Banjo-Kazooie is a platformer developed by Rare who was heavily influenced by Super Mario 64. In the game, players play as a bear named Banjo who wears a backpack containing his bird-friend - Kazooie. The game features large worlds full of collectibles, secrets, and enemies.
Throughout his journey, Banjo and Kazooie must collect notes, new powers, and jiggys to advance to the next level. Also, the game features a very distinct soundtrack that features heavy use of a banjo.
Banjo-Kazooie begins with a wicked witch named Gruntilda stirring a green liquid in her cauldron called Dingpot. She claims to be the most beautiful woman, until Dingpot explains how she is not, and that Tooty (Banjo's sister) is the prettiest girl ever. Gruntilda, who is always speaking in rhymes, explains how she will capture Tooty.
She is successful and threatens to switch appearances with Tooty, when Banjo hears of what happened. From then on it is Banjo's duty to stop Gruntilda, with his bird-friend Kazooie, by going to different worlds, collecting tons of items, and eventually confronting Gruntilda herself.
Banjo-Kazooie follows a structure similar to that of Super Mario 64. Players are tasked with finding various collectible objects such Jiggys (Jigsaw Pieces), Musical Notes, and Mumbo Tokens and then using those objects to traverse through the hub-world. Jigsaw pieces open doors to new worlds by collecting enough to complete the corresponding jigsaw puzzle.
There are ten Jiggies in each world: nine must be found, and one is granted by finding all five Jinjos on each world. Musical Notes open magic note doors that allow Banjo and Kazooie to progress further into Gruntilda's lair. There are 100 notes in each world, and 900 total in the game. Mumbo Tokens grant the player magical transformations at Mumbo's hut when the player collects a sufficient amount. These transformations include the following: termite, crocodile, walrus, pumpkin and bee.
On the way, players will meet many characters, but the one who will help players the most is Mumbo - A skull-man who is able to cast magic. He helps Banjo on his quest by opening secret doors and stopping trains. Banjo travels along with his bird companion, Kazooie; she allows him to fly, climb, and she can turn into an egg-firing machine gun.
Together they are bound to take down the evil Gruntilda - An evil witch who wants to control the world and commit evil deeds. She resides in her lair, with her trusty troll like companion.
If a player receives a game over, a cut scene is show of Gruntilda successfully switching appearances with Tooty and becoming a beautiful witch, then mocking Banjo as the screen fades out.
A large feature of gameplay is that the characters make limited speech-like sounds when they talk. The voices are not real speech, but rather a looping of voice-like sounds when text bubbles were displayed.
This artistic choice was likely made due to memory limitations on Nintendo 64 cartridges; however, this added considerably to the atmosphere and uniqueness of the game. The gibberish like speech would go on to become a staple of the series to the point where when the series moved over to the Xbox 360 (a system more than capable of handling speech) with Banjo and Kazooie Nuts and Bolts the team opted to stick with gibberish.
In addition this manner of speech has influenced many a games. Rare themselves re-used the trope in Grabbed by the Ghoulies.
Stop 'N' Swop
Stop 'N' Swop is an incomplete feature in Banjo-Kazooie. During development of the game, the team at Rare learned that if the N64 cartridge was pulled out without shutting off the power, the game would retain memory for a few seconds. The team intended to incorporate this "feature" into the game proving a hook for the game's sequel. After collecting 100 Jiggies, Mumbo shows Banjo and Kazooie a movie showing the duo reaching inaccessible areas saying that this will be poossible in the sequel Banjo-Tooie. At first it was unknown how this games would could connect, but eventually hackers discovered menu titled "Stop 'N' Swop" in the game code that would of allowed Banjo to get these items. Shortly after the game was released, Nintendo released a newer model N64 that significantly shortened the length of time a cart-less N65 could hold data. Rare conceded and the Stop N Swap feature was canned, only to be resurrected nearly ten years later.
In January 2009, Banjo-Tooie was announced for the Xbox Live Arcade , together with the return of the Stop 'n' Swop link between the two original games to unlock hidden material in Banjo-Tooie.
On the XBLA version of the game, 6 special Stop 'N' Swop eggs can be found without the use of cheats. The egg locations are as follows:
- -Pink Egg- In Treasure Trove Cove. There will be an island called Sharkfood Island. Inside it is a mountain on top of which is the pink egg.
- -Cyan Egg- Mad Monster Mansion. In the cellar one barrel will have the Cyan egg deep inside it.
- -Green Egg- Mad Monster Mansion. In the bathroom the Green egg will be on top of Loggo.
- -Blue Egg- Gobi's Valley. One of the magic carpets will take Banjo to the location of Gobi before he leaves the desert. In the building will be a sarcophagus containing the Blue Egg.
- -Red Egg- Rusty Bucket Bay. In the captain's quarters through one of the portholes will have the red egg.
- -Yellow Egg- Click Clock Wood. In the Winter season, in Nabnut the squirrel's house will hold the yellow egg.
There is also an ice key that can be found In Freezeezy Peak in Wozza the Walrus' cave.
Other Changes Prior To Release
Between its release and being first announced at E3 in 1997, the game underwent a number of significant changes. At the time, the title "Dream", was simply derived from Rare's codename for the game "Project: Dream". Kazooie was originally named Kazoo, however her name had already been copyrighted, leading to the renaming of the character and the game's subsequent title. The first logo that was revealed also differs greatly from the current one.
Banjo-Kazooie was meant to have 16 levels, however some were cut in order to meet the game's release schedule. These included Mount Fire Eyes, which eventually ended up as the lava side of Hailfire Peaks in Banjo-Tooie, and Fungus Forest, which became Fungi Forest in Donkey Kong 64 and was the area depicted on the game's Box Art. Although rumors have circulated regarding a Hammerhead Beach level, this was only the beta name for the beach level which ended up being called Treasure Trove Cove. A mine and circus level were also originally planned for the game, but were scrapped and used in the game's sequel instead.
As well as the Stop 'n' Swop feature with Banjo-Tooie, there was also a rumored link up to Donkey Kong 64 that never came to fruition. Although the feature was never used in Banjo-Tooie, two hackers of the Rare Witch Project uncovered the codes to unlock the obtainable items by entering the codes in the Treasure Trove Cove sandcastle area after entering the word "CHEAT". They were posted shortly after Banjo-Tooie's release in 2001. Those codes are as follows:
A DESERT DOOR OPENS WIDE ANCIENT SECRETS WAIT INSIDE (Gobi's Valley)
OUT OF THE SEA IT RISES TO REVEAL MORE SECRET PRIZES (Treasure Trove Cove)
NOW YOU CAN SEE A NICE ICE KEY WHICH YOU CAN HAVE FOR FREE (Freezeezy Peaks)
AMIDST THE HAUNTED GLOOM A SECRET IN THE BATHROOM (Mad Monster Mansion)
DONT YOU GO AND TELL HER ABOUT THE SECRET IN HER CELLAR (Mad Monster Mansion)
THIS SECRET YOULL BE GRABBIN IN THE CAPTAINS CABIN (Rusty Bucket Bay)
NOW BANJO WILL BE ABLE TO SEE IT ON NABNUTS TABLE (Click Clock Wood)
Several other small elements were excluded from the final game, including things on a level-by-level basis. For instance, Mad Monster Mansion had a flight pad at one point
The soundtrack, consisting of music from the game composed by Grant Kirkhope, was released by Nintendo of America on a limited edition CD. This CD was sold exclusively at Best Buy stores and the Nintendo Power Catalog with two additional tracks.
- Main Title
- Spiral Mountain
- Witch's Lair
- Mumbo's Mountain
- Treasure Trove Cove
- Clanker's Cavern
- Bubble Gloop Swamp
- Freezeezy Peak
- Gobi's Valley
- Mad Monster Mansion
- Rusty Bucket Bay
- Click Clock Wood
- Final Battle
- Banjo Overture
- Squirrel (Nabnut's house in Click Clock Wood)
The XBLA version was made available to everyone on November 26 2008 for the price of 1200 Microsoft Points ($15). A free download code for the game was given to some of the people who pre-ordered Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts giving them the opportunity to play the original 2 weeks before anyone else.
The gameplay is the same as the N64 original, but the graphics have been improved to support 1080p (the 2D sprites showing the most improvement). In addition, the stop 'n swop items can be legitimately obtained with a Nuts and Bolts save file. They can be used to unlock special parts (i.e. British Flags, Fuzzy Dice, Potted Plant, etc.) in said game, although they are for decoration more than anything else.