Conker: Live and Reloaded

Review

posted 7/18/2005 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Xbox
Although the story itself is a little short (it weighs in at around 12 hours), it’s the type game you will likely show friends or experience again down the road. With all kinds of memorable characters, several amazing boss battles (including one that is a sing along), and one of the strangest endings of all time, Conker is well worth going through at least once in your lifetime.

Conker is full of original ideas, some witty banter, and a lot of cool looking worlds, but it’s also a port of a game that by today’s standards, feels pretty dated. Much of my problem with Conker Live & Reloaded lies in the fact that Rare has done very little to improve the important aspects of their game. Sure the graphics and sound are better, but we’re still dealing with a flawed camera system, some questionable controls, and some real shallow combat. Considering the remake has been in development well over two years these are the types of things I would have expected to see tinkered with.

On the Nintendo 64 it was easy to overlook some of these problems because there was nothing else like it on the system, but these days a lot of the novelty has worn off. These days we look at the camera system and question how we every played with it in the first place, we are sad that Conker really has no moves outside of hovering or hitting, and we already have a lot of games that use profanity as a joke. Without the novelty we are left with a standard platformer that, while entertaining, is nowhere near the step beyond Super Mario 64.

Although much of Conker is on the easy side (none of the puzzles should take players more than once or twice to complete), parts of the game can be made extremely difficult thanks to unresponsive controls. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time Conker is easy to control, but when it comes down to really important split-second kinds of actions this game just doesn’t deliver. At first I thought it might be my game pad, but after experimenting with other controllers I realized that the game play was just naturally loose. This really made a few situations (especially towards the end) much more frustrating than they needed to be; considering how long this remake has been in development these control issues should not be a problem.

Aside from the few control hiccups you’ll find a story that is well worth going through … but even that side is not without a few problems of its own. One of the main problems I have with the storytelling comes from the fact that it seems like the programmers just go into full movie-parody mode about half way through. Early on there are hints at movies jokes, but it jumps too quickly from the regular Conker world to a Bram Stoker’s Dracula world for what seems like no reason at all.

And that brings up another point, while the movie parodies were on the mark when Conker’s Bad Fur Day was first released, now they just seem dated. By now everybody and their mother has parodied the Matrix, and do people even remember Bram Stoker’s Dracula? It’s not that the parodies aren’t on the mark (I am especially fond of a certain nod to Eyes Wide Shut), but they aren’t very fresh or exciting anymore. It would have been nice had Rare taken some time to update a few of the movie references, perhaps give us parodies of newer films … lest I remind you that this has been in development for over two years.
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