Conker's Bad Fur Day is intended for Mature gamers. It is not recommended for anyone under the age of 17.
It's not often that a videogame matures from a cute, cuddly 3D platformer to a final product in which the hero frequently gets drunk and urinates on enemies when he's not being cussed out by them or rolling around in feces. And in the case of Rare's Conker's Bad Fur Day, it has been a time-consuming transformation indeed. The original Twelve Tales Conker 64 was previewed at E3 so many years ago that we've lost track, but the finished title has proven vastly different and worth the wait. Not only is it quite possibly the most hilarious title ever created, but the selection of crude jokes, over-the-top violence and sexual content featured is only one-upped by the game's remarkably deep, well-paced level design, tightly knitted control mechanics, beautiful graphics and amazing sound quality.
It should be noted that Conker's Bad Fur Day is not for young gamers. It pushes the barrier of the Mature (M) rating to be sure. But for those of us old enough to enjoy it -- the 17 and up lot -- it is one hell of a fantastic ride and, truth be told, one of the very best videogames IGN64 has ever played on any console.
- Stars Nintendo mascot character Conker in his own 3D action-platformer
- Features more than seven different worlds with 60+ sub-chapters to explore
- Detailed in-game cut-scenes with character facial expressions and lip-synched voice acting
- Context sensitive action system offers players a never-ending variety of special moves
- Massive multiplayer mode offers several different types of play with support for up to four gamers
- Features violence, profanity, drug use and sexual content that is inappropriate for gamers under the age of 18
- Save to cartridge (three save slots available)
- Kicks major, major ass; could, in fact, be the best thing ever
For completely detailed write-ups on Conker's Bad Fur Day, we suggest you read the following materials that cover everything from the many different worlds the game features to how the multiplayer mode feels and how the sound quality stacks up. You won't find a better BFD resource anywhere.
Conker's Bad Fur Day is not quite a 3D platformer -- at least not in the traditional Rare sense -- but rather more of an action-platformer. This, because all of the tedious item collection found in games such as Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Tooie has gone by the wayside. Instead, BFD employs a refreshingly creative combination of standard jump, run and explore mechanics and what Rare dubs "Context Sensitive" buttons -- basically pads on the ground with a giant 'B' on their faces. When players stand atop these pads and press the B button, Conker gains different, temporary abilities. For instance, in the beginning of the game, by pressing the B button on the first pad he encounters, Conker drinks some Alka-Seltzer to wipe out his hangover, at which point players can proceed forward. Later on these pads are used to activate a slingshot and throwing knives; to turn Conker into an anvil and drop downward; to shoot automatic, double-handed guns; to activate a The Matrix-inspired slow-motion effect and flip through the air shooting enemies; and much, much more. The Context Sensitive buttons help keep the action shifting, refreshing, and always exciting. They also come as a welcomed change to the same-old "me too" platformer mechanics, all of which seem to stem from the basic control scheme created for Super Mario 64.
Conker himself stumbles though all sorts of huge worlds encountering enemies and allies in what has to be the most brilliantly paced layout ever applied to a 3D platformer of this type. Regardless of what direction the squirrel heads into, there is a sub-quest waiting, and once the first is completed the others seem to roll into line in a sort of unspoken domino effect of design. One could play through the entire game in one 10-15 hour sitting and never get bored or, for that matter, even blink.
The Context Sensitive buttons play a part in solving the many 3D puzzles the game presents, as do Conker's standard jump and explore abilities. Whether it be finding a way to get cows to consume prune juice, avoiding enemy gunfire from the evil Tediz, making sure that a baby dinosaur follows you to his doom or choosing the correct route through an underwater tunnel system, players will have to use their heads.
Adding to the entertainment value is a well-written, cleverly lewd script with themes directly spoofing popular movies and a cast of characters so lovingly outrageous and at times disgustingly over-the-top that one can't help but laugh at them. The main story behind the game revolves around spilt milk -- quite literally. And as Conker travels the differently themed worlds, which include spoofs of such films as The Matrix and Aliens, Saving Private Ryan, Eyes Wide Shut, The Terminator, Jaws, and more, he comes into contact with everything from horny bees to foul-mouthed paint buckets, singing piles of feces, and more. A cog repeatedly tells Conker to "F**k off!"; a giant block looks at another, bigger block on his top and yells at Conker: "You'd better get this fat as* b*tch off my back"; little, flame characters smoke out and get drunk; foes are blown apart in bloody, gruesome messes; and these are just a few examples. Is it over the top? Yes. Is it lowbrow? Yes. And yet, it's also very well delivered and smart too -- and it's funny. Really, honestly, funny. What's more, all of the movie spoofs and crude character jokes are not simply thrown in as a reason to buy the game -- they are an integral part of the game. Each spoof and comical quest is blended into the next seamlessly so that it all makes sense in the end. It works so well, there is so much variety and the jokes hit with such a nice bang that we only wish that it wouldn't end. Rare has included the ability to jump back and review any cut-scene in the game once a player has reached an area initially -- perfect for showing friends the humorous points.
If there must be a gripe, it's that BFD can be charged through in under 15 hours and in considerably less time if players understand what they are doing. However, unlike some games that leave the player feeling gypped of a solid experience after a quick completion, there is no such angst after beating Rare's 3D action-platformer. In fact, we'd rather spend 15 unbelievably satisfying hours with Conker than 50 with most other titles -- it's just that much fun. Besides, when one grows tired of the single-player experience, they can jump to the impressively fast and furious multiplayer one. And speaking of which...
The multiplayer modes Rare has created for BFD are some of its very best -- and again variety is the key. While all of the action takes place in third-person view, it's much more nicely polished than it was in, say, Jet Force Gemini, which ironically was a third-person action-shooter to boot. Different modes include Beach, Raptor, Race, War, Heist and Tank -- each one relatively unique. All of the modes play silky smooth in one and two-player modes, but the framerate begins to stutter after that, as is usually the case for Nintendo 64 products.
Our particular favorite, Beach, sees players as either the Tediz or the Frenchies. The Tediz are basically Nazis, who must try to shoot down the Frenchies before they can escape to Paris. They are armed with three different weapons as they guard the exit locations of a vast, 3D level filled with terrain to hide behind and different routes for the Frenchies to take toward freedom. Tediz have access to a rocket launcher, a giant automatic gun and a sniper rifle. What gun is used depends on the situation, and it all comes down to a combination of strategy and quick trigger fingers.
Each mode is equally inventive and, believe it or not, we often find ourselves having at them by ourselves -- just toying around with the enemy bots the game delivers. The multiplayer experience is as much a selling point as the single-player one to be sure, and Nintendo 64 owners can only do better with Perfect Dark and GoldenEye.
If ever there was a Rare game to look at as an example of what the developer is fully capable of visually, Conker's Bad Fur Day is it. At the risk of sounding cliche, the graphic look of the title can best be described with one word -- wow! Lush, detailed 3D worlds, cute character designs, fantastic texture work and top lighting effects collide to create the atmospheric environments the squirrel travels. Conker himself is equipped with an in-game facial animation system that realistically portrays his different moods as he travels the lands. When he's scared, he looks it, and when he's pissed off players will actually be able to see his teeth showing in a frown. Moreover, all of the speech in the game is lip-synched by Conker and other characters -- just another facet of a very ambitious graphic presentation.
Rare hasn't overdone it, either. Whereas, for example, the colored lighting effects seemed to illuminate every other inch of the world in Donkey Kong 64, effects are used with more subtlety in BFD. Sure, players' eyes will widen when they see the character shadows the game employs, the perfectly blended texture design that not even Banjo-Tooie can touch, the multi-layered transparencies and the extensive particle effects system, but none of its utilized to a point where it gets frustrating. And though the framerate isn't perfect by any means, it certainly isn't as poor as it was in some areas of Tooie, and it never interferes with the gameplay experience.
Players won't believe just how stylish and beautiful BFD looks. It makes us wonder, if the Conker team is able to do this on Nintendo 64, what in the f**k will these guys be capable of achieving on GameCube? We're drooling already.
Presented in full Dolby Surround Sound, Conker's Bad Fur Day delivers perhaps the best audio experience Nintendo 64 has to offer. The game features hours of full speech dialogue between characters -- all brilliantly acted out in different accents and styles. Dracula, for example, has an accent right out of the movies. And on the other end, zombies growl and moan in a creepy manner that'll give players goose bumps. The title also features extremely atmospheric sound effects, from droplets of water to echoes of gunfire in open areas. And how about eerily laughing baby background noises as Conker travels a haunted graveyard?
Beyond everything, though, is superb music composition. Some of the melodies the game has to offer will have players grooving and others will have them singing along. There are operatic feces songs, The Matrix inspired techno music, and jungle-like beats to go along with a prehistoric setting. It's clear -- crystal, in fact -- that Rare's music offerings are some of the best. It's simply amazing that it's all coming off the cartridge format.
|out of 10||Click here for ratings guide|
Superb interface, top delivery of character and theme, and it's a crack up.
Just about the best thing Rare has ever done. Amazing texture work, lighting effects, shadows, transparencies -- everything. As good as it gets on N64.
Full Dolby Surround Sound and enough effects and music variety to floor players.
Fresh control mechanics, outstanding pace, great in-game character interaction, and so much more. Could it be any better?
15 hours and you're probably done. It's satisfying while it lasts, but gamers will still want more. The multiplayer mode is great, but doesn't totally make up for the single's decidedly short run.