Banjo-Kazooie

aka: Banjo Kazoo, Banjo to Kazooie no Daibōken, Dream
Nintendo 64 Specs [ all ]
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Description official descriptions

Banjo-Kazooie's fairy tale back story is reminiscent of Snow White's. A gnarled, ugly witch named Gruntilda asks her magical cauldron who is the fairest of them all. Of course, the pot's answer doesn't please the hag: he singles out Banjo's sister, Tooty. When Tooty turns up missing, Banjo and his birdie buddy Kazooie set out to find her.

The worlds in Banjo-Kazooie are vast, and contain a variety of items to collect. Musical Notes, Puzzle Pieces ("Jiggies"), Mumbo Tokens, and Jinjoes are just some of the swag that Banjo must stuff in his backpack to complete his adventure. While some of the necessary items are simply stashed off the beaten path, others will require puzzle solving skills to turn up.

Spellings

  • バンジョーとカズーイの大冒険 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Nintendo 64 version)

61 People (55 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

Chief of Ideas (Project Leader and Lead Game Designer)
Other Ideas (Additional Game Design)
Chief Keyboard Tapper (Lead Software Engineer)
Deputy Keyboard Tappers (Senior Software Engineers)
Keyboard Tappers (Software Engineers)
Other Keyboard Tapping (Additional Software Engineering)
Chief Scribbler (Art Director and Lead Character Artist)
Cartoony Bits and More Scribbling (Character Artist and Animator)
Scene Crayoner (Background and Layout Artist)
More Sketching (Technical Artist)
Other Doodling (Additional Art)
Big Noise Maker (Music composed and performed by)
Chief Free Player (Head of Rare QA)
Rare Free Players (Rare Testing Team)
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 58 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 112 ratings with 5 reviews)

Better than Mario 64! *hides*

The Good
One of the game's biggest selling points is that it focuses more on humor than any other platformer on the Nintendo 64. Not only is the dialogue centered entirely around characters insulting each other in increasingly elaborate ways, but it also has weirder settings and enemies that are actually funny (as opposed to the characters in Mario that seemed mostly like an artist stopped giving a damn). It isn't without throwing distance of Psychonauts yet, but at least it can see the game on the horizon if you know that I mean.

One of the fields where Mario 64 beats this game to it though is in the weirdness of the level design, although this is not necessarily a bad thing. The levels in Banjo and Kazooie are still deliciously odd and therefore interesting, but they pick more detailed themes. Whereas Mario would say "We take a snow level" and then make a snow level, Banjo would say "Let's make an island level" and then make a pirate island. It might not seem like much, but the result is stages that are a little more coherent. What I also like is that the stages aren't as repetitive as in Mario 64 which I quit when I arrived at the second snow-themed level after beating the second water-level.

All the items you need to collect in the worlds in order to progress further in the story are available from the second you enter the level. This means you don't constantly have to leave and enter a level to get everything you need to get and accidentally getting an item you already collected before doesn't have any huge effects on what you were trying to do. I also like it that the game never puts items in locations you can't reach without going through another level first with the exception of that damn sledding minigame. It's also nice that unlike the coins from Super Mario 64, the music notes in this game are actually useful for something.

The combat is of a really high quality for Nintendo 64 adventure games standard (we need an abbreviation for that term). Of course it doesn't touch upon Ocarina of Time territory just yet, but it gets awfully close due to the huge variety of ways you can kill an enemy. Both Banjo and Kazooie have a number of attacks that range from simple slaps to firing eggs like a turret. Switching between attack is a simple button combination away and no menus are nowhere to be found when fighting.

The game is very good at making you want to keep playing it. This may sound odd because well, every game wants you to keep playing it and you will likely do so as long as it is fun, but Banjo and Kazooie does it just a little better. While playing you are constantly harassed by the villain of the game who taunts you and this does a great job at keeping you hyped for the final battle. As you progress through the levels you also work your way through the HUB world in a very linear way and the design does a great job at reflecting that you are getting closer to your destination.

The soundtrack is also simply marvelous because of how it changes depending on what you do. A great example is the theme of the HUB world, when walking around you simply hear this theme, but as you approach a level entrance the music slowly changes pitch, volume and instruments to better reflect the theme of the level you are nearing. I have also failed to find even a single song that I didn't like and I did my absolute best. Soundtrack is up to par with Ocarina of Time in terms of greatness.

Playing this game has made me realize that Mario 64's graphics really could be better than what we got. Having seen levels like the Haunted Mansion in this game made it look absolutely ridiculous that Mario's level design sometimes had polygon mountain and textures that were just all over the place. There is such an eye for detail in this game and the levels have so much atmosphere due to their design.

The Bad
Banjo definitely doesn't move as fluently as Mario did, which is a big problem, a problem the size of the Titanic to be precise. Instead of the fluent turns and precise jumps, Banjo has to settle with a movement system that reminds me of R.C. Pro-Am, which was also developed by Rare oddly enough. You mostly switch between different angles when you walk and getting Banjo to look anywhere else than these set angles is a terrible chore. This also makes jumping with the camera Mario was also notorious for even harder, but luckily we have a center-camera button that sometimes helps out.

Every time you die or leave when collecting items in a stage you will have to collect them all over again (except for the Jiggies which always stay with you). At first I accepted this as a little challenge for my 100% run, but that all ended when I got to the Rusty Bucket Bay and had to officially cancel my 100% run. The reason for this was engine room which has a lot of moving components, enemies, small platforms and NO FLOOR. So if you fall in this pit of hell you are instantly send back to the start of the stage with all your notes and jinjos gone. Also, you can't just get them all before going in there because pretty much half of these items are hidden in places you can't reach unless you went into this room.

Every time you want to stop playing the game or switch to another save you are forced to sit through this big cut-scene that is an elaborate way of explaining you that you failed big time. This wouldn't be a problem in a game that can be finished in a day, like Lylat Wars, but not in a big adventure game that even the fasted speed-runner can't pull off in a single sitting.

The Bottom Line
I like Banjo and Kazooie a lot, it contains a very good adventure, a great soundtrack, detailed level design and it's just overall very fun to play. Most of the problems I have with it were things I had to write down really fast because I would become absorbed into the game's fun again very soon after. This is also a nice game to do a 100% run on if you are willing to push past the rather obnoxious engine room in the Rusty Bucket Bay. Overall, I'd say that this is my second-favorite game on the Nintendo 64 (Ocarina of Time still standing proudly on number 1).

If you liked Mario 64 than I can pretty much guarantee that you will like this game too. Adventure fans in general will probably like this game too, as well as kids and parents (no real violence involved). If you aren't all that much into adventure games though, than this game will likely not be that one to change your mind and I would sooner recommend something more Zelda to get you into this genre.

Nintendo 64 · by Asinine (957) · 2012

You don't have an N64?? Oh I'm so sorry....

The Good
If you don't have an N64 than you have missed out on possibly the best video game ever made. Enter Banjo-Kazooie...Tooty Banjo's sister is running through the field when Gruntilda the witch jealous of her good looks kidnapped her and devises a plan to transfer Tooty's beauty into her own body. Banjo the bear and Kazooie the bird (who stays in Banjo's backpack throughout the game) begin their quest into Gruntilda's lair.

The graphics in this game are fantastic. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful N64 games (just behind Banjo-Tooie and Conkers Bad Fur day). Everything is magnificently detailed and colourful. Mario's Controls were too cold, Goldeneye's controls were to hot, Banjo-Kazooie's controls are juuuuuust right. People say the controls are too complicated but trust me they are fine. The baddies and bosses are all hilarious (Gruntilda's side kick rings a bell) and almost everything in this game is "alive" in the sense that they have eyes and talk!

This game is very long lasting taking about 6 hours non-100% and about 9-12 hours 100% percent. I'm one of the people who have gone the 100% route MANY times and it is very satisfying. As a hard-core B-K fan I have taken the speed challenge (and passed) and I suggest anyone who is serious enough takes it too. http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/n64/file/banjo_kazooie_speed.txt

The variety of things to do in this game is awesome. You can fly, swim, climb, shoot, everything! But don't worry Bottles The Mole is always in his little hole to teach you everything along the way.

The Bad
Are you fuing kidding me? This is Banjo-Kazooie! Well ok let me think. This seems like a kids game but I guarantee its not. Although I fully beat it at 8 years old I suggest it for 10 and up.

The Bottom Line**
The must have for N64 (along with Goldeneye, Banjo-Tooie, Mario 64 and Conker) This is super cheap by now so I highly recommend you buy this. Hell this game is so good it would be worth picking up the whole console just for it.

Nintendo 64 · by MegaMegaMan (2257) · 2004

Not ONLY for younger players.

The Good
I guess you could say that Banjo-Kazooie is a game for only younger players. But I disagree with that since I am 17 and I still play it (thought some might consider 17 young.) The game is just extremely addictive because you can go through the game and beat it without getting everything. Or you can do what I do and go back and try and complete the game 100%. And if you tried to bet the game 100% the n you would realise that Banjo-Kazooie is a bit to hard for all the younger players.

The graphics for Banjo-Kazooie are pretty much what you would expect from a Rareware game. They are the same kind of half-cartoonish graphics that are in other Rareware games such as Donkey Kong. I don’t think that there was any jumping or bugs in the game (though there rarely is on a console game.)

The sound for Banjo-Kazooie was probably the reason that some people thought that it was a game only for young children. The music for each level was well selected and it helped create the atmosphere, which was hoped for in that level.

The game play for Banjo-Kazooie was very good. Going through the game the first time was fun and then you could go back and try and complete the game 100% and if you did that you got quite few hours of game play out of the game. The idea of having to find moves was good so that the moves didn’t get old and all through the game you were finding out new moves.

The Bad
The game got boring quite quickly with some people because all that you had to do was find things. You had to find all the Jinjos to get a puzzle piece and you had to find all the puzzle pieces to beat the level, and to get new moves you just had to find the right amount of musical notes. So it got quite tiresome after playing for a while and just doing the same things over and over again but with a different backdrop.

The cartoony graphics is all I have to complain about with the game. Maybe if they had not made the graphics so child like then it would have appealed to a more broad range of players.

Again with the sound they made it a bit childish and when then characters spoke they didn’t even bother putting speech in. Instead they just had the character make one sound over and over again while the writing appeared on the screen (you will know what I a talking about if you have played the game.)

The only thing that is wrong with the game play in Banjo-Kazooie is that some of the moves are annoying to do and it gets tiring after doing them over and over again

The Bottom Line
Banjo-Kazooie is an entertaining game for the whole family (even if that sounds a bit corny.) Its a great game and you should be able to see that because I had to think of pitiful things to say that was bad about it. So in short its a great game for all age groups.

Nintendo 64 · by Horny-Bullant (49) · 2003

[ View all 5 player reviews ]

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Banjo-Kazooie appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Development

  • Back when Banjo-Kazooie was still Dream, in its initial stages it began life on the SNES, using the next generation of Donkey Kong Country style pre-rendered graphics.
  • Banjo-Kazooie had quite a few different main characters before settling on the Honey Bear in the blinding yellow shorts. Originally, back when the game was still Dream, it starred a young boy with a wooden sword and a pet dog. The young boy was then replaced with a rabbit with a dog. Who was then replaced with a bear and a dog. And then finally, Banjo and Kazooie.
  • During development, sixteen worlds were planned. However, it was decided that it would take too long to achieve this and they were cut down to nine worlds. Some worlds were joined with others in Banjo-Kazooie, while others provided inspiration for worlds in Banjo-Tooie.

Banjo-Tooie

When Banjo-Kazooie was being designed, it was planned to connect with its future sequel. Special, secret items were shown to be hidden during the game's ending. The way players would be able to access the items would be by pulling out one cart out of the console while the system was on, and then quickly inserting the cart you wanted to transfer the items to. Dubbed Stop 'n' Swop, the original concept had to be terminated. According to an MTV Multiplayer 2008 interview with Rare lead software engineer Salvatore Fileccia:

...the reason Nintendo soured on the idea was because of revisions to the N64 circuitry. Older versions of the system would have given gamers a full 10 seconds to remove the Kazooie cartridge and insert the Tooie one. Newer iterations of the N64 would have given gamers just one second.

References

  • "Twycross England" is written on the back of the boat in Rusty Bucket Bay - which happens to be where Rare headquarters is located in real life.
  • At one part in the game Mumbo Jumbo claims he is saving the T-Rex for the next game. A T-Rex was indeed playable in the games sequel Banjo-Tooie.

Xbox 360 version

When ported to the Xbox 360 the Nintendo logo was removed, however Banjo still appears to be playing a Game Boy in the third save slot.

Awards

  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #71 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • Retro Gamer
    • Issue 37 - #16 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" poll

Information also contributed by atadota, BenK and MegaMegaMan

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Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 3583

Contribute

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Chris Martin.

Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Xbox Cloud Gaming added by Sciere. Xbox 360 added by Ben K. Xbox One added by MAT.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Joshua J. Slone, gamewarrior, Ben K, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack.

Game added April 3rd, 2001. Last modified September 19th, 2023.