Banjo-Kazooie Wiki

This article is for the game for the Nintendo 64. For the series as a whole, see Banjo-Kazooie (series).

Banjo-Kazooie is the first game in the Banjo-Kazooie series. It was developed by Rare and released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. 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. In 2008 (the game's 10th anniversary), Banjo-Kazooie was ported to the Xbox 360 by Microsoft. This version of the game featured native HD widescreen resolution as well as updated controls and other features. In 2022, the Nintendo 64 version of the game was rereleased as part of the Nintendo Switch Online service.


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. 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.

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 and obnoxious 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, and one starter world. Three additional worlds were left unfinished so therefore were not featured in the game. This comes to a total of eleven worlds featured in Banjo-Kazooie.


Spiral Mountain
(Starter World)

Gruntys Lair entry

Gruntilda's Lair
(Hub World)

Mumbos Mountain entry
Mumbo's Mountain Title Card
Treasure Trove Cove Title Card
Clankers Cavern entry
Clanker's Cavern Title Card
Bubblegloop Swamp
Bubblegloop Swamp Title Card
Freezeezy Peak
Freezeezy Peak Title Card
Gobi's Valley
Gobi's Valley Title Card
Mad Monster Mansion
Mad Monster Mansion Title Card
Rusty Bucket Bay
Rusty Bucket Bay Title Card
Click Clock Wood
Click Clock Wood Title Card

Gameplay and Game Design[]

Banjo Kazooie utilizes a range of various features that gave the game a unique style and feel. These included the prioritization 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 levels . 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. The soundtrack to Banjo-Kazooie also reflects this style of transparency 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 refill 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 exhaustive 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 'collect-a-thon', 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'-Swop in Banjo Kazooie, fulfills a mechanics to either progress the game or aid the player in that process.

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)

Xbox 360 Version[]

Banjo-Kazooie was re-released on the Xbox 360 in late 2008, and 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.
  • The box art depicts Gruntilda as being massive enough for her minions to ride her shoulders and hat, which was a subtle reference to Gruntilda's original depiction as a giant rather than a witch.

See also[]


See also: Banjo-Kazooie/Gallery