We last saw Conker when he was on the N64 in Conker: Bad Fur Day (BFD). That title was one of the top games for the N64 and developed a loyal following of gamers that enjoyed Conkers’ toilet humor, swearing, & sexual innuendo all wrapped up in a cute, little furry package. Conker is still about as crude & foul-mouthed as they come. However it is now four years since BFD was originally released and this type of content doesn’t have such a large impact that it once did now that games like Grand Theft Auto & Leisure Suit Larry are prevalent. Rare does have the opportunity to improve the successes of the first game. Did they live up to the task?
Single Gameplay / Story
Conker: Live & Reloaded (LAR) is close to being two games in one. A single player game that is a slight revamp of the original hit Conker: Bad Fur Day (BFD), and there is also the addition of a multiplayer gaming on Xbox Live (of which we’ll talk about in the next section). The new BFD is close the same storyline as the original minus a few of the more challenging sections plus better graphics than before. Rare really took advantage of the Xbox’s power when improving BFD’s graphics and sounds. The animation moves along at a brisk 30fps without a problem all while rendering a cartoonish but dazzling environment. Even details like showing the individual hairs on Conkers tail have been added to make one captivating visual experience.
Bad Fur Day (BFD) starts out by following Conker after a long night of drinking and he tries to make his way home. He stumbles out onto the street, promptly pukes into the gutter, and then passes out. He later wakes up in a strange field next to a foul-mouthed scarecrow with an even bigger drinking problem. The craziness continues from there as Conker tries to make his way home, but continues to get wrapped up in the strange events & characters all around him. Adding to the plot is the “King Panther” that is upset that his three-legged stool continues to fall-over and spill his milk. The solution: find a squirrel to become the fourth leg. The zanny storyline continues from there with encounters with a overly busty Sunflower in need of "pollination", a horny bee king, a singing pile of poop, aliens, vampires, aggressive stacks of hay, weasels, tediz (militant teddy bears), and all manner of other crazy characters. Just after passing the half-way mark in the storyline the game changes into primarily a third-person shooter. Conker gets to shoot everything from zombies to rodents. The story goes a little slow at first, but makes up for it by giving an action-packed second half.
The second half of Conker: Live & Reloaded is the multiplayer features. Multiplayer is brand new and takes full advantage of Xbox Live’s capabilities while also offering other multiplayer options like system-link & split-screen play. Live features two game types: team-based deathmatch and objective matches that pit the lovable squirrels of the Squirrel High Command (SHC) against the evil Tediz (the militant teddy bears mentioned earlier). Either side is pretty evenly matched so feel free to choose either side to fight for. Once you decided if you’ll fight as a squirrel or a bear, you then choose your characters “class”. Each class has different weapons and abilities that are exclusive to them. Grunts are the standard foot soldiers, Demolishers are large bazooka wielders, Sneekers are melee fighters, Long Rangers are the snipers, Thermophiles use flamethrowers, and the Sky Jockey is the pilot of the group. You can also collect upgrades throughout the map that give your characters new weapons and abilities. Balance is a bit of an issue as some classes have far better weapons than others at the outset, but the upgrades can even things out and make things fair. It takes a little bit of getting used to in order to really enjoy the multiplayer to its fullest. With exception of the bazooka wielding character, the Demolishers, you should spend some time to get familiar with each class of character and how to best utilize them on the battlefield. There are vehicles and turrets and upgrades spread all over the maps and you are always on the move shooting first and asking questions later. Like many other multiplayer games the more players you have in the same game the better. The chaos that can ensue from a full field of soldiers can be dizzying but quite a blast to behold. The game only comes with 8 maps – it doesn’t take long before you now each one inside and out. Hopefully Rare will offer more content available through Xbox Live soon.
Graphics & Sound
Through the graphics is where many of Rare’s latest enhancements can be seen. This game looks gorgeous and could be one of the best looking Xbox games to date. Conker’s fur looks lifelike and soft, colors are vibrant, the environments are highly detailed, & the effects are spectacular. Rare was really able to squeeze some impressive graphics into this game.
The voice-acting & sounds effects are top-notch. Admittedly some of the characters’ strange voices may become annoying but I found that it only added to the craziness & fun of the game. The score seems to match the gameplay near perfectly and sounds great in Dolby 5.1.
Rare did deliver a solid & stunning video game with Conker: Live & Reloaded. Conker is entertaining playing as either the single player Bad Fur Day story or in Multiplayer mode on Xbox Live. Not having played the original game in many years it was fun to relive BFD again and get a laugh from the crazy characters and antics. Multiplayer was fun too – especially when you got a full game together on Xbox Live. Conker LAR has impressed and I can only help but get excited to see Rare’s other upcoming titles on Xbox360: Kameo & Perfect Dark Zero to see if they turn out as well as this game did.