there are two train stations (train stations via Chuffy the train are “Banjo-Tooie” fast travel) in Hailfire Peaks. However, due to the extreme temperatures, Chuffy doesn’t function so well in the fire side station. So you have to use Gobi the camel, who’s been searching for the lava world since you pounded his hump too many times back in “Banjo-Kazooie” in 1998. That will cool Chuffy down and he can reach the ice side station. Or how you thaw out intrepid explorer Sabreman on the ice side by putting him in Banjo’s backpack and taking him to the fire side.
The puzzles require some legwork and thinking, but they’re not needlessly hard. It makes you feel smart. And feeling smart is fun!
From the first time I heard there was a combo fire-ice world in “Banjo-Tooie,” I was pretty much sold on the game. It’s such a basic idea but one that is so hard to pull off. Of course, this was at the height of Rare’s power, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Really, all of Rare’s platformers contain marvelous levels, but Hailfire Peaks is perhaps the most special. This isn’t even including how there’s a massive kickball stadium built in the side of a volcano on the fire side ...
Hope is a local attorney and video game enthusiast. The fire side is actually left over from the “Banjo-Kazooie” beta-level Mount Fire Eyes. There’s an entire column of beta stuff from that game.

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