Forgive the unprecedented lack of consistency on my part, but I think that I can say with relative certainty that the return of Rare Revisits has arrived. With this week’s editorial, I will be discussing what I find to be one of Banjo-Kazooie’s more underrated locales.
The third proper world that the bear-and-bird duo venture into, Clanker’s Cavern possesses a motif that is unique for the platform-adventure genre, even if the color pallet is not the most dynamic. This grimy drain system serves as the requisite sewage dump for Gruntilda’s Lair, with Clanker — a giant, mechanical, shark-like creature — acting as the witch’s personal garbage disposal.
While not outright despised by the majority of the game’s fan community, this level does tend to receive somewhat of a bad rap for its relatively confined space and static use of color. The former, however, is partially why I love this world. For what the developer’s seemingly wanted to accomplish with Clanker’s Cavern — a divergence from the wide openness that permeates the rest of the game’s worlds — I felt that they pulled it off beautifully.
In many ways, this smelly sewage space is far more frightening to me than Banjo-Kazooie’s traditional horror-themed level, Mad Monster Mansion, in that it plays off of one of my greatest fears: drowning. One sequence in particular that immediately comes to mind is the one in which the player must raise Clanker to the surface. Sounds like a walk in the park, right? Never mind the fact that the player must swim down an incredibly deep chasm in order to do so!
Traversing the inside of Clanker himself is perhaps equally as claustrophobic, as it contains even more confined areas, along with spinning blades and vicious tentacles. While these spaces do not rely on precision as much as those in, say, Rusty Bucket Bay, these do rank among the more treacherous segments of the game.
What are your thoughts on Clanker’s Cavern, though? Did you appreciate how it deviated from the other worlds found throughout Grunty’s Lair? Did the browns and dark greens turn you away from the level’s aesthetic? Whatever your thoughts may be, be sure to share them in the comments below!