Tuesday, 28 Sep 2021

Banjo-Kazooie: How To Skip The Aggravating Furnace Fun Game Show

No game is perfect, but Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie certainly comes close. As one of the best 3D platformers of all time, the journey is a blast from start to finish, with new minigames, characters, and abilities around every corner of the game. Unfortunately, the journey has its bumps, with the most glaring one being Grunty’s Furnace Fun Challenge, a quiz show that tests your knowledge of the game, with little room for error. Luckily, this game has high speedrunning appeal, and has been pulled apart by speedrunners over the years, some of whom have discovered how to skip Furnace Fun.

For players returning to Grunty’s Lair after a long time of not playing, trying to pick up where they left off, few will be able to make it through the Furnace Fun challenge without needing to pause and look up every answer. The incredibly specific questions are hard enough for players who had played through the game that day, let alone players who haven’t touched it in months. The quiz board appears as follows:

How Furnace Fun Works

Players must traverse from one side to the other, taking any path they choose, answering questions along the way. For every question you answer wrong, you lose a piece of health. Blue tiles ask a general question about the game, green tiles will play music and you must answer where you hear that song, orange tiles show a picture and you must answer which world is being shown, and black tiles ask a question about Gruntilda, which have different answers with every playthrough. Worst of all, purple stopwatch tiles will have you fight a boss from earlier in the game. Joker tiles and skull tiles can be any category, where joker tiles will give you two skips if answered correctly, which you can use at any point to skip tiles. Skull tiles will kill you if you get them wrong, throwing you straight into the lava.

How To Skip It

The method used to skip the gameshow works by abusing the way that the skull tiles work. Typically, there are invisible walls between every two tiles, as well as along the edges of the tiles. This is to prevent players from skipping tiles or accidentally falling into the lava. When a skull tile question is answered incorrectly, those walls are immediately deleted, so that Banjo and Kazooie can be thrown into the lava. A speedrunner discovered accidentally that if you stand in the correct spot on a skull tile and answer it wrong, the game will try to throw you into the lava but miss, and you will land on another tile. Because the invisible walls are now gone, you can simply run to the other end of the board and you won’t be prompted to answer any trivia. This has since been reworked and optimized by other speedrunners.

The first step is to get to a skull tile. Luckily there is one very close to where you start, though it will require you to beat five questions. This is still very good, however, as you typically require a minimum of 26 questions to cross the board, and that’s packed with multiple boss fights, skull tiles, and Grunty questions. Instead, you can answer the first two questions, then take a left and answer the next three in front of you. You want to reach the skull tile here:

Normally, you can’t use any of your movement abilities on the board, but there are a few pixels of room between every two tiles where the game doesn’t see you as being on the board. You can tell you’re between these two spaces when neither of the tiles you’re touching are highlighted. By walking into this area and activating Talon Trot while walking, you can slide into the skull tile while the Talon Trot animation is being done. This is easiest done by walking towards the lava at the angle pictured below and activating Talon Trot when neither tile is highlighted. The sideways momentum should carry you onto the skull tile.

By activating the skull tile during the animation, essentially as soon as the tile starts to get highlighted, then purposely getting the question wrong, the game will delete all the walls in the area, but when it tries to throw you into the lava, you simply won’t go anywhere. This will allow you to run straight to the other side, bypassing the entire quiz show. This has proven to be incredibly useful for speedrunners, as it saves lots of time spent answering questions, reduces the randomness element from skull tiles, joker tiles and Grunty tiles, thus meaning good runs won’t be killed by bad luck, but it also skips a six-minute cutscene before the final Grunty fight.

This trick allowed the 100% category of Banjo-Kazooie speedrunning to finally dip below a two hour time. Of course, this is also very useful for casual players who are getting fed up with constantly needing to restart this awful quiz show after losses, as we all did on our first playthrough.

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