By Cody Perez
October 11, 2019
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate continues to be one of the biggest fighting games and entertainment properties in the entire world. It is, by far, one of the strongest contenders for the biggest crossover in the history of entertainment.
After all, there aren’t many properties out there — be it movies, games, TV, and more — that are capable of bringing together so many different juggernauts into one single package. This fighting game crossover features some of the biggest names in video game history.
You can find fighters like Mario from Nintendo, Sonic from Sega, Cloud from Square Enix, Ryu from Capcom, and many more duking it out together, despite initially being competitors in the video game industry. Well, the craziness of it all has been furthered even more with the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Banjo-Kazooie.
This latest fighter to join the game as part of the season pass of DLC is one of the most unique to ever join the game, breaking records in the process for the massive fighting game franchise and cementing itself as one of the most important icons in the game industry.
To understand the impact of the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Banjo-Kazooie, it is first important to note the history of this goofy duo and why they are even in the game in the first place. Banjo and Kazooie are two different characters who make up the duo that plays as one fighter.
This is the same case for the original video game series that the pair hails from. The titular series that the duo comes from originally began with the first title, Banjo-Kazooie, on the Nintendo 64 back in 1998. The game is known as a 3D platforming game in the veins of the beloved Super Mario 64.
The duo is comprised of Banjo, the bear, and Kazooie, the female red bird that is typically seen traveling atop Banjo himself. The two travel around a world trying to stop the evil witch named Gruntilda. The series is loved by many fans who were disappointed in the lack of sequels in recent years.
This is due to the odd circumstances surrounding the series. The sequel to the original game released soon after the first one and was also on the Nintendo 64. This was soon followed up by a spin-off on the Gameboy Advance handheld system before the series and its developer Rare were purchased by Microsoft.
This move came as a surprise to Nintendo fans everywhere who had loved the developer’s games and characters like Banjo and Kazooie on Nintendo consoles. The series would see another game released for the Xbox 360, one that was divisive within the fan base.
Despite all of this, many in the community held out hope that some deal would be made for the series to return to Nintendo in the future. What no one expected, though, was the burgeoning relationship between Nintendo and Microsoft that recently began.
This led to Microsoft willingly allowing games that were previously console exclusives to its platform to be brought to the Nintendo Switch. Cuphead is an example of this. When DLC fighters were announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, this led many to hope for a Banjo-Kazooie appearance.
Indeed, Nintendo confirmed this at E3 2019 where it revealed in its Nintendo Direct not one but two characters in the same presentation. The first was the expected Hero from the Dragon Quest series, but the second one was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Banjo-Kazooie.
For many fans, seeing this lovable anthropomorphic duo appear in the exclusive Nintendo Switch title is like seeing them come home again. As such, it is no surprise that they are one of the most popular fighters in the game thus far, both in the main roster and in the fighters pass.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Banjo-Kazooie is the third fighters pass DLC character to join the ever-growing roster of video game fighters. They are also the fourth fighter overall for the game post-launch, following Piranha Plant, Joker, and the Hero.
In addition, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Banjo-Kazooie breaks a trend by being the first-ever Western characters from an entirely Western-developed series. Though there have been Western characters before like King K. Rool, those still hail from Japanese franchises.
Banjo-Kazooie were developed in the West for a series that was and still is Western. Beyond that, they are from a studio that isn’t owned by Nintendo. This is unlike Retro, which had a hand in some characters, and Rare itself, which created some Western characters for Japanese series, such as King K. Rool. With this, it is no surprise that fans were in an uproar about the character’s announcement.
Banjo-Kazooie formally released as the third fighter in the season pass on September 4, 2019, following the reveal of the latest fall Nintendo Direct for the year. This was a surprise announcement that players didn’t expect to find, especially so soon after the release of the second DLC fighter.
The official trailer unveiling Banjo-Kazooie
With that, players are able to purchase the unique duo fighter right now in two different ways. The two options that players have are to purchase Banjo-Kazooie separately from the other DLC fighters or download them as part of the fighters pass that’s also currently available.
The former option is much cheaper than the fighters pass but is really only useful for a certain group of players. You can purchase the fighter individually for $5.99 USD, which isn’t too bad considering you get them, a new map, and some sweet music from the platforming franchise.
However, that will only get you so far since you are only getting this one fighter through this method. If you are wanting to get other DLC fighters, you are going to have to shell out around six dollars each time.
The other option is the fighters pass that costs $24.99.
Though that is a chunk of change that is almost equal to half of the base price for the fighting game, it is a better value for those players who are looking to get more than just one fighter. If you happen to already own the fighters pass, then you just need to update your game to unlock this fighter.
Otherwise, you can purchase it to gain access to Banjo-Kazooie plus the Hero and Joker who have already been released. Basically, the decision comes down to whether you just want Banjo-Kazooie or if you are interested in some of the other fighters as well.
Our recommendation is that if you happen to like or are interested in more than two DLC fighters, you should purchase the fighters pass. Otherwise, you are good just buying the one or two fighters that you care about. This is so that you don’t lose money in the process if you want to buy all five in the end.
The basics of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Banjo-Kazooie is that we have a fighter who is not nearly as much of a wildcard as, say, the Hero but isn’t bad either like some fighters on the roster. Instead, we see this duo finding themselves in the middle of the road in tier lists.
They are good, for sure, and perhaps even great, making for a solid fighter that is just good enough to be up there as a staple in the community. For those who want to dedicate the time, Banjo can easily be a main fighter, but it will take some time and dedication.
In addition, Banjo-Kazooie is by far one of the most standard fighters we’ve seen after the launch of the game. Unlike Joker, Hero, and even Piranha Plant, Banjo-Kazooie keeps it mostly simple. There are some solid moves that will be your go-to for most of the fight with a couple others that are just okay.
From a design standpoint, Banjo-Kazooie are a lot like, ironically enough, their Rare-associated counterpart Donkey Kong in that they are a bigger fighter with some weight to them. This is a fighter that will be a bit harder to knock out than most and will pack some punches, too.
What makes Banjo-Kazooie stand out from other big fighters, though, is how swift they can actually be on the battlefield. A couple of key moves in their repertoire ensure that they are able to move around the battlefield with ease as well as recover fairly well.
The moves of Banjo-Kazooie are pretty standard, for the most part, with some notable exceptions. Though this is a pair of two different characters, they fight in sync and don’t control entirely separately like in the case of the Ice Climbers.
Your set of normal attacks is simple, allowing you to do various things like swipe with Banjo’s claws for his normal attack and then peck at the enemy with the peak of Kazooie using the down attack. At the same time, you are able to deal some heavier damage by smacking your opponent in the head with Kazooie using your side smash attack.
Then there is the upward smash attack that allows you to send your opponents flying into the air with Bill Drill. Many of the attacks that you’ll see in the moveset will be familiar to fans of the original franchise.
As for the special moves, the neutral special allows Banjo-Kazooie to fire an egg at their opponent. You can even hold down the button to fire a rapid barrage of these eggs at your opponents at the sacrifice of some of the damage that each egg does.
The up special move that Banjo has is called Shock Spring Jump and allows you to use a spring beneath you to jump up high and recover. This move will even change depending on how long you hold the button down. It is a surprisingly strong recovery move compared to similar fighters like Donkey Kong.
The down special move, on the other hand, allows you to use a different egg, but this time one that is like a grenade of sorts to throw and cause the opponents to explode. Last but not least for the moveset of Banjo is the side special that is called Wonder Wing.
Wonder Wing is what makes Banjo-Kazooie truly stand out from the rest as it allows the player to charge ahead super-fast across the field. For most fields, it will allow you clear the entire field in one move and hit everything in your way. While you are using the move, you are invincible as well.
In addition, it will destroy any other move that it comes in contact with, so opponents will simply have to jump up to dodge it. It is a strong and versatile move that is capable of decimating and finishing off opponents in a single charge.
This move is kept in check, though, by the fact that it is only able to be used five times per life in battle. For matches where you only have one or two lives, this can be rather troublesome, so it is a move that players will really need to practice with to master. After all, you don’t want to waste it just like with the Final Smash.
Speaking of Final Smash, Banjo-Kazooie’s is The Mighty Jinjonator that allows the player to unleash a mighty statue from the ground in front of them and destroy any player who is standing in the wrong spot. It is a powerful move that pairs well with this solid fighter.
With the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Banjo-Kazooie, there are only two more fighters left to release in the first fighters pass. We already know that the next fighter is Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury, but there is one fighter who is still unknown even now.
With the release of Banjo, we could see more third-party Western fighters join the roster. There are those who theorize that we could see Minecraft Steve, Doomguy, and others. At the same time, though, there are still some Japanese fighters that are prominent and unseen in the game so far.
These include Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, Dante from Devil May Cry, the Monster Hunter, and others that are still missing from the current roster. Regardless of what happens, though, we know that the fifth fighter in the season pass won’t be the end for the game as another fighters pass has already been announced, meaning that five more are on the way in the future.