Unforgettable: Grunty’s Furnace Fun

I feel a golden age of gaming coincided with Rareware’s golden age during the 90’s.  For me, the really good span of years for video games was between 1994-2000.  Odds are, you know what I’m talking about, as I know we have a good number of readers here who love the Donkey Kong Country and Banjo-Kazooie games as much as Cary, Jacob, and I.  And if you are those people, then you will know that there was just something really special about any game Rareware created back then.  It was as if they had some sort of magic touch.  More than likely, they just had a great group of minds whose work I sorely miss after the release of their last really good game back in 2000.

Many of my fondest gaming moments revolve around Rareware’s games, and though it would seem a difficult feat indeed to name one of my absolute favorite challenges in any video game, considering I have played over one hundred and counting, it is actually a simple task indeed.  One of the highlights of my gaming history is Grunty’s Furnace Fun from Banjo-Kazooie.

Video from Youtube User: packattack04082

Towards the end of this gem of a game, before you can fight Gruntilda, you are treated to a quiz, during which the witch (try saying that ten times fast) asks you a variety of questions about the game, including trivia, identifying places based on an image or a sound, and even questions about Grunty herself.  There are also challenges, like defeating Boss Boom Box in a limited amount of time or beating Mr. Vile’s third and toughest mini game.  The entire room, in fact, is set up like a giant board game suspended over a pit of lava.  You are free to choose which direction you would like to progress across the board, with the limitation that you can only move one square at a time.  Every time you answer correctly, you can proceed another square.  Get a question wrong, however, and you will take damage.

I always greatly anticipate this part of the game.  I love Gruntilda’s funny rhymes, and I enjoy the fact that, even after beating the game countless times over the years, there is a wide variety of questions that still pose a challenge.  I guess you can look at it this way.  While you can complete the Jiggies in Click Clock Wood in any order, there is very little variation in how you obtain them.  But when you play Grunty’s Furnace Fun, you will never have the same experience because the questions will always be different, and there is a good variety of paths you can take.

There is even a little bit strategy involved, as well, as you can obtain joker cards at certain squares, which will allow you to skip a square in the future.  These are best saved for the skull squares, where one wrong answer will end your life.  Furthermore, I found the whole notion of Grunty setting up this whole quiz rather amusing, along with the fact that the dastardly witch does actually play fairly and allows you to proceed whenever you guess a right answer.  I mean, villain or no, at least she doesn’t cheat.

Grunty’s Furnace Fun can be compared to the Tower of Tragedy in Banjo-Tooie, which, while fun enough, is not quite as exciting to me as the quiz found in Banjo-Kazooie.  In this variation, you are in a quiz show of sorts and must compete against Grunty’s two sisters, Mingella and Blobbelda.  You no longer have the option to move around, and your goal is points rather than keeping your health.  I didn’t exactly like having to compete with the other two witches, and the questions lose a lot of their humor and charm when they don’t rhyme.  One thing I do like, however, is that the quiz continues into the final boss fight, where Gruntilda will go easy on you if you answer correctly.  Once again, I found it rather funny that she makes up these rules and actually honors them.  Now there’s integrity!

Joking aside (we all know Grunty’s one evil dame), while the Tower of Tragedy is a fun diversion, I feel like Grunty’s Furnace Fun is a highlight of an already entertaining game.  There are plenty of fun games out there, and such games all have their good moments and their even better ones.  But there is nothing quite like engaging in a fun little quiz put on by everyone’s favorite rhyming witch.  After 19 years, Grunty’s Furnace Fun is undeniably unforgettable!

Now enough about me, what about you?

Your favorite moment, give me a clue.

Just leave me a comment down below,

It’s the only way I’ll ever know.

Rhyming is fun; it’s rather inspired,

Not to worry, it isn’t required.

This post is now done, the Duck needs a rest,

I’m looking forward to Grunty’s next test.

The featured image was taken by the Duck of Indeed

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Hatm0nster says:

    Grunty’s Furnace Fun was always a highlight of my Banjo-Kazooie playthroughs. I don’t think I’ve ever taken the same route through it twice, but I always favored the challenge and image guessing spaces. I could never really do very well with the Grunty trivia though, since I never went out of my way to find Brentilda. Nice rhyme at the end, by the way! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. duckofindeed says:

      My favorite squares are the ones where you are quizzed on images and sounds. It was always fun when they had a super vague image, and I could still guess correctly. I’m not so good at the challenges, though, especially Mr. Vile. And thanks, that rhyme was quite fun to write.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Matt says:

    As someone who didn’t know English very well back when I first stepped into Grunty’s Furnace Fun, that thing was a nightmare. I still loved it anyway, and I started loving it even more after I could understand everything she was asking me. It’s a great, epic, and fun challenge before the final battle, and it is also quite clever and original.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. duckofindeed says:

      Rareware was certainly good at coming up with fun and original ideas back then. I mean, who would expect that being quizzed would be so much fun? There are times I was tempted to just randomly wander around on the board to make the quiz last as long as possible, that’s how much I love it. What category of questions is your favorite?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Matt says:

        I loved the eyeball panels! I think they were my favorites.

        I once did just that: I walked through the whole board and cleared all spaces before proceeding.

        Like

      2. duckofindeed says:

        Yeah, those are pretty fun. I’m always proud when the image shown is super vague, and I’m still able to guess the right answer. It makes me feel like a major expert on the game. I also like the questions where you’re quizzed on characters’ voices or sound effects.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Matt says:

        That one is also pretty awesome!

        Like

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