Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home is the perfect mod for these trying times

by Martin Watts, 16 April 2020

Banjo on the sky island in the Stay At Home mod

Stay home, save lives. As the world struggles with Covid-19, this simple advice is the best thing many of us can do.

To help make lockdown life a little easier for N64 fans, Kurko Mods has released Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home.

This new mod merges Banjo-Kazooie with other N64 games, including Super Mario 64 and Bomberman 64. And it’s one hell of a nostalgia trip.

As the bear ‘n’ bird duo, you can explore three worlds from Mario’s N64 adventure: Whomp’s Fortress, Bob-omb Battlefield and Jolly Roger Bay. Blue Resort from Bomberman 64 also makes an appearance.

Best of all, Banjo-Kazooie: Stay at Home works on an original N64 console. You’ll find information in this article on how to get it to run on your system.

Banjo and Kazooie at the start of Whomp's Fortress

You may recognise some of Kurko Mods’ previous N64 work. They created the beautiful Legend of Banjo-Kazooie: The Bear Waker and the Banjo-Kazooie X Donkey Kong Country mods. Both are well worth checking out!

Kurko Mods is also working on a Banjo-Kazooie crossover with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which will release in May/June 2020.

All mashed up

Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home is a Banjo-Kazooie game at its core. It plays almost identically to the original game. That said, there are a couple of notable differences.

For starters, there’s a new collectable item. Instead of collecting honey to replenish your health, you now pick up toilet rolls. It’s a not-so-subtle dig at all the stupid people who felt it necessary to panic-buy toilet paper during the current pandemic.

Flying above Jolly Roger Bay in Kurko Mods' Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home mod for N64.

There’s also a variant of the Shrapnel aquatic mine enemy, designed to look a bit like Covid-19. Banjo had best wash his hands after encountering these guys!

Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home’s worlds are taken from other N64 games. While the layout remain very similar, many of the features are different.

For example, Bob-omb Battlefield bears little resemblance to its original incarnation beyond its layout. In fact, the world’s starting point is mostly underwater.

It strikes a great balance between familiar and brand new. That said, Whomp’s Fortress, Jolly Roger Bay, and Blue Resort remain closer to their original look and feel. (And that’s by no means a bad thing.)

Talon Trotting over the rooftops of Blue Resort

This mod is overflowing with Nintendo references for you to discover. It’s a real nostalgia overload, and one that makes exploring every nook and cranny really worthwhile.

A superbly blended soundtrack tops it all off. The classic Super Mario 64 and Bomberman 64 tunes we all know and love have been “Banjo-Kazooified.” And they sound fantastic.

A sign on the side of a Super Mario pipe saying "Old Rubbish" below an N64 logo.

Precarious platforming

True to the Banjo-Kazooie gameplay format, you traverse these worlds in search of Jiggies, musical notes and honeycombs.

The challenges are bespoke, so don’t expect your Super Mario 64 or Bomberman 64 knowledge to help here.

Unlike some previous mods, Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home thankfully doesn’t require you to learn the eponymous duo’s moveset through in-game training.

A Jiggy sits at the end of a pirate ship's bowsprit in Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home

Unsurprisingly, this mod is aimed at veteran Banjo-Kazooie players.

Reaching some objects requires precise platforming. There are time challenges with little margin for error. And you really have to pay attention to your surroundings to find absolutely everything.

Jolly Roger Bay’s extra-deep lake presents a real challenge in terms of underwater air consumption. Musical notes don’t restore your oxygen like coins do in Super Mario 64.

Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home also features 2D platforming sections in the style of classic Super Mario Bros. games. They work well, and in some instances are devilishly tricky. Getting all the secrets in these areas is no small feat.

Banjo and Kazooie explore level 1-2 of Super Mario Bros.

How can I play Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home on my N64 console?

Go to the mod’s launch trailer on YouTube and click on the download link in the video’s description (currently version 1.4). You will also need to find an NTSC ROM of Banjo-Kazooie.

The mod comes in the form of an xdelta patch. Use Delta Patcher to apply the patch to the ROM. Just follow the program’s straightforward instructions to create a patched ROM in no time at all.

Banjo stood atop a tree in Bob-omb Battlefield.

To play Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home on an N64 console, you need to use a flashcart such as an EverDrive 64. Just put the patched ROM on your EverDrive 64’s SD card and it should work.

I’ve tested the game on real N64 hardware, and it runs almost perfectly. There are some minor graphical glitches and the Blue Resort world has some noticeable slowdown in parts. But these issues are too minor to impact your overall enjoyment.

The eel from Super Mario 64 is now dead in the Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home mod for N64.

Final thoughts

Banjo-Kazooie: Stay At Home is the perfect bundle of crossover N64 fun for these challenging times. As with all of Kurko Mods, the quality here is really high – I especially love all the delightful little Nintendo references.

Have you played this mod? Let me know what you think on Twitter or Facebook.

Blue Resort from Bomberman 64 in Banjo-Kazooie

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