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Battle for the N64: Mario vs. Banjo-Kazooie

Updated on July 15, 2012

Both of these games are unique in their own way, but they're also incredibly similar and seem to hold a rivalry against each other. Mario and Banjo-Kazooie are the “unlikely” heroes of their games. Mario as a just some plumber and Banjo-Kazooie as a regular bear with a bird in his backpack. Still, these characters are on the same mission: to save the person they love. Not only are they similar in graphics, but storyline and characters they meet along they way as well.

Super Mario 64 came first on June 23rd 1996

Made by Nintendo EAD, Super Mario 64 follows the adventures of Mario and his quest to save Princess Peach from evil King Bowser. The game starts off with Mario relaxing when he recieves a letter from Peach, inviting him to the castle for some cake. When he arrives, he sees that Bowser and his minions have taken over the castle and hidden the 120 power stars. To save Peach and defeat Bowser, Mario must find the stars in the portals scattered throughout the castle. There are 15 portals, each containing 7 star quests plus 15 secret stars hidden within the castle.

Banjo-Kazooie came third on June 30th 1998

Made by Rare, Banjo-Kazooie is a game about a bear named Banjo and his red bird friend Kazooie. Banjo's little sister Tooty is capture by the evil queen Gruntilda and its up to Banjo and Kazooie to save her. The game begins with Guntilda asking her Dingpot who the prettiest girl of all is. When Gruntilda hears its Tooty, she sets out to kidnap her and steal her beauty. Banjo is sleeping in bed and Kazooie is trying to wake him up because she wants to go on an adventure. Kazooie hears the commotion outside and finds out Gruntilda has captured Tooty. Kazooie finally gets Banjo up and they set out to find Tooty. To save her, Banjo and Kazooie must collect the 100 “Jiggies” spread throughout the game. There are 10 levels each with 10 jiggies.


  • In Banjo-Kazooie and Mario 64, you have to collect a certain number of items (stars and jiggies) to face the main boss.
  • Mario has a race with Koopa the Quick, Banjo and Kazooie race Boggy the polar bear.

  • Toad gives Mario hints throughout the game and gives him a star, Brentilda gives facts about her sister Gruntilda to Banjo-Kazooie which are needed to beat the game and Bottles teaches them moves.

  • If you collect 100 coins in Mario, you get a star for that level. If you collect 100 music notes in Banjo-Kazooie, you gain access to a new Note Door.

  • To get a star from Chain Chomp from Mario and Conga the Ape from Banjo-Kazooie are both large enemies who you have to strategically weaken. Chain Chomp will repeatedly thrust at Mario making it hard for him to ground-pound the log holding Chain Chomp's chain. Banjo-Kazooie must move around and hit Conga with blue eggs because he throws oranges.

  • To kill basic enemies in each game, you can just jump on them and they poof out of existence.

  • The levels are close as well. There is a fire, winter, basic outside, boat, castle, under water, desert, and haunted level in both games.

  • Banjo-Kazooie must collect 5 Jinjos, Mario has to collect 8 red coins.

  • Banjo-Kazooie can find special boots to maneuver through swamps and poison areas, Mario gets a metal cap to get through similar areas.

  • Mario has a wing cap he can find to fly, in Banjo-Kazooie there are jump pads.

There are a few other similarities, but I think you get the point. These two games are too alike to be considered a coincidence. They are both platform games, but Banjo-Kazooie focuses a little bit more on the adventure and exploring. Mario is also a little more about doing things on his own and completing his mission, While Banjo-Kazooie does a lot of helping other creatures in-between his mission. They were both commercially successful which is why I feel it was alomst a rivialry. Basically, two game companies made the same game with slight differences from each other and it was up to the audience to decide who made the better game. Though Banjo-Kazooie did extremely well, Mario won out in sales and in popularity. I think if Banjo had come out first, it might have made a difference, but even then, Mario probably still would have won. Banjo-Kazooie also seemed to follow Mario in the making of Mario Kart, they released Banjo-Pilot, the difference being that the characters flew planes rather than raced cars. Banjo-Kazooie had sequels (Banjo-Tooie, Nuts&Bolts, Grunty's Revenge) just like Mario (Sunshine, Galaxy, Galaxy 2) still Mario came out on top. I feel that Banjo-Kazooie is a good game and had a lot of potential, but I don't think it will ever beat Mario. Not only has Mario been well-established already, it's just an all-around excellent game. Most any game has trouble competing with that, let alone one that's made in its likeness.


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    • Britt Duran profile image

      Brittney Duran 2 years ago from USA

      They're similar, but I love them both equally.

    • profile image

      IntegrityYes 5 years ago

      I voted up for sure. That is so awesome. You are too,bold lady.

    • S.Graveson profile image

      S.Graveson 5 years ago from Cumbria, UK

      Gotta agree with the comment above. Both games were great but something about Banjo just felt better. Great article though. Shame Rare went down hill after joining Microsoft, used to love that company.

    • DonkeyKongKiller profile image

      DonkeyKongKiller 5 years ago from Texas

      Your logic and reasoning is sound, but I have to disagree with you. Not to discredit Mario 64 because its a fantastic classic of a game, but even as a kid I came back to Banjo Kazooie more. The worlds always seemed a little darker and more bizarre in Banjo Kazooie and as a kid and even an young adult I've always loved that sort of thing. I don't know why I prefer Banjo Kazooie, but I just do. It would take a whole lot more thought and analysis. Anyways good blog.