Conker: Live and Reloaded

Review

posted 7/18/2005 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Xbox
It’s hard to believe that the original Conker was originally conceived close to ten years ago. Announced in 1997, Conker’s Quest (as it was then called) was lauded as the new high water mark in visual design and performance. With advanced character emotions and a unique two-person story (where you actually switched between a couple of characters), Conker was largely hyped as the step beyond Super Mario 64.

But then Conker’s Quest was mysteriously dropped from the schedule. Rare insisted that they were working on it but years went by without even a screenshot of the project. And then out of nowhere comes Conker’s Bad Fur Day, a completely retooled version of the game announced in 1997. Where Conker’s Quest was a cute, cuddly, innocent adventure for the entire family, Conker’s Bad Fur Day was a rude, crude, perverted quest meant purely for the adults.

This new Conker cursed, drank too much, was a sexual deviant, and most importantly, he was nothing like what we had seen on the Nintendo 64. Conker’s Bad Fur Day was exactly the type of game adult N64 users had been waiting for, but since it came out only months before the GameCube (not to mention only months after the PS2’s launch) few gave the game its due respect.

Perhaps that is why in 2003 Rare decided to announce a Conker remake for the Xbox. With new and improved multiplayer modes (enhanced with Xbox Live) and better graphics, Conker was set to finally take the world by storm. The only problem was that it didn’t show up in 2003 … or even 2004 for that matter! In fact, it’s not until just now that Xbox users are finally getting Conker Live & Reloaded -- mere months before the launch of the Xbox 360.

Conker’s Bad Fur Day was an instantly enjoyable game that was easy to get into and hard to put down, and the same holds true in this Xbox port. We’re introduced to Conker on a night where he’s especially liquored up and not in real good condition; an evening of partying that has left him without a way home. With blurred vision Conker attempts to make the journey back home, but clearly he is over his limit as he passes out on the way.

Conker awakes to what will be one of the most eventful days in any squirrels life, the sort of day that you won’t forget. It’s a day that involves Conker swimming through a lake of poo, mutilating cows, going to war, and even fighting an alien (as in the Alien). Conker’s day is sewn together in an often entertaining story that has him helping a cast of colorful characters – bees, a pitchfork, catfish, etc. – and collecting a lot of money.

Conker Bad Fur Day does everything it can to make fun of the standard platformer clichés and uses self-deprecating humor as a weapon. Conker’s adventure really feels like the programmers went out of their way to parody games like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, which is really the charm of this experience. It’s not that his puzzles are fundamentally different from other platformers, Conker will be doing much of the same things Mario and his ilk has done for years; it’s the situations he keeps being put in that makes this game stand out. It may be rude, crude, and a little bit sexist, but Conker’s surroundings make for a wonderfully created world that you want to explore … at least until you get to the world of poo.
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