Bear ‘n’ bird meet The Legend of Zelda in Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker mod

by Martin Watts, 26 June 2019

A high-up view from the bridge of Outset Island in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker, a Wind Waker-inspired N64 mod.

Everyone loves a good video game crossover. And The Legend of Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker is one you’re probably going to immediately fall in love with.

Created by Kurko Mods, this new N64 mod merges The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker with Banjo-Kazooie.

This project is a real labour of love. The attention to detail is stunning, especially considering The Wind Waker originally released on the more powerful Nintendo GameCube.

The mod is available to download now. Better yet, it runs on an original N64 console – provided you have the right kit.

Flying across Outset Island in Banjo-Kazooie / Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker crossover The Bear Waker for Nintendo 64.

Kurko is no stranger to crossover mods for the N64. They recently released the Banjo-Kazooie x Donkey Kong Country mod.

And they’re also developing The Legend of Banjo-Kazooie: The Jiggies of Time – a crossover with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Jumping off a rock in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker N64 mod

What’s Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker about?

Something has happened to Link. And the King of Red Lions has tasked Banjo and Kazooie with getting to the bottom of it.

What follows is an epic quest across Outset Island – The Wind Waker’s first area and Link’s home island.

The King of Red Lions, as he appears in The Legend of Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker mod for N64.

It’s a remarkably faithful remake that does justice to the original game’s cel-shaded style.

Otherwise, the game plays just like the bear ‘n’ bird first N64 adventure. And the goal here is very much the same – collect musical notes, save Jinjos and find Jiggy pieces.

Standing on a rooftop in Outset Island collecting musical notes in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker

It looks absolutely stunning. And it’s also absolutely massive.

The draw distance is particularly impressive, although it does result in some minor slowdown on an N64 console.

Checking out the Fairy Woods in first-person view in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker - a Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker crossover for N64.

All the main areas and points of interest are here for you to explore. You can delve into the Fairy Woods, go up to Aryll’s Lookout and even enter Link’s home.

The house interiors are superbly detailed. Some even include delightful little N64 references that put a smile on your face.

Banjo finds a stash of N64 magazines lying around in a house on Outset Island in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker for N64.

And it wouldn’t be a proper Legend of Zelda crossover without the option to smash jars.

Superb 64-bit renditions of the music from the original Outset Island complement the game. So it’s fair to say this mod is simply bursting with charm and fan service.

Finding Jiggy pieces in the original Banjo-Kazooie opens up new worlds.

But in Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker’s Outset Island, you use Jiggies to unlock access to more of them within the island.

It’s a neat touch that makes in-game events feel more interconnected.

Completing a Triforce-bearing Jiggy portrait in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker for Nintendo 64.

From the start, you have access to all of Banjo and Kazooie’s abilities. And they’re vital if you want to progress.

You also have to call on Mumbo’s help and undergo a transformation at some point too.

Banjo and Kazooie find themselves in Link's Grandma's House in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker

How can I play Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker?

The game is compatible on both emulators and original N64 hardware.

Go to the game’s launch trailer on YouTube and download the file you need from the video’s description. There’s an optimised version specifically for console.

Banjo inspects a red postbox in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker N64 mod

To play on an actual N64, you’ll need a flashcart such as an EverDrive 64.

I’ve tested the latest version of Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker on console, and haven’t discovered any major issues or game-breaking bugs.

However, let me or Kurko know if you come across any problems.

Link's family sword and shield in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker

The most noticeable drawback on console is that the frame rate can become sluggish in the large, open area of Outset Island.

But it’s small price to pay to have it running on console. Not to mention it’s still more than playable.

Jabun's Cave area in The Legend of Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker on N64.

First impressions

Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker looks incredible. The attention to detail that has gone into recreating Outset Island is really impressive.

Perhaps more importantly, it’s really fun to play! I especially like how you can open up new areas across the island and explore deeper.

Aryll's Lookout in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker for Nintendo 64.

It’d be fantastic if Kurko decides in future to expand this mod into a much larger game.

It also gives me hope that The Legend of Banjo-Kazooie: The Jiggies of Time is going to be a phenomenal game.

Exploring the Fairy Woods labyrinth in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker mod for N64.

What do you think of Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker?

So, are you impressed by The Legend of Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker?

Let me know what you think on Twitter or Facebook.

Banjo and Kazooie find a Jiggy on top of a bunk bed in Banjo Kazooie: The Bear Waker - a Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker-inspired mod of Banjo-Kazooie