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Banjo-Kazooie is the first game in the Banjo-Kazooie series. It was developed by Rare Ltd. and published by Nintendo. It was released on the Nintendo 64 in North America on June 29th, 1998, Europe on Jully 17, and in Japan on December 6th. The story involves the two heroes, Banjo and Kazooie, going on an adventure to rescue Tooty from Gruntilda, who tries stealing Tooty's beauty. The game received a sequel in 2000, titled Banjo-Tooie.

In 2008, Banjo-Kazooie was ported to the Xbox Live Arcade, where it received updated textures, the addition of the unused Stop 'n' Swop feature from the original games code, and other minor changes. In the September 2021 Nintendo Direct, Banjo-Kazooie was revealed as one of the games planned for inclusion on the Nintendo Switch Online service, and was released on January 20, 2022, marking its first re-release on a Nintendo console.


Gruntilda asking Dingpot who is "the nicest looking wench"

The evil witch of Spiral Mountain, Gruntilda, is inside her lair, asking her cauldron Dingpot questions about who is the 'nicest and fairest of them all', to which Dingpot reluctantly answers, "Why it's Grunty, any day, she really takes my breath away." She gloats over her "beauty," until Dingpot finally breaks his 'silence' and tells the witch that Tooty, another inhabitant of Spiral Mountain, is actually the prettiest and the fairest of them all. Grunty reacts angrily and decides to kidnap Tooty in order to steal her beauty. She grabs her broom and sets off immediately.

Tooty is confronted by Grunty.

Meanwhile, Tooty is running around Spiral Mountain, when she is greeted by Bottles in front of Banjo's House. She eagerly tells Bottles that she is going on an adventure with her brother, Banjo. Inside the house, Banjo is sleeping soundly, with his breegull friend, Kazooie, sleeping in his backpack, which is hanging on a nearby coat rack. Tooty and Bottles are still talking, until Bottles spots Grunty in the distance, but confuses her for Banjo (due to his short-sightedness). Grunty immediately goes for Tooty, and a struggle ensues. Kazooie, eager for action and adventure, overhears the clamor outside as well as Bottles' cries for help and tries to wake Banjo up. Banjo and Kazooie leave their house, only to discover that Grunty has gone off and kidnapped Tooty. Bottles tells the bear and bird that they must venture to Gruntilda's Lair to rescue Tooty. Bottles offers to prepare the duo to fight Gruntilda by teaching them some basic moves and repairing the bridge leading to the lair's entrance. Banjo and Kazooie set off on an adventure into the lair to save Tooty.

Once inside the lair, Banjo and Kazooie find a Jiggy, which is used to open and unlock levels around the lair by completing Jigsaw Puzzle pictures. They soon find a painting that fits their first Jiggy, opening the first level of the lair, Mumbo's Mountain. Banjo and Kazooie enter the first level and find that their quest is not as easy as they had anticipated. They discover that they need to rescue Jinjos imprisoned by Grunty throughout each of the levels as well as collect Musical Notes, which are needed to open up Note Doors, to progress through the deeper areas of Gruntilda's Lair. They also meet Mumbo Jumbo, a skull-faced shaman who offers his services to the bear and bird by transforming the adventurers into different animals with new abilities.

The two continue progressing through the lair, gathering musical notes, Jiggies, and other collectibles along the way, as well as rescuing the Jinjos of each level. They also encounter Mumbo Jumbo and Bottles several times, who continue to help the heroes by transforming them and teaching them new moves, respectively. Banjo and Kazooie also get help from Gruntilda's nicer sister, Brentilda, who gossips interesting facts about her ugly sister.

After successfully surviving through all nine levels in Grunty's Lair, Banjo and Kazooie eventually reach Gruntilda but are forced to participate in her quiz show, Grunty's Furnace Fun. Thanks to the information provided by Brentilda's gossips, Banjo and Kazooie win Grunty's game and save Tooty. With Tooty rescued, they return home and celebrate with a barbecue. However, Tooty reminds our heroes that Grunty had escaped shortly after the game show and was still at large, plotting her wicked schemes.

Banjo and Kazooie make their way back up the lair until they finally reach the roof with a little help from Dingpot. On the roof, Gruntilda challenges them to a more direct confrontation and an epic battle ensues. But, with the help of the Jinjos they rescued in the various levels in Gruntilda's Lair, Banjo and Kazooie defeat Gruntilda and ultimately knock her off her tower. She crashes into the ground, creating a crater of her shape, which is then covered by a large boulder that falls from the tower and traps her beneath it. Banjo and Kazooie finally take a well-deserved break at the beach, where the bear and bird and their friends anticipate a sequel, Banjo-Tooie. Meanwhile, Gruntilda, whose loyal minion Klungo is trying to rescue her, swears her revenge.


Banjo in Mumbo's Mountain, the first world.

In Banjo-Kazooie, the player controls Banjo and Kazooie, exploring multiple non-linear worlds and obtaining collectibles like Jiggies and Musical Notes in order to advance in Gruntilda's Lair. The game introduced many new features to the genre, such as the ability to learn new moves and transform Banjo into different forms. The items scattered throughout the worlds each have different functions: the Jiggies allow Banjo and Kazooie to open new levels in Gruntilda's Lair by completing Jigsaw Pictures, the Musical Notes allow them to open Note Doors, the Mumbo Tokens allow them to request Mumbo Jumbo's help and become different forms, the Extra Honeycomb Pieces extend the duo's health bar, the the Blue Eggs serve as ammo for Kazooie to shoot either from the front or behind, the Red Feathers allow them to fly and use the Beak Bomb move and the Golden Feathers allow them to use the Wonderwing move. Many other items can also be obtained but their only purpose is to be delivered to a character for a Jiggy. Kazooie can also wear Turbo Trainers, speed-boosting shoes, and Wading Boots, hazard-protecting boots, after learning how to with Bottles.

Game information[edit]


A screenshot of an early build of Banjo-Kazooie, when it became a 3D platformer.

Banjo-Kazooie started development in the mid-1990s as a completely different game for the Super Nintendo, Dream: Land of Giants. Most details regarding the game's development were unknown until 2015, when Rare discussed the game in their Rare Revealed series, "A Rare Look at Dream."[1] and "Five Things You Didn't Know About Banjo-Kazooie."[2] An unlockable video on Rare Replay named "Dreaming of Banjo" also revealed more information about the game's development.[3]

Sometime during its development, Dream shifted its development to Nintendo 64. After a few months of development, the team felt that Edson was a weak character and began searching for a replacement. A rabbit was considered at first before the team decided on a bear, who would become Banjo. The team scrapped Dream entirely and reworked it into a 2.5D platformer similar to Donkey Kong Country, which had a gameplay style more familiar for them. This was the earliest form of Banjo-Kazooie, where Banjo would move along linear path collecting fruit. In the "A Rare Look at Dream" video, Gregg Mayles called it the "connecting piece" between the Donkey Kong games they developed and the final version of Banjo-Kazooie. Kazooie was created during this phase so that Banjo could perform a double jump. The team designed some more moves that involved both characters.[4]

One day, the developers saw an early version of Super Mario 64, making their project looked obsolete in comparison. The project was scrapped again, and the team began a fourth and final attempt at making the game in the style of Super Mario 64. This version would be finalized and released as Banjo-Kazooie. The game was in development for 17 months after Dream was scrapped.[5]

Pre-release and unused content[edit]


The music was composed by Grant Kirkhope. A CD soundtrack was exclusively sold to Nintendo Power subscribers or a pre-order bonus at Best Buy stores. According to an interview with OC Remix, Kirkhope stated that Banjo-Kazooie was his favorite work that he composed.









In each world that Mumbo Jumbo appears in, he can transform Banjo into a different creature or object if he has enough Mumbo Tokens.

  • Mumbo's Mountain - A termite, which can't attack, but can sneak past other termites and can scale steep surfaces.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp - A crocodile which is resistant to (or at least scares away) the piranhas that infest the water, as well as being able to bite.
  • Freezeezy Peak - A walrus, resistant to the icy waters of the area.
  • Mad Monster Mansion - A pumpkin, which bounces around to move, can go into small spaces,and will not be hurt by the thorns on top of the hedges.
    • Grunty's Lair - Mumbo appears inside a small hut near the entrance to Mad Monster Mansion. Here, his purpose is to transform Banjo back to his normal form, which enables him to hit a switch in the room, before being re-transformed into a pumpkin in order to leave.
  • Click Clock Wood - During Spring, Mumbo will offer his services and transform the duo into a bee, which can fly very high altitudes, and can sneak into the Zubbas' hive.
    • During Summer, however, it's too hot to perform the spell.
    • During Autumn, however, he's too busy raking up leaves.
    • During Winter, he's gone on holiday and has gotten a Beehive to watch over his hut.

His hut is absent from Treasure Trove Cove, Clanker's Cavern, Gobi's Valley and Rusty Bucket Bay; as such, those levels don't have transformations.

Very rarely, he mistakenly turns Banjo into a washing machine, before going on to turn him into the correct transformation. Also he mentions he would turn Banjo into a T-Rex but changes his mind, saying that the transformation is meant for the next game.


Banjo-Kazooie was highly successful when it was released, selling over 1.8 million copies in the United States.[6] At the 1999 Interactive Achievement Awards, Banjo-Kazooie won in the Console Action/Adventure and Art Direction categories, and was a nominee for the "Console Adventure Game of the Year" and "Game of the Year" categories.

It also received the following ratings:

  • IGN: 9.6
  • GameSpot: 9.5
  • GameStats: 9.2
  • 9.2
  • Metacritic: 23 of 25 (based on 19 reviews)
  • Game Rankings: 91% (based on 14 reviews)


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Banjo-Kazooie.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese バンジョーとカズーイの大冒険
Banjo to Kazooie no Daibouken
Banjo and Kazooie's Big Adventure


  • On December 29, 2020, both Banjo-Kazooie and Blast Corps were mistakenly listed as upcoming games for the Wii U Virtual Console, both having a set release date of December 30, 2020. The error was fixed that same day, and both titles were removed from the list.[7][8]


External links[edit]