Banjo-Kazooie is a game released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. It was developed by Rare and published by Nintendo. Microsoft Game Studios published it when it was released as a downloadable title in the Xbox 360's Live Arcade and it was included in the Rare Replay compilation.
Gruntilda (Grunty for short), a fat, evil and ugly witch learns that Banjo's sister Tootie is more beautiful than her. Enraged, Gruntilda kidnaps Tootie in an attempt to steal her youth and beauty. While the machine prepares itself, Banjo and his smart mouthed companion, Kazooie, must explore Gruntilda's lair and the worlds it inhabits to obtain the Jigsaw pieces (Jiggies) and face Gruntilda.
Why It Rocks
- Very humorous story with many colorful characters.
- Non-linear gameplay with large open ended levels to explore and clear objectives at your own pace. At the same time, the levels aren't that huge that you could get lost easily.
- The nine worlds all have a different theme (Mountain, Beach, Sewer, Swamp, Christmas, Desert, Halloween, Abandoned Ship, and Four Seasons). Each world has 100 notes and 10 Jiggies to find.
- Goofy and cartoony soundtrack that fits the different levels and the overall tone of the game very well.
- Obtaining Jiggies requires puzzle solving, defeating big enemies, helping NPCs, discovering secrets, ect.
- Tons of different collectibles. While the game is a collect-a-ton, it is built around the concept so it remains fun to explore the levels gathering items.
- Bottles the mole teaches Banjo and Kazooie lots of moves and abilities.
- Finding enough Mumbo Tokens will help transform Banjo and Kazooie into different creatures and moving inanimate objects, courtesy of the shaman, Mumbo Jumbo.
- The transformations look very funny and ridiculous and cute.
- Impressive boss battles, in particular the final battle with Gruntilda which can prove to be rather tough.
- Every world has a Jiggy obtained by finding five Jinjos within the world. The Jinjos help in the final battle with Gruntilda.
- Very impressive graphics for its time, to the point that this game is often considered one of the best looking games of its generation. The game doesn't even need to use "distance fog".
- Finding pages of the book, Cheato, will grant permanent upgrades to Banjo and Kazooie's stack of power-ups.
- Before the final battle with Gruntilda, you must play a gameshow to test your knowledge of the game.
- Brentilda, Gruntilda's nicer fairy godmother-like sister frequently reveals Grunty's gross and disgusting secrets, which later turn out to be answers for several of questions Gruntilda asks during the gameshow.
- While obtaining all the Jiggies is not necessary to beat the game, a special ending can occur if you collect them all.
- Gruntilda pesters you through the whole game with her constant taunts and annoying rhymes, which makes it more rewarding and satisfactory when you defeat her and finally get her to shut up.
- Large cast of NPCs that Banjo and Kazooie can assist in exchange for Jiggies.
- If you 100% complete the game you're told about the game's sequel.
- Like most early 3D platformers, the camera's very uncomfortable and often ends up at a slightly awkard angle.
- Using the Talon Trot (Even though it's a great move) makes Kazooie rather slippery to control.
- Terrible swimming controls.
- If you die in a stage you lose all your notes and have to collect them from scratch. This was solved in the Xbox Live Arcade port.
- The level Rusty Bucket Bay is infamous for having a room where it's notoriously easy to die due to the abundance narrow rotating platforms over a bottomless pit.
- Due to hardware limitations on the Nintendo 64, the Stop 'n' Swop feature can't be used in the original version of the game. This was fixed in the Xbox Live Arcade port.
- The Banjo-Kazooie Xbox Live Trial can be broken by using some glitches, meaning you can complete the game in the free trial!
- The game over cutscene (which shows Gruntilda stealing Tootie's beauty) can be disturbing.
Banjo-Kazooie recieved critical acclaim, with critics praising it's graphics, sense of humor, clever level design and mechanics. The game sold over 1.8 million copies in the U.S. and over 405,000 copies in Japan. It has a rating of 4.33 out of five on GameFAQs and obtained a sequel, Banjo-Tooie.
Banjo-Kazooie went on to become a classic and one of the most well remembered games from the Nintendo 64 and Rareware, and it is generally considered to be superior to Super Mario 64 and is often placed as one of the best games in the entire Nintendo 64 library.
A spiritual successor Yooka-Laylee was developed by Playtonic Games 18 years after the game's original release.