Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy |
July 4th 2005
Coker: Live & Reloaded is Microsoft's last release before the launch of their new console and it's a big one, well kind of. Ever since Rare signed up with Microsoft we've been waiting for the remake of Conker: Bad Fur Day and now at the end of the consoles life we finally get our second Xbox game from UK developer Rare. Conker is here live and reloaded; well see if the anticipated mega port was worth the wait.
If you have been playing games over the last few years you should have heard the word Conker mentioned a few times by old Nintendo and Rare fans. Conkers: Bad Fur Day which first originated on the Nintendo 64 revolutionized mature themed games and helped widen the audience for Nintendo. Now that a new console has taken over Conker is up to his old bad antics in a porting to the Xbox. This game might look nice and fluffy, but its fluff is all dirty and raunchy.
[ I like the drink ]
The storyline behind Conker starts like many of my nights, I'm drunk, I'm heading home, I'm going to take a verbal from the woman, and I take a wrong turn and get lost. That's about it, well maybe except the talking Scarecrow. Conker is a trouble maker, mischievous little Red Squirrel who finds himself in an adventure he calls his "Bad Fur Day". The story will then take you over the hills of the Great Mighty Poo, to the middle of battle with a robotic pile of hey. There are really no limits for the Rare team and they have a great time poking fun other movies in many of their parody moments.
[ Gameplay ] The gameplay is pretty simple and it won't cause you too many problems. At the heart of the game is a platform base, but they do use other elements along the way. Humor is a big part of the gameplay and Conker mixes up the action with many cinematic cut scenes. This works extremely well and helps motivate the player to complete tasks. The game is well written and has a good mature scene of humor. For example look at the plot of the game. The Panther King keeps spilling his favorite drink milk because of his lopsided table. The solution his mad scientist compiles is that they need a red squirrel to fill the gap of the one leg to make the table stable again. Brilliant, that's the depth in this baby.
[ Controls ] The controls are easy to manage and the only part which was a little wonky was the swimming. The best thing about the controls is the all "B" button which is used at certain instances; otherwise it's used to draw your weapon. You won't have to worry about when to use them because a light bulb will light up when it's time to press "B", and for an ironic twist your characters will probably be standing on a "B" edged into the ground. Again, the developers know how to work the humor on all levels. I call it videogame humor, stuff that you'd have to nerd to get.
[ Roll out the Red Carpet ]
Another great aspect about Conker: Live and Reloaded is the support cast of characters. Each one has just enough personality to make them memorable. In the beginning you quickly meet "Birdie" the Scarecrow and other ones like the Big Breasted Sunflower, Blue Blood Cat Fish, and my top pick the Barn Yard Pitch Fork and the little drunk Fire Imps. These characters bring so much life into the game and really show a level of commitment to the game others shy away from. I dug every little nuance they could throw into this hairball adventure, I'm sure they'll have you laughing out loud in no time.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics and sound have been totally reworked and is like night and day compared its copy, which really isn't a surprise given the Xbox specs. What's surprising is the end product Rare was able to produce. They have done an excellent job emulating fur like no other game in the past and bringing the product up to (or past) today's standards. The textures work is stepping closer to reality and they have gone beyond where normal developers stop. I was impressed by more then just the furry squirrel's tale. The lighting effects are also top notch and it really shows when you get into a spot where they showcase light and dark. I guess I should just say this is one of the best looking Xbox games to be released, if not the best cartoon inspired games to date.
I was impressed by the graphics and who wouldn't really? But where the game really comes together is the sound. The voice over work is priceless and all the characters really have a ray of positive energy that shines through the game. Like the graphics the voice over work is right at the top of the list. The sound effects and music come in with another accomplishing feet, sounding great at all the right times. It's nice when a game incorporates music into the gameplay, and that's what Conker does fluently. I really wish other developers realized the dramatic effect music can achieve when done right. Conker is a triumph in both the sound and graphics department.
The biggest innovation to Conker is that Conker has really stood the test of time. It's been a few years and the red squirrel is still going strong. The characters and whacky moments still come off brilliantly. this isn't the only sunshine. The gameplay also comes off flawlessly and lives up to any game which was created recently. It's actually pretty surprising that no one else has been able to create a platformer that can create this much buzzes besides Mario. For the innovation score, Conker can't really pull in huge innovation points because this isn't an original idea, but we can award some extra notches for Rare's stellar original product and successful remake.
[ Multiplayer Action! ]
Next for innovation we have to mention the multiplayer aspect which has been done really well. I thought this was going to be a standard affair, but after a few hours on Xbox Live I found out their was allot more. First off the best part of the Multiplayer is the Dumbots. Yes, that is right Bots. I've been wondering why the PC world usually had multiplayer with bots included and that console games usually don't. Essentially dumbots are computer controlled players put yourself against, just like a split screen, or Live scenario. It's a great way to experience what Xbox Live is without it plugged in. Of course human players are more of a challenge then bots given their unpredictability.
The whole multiplayer experience actually felt like I was playing a cartoon version of Battlefield 1942. You have different classes to choose from that each have their own inventory, special abilities and vehicle options. Yes, Vehicles! I was pleasantly surprised when noticed the amount of destruction that was happening thanks to these mechanized weapons. The online screens are easy to navigate and you can have fun experimenting with each character on the Squirrel or Tediz side. Like Unreal Tournament 2 melee weapons come into play and offer the biggest change in gameplay. What's not like when you can turn invisible, or play dead then spring up to behead the enemy in one shot. The multiplayer is a tone of fun, chaotic and fast offering up the standard affair with that Conker twist.
Conker has the mojo and all you need is a few minutes with a game to figure that one out. Conker could offend if the wrong person was playing the game, but the humor level is clever enough that even a great big mountain of poo seems tolerable. If you thought the squirrel was bad just wait until you meet some of the supporting cast members. Sometimes on the edge these cavemen, imps, fish and other creatures make mojo up to a full ten. What other games lets you get bombed and so your yellow river can soak your way to the objective. Ouch! Bash em' in the balls, bounce on their breasts and get all the money your pockets can handle. Conker is on a roll and hasn't lost a step.
If you where in love with Conker in 2001 then you'll still have a few moments for this squirrel in 2005. Conker is one of the most fun Xbox games to be released to date giving a boost to the platforming depression consoles are experiencing. Online or Offline, Conker is worth the price of admission.
Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 10, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 10. Final:9
Team-focused, story-driven, Xbox Live gameplay. Team-based gameplay is the heart of this shooter, which pits the Noble Squirrels against the Evil Tediz. Players can choose from a variety of scenario-based missions featuring two distinct and unique campaigns - Old War and Future War. Each mission features its own distinctly challenging gameplay mode. Campaign storylines, composed of multiple missions played progressively, bring an innovative and fresh approach to team-based shooters and support up to 16 players on Xbox Live.
Elite squad formation. Players can choose from six character classes, Skyjockey, Long Ranger, Grunt, Demolisher, Thermophile and Sneeker, each with signature weapons and abilities.
Xbox Live. Team-based gameplay, innovative campaign storylines and distinctive humor all make for a great experience on Xbox Live. Online players strategize, cooperate and communicate as a team in campaign mode, or venture out solo against buddies in deathmatch.
Massive arsenal for maximum carnage. Devastating weapons include camera-guided rockets, an acid thrower and loads of grenade types. Players can operate five types of vehicles - Sky Steed, Mule Bomber, R-Hog, Toad Jeep and Tankus - and equipment such as anti-infantry sentries, medi-guns and a snoop camera. Players have special abilities that allow them to disguise themselves or feign death and sneak up on unsuspecting foes to unload a demoralizing array of attacks.
Raunchy, twisted and irreverent world of "Conker." Over-the-top humor, characters and gameplay dominate in every way with rude wit, lewd innuendoes and ridiculously graphic violence. The juxtaposition of the Squirrels and Tediz characters and their world is at the heart of the humor.
Wildly bizarre single-player adventure. The critically acclaimed single-player game "Conker's Bad Fur Day" is now on Xbox, fully recreated with amazing graphics and enhanced profanity. The game is full of hilarious situations, movie pastiches, off-the-wall puzzles and crazy characters in an offbeat world, including horny bees, voluptuous sunflowers, singing piles of poo and even Death himself.