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Conker's Bad Fur Day Review

Johnny_Liu By:
M Contains Animated Violence, Mature Sexual Themes, Strong Language

What do these ratings mean?

One part gin, two parts squirrel. Garnish with nuts.

Up all night, partying to the break of dawn. No worries, eh? You're young, invincible, and it doesn't matter that your blood alcohol level has sloshed its way into double digits hours ago.

Oh, you'll regret it all right. Come tomorrow, the only right you'll be fighting for is the one to see clearly and stand on two legs. Not to mention the right not to puke all over the floor. That's in the Constitution somewhere, right? You'll face a day of drudgery you won't soon forget, a Bad Fur Day, if you will.

A brutal hangover and the miserable day that follows makes up the story behind Conker's Bad Fur Day. In fact, the game revels in the fact there's no real discernable plot. Conker, that little party animal, is at the mercy of the game designers, tossed from one themed world to the next, up against the next euphemism or parody sequence.

It seems to me that the first half of the game tries to shock you as much as it possibly can, while the second half eases into some more smartly conceived movie parodies. The resulting whole is perhaps the last worthwhile game for the N64.

Unlike the action of the Banjo games, everything is kept simple. There are no button combinations or new moves learned along the way. Instead, you have your basics, from a helicopter jump to whacking your opponents with a frying pan.

There's also something called 'Context Sensitive' action. Whatever you need comes at the moment you need it, leading to gameplay that is…err… sensitive to context. Let's say you're about to get attacked by a swarm of bats. When you stand over the enormous 'B' block, a lightbulb 'dings' above your head and you can whip out a trusty flamethrower for some bat flambĂ©.

Here's another example: at the halfway point Death bestows upon Conker a sawed off, double barreled shotgun. You can burst skulls and spill blood, but only within the following action sequence that calls for the gun, after which the gun is no longer a usable inventory item. See? Sensitive to context.

The result is a staccato flow between gameplay and cutscenes. In its entirety, BFD is strictly linear, forcing you along a single path from beginning to end. But what keeps BFD fun is the deduction required to keep you going. What do I do next? How am I supposed to kill this boss? All will be fine and dandy as long as you stay on the path.

Somehow I made a jump that wasn't supposed to be made, and found a B-block I wasn't supposed to get to yet. After trying to jump on the B-block many times, I realized there was an invisible wall holding me back. Damn invisible walls - the only things they;re good for are keeping the mimes at bay. As long as you focus on the job at hand and figure out the intended path, it's AOK.

Due to the accidental erasure of a game save (d'oh!), I've ended up playing through BFD nearly twice, and let me say, this game isn't one for sloppy seconds. Replaying the single player quest is like going through all the motions without the good feelings of discovery. All you are left with is how fast you can complete the game. Give me a longer game, or at least another ending to back this thang up.

Thankfully, there's a chapter mode that allows you to go right to your favorite sequences. This mode is perfect for showing off the great cut scenes to all your friends.

Speaking of friends, there are a total of seven multiplayer modes to drag your buds into. It's a welcome bonus, but just filler material. The multiplayer games implement the same control structures and responsiveness as the single player mode. Frankly, it just isn't quick enough for the many variations of deathmatches herein. However, kudos to Rare for giving it a shot.

For a N64 game, these are some sweet graphics. BFD looks as good as Banjo Tooie while keeping a smooth and supple framerate. There's light sourcing aplenty, such as the impressive rave lights to the errant weapon fires of the evil Tediz. The soft shadows look great, but the shadows don't always give you a helpful guide for platform jumping. Despite all this, BFD would have looked so much sweeter on a less aged system.

According to the credit information, Conker's BFD employs MP3s for all its snazzy audio. Just don't let Lars Ulrich or Doctor Dre know. Instead of the weak MIDIs that normally dribble out of the N64, BFD music pumps strong with rich and full bodied instrumentation. There's even a track that uses poop and fart noises for music. Doesn't that just sound yummy? Mm-mmm-mmm. I'm gonna go grab a spoon.

Another rarely seen N64 feature is actual voice throughout the game. Even rarer is the fact that these voices are done so well. Conker has an endearing little lisp. Berri has that, like, y'know, valley girl talk. And there's even a dead-on John Malkovich-esque voice. Good stuff for a cartridge.

And is any of this funny? Yes…but in that fart joke, South Park kind of way. You'll find yourself up against a sunflower with an ample set of pistles, a big cog, and a nightclub full of "stoners." There's a now infamous sequence where Conker drinks himself silly, leading to the wonders and joys that only come from peeing on strangers.

Let me make a point to say that the physics and design of the pee stream are second to none. The pee stream technology employed is truly revolutionary, from the arc and curvature to the staining and the dripping. But, I digress.

Conker's Bad Fur Day is the kid's game that browsed the adult section and then loaded itself on Daddy's private stash. BFD has its crosshairs directly aimed at the college audience, and it works perfectly for the peeps who've grown up with Mario and are now looking for someone less dorky. That is, in between frat parties and other immoral activities.

Looking past the hype surrounding the first truly 'adult' Nintendo game, BFD makes you chuckle and drives you to keep playing. I would have liked some deeper action or at least a longer experience, but this is still certainly worth the investment. Now where did I put that Bloody Mary mix?

B+ Revolution report card
  • Funny!
  • Great audio and voices
  • Some real quality game sequences
  • Second half of game
  • Simplistic action
  • Linear nature
  • Broken game flow

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