Banjo-Kazooie Wiki

Banjo-Kazooie is the first game in the Banjo-Kazooie series. It was developed by Rare, Ltd. and released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. In 2008, Banjo-Kazooie celebrated its 10th Anniversary. In 2018, Banjo-Kazooie celebrated its 20th Anniversary. In this game, Banjo and his friend Kazooie must save Banjo's sister Tooty from the evil witch Gruntilda before she steals Tooty's beauty. The game was followed by a sequel called Banjo-Tooie in 2000.

On January 20, 2022, the game was re-released on Nintendo 64 - Nintendo Switch Online.


Spoiler Warning

The Story, from the game manual:

At last, the dirty green and blue smog was beginning to clear. Gruntilda stood at the topmost window of her Lair, grinning wickedly down on her latest world.

"Tiny creatures far below," she cackled, "which of you'll be first to go?"

The witch rubbed her hands in glee at the prospect of putting her favorite invention to good use. It was her pride and joy: a machine that could suck the physical beauty from its victims for Gruntilda to absorb like a sponge!

And it would certainly teach her cutesy sister Brentilda a lesson. How dare that interfering do-gooder inherit the family good looks and leave Gruntilda, well... slightly disadvantaged in that department?

Hah! Not any more, gloated the witch, picking her nose smugly. Not any more.

Turning back to the bubbling cauldron, Gruntilda began to cast the spell which would reassure her that she was, of course, the most wonderfully attractive creature in this bright new world...

Meanwhile, Tooty was skipping home through the sunny green fields of Spiral Mountain. As she reached the garden gate, a pair of blurry eyes that could only belong to her good friend Bottles popped up from a nearby molehill.

"Morning Tooty," he blinked, uncorking himself from the hole. "And what are your plans for this fine day?"

Tooty jumped up and down excitedly, remembering Banjo's promise. "Oh!", she squealed. "When my lazy brother gets out of bed, we're going on an adventure! An adventure usually means I get to "play" with all the characters in a "nice....." way"

"That's nice." Bottles squinted up into the sky. "Hang on, isn't that your brother up there?"

Tooty turned, and saw an odd shape swooping down towards them of high speed.

"No, that can't be Banjo," she said, frowning. "I wonder who it is...".

"Sweeter than me? Prettier than me? Impossible!"

Gruntilda was so furious at the cauldron's words that she could barely control her broomstick, screeching with the treetops.

"As cute as me, you stupid pot? For her own sake, I hope she's not!"

The witch sped recklessly on until her target finally came into view: staring up at her from a field far below was the innocent young Honey Bear she'd seen in the depths of that treacherous cauldron.

Gruntilda cackled. "I need those looks far more than she, and finally perfect I shall be!" she cried, and sent the broomstick into a steep dive.

Kazooie popped out of the backpack as noise erupted just outside the window.

"Banjo!" she squawked in alarm. "Banjo, wake up!"

The Honey Bear groaned and pulled a pillow over his head. "Aww, Kazooie, it's too early," come his muffled voice.

"This is no time to be lazy, furface!" trilled the Breegull, swinging anxiously to and fro. "We've got trouble!"

Banjo yawned, rolled over - and fell out of bed in surprise as Kazooie's struggles suddenly toppled both the backpack and its stand onto the floor with a crash.

At the same time a sudden gust of wind blew open the curtains, and beneath the peals of manic laughter fading into the distance, Banjo heard the helpless cries of a voice he recognized...


The bear gulped, realising that this was definitely going to be one of those days.

"Uh, Kazooie, what are you doing down there?" he said in confusion, grabbing the backpack as he bolted for the door.

"This is no time to be lazy - we've got trouble!"

The evil witch of Spiral Mountain, Gruntilda, is inside her lair, asking her cauldron Dingpot questions about who is the 'nicest and fairest of them all', to which Dingpot reluctantly answers, "You are, mistress". She gloats over her "beauty", until Dingpot finally breaks his 'silence' and tells the witch that Tooty, another inhabitant of Spiral Mountain, is actually the prettiest and the fairest of them all. Grunty reacts angrily and decides to kidnap Tooty in order to steal her beauty. She grabs her broom and sets off immediately.

Meanwhile, Tooty is running around Spiral Mountain, when she is greeted by Bottles in front of Banjo's House. She eagerly tells Bottles that she is going on an adventure with her brother, Banjo. Inside the house, Banjo is sleeping soundly, with his breegull friend, Kazooie, sleeping in his backpack, which is hanging on a nearby coat rack. Tooty and Bottles are still talking, until Bottles spots Grunty in the distance, but confuses her for Banjo (due to his short-sightedness). Grunty immediately goes for Tooty, and a struggle ensues. Kazooie, eager for action and adventure, overhears the clamor outside as well as Bottles' cries for help and tries to wake Banjo up. Banjo and Kazooie leave their house, only to discover that Grunty has gone off and kidnapped Tooty! Bottles tells the bear and bird that they must venture to Gruntilda's Lair to rescue Tooty. Bottles offers to prepare the duo to fight Gruntilda by teaching them some basic moves and repairing the bridge leading to the lair's entrance. Banjo and Kazooie set off on an adventure into the lair to save Tooty.

Once inside the lair, Banjo and Kazooie find a Jiggy, which is used to open and unlock levels around the lair by completing Jigsaw Puzzle pictures. They soon find a painting that fits their first Jiggy, opening the first level of the lair, Mumbo's Mountain. Banjo and Kazooie enter the first world and find that their quest is not as easy as they had anticipated. They discover that they need to rescue Jinjos imprisoned by Grunty throughout each of the worlds as well as collect Musical Notes, which are needed to open up Note Doors, to progress through the deeper areas of Gruntilda's Lair. They also meet Mumbo Jumbo, a skull-faced shaman who offers his services to the bear and bird by transforming the adventurers into different animals with new abilities.

Banjo-Kazooie Start Theme
When window pops up click open and wait for the music tune to load.
Play this tune.

The two continue progressing through the lair, gathering musical notes, Jiggies, and other collectibles along the way, as well as rescuing the Jinjos of each world. They also encounter Mumbo Jumbo and Bottles several times, who continue to help the heroes by transforming them and teaching them new moves, respectively. Banjo and Kazooie also get help from Gruntilda's nicer sister, Brentilda, who gossips interesting facts about her ugly sister.

After successfully surviving through all nine worlds in her lair, Banjo and Kazooie eventually reach Gruntilda but are forced to play her quiz show, Grunty's Furnace Fun. Thanks to the information provided by Brentilda's gossips, Banjo and Kazooie win Grunty's game and save Tooty. With Tooty rescued, they return home and celebrate with a barbecue. However, Tooty reminds our heroes that Grunty had escaped shortly after the game show and was still at large, plotting her wicked schemes.

Banjo and Kazooie make their way back up the lair until they finally reach the roof with a little help from Dingpot. On the roof, Gruntilda challenges them to a more direct confrontation and an epic battle ensues. But, with the help of the Jinjos they rescued in the various worlds of Gruntilda's Lair, Banjo and Kazooie defeat Gruntilda and ultimately knock her off her tower. She crashes into the ground, creating a crater of her shape, which is then covered by a large boulder that falls from the tower and traps her beneath it. Banjo and Kazooie finally take a well-deserved break at the beach, where the bear and bird and their friends anticipate a sequel, Banjo-Tooie. Meanwhile, Gruntilda, whose loyal minion Klungo is trying to rescue her, swears her revenge.

Main Characters

  • Banjo the Bear - A good hearted, well mannered and sweet natured honey-bear. He's always seen wearing bright yellow shorts and a blue packpack for carrying Kazooie around. As seen in the opening scene, he's an experienced banjo player, he cares a lot for his best friend and those in need and sometimes shares a bond or two with his little sister, Tooty. Unlike his sister, Banjo's not really into adventuring. Banjo first appeared in Diddy Kong Racing.
  • Kazooie the Breegull - A sassy, foulmouthed, wise-cracking red-crested Breegull and Banjo's best friend. She loves to insult people out of the blue which causes conflicts and fights, Kazooie loves to explore and go adventuring. She also plays a namesake instrument; in this case: the kazoo.
  • Gruntilda Winkybunion - The main antagonist, Gruntilda or Grunty for short is an evil and stereotypical Witch who sets out to capture Banjo's sister to steal her beauty. She always speaks in rhyme and also happens to own a broom that follows her when needed.
  • Tooty the Bear - Banjo's cheerful and younger sister. Tooty is somewhat a bit of an outgoing lass and loves adventuring, she's a bit cowardly but did vow that Banjo would come and save her from Grunty after being kidnapped.
  • Bottles the Mole
  • Mumbo Jumbo the Shaman
  • Brentilda Winkybunion
  • Klungo


There are nine main worlds, one overworld/hub world, one starter world and three worlds that were unfinished so were not featured in the game. This comes to a total of eleven worlds featured in Banjo-Kazooie.

Starter World

Hub World

Main Worlds

Gameplay and Game Design [Spoiler Warning]

Banjo Kazooie utilised a range of various features that gave the game a unique style and feel. These included the prioritisation of vibrant, high quality textures in favour of extensive use of placeable or static objects.

The overall feel of the game follows a lighthearted, fairy-tale like but stereotypical british humour, including sarcasm, toilet jokes and even the suggestion of innuendo in places, though carefully intergrated to ensure its E rating. This atmosphere is reflected by the choice of main characters; a bear, a bird and a witch.

Levels are designed in a simple, uncluttered format, with regular use of simple polygon shapes to define hills, platforms and a majority of objects within the game. Levels are carefully designed to have small, distinctive micro-areas which add to the feel and believability of the level. The Village with thatched huts, the Stonehenge-like ruins, Tickers Tower and Conga's Tree in Mumbo's Mountain, is an example of this approach to level design, which can be observed in other games, even as far ahead as Super Mario Odyssey, which some have likened to Banjo-Kazooie [see video]. The soundtrack to Banjo Kazooie also reflects this style of transparancy and vibrance, without being too cluttered or complex. All of these features are integrated seamlessly in a way that makes sense and adds realism to the world, with few to no objects seeming out of place or just for function.

As the game progresses, levels become more intricate and complex. Mumbo's mountain only has 2 interior areas and like many first levels in similar games, does not represent any great danger to the player, The function being to teach the player about game mechanics. Rusty Bucket Bay on the other hand is often cited as one of the most difficult and dangerous levels in the game, including instant death floors, toxic water, many interior areas and the 'Swim through the Propellers' Jiggy, one of the toughest in the game, therefore following all the very well known design tropes of turning seemingly safe game mechanics that the player has learnt during their gameplay and inverting their effect i.e. where you could refil your air at the water surface, you lose air, where notes could be found in abundance and easily rounded up, they are scarce and require exhuastive searching,  where all ground was safe, its a struggle to avoid falling to a death floor, where jiggies were a walk in the park, the player must push their abilities to the max under great pressure.

Banjo Kazooie is mostly regarded as a collectathon, a style of game in which a variety of collectable items, forms a basis for gameplay mechanics. These are designed to motivate the player to fully explore the 3D world (3D worlds were still farily new at the time of Banjo Kazooie's release) and to reward the player for doing so. These range from minor rewards such as learning a new move, finding enough jiggies to open a new world, finding notes to open note doors, finding empty honeycomb pieces to increase maximum health, to larger scale rewards for more complex achievements such as opening the final note door and completing the final puzzle, doubling Banjo's health, or the cheato book tasks where players can double their expendable collectables (red feathers, eggs and golden feathers). Every collectable, with the exception of Stop N' Swap in Banjo Kazooie, fufills a mechanics to either progress the game or aid the player in that processs.

Gameplay is split between linear and non linear functions, the played having the open world styled, freedom to explore the world, gain the jiggies and other collectables, in some cases even opening worlds in mostly any order they want, whilst also maintaining the linear goal of rescuing Banjo's Sister, moving through progressively difficult worlds and learning new moves. Rarely is the case in the game (unlike Banjo-Tooie) is the case that the player needs to backtrack, unless to retrieve certain collectables. This linearity was reduced in Banjo-Tooie in favour of a more open-interconnected world.

Game Reaction

Banjo-Kazooie was highly successful when it was released, selling nearly two million copies in the United States. It also received the following reviews:

  • IGN: 9.6
  • GameSpot: 9.5
  • GameStats: 9.2
  • 9.2
  • Metacritic: 23 of 25 (Based on 19 reviews)
  • Game Rankings: 91% (Based on 14 reviews)

Banjo-Kazooie (Xbox Live Arcade)

See main article: Banjo-Kazooie (Xbox Live Arcade)

Banjo-Kazooie was re-released on the Xbox 360 in late 2008. It currently costs 1200 Microsoft Points on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The game has also been inputted with various items that were originally found in Banjo-Kazooie and used in the new game Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.

The game was updated with improved graphics and several new additional features:

  • Fully working Achievements.
  • Working Leaderboards that also show Online Worldwide Leaderboards.
  • All of the Nintendo references, including the Nintendo 64 logo, have been removed and some of the logos of Nintendo are replaced with Microsoft logos, although on the screen for the third save file, Banjo is still seen playing a Nintendo GameBoy.
  • Fully compatible with HD, including an Xbox One loading screen.
  • Many bug fixes from the original N64 version and glitches have been removed.
  • Musical Notes and Jinjos no longer regenerate; once collected, they are permanently saved.
  • A remade Main Menu (The three Save Files are still in the game).


At the 1999 Interactive Achievement Awards, Banjo-Kazooie won in the Console Action/Adventure and Art Direction categories, and was nominated for Console Adventure Game of the Year and Game of the Year. In an episode of Reviews On The Run, Banjo-Kazooie was ranked number 1 on the list of the "5 classic Rare games you should try", beating out Sabre Wulf, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Kameo: Elements of Power, which were also running for the same award.


The music from the game was composed by Grant Kirkhope. A CD Soundtrack was also available exclusively to Nintendo Power Subscribers and sold at Best Buy stores. Two additional tracks were included on the CD that Nintendo Power Subscribers received.

During an interview with OC Remix, Kirkhope had stated that Banjo-Kazooie was his favourite work he ever composed, he even got teary eyed when he saw the follow up Banjo-Tooie again after ten years.

Development from Dream: Land of Giants

After Rare scrapped the idea of Dream (after Rare saw a early version of the 3D-Platformer pioneering game, Super Mario 64), they shifted their focus onto a 3D Platformer which is know as Banjo-Kazooie. Within the first week of changing their idea, they built the first "recognisable Banjo-Kazooie level" (It is inferred as 'Spiral Mountain' from this video). From this point, they developed the game into what it is today. They built a test level (Known as the 'Temple Test Level') for which they tested their mechanics. As well as this, the Talon Trot (possibly the most signature move in Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie) was not implemented until after the design of the levels (unless they did not add the variable which deduces if a slope needs Talon trot to be scaled).


  • This was Grant Kirkhope's favorite game to work on, as stated in an interview with OCRemix.
  • The xylophone that Mumbo plays during the game's intro concert also appears in Candy Kong's Music Shop in Donkey Kong 64.

See also


See also: Banjo-Kazooie/Gallery