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Conker: Live and Reloaded

Developer: Rare | Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 06/21/05 | Genre: Platform

I still remember it like it was yesterday. Years ago during the last days of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo and Rare showcased Conker's Bad Fur Day in their booth at E3. Not only was the game vulgar and completely out of place on the "kid friendly" Nintendo 64, Nintendo actually served Alcohol in their booth to those who were playing Conker. As a member of the press, I am accustomed to being offered free alcohol at certain events and parties. However, Nintendo was allowing anyone with ID to get alcohol for free. I still have the promotional Conker mug they gave me today. Later that year I went on to call the game a disgrace to both Nintendo and Rare and awarded the title an F score. Despite criticisms from readers and some staff at CVGames, we awarded Conker's Bad Fur Day the dishonorable Worst Game of the Year award. Now fast forward to 2005 and the game has been redone for the Xbox. Was I right in my judgments of the title back on the N64?

One of my biggest gripes about Conker was that it was not that great of a platformer and the adult content was not suitable for the Nintendo audience. The Xbox game box has so many warnings on it that if any parent lets their underage kid play this, it is no fault but their own. With that known I jumped into the single player campaign to relive the moments most gamers consider classic.

Visually Conker: Live and Reloaded is stunning. This is perhaps one of the best-looking Xbox games I have seen to this day. Conker is made up of beautifully rendered fur that looks like he could be picked off my TV and placed on the ground in front of me. The environments, lighting, and enemies are all equally beautiful. In fact, the whole game looks like it is running in an actual cinema. You cannot tell the difference between the two.

The gameplay has been cleaned up quite a bit since the N64 days. Players are given much more direction to accomplish the goals set before them. However, the game just does not shine in the single player mode. Players will quickly become tired of clunky controls, horribly conceived combat, and noticing that Rare didn't bother to change the game much up at all. Besides making fun of themselves from remaking the same game, it would have been very nice to see a new storyline or at least new levels and gameplay elements along with the original N64 version. Instead what you will find is Conker being forced to redo the same puzzles you already know how to beat and hit enemies, move back, hit enemies, move back style of gameplay.

The biggest change to Conker is the inclusion of Xbox Live play. Featuring team battles, players much choose the fight on the SHC or Tediz and then choose your class. Each different type of class has its pros and cons--adding much needed depth and balance to the gameplay. However, the multiplayer mode is not a lot of fun. The game relies on having lots of different players participate. If you get into a match with only a few, you will quickly get bored. However, even when there are a lot of players on screen, you can easily lose track of who is on your team and what you should do next due to dying so frequently.

Despite my gripes about the game, if you have never experienced the original or want a trip down memory lane, Conker: Live and Reloaded is worth a rental. However, the fun will quickly fade away and you may begin to question why this game was ever popular in the first place. Although it pains me to see Rare continue to fail since joining Microsoft, I have to say Conker: Live and Reloaded was not worth the development time when they could have better spent their resources working on something else.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 08/12/05
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
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Screenshots for Conker: Live and Reloaded

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