The year is 1998, it has been two years since the launch of both the Nintendo 64 and Super Mario 64. Gamers all across the globe loved Mario 64s 3D worlds and were eager for another game that evokes that sense of exploration and adventure. I was only 10 years old at the time, but I cant recall any 3D games that really hit those notes quite the same way Mario 64 did. That is, until Banjo-Kazooie came along.
Rareware, a company that had made a name for itself in the heart of Nintendo gamers everywhere by making the Donkey Kong Country series on the SNES, decided to blow everyones minds out the back of their skulls. My 10 year old self could not handle this game, it was like Mario but everything seemed so much grander. Spiral Mountain, the area of the game you start in, seemed so much bigger and livelier than Peachs Castle in Mario 64. The worlds have so much character to them and the characters are exciting and memorable. They took the genre that Mario 64 invented and expanded it to the next level. And so I present to you, one of the greatest 3D platform adventure games of all time: Banjo-Kazooie.
VideosEpisode 01 - Welcome to My Lair
Episode 02 - Gold for Gold
Episode 03 - Creepy Clanker
Episode 04 - Grunty's Band
Episode 05 - Second Best
Episode 06 - Magical Snow Land
Episode 07 - Bratty Sisters
Episode 08 - Grunty's Phases
Episode 09 - Too Spoopy
Episode 10 - Pantsless
Episode 11 - Seaworthy Vessel
Episode 12 - Silent Hill 64
Episode 13 - Platforming
Episode 14 - Autumn
Episode 15 - Bees and Cicadas
Episode 16 - Board Game of Death
Episode 17 - For Real This Time (Finale)
Super Bonus - Wishywashy
The Story So Far...
Being the first game in a new franchise there really isnt a whole lot to cover that isnt included in the game, but for the sake of completeness Ill recap the setup.
The game follows our titular characters: Banjo the bear and Kazooie the breegul (a completely made up kind of bird, trust me I checked) as they attempt to save Banjos sister from the clutches of the evil witch Gruntilda. Grunty has kidnapped Banjos sister, Tooty because her magic cauldron informed her that Tooty was prettier than Grunty. In her rage Grunty kidnapped Tooty and is attempting to use a machine to transfer Tootys beauty to herself.
Its Banjo! Hes a honey bear and half of our titular dynamic duo. Banjo's a pretty easy going bear, but when Grunty kidnaps his sister it's time for our hero to rise to the occasion! Banjo is much more personable than his counterpart
Kazooie! Kazooie is a red-crested Breegul, which until recently I had always assumed was a real bird that I was not familiar with. Alas, it seems Rare has been pulling my leg for the better part of two decades. Hot headed and snarky, Kazooie is the perfect foil to Banjos calm and collected demeanor. Its also worthwhile to note that she spends the entirety of this game inside Banjos iconic blue backpack. It is not until the sequel, Banjo-Tooie, that she is able to split from Banjo and leave the backpack.
Tooty is Banjos younger sister and, apparently, the only person in the world more beautiful than Grunty? Which is kind of disturbing to think about Anyways, Tooty is minding her own business doing little sister stuff when Grunty shows up and kidnaps her!
Bottles the Mole is a resident of these parts (and apparently many other parts given how far his network of molehills spans) and is curiously quite knowledgeable in the art of being a platformer protagonist. Bottles teaches the player all the moves they need to traverse the various worlds of the game. He also loves to tease Kazooie, who is more than willing to trade insults.
Mumbo Jumbo is a mysterious shaman who helps Banjo and Kazooie on their journey by shape shifting them into various animals and objects. In order to do so though he requires the aid of a set number of Mumbo tokens, which are scattered around the world. He seems pretty content to stay out of Banjo and Kazooies quest aside from this minimal interaction, and I often questioned just how much Mumbo was on our side.
Gruntilda, or Grunty as she is often referred to, is the resident of, you guessed it, Gruntildas Lair. She is a witch that is obsessed with her image (in case the fact that her lair is shaped like her face didnt tip you off to that). Upon learning that there is someone more beautiful than her she promptly kidnaps poor Tooty and attempts to steal her beauty.
Supposedly her character was inspired by the character Grotbags from the aptly named British TV show Grotbags. I always got kind of a Wicked Witch of the West vibe from her.
Klungo is Grunty's lab assistant and surprisingly something of a technical genius. He creates the machine that would allow Gruntilda to steal Tooty's beauty. His ogre-like stature and slurred speech hide the cold, calculating mind that lies within...