Banjo-Kazooie is a platform video game developed by Rare and originally released for the Nintendo 64 video game console in 1998. It is the first game in the Banjo-Kazooie series and follows the story of a bear, Banjo, and a bird, Kazooie, as they try to stop the plans of the witch Gruntilda, who intends to switch her beauty with Banjo's sister, Tooty. The game features nine nonlinear levels where the player must use Banjo and Kazooie's wide range of abilities to gather jigsaw pieces. It features challenges like solving puzzles, jumping over obstacles, collecting items, and defeating opponents.
Originally conceived as an adventure game named Dream for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Banjo-Kazooie was designed to appeal players of all ages in a similar vein to Walt Disney Animation Studios films. The game was a critical and commercial success, selling nearly two million copies in the United States. It was praised for its detailed graphics, immersive sound, and intricate level design. In 1999, it received two awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences: Console Action Game of the Year and Outstanding Achievement in Art/Graphics. The game was remastered for the Xbox 360 in 2008 and included in the Rare Replay video game compilation for the Xbox One in 2015. A sequel, Banjo-Tooie, was released in 2000.
Banjo-Kazooie is a single-player platform game where the player controls the protagonists Banjo and Kazooie from a third-person perspective. The game is split into nine levels where the player must gather musical notes and jigsaw pieces, called 'Jiggies', to progress. Players transit from one level to another through Gruntilda's lair, which acts as the game's central overworld. Jiggies allow the player to complete jigsaw puzzles which open doors to new levels, while musical notes grant players access to new inner sections of the overworld. Like in Super Mario 64, the gameplay of Banjo-Kazooie is very open and allows the player to collect Jiggies and musical notes in a nonlinear order. It is also possible to skip certain levels as long as the player has enough of these items to reach a farther one.
Each level is composed of a number of challenges that involve solving puzzles, jumping over obstacles, gathering objects, and defeating opponents. The game also features some elements of action-adventure games. Players often have to speak with NPCs and then figure out a way to help them. It is also possible to increase Banjo and Kazooie's energy bar by collecting extra honeycombs that are hidden throughout the levels. Banjo and Kazooie can perform a wide range of abilities, such as jumping, climbing, swimming, flying, and rolling into enemies. Most of these moves are learned by finding Bottles, a friendly mole, inside the worlds. Some moves require specific items so that they can be performed. For instance, red feathers allow Banjo and Kazooie to fly, while gold feathers protect them from damage. Some items also allow the character to gain temporary abilities in a particular moment. For instance, the turbo trainers provide a speed burst to reach a certain destination on time.
Banjo and Kazooie are occasionally aided by their friend Mumbo Jumbo, a shaman who can use magical powers to transform them into several creatures like a termite, a pumpkin, a bee, a walrus, and a crocodile. These transformations have their own special features and allow the player to access areas that were previously inaccessible. For instance, the walrus can resist the effects of icy-cold water. Mumbo Tokens that are scattered throughout the game allow the transformation process. The game also includes cheats that the player can unlock by finding Gruntilda's spellbook, Cheato.
Banjo-Kazooie is set in the Spiral Mountain and follows the story of Banjo, a male brown honey bear, and Kazooie, a female red-crested Breegull who is always kept in Banjo's backpack. The game begins when a foul-tempered witch named Gruntilda learns from her cauldron Dingpot that Tooty, Banjo's younger sister, is more beautiful than her. Jealous, Gruntilda creates a machine that can transfer a person's beauty to another, which she intends to use with Tooty. She then abducts Tooty while Banjo is sleeping. In response to the kidnapping, Kazooie wakes Banjo up and the two set out to rescue her. Banjo and Kazooie learn from Tooty's friend, Bottles the short-sighted mole, that she was captured by Gruntilda and suggests they need some training to collect musical notes and jigsaw pieces to progress through Gruntilda's lair. Along the way, they are aided by Mumbo Jumbo, a shaman and Gruntilda's former teacher.
By the time most of the musical notes and jiggies are gathered, Banjo and Kazooie face Gruntilda in a trivia game show named 'Grunty's Furnace Fun'. The game presents questions and challenges related to certain aspects of the game. After going through the game board, the two win the game and Gruntilda flees. Reunited with Tooty, Banjo and Kazooie return home and celebrate their victory with their friends and a barbecue. However, Tooty reminds everyone that Gruntilda has fled and orders Banjo and Kazooie to defeat her. The duo returns to Gruntilda's lair and reach the top of the tower, where they face-off with her. With the help of some friendly creatures called Jinjos, Banjo and Kazooie defeat Gruntilda, trapping her underneath a boulder. Returning home, Banjo and Kazooie go on vacation at a beach with their friends and celebrate their victory. The game ends with Gruntilda swearing revenge against Banjo and Kazooie and calling for her henchman, Klungo, to move the boulder that is covering her.
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