I’ve played Banjo-Kazooie, I don’t know, four or five times since it released in 1998. Or at least, I’ve played it that many times to completion. If you count all the times I played through Spiral Mountain on the demo kiosk at Toys ‘R’ Us, the number would quickly become astronomical.
Anyway, Banjo-Kazooie is a pretty open-ended game. Much like Super Mario 64, there is an intended order that you’re supposed to visit the game’s different worlds, but as long as you’ve got enough macguffins to unlock the right doors, you can play the worlds in whatever order you like. Unlike its sequel, Banjo-Tooie, Banjo-Kazooie is a fairly linear game. Rare is the instance when you have to leave a world because there’s a challenge that you cannot complete without a move learned in a later world.
There is exactly one instance, in fact. In Freezeezy Peak, you are unable to complete a single challenge until you go over to Gobi’s Valley and learn to use the running shoes item. That’s the only time you’re ever forced to leave and then re-enter a world. The only time in the game when you can’t get 100% of the collectibles on your first visit.
But yesterday, I learned that that is actually a misconception.
I don’t know why it took me about half a dozen playthroughs to realize that you can, in fact, unlock and play through Gobi’s Valley before you ever step foot in Freezeezy Peak. If you’ve played all four prior worlds to completion, you’ll have more than enough doo-dads and wing-wangs to skip ahead to Gobi’s Valley right away. You can then proceed to complete that world and then go back for Freezeezy Peak, which you’re now able to complete in a single visit.
And so, I’ve unlocked the secret to completing Banjo-Kazooie to 100% without ever having to revisit a world. I’m sure pretty much everyone in the world had figured this out already, but it’s news to me! New and exciting! You get a really good picture of how empty my life is, when you stop to consider that this is the kind of thing that excites me.