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Banjo-Kazooie (JP) is a platforming video game for the Nintendo 64. The game was developed by Rare and published by Nintendo in 1998. The game follows protagonists, Banjo the bear, and Kazooie the bird, on a quest to retrieve Banjo's kidnapped sister Tooty from the evil witch, Gruntilda.

In the game, Banjo and Kazooie must collect Jiggies in freely-explorable worlds to progress as they explore Gruntilda's Lair.

The game eventually spawned into a series, and its sequel entitled Banjo-Tooie was released in 2000 on the Nintendo 64.

Gameplay

Banjo roaming around in Mumbo's Mountain.

Banjo-Kazooie is a 3D action platformer which is focused on a free-roaming gameplay and relies on collectables as the goal point, inspired by Super Mario 64. Players take control as Banjo and Kazooie, a tag-team pair. The main objective is to collect a specific amount of Jiggies, a golden puzzle piece, and place them on incomplete puzzle murals in order to unlock new worlds. There are a total of nine open-ended levels in the game. Each world consist of other collectables, including musical notes, egg ammo, Jinjos, skull tokens (Mumbo's Tokens), and power-ups. There are 100 notes to collect in each level, and are required to enter certain doors. To exit a level, the player would have to return to the pad at the start of the level. Exiting a level will reset the note count.

Periodically, Banjo and Kazooie will be given new abilities in each encounter with Monty Mole in every level. For example, in Mumbo's Mountain, meeting Monty near Conga will unlock the ability to shoot eggs. Using abilities requires the use of button inputs (e.i. Z + up C: to shoot eggs forward).

Mumbo Jumbo, a sketeton sorcerer, will aide the player by transforming the characters into different animals and objects, enabling new abilities for a fee of skull tokens, called Mumbo's Tokens.

Characters

Playable

Banjo and Kazooie, the game's protagonists.

  • Banjo - An optimistic and joyful bear who's always ready for action. Banjo wears a backpack, yellow shorts, and a shark tooth necklace. He can attack by rolling and swiping his claws. He plays a banjo, whence his name is originated from.
  • Kazooie - A stubborn, lazy, disrespectful bird who lives in Banjo's backpack. A member of the Breagull species, Kazooie is Banjo's best friend. She helps Banjo by carrying him and running, as well as shooting eggs, flying, ground pounding, and pecking. She plays a kazoo in which her name originates.

Non-playable

  • Tooty - Banjo's adorable and very beautiful little sister. She gets kidnapped by Gruntilda to steal her beautiful image.
  • Mumbo Jumbo - Mumbo Jumbo is a skeleton-head wizard who changes Banjo and Kazooie into various animals (and a washing machine) to help them on their quest.
  • Bottles the Mole - A mole who teaches new moves to Banjo and Kazooie in various levels.
  • Gruntilda (Grunty) - The ugly, evil witch who kidnaps Tooty to steal her beauty. She often speaks in rhyme.
  • Klungo - Grunty's loyal assistant who wears a lab coat.

Worlds

Development

As Project Dream

Rare, then Rareware, originally began developing a side-scrolling JRPG-inspired game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and were to use 3D rendered graphics similar to Donkey Kong Country. Originally known as Project Dream (later Dream: Land of Giants) the game focused on a boy named Edson, with his dog Dinger, parrot Billy, and his girlfriend, as they try to escape a group of pirates seeking for substances to have their ships float in a fairy tale-esque setting, led by Captain Blackeye. Development shifted into the Nintendo 64 system due to limited size on the SNES cartidge, enabling a fully 3D environment.[1][2][3] The newer prototype of the game had a greater emphasis on the pirate theme.[4] During the time of development, Rare was developing another game that would eventually become Conker's Bad Fur Day, which used platforming; the favorable response to the game has led the company to incorporate the platforming gameplay to Dream, more of in style to Donkey Kong Country.[4][3] Despite these changes, Rare continually showed dissatisfaction with the overall outcome of the game, due to its amount of ambition and lack of entertainment value.[2] This led to major changes and scrapping of several assets of the game. One change being Banjo's character, who was originally a minor side bear character of the Dream game. Impressed by the design, the Rare conceived the character into a major role. Banjo was originally going to be a rabbit. Many scrapped assets from Dream, such as Captain Blackeye's cameo apperances, would later be recycled into the final builds of Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie.[1]

As Banjo-Kazooie

The Banjo-Kazooie series was developed as a first-party IP for Nintendo, in contrast to Rare's other properties.[5]

Release

The game was first released on the Nintendo 64 system on June 29, 1998 in North America. Later that year, it was followed by a European release on July 17, Australia on July 24, and Japan on December 6.

Legacy

The game's success has led to the spawning of four additional games.

A sequel, titled Banjo-Tooie, was first released on the Nintendo 64 in North America on November 21, 2000. In the game, Banjo and Kazooie must once again defeat Gruntilda after their home in Spiral Mountain were destroyed by a drill, and take on her sisters and various bosses. The game introduces new worlds, abilities, power-ups, and mechanics. Players could now separately play as Banjo and Kazooie and use their own abilities. The game also has in-level boss battles, found in each of the game's levels.

It also has two Game Boy Advance entries, Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge which chronologically takes place in-between the two games, and Banjo-Pilot, a racing game. Both games were published by THQ.

Following Microsoft's acquisition of Rare, the Banjo-Kazooie games were re-released on Xbox platforms through the Xbox Live Arcade subscription, published by Microsoft themselves. The Xbox 360 version of this game, released on December 3, 2008, underwent several changes, such as the dialog's alteration to account for the Xbox 360 controller inputs and the replacing of Nintendo-related elements with Microsoft graphics, including the opening's alternate logos. In addition, the game's Stop and Swop was materialized for Nuts and Bolts. Aside with an upgraded resolution and widescreen presentation, the game remain unchanged.[6][7] The Xbox 360 versions were developed by 4J Studios, which would later develop Minecraft. Much of the same applied with Banjo-Tooie, released on April 29, 2009. The same versions were later included in the Rare Replay game compilation for Xbox One, released on August 4, 2015.

An Xbox-exclusive entry, titled Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, was first released on Xbox 360 in 2008. It has a gameplay differing from the original games, where it is more focused on construction and competition.

Banjo and Kazooie made their playable appearance on the Xbox 360 version of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, titled Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing with Banjo-Kazooie.

Official render of Banjo and Kazooie for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Banjo and Kazooie would later be released as paid downloadable fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as part of the game's Fighters Pass, alongside with new soundtracks, spirits from the series, and a stage based on Spiral Mountain. Series composer Grant Kirkhope has also arranged a soundtrack for the game. Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox brand, stated that negotiating the characters' inclusion was an "easy deal to make" thanks to their strong third-party relationship with Nintendo. The characters were released on September 4, 2019.[8][9]

The game was added on Nintendo Switch Online's Expansion Pack library of Nintendo 64 games, marking its first re-release on a Nintendo platform since Rare's Microsoft purchase. It was added on January 20, 2022.[10]

Reception

Upon its release, the game received critical acclaim from critics and gamers alike. Many have praised the game for its gameplay, graphics, and soundtrack, along with favorable comparisons to Super Mario 64 and other Nintendo 64 games released at the time.[11][12][13][14] On Metacritic, the game's score is currently at "92" based on 12 critic reviews, indicating "universal acclaim", and is labeled as a "Must-Play" title.[15]

Sales

The game has sold 3.65 million copies in its lifetime.[16]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dream Project: The Secret History Of Banjo-Kazooie (gameinformer) Date: October 22, 2012. Author: Ben Reeves.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rare Releases Footage of Cancelled SNES Game ‘Project Dream’ (Hardcore Gamer) Date: December 22, 2015. Author: Antony Matthews.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Get a glimpse at Rare's canceled role-playing game Dream (Polygon) Date: December 22, 2015. Author: Michael McWhertor.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Rare Revealed: A Rare Look at Dream - YouTube Date: December 22, 2015. Publisher: Rare Ltd.
  5. Banjo-Kazooie IP fact on Twitter Publish date: March 1, 2021.
  6. IGN: Banjo-Kazooie Hands-on (IGN) (archived) Original date: September 25, 2008. Archive date: November 5, 2008. Author: Erik Brudvig.
  7. E3 2008: Banjo-Kazooie Hops on Live Arcade (IGN) (archived) Date: July 14, 2008. Updated: June 29, 2016. Author: Erik Brudvig.
  8. Banjo-Kazooie is available on Super Smash Bros. starting today (CNET) Date: September 4, 2019. Author: Mark Serrels.
  9. Banjo-Kazooie in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - Nintendo of America Twitter Publish date: June 11, 2019.
  10. Banjo-Kazooie NSO Date Tweet (Rare Ltd.) Publish date: January 18, 2022.
  11. Banjo-Kazooie Review (allgame) (archived) Archive date: November 13, 2014. Author: Colin Williamson
  12. Preview: Banjo-Kazooie - Nintendo 64 gameinformer) (archived) Original date: April 16, 1998. Archive date: May 1, 1999.
  13. Banjo-Kazooie - Nintendo 64 Review at IGN (IGN) (archived) Original date: June 30, 1998. Archive date: March 23, 2010. Author: Peer Schnieder.
  14. Review: Banjo-Kazooie (GamePro) (archived) Original date: November 24, 2000. Archive date: January 13, 2009. Author: Air Hendrix.
  15. Banjo-Kazooie on Metacritic
  16. CESA Games White Papers. Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association.

External links

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