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|Release date(s)||NA: June 29, 1998|
EU: July 17, 1998
JA: December 6, 1998
|Rating||ESRB: E (Everyone)|
|Media||128 Megabit Cartridge|
|Input||Nintendo 64 Controller|
Banjo-Kazooie is the first game in the Banjo-Kazooie series. It was developed by Rareware and released on the Nintendo 64 in 1998. 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.
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.
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.
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Banjo-Kazooie adopted many of its central game play mechanics from Nintendo's groundbreaking title Super Mario 64. For instance, the player must similarly explore non-linear 3D levels and gather tokens in the form of jigsaws (like Super Mario 64's stars) to unlock new levels. However, Banjo-Kazooie is often considered an evolution of Super Mario 64 as it introduced a number of innovative features. These included the ability for Banjo and Kazooie, with the aid of Mumbo's magical powers, to transform into other creatures such as a termite, crocodile, walrus, pumpkin, and bee; the ability for the characters to learn new moves (as taught by Bottles); the game's extensive use of textures for surfaces where other N64 games would have used plain colors, extensive lighting, and music that dynamically changes style in order to reflect the environment and dangers to the characters. The Banjo-Kazooie central theme music, heard in the main play area, changed to reflect the environment entrance (levels) the player was near, such as taking on music box instrumental-style play near the ice level entrance. The music's notes and play never changed though, producing a seamless integration into the new instruments without stopping the forever-looping song.
Like Super Mario 64 before it, the player proceeds through the game by finding tokens. There are three kinds of tokens that help the player progress through the game, namely jigsaw pieces, musical notes, and Mumbo Tokens. Jigsaw pieces open doors to new levels by collecting enough to complete the corresponding jigsaw puzzle. There are ten Jiggies in each level: nine must be sought and found, and one is granted by finding all five Jinjos on each level. Unlike Super Mario 64, Banjo does not have to exit the level every time he collects a Jiggy.) Musical notes open magic note doors that allow Banjo and Kazooie to progress further into Gruntilda's Lair. There are 100 Musical Notes per level, meaning there are 900 in total. Mumbo's tokens grant the player magical transformations at Mumbo's hut when the player collects a sufficient amount. These transformations include termite, crocodile, walrus, pumpkin and bee.
Banjo and Kazooie must collect items that are used in performing certain moves. Bottles teach Banjo and Kazooie a move in some of the earlier levels (the last one being Gobi's Valley) before the item can be utilized. These items include Eggs, Red Feathers, and Golden Feathers, which can be held in quantities up to 100, 50 and 10, respectively. Blue eggs are fired as projectiles or ejected from Kazooie's rear, and bounce slowly until they either hit an enemy, or break on their own; red feathers are utilized in flight and flying attacks; and gold feathers are for the most powerful attack, Wonderwing, which uses Kazooie's wings to make her and Banjo invincible and can defeat almost any enemy, or at least protect them both. Furthermore, rarer temporary items can be found which have specialized use in puzzle-solving, namely wading boots, which enable the crossing of hazardous terrain, and running shoes, which grant extra running speed, often as part of a race or a time-based puzzle. Finally, there are power-ups such as extra lives, which look like golden Banjo statues and grant one extra life each, and honeycomb energy, which incrementally increases the player's health and can be found in each level. Collecting six extra Honeycomb Pieces and gives Banjo and Kazooie a permanent increase of one honeycomb of health.
A notable part of the gameplay was the speech-like sounds made by the characters as they talked. Gruntilda the witch always spoke in rhymes (which she would declare inexplicably as Banjo and Kazooie wandered about her lair), such as, "It really does sound quite absurd, adventure of a bear and bird!" Kazooie was always very annoyed at Bottles the Mole, and various other smaller characters made memorable appearances. Nearly every object, including wrapped presents, mines, and vegetables, had eyes.
Stop 'n' Swop
Stop 'n' Swop is an incomplete feature in Banjo-Kazooie. Six colored eggs and a key made of ice were discovered in the game that would be viewable in a menu titled Stop 'N' Swop. In the 100% completion ending, Mumbo Jumbo would tell the players that secret areas would be accessible via a link with the sequel, Banjo-Tooie. Stop 'N' Swop was never fully realized in Banjo-Tooie. The special items can still be collected in Banjo-Kazooie using a cheat cartridge or in-game cheat codes, though the purpose they would have served in Banjo-Tooie, as well as how the games were meant to link, has not been specified.
- Banjo - One of the main protagonists, Banjo is a good natured and polite honey bear. He wears a blue backpack to carry Kazooie around.
- Kazooie - The other main protagonist, Kazooie is a red-crested breegull with a sassy and impolite personality.
- Mumbo Jumbo - A shaman that helps the duo by transforming them into various creatures.
- Bottles - A shortsighted mole who teaches new abilities to Banjo and Kazooie.
- Gruntilda Winkybunion - The main antagonist, Gruntilda is an evil witch who captures Tooty in an attempt to steal her beauty.
- Klungo - A large green monster and Gruntilda's servant, Klungo appears to be based on an Igor.
- Tooty - Banjo's cheerful and younger sister, who was kidnapped by Grunty for her beauty.
- Brentilda - Grunty's good natured sister, who tells gossip about Grunty to Banjo and Kazooie.
Worlds and levels
|Spiral Mountain acts as a training level and is featured as the home to many characters, including Banjo and Kazooie. This is where a player must learn all the basic moves. Banjo's house lies on the outer part of Spiral Mountain. The area serves as a tutorial level before entering Gruntilda's Lair.|
|Gruntilda's Lair is the main hub world, meaning that each level can be accessed from here. Gruntilda's Lair is a large structure that houses a variety of ecosystems, each being based on a hub location for every level. Gruntilda's Lair also leads to the Top of the Tower, which features the final boss battle against Gruntilda.|
|Mumbo's Mountain is the first level, and features a boss fight against Conga, a termite mound with a collection of termites. Judging from the title, this might be the hometown of Mumbo Jumbo. Bottles teaches three abilities to Banjo and Kazooie: Egg Firing, Beak Buster, and Talon Trot.|
Treasure Trove Cove
|Treasure Trove Cove is a beach island that hosts a landlocked ship, the Salty Hippo, and a shark named Snacker; a lighthouse over a massive natural arch dominates the skyline. In this level Flying Pads and Shock Jump Pads are introduced, and a pirate hippo named Blubber.|
|Clanker's Cavern is a level of flooded caves and disposal pipes. This level is home to the massive shark, Clanker, who was used as Gruntilda's garbage disposal.|
|Bubblegloop Swamp is a swamp with piranha-infested waters, and also has Mr. Vile and Tiptup and his choir. Mr. Vile can be found inside a crocodile head while Tiptup and his choir appear inside of a large turtle.|
|Freezeezy Peak is a snowy, mountainous level with a winter holiday theme whose focal point is a large Snowman statue in the center.|
|Gobi's Valley is a desert level based on Ancient Egypt. The level was named after the camel Gobi, and consists of pyramids, quicksand, and a bear-modeled sphinx.|
Mad Monster Mansion
|Mad Monster Mansion is a spooky, haunted-themed level featuring frightening themes such as haunted houses, spooky mazes, ghosts, and tombstones.|
Rusty Bucket Bay
|Rusty Bucket Bay is centered around an old, large cargo ship named the Rusty Bucket. The ship is docked at a port, which is surrounded by several warehouses.|
Click Clock Wood
|Click Clock Wood is the last level of the game. It is notable for its four seasons, based on which seasonal door that Banjo and Kazooie enter from. Click Clock Wood revolves around a large tree in the center of the location. Gnawty and Nabnut are featured in this level.|
|Egg||Eggs are collectible items that Kazooie can use as projectile once taught by Bottles.|
|Extra Life||As the name suggests, Extra Lives give another life to Banjo and Kazooie. A few of them are hidden in each level.|
|Gold Feather||Gold Feathers allow Kazooie to use Wonderwing for a longer period of time.|
|Honeycomb||Honeycombs restore a missing segment of Banjo and Kazooie's health bar, if they have previously been injured.|
|Red Feather||Red Feathers allow Kazooie to flap higher while airborne.|
|Running Shoes||Kazooie can use the Running Shoes temporarily to rapidly move around after Bottles teaches her the Turbo Talon Trot.|
|Wading Boots||Kazooie can temporarily use the Wading Boots to walk through swamp or icy water without harm.|
|Empty Honeycomb Piece||Items that are hidden in every level. By collecting a certain number of them, an extra honeycomb is added into Banjo and Kazooie's health bar.|
|Jiggy||Jiggies are the main collectible item, and are required to finish the incomplete Jigsaw Pictures throughout Grunty's Lair. If the duo complete a picture, its corresponding level is unlocked.|
|Jinjo||Jinjos are small, colorful creatures, and five of them are located throughout each level. By rescuing all of them in a level, Banjo and Kazooie are rewarded with a Jiggy.|
|Mumbo Token||By collecting a certain number of Mumbo Tokens, Banjo and Kazooie can go to a Mumbo's Hut where Mumbo transforms Banjo into another creature or vehicle.|
|Musical Note||Each level features 100 Musical Notes. Collecting them adds up to a best score within the level, and the combined total allows Banjo and Kazooie to open Note Doors throughout Gruntilda's Lair. If the duo lose a life or leave the level, all Musical Notes are reset back to their original positions.|
|Beehive||Beehives are breakable objects containing three Honeycombs inside.|
|Exit Pad||Each level has an Exit Pad, which is how Banjo and Kazooie enter and leave the area.|
|Flight Pad||A Flight Pad springs up Banjo and Kazooie, who then spreads out her wings and flies in the air.|
|Molehill||By approaching a Molehill, Banjo and Kazooie can speak to Bottles, who teaches them a new ability from each Molehill.|
|Shock Jump Pad||These pads allow Banjo and Kazooie to perform the Shock Spring Jump to reach some higher areas.|
|Witch Switch||There is a Witch Switch in each level. Banjo and Kazooie can use Beak Buster on it, causing a Jiggy to spawn in the level's corresponding room within Grunty's Lair.|
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 favourite work that he composed.
Banjo-Kazooie was highly successful when it was released, selling over 1.8 million copies in the United States. 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
- 1Up.com: 9.2
- Metacritic: 23 of 25 (based on 19 reviews)
- Game Rankings: 91% (based on 14 reviews)
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 uploaded a YouTube video of their Rare Revealed series, "Rare Revealed: A Rare Look at Dream".
Sometime during development, Dream shifted its development to Nintendo 64. The main character, Edison, was changed into Banjo, as they believed that Edison was losing relevance. The game was reworked into a 2.5D platformer, starring Banjo, who would collect fruit around the world map. The development team eventually saw an early version of Super Mario 64 and felt that their game looked old and obsolete in comparison.
The team entirely redid the game using a 3D engine. Within a week, they programmed in the first area, a preliminary version of Spiral Mountain. An area for testing the levels was added, known as the Temple Test Level. With about 16 months of additional development, Banjo-Kazooie (originally titled Banjo-Kazoo) was completed and published on store shelves.
Names in other languages
Banjo to Kazooie no Daibouken
- Banjo-Kazooie on Wikipedia
- Official North American website (Wayback Machine)
- Official Japanese website