Conker: Live and Reloaded Review

Oh Conker, I remember you fondly. You first appeared in Conker’s Bad Fur Day as Nintendo desperately tried to shed its “kiddie” image in the waning days of the N64, bringing drunken prattle and endless poop jokes to a genre mired in sticky, gooey sweetness. Together we fought dung beetles and giant animate piles of poo, but my fondest memory of you was our first introduction at E3 back in 2000. It was there that Nintendo shoved a free beer in my hand (or two, or, oh who was counting anyway…) and sat me in front of the funniest Saving Private Ryan spoof that I’ve seen to this very day. There was just something magical about watching a Higgens boat full of cute, fuzzy squirrels in little army uniforms hit the beach and get mowed down by fascist teddy bears. That kind of irreverent creativity does not come along often enough, which is why it is good to see you back again, as cute and as drunk as ever. How could you not love a game with armed-to-the-teeth squirrels and teddy bears on its cover, with a large warning slapped across the front that the game is most assuredly not for children…?

Our hero!

Conker: Live & Reloaded has a bit of a dual personality, not unlike our friend Conker who can be both surly, drunk Conker and clever, sober Conker. On the one hand you have a remake of the original game – with cutting-edge Xbox graphics of course – which is for the most part a port true to the original. On the other you have a third-person multiplayer shooter, complete with soldier classes, a variety of maps, and 16 player mayhem. Well, two games in one gets you two reviews in one, but you’ll still need to buy your own beer.

First off, if you played Bad Fur Day the remake will be very familiar to you. There’s very little which is different from the game so playing it will be stroll (or stagger) down memory lane for you. Of course you do get the benefit of the updated graphics which make full use of the Xbox’s power. Conker looks far more lifelike than in his first outing – in fact, this time he actually has fur that you can see, making him appropriately fuzzy and therefore 3.2 times as cute as before. The environments are also sharper and more colorful than before, to the point where this is probably one of the best looking platformers available on the Xbox today.

OK, so you never played Bad Fur Day and you hate those reviews that just compare a game to a bunch of other games that you’ve never played. Well, don’t worry; I’m going to tell you what it’s all about. The rest of you can just let your eyes gloss over and skim ahead until you see the words “PAY ATTENTION NOW”. OK, off with you. Start skimming.

Alright, you’re still with us so you’re new to this whole Conker thing. You’ve probably figured out by now that Conker is a squirrel. Well, Conker lives in a world where fuzzy woodland critters go on benders at the local bar, poo sings opera, advice is dispatched by a scarecrow that has “freed his mind” at least once too often, and a panther king needs a squirrel to replace a table leg so that his milk won’t spill. Conker’s bad fur day begins when he tries to stumble home to his aerobics-obsessed girlfriend Berri after an all-nighter at a bar with the boys. Well before you know it, Conker has trouble finding his way home, Berri is kidnapped, and that panther is making trouble for our furry little friend. Yep, Conker is in for one bad fur day. Those are the basics of the situation, but what follows is less coherent story and more steam of consciousness strangeness. Conker is truly a platformer for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force generation.