My review starts at a local tavern, the main character and his buddies, having a little more than too much to drink. However, he’s not drunk enough yet to not call his girlfriend to tell her that he’s going to be late. (Of course, he still manages to make it a sob story, and she doesn’t get the message right away, but that’s besides the point.) Cut to a few moments later, and not only is your character drunk as a skunk, but all he wants to do is find his way home. I knew this game was going to be something special, because not only is your first job to find and take an Alka-Seltzer, but until that point, your controls are compromised, you walk very slow, and cannot jump. How realistic! And from a Nintendo 64 cartridge? Who would have thought!
Yes, I’m talking about “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” for the N64. While it certainly wasn’t the first “M” rated title for the N64, it was a complete turnaround from the previous games that Conker was featured in, which were all rated “E”. So much different that on the prototype boxes for the game, the rating was three times larger than typical! The actual box art did however have a lot of extra graphics saying the game was for adults. I guess that was a good thing, even if someone couldn’t tell with the box art, with a squirrel holding an extra large glass of lager. I personally remember the commercials for the game that aired on TV. Basically an older teen with attitude in her studio apartment, talking dirty to a squirrel after it was just in the bathroom from drinking too much. Ads like that are effective, if I can remember it after all these years. The game was released about a week before my 20th birthday, and I remember getting the cartridge at Circuit City with my birthday cash.
But when you get the game itself, you can tell it was no holds barred. The game is full of mostly uncensored vulgar language (only a specific 4-letter F word is bleeped out), drug/alcohol usage (drinking beer and smoking pot), a lot of sexual innuendo (a sunflower with huge breasts that you can bounce on, and needs to get “pollinated” for example), the Grim Reaper, who is the same size as Conker, uses a megaphone, and hates cats), and of course, “The Great Mighty Poo” with corn for teeth that sings opera. There’s even a group of teddy bears named “Tediz”, which are part of a certain communist party. It was quite obvious that Rare and Nintendo were going all out with this. If they were going to make an original mature title, they were going all the way.
Of course, there needs to be a story other than Conker trying to get home in one piece. See, the Panther King (the ruler of the world in which Conker is lost at), is quite upset that one of his legs is missing off of his throne-side table, and whenever he puts his glass of milk on it, the table falls, spilling his milk. He doesn’t cry over the spilled milk, he gets furious! His servant, Professor Von Kriplespac (obviously, a spoof of the drink Triple Sec), suggested that a squirrel might be the proper height to repair the leg. So, The Panther King wants it to happen, and sends out his drones to capture one. (What luck!) Meanwhile, the adventures get crazier and crazier for Conker. He’s returning bee hives to a queen bee, avoiding getting poked in the butt by a talking redneck pitchfork, running away from little devils that have fire for flatulence, and beating brass balls off of a boiler with a frying pan. (Try saying that 5 times fast!) He has to deal with the Mofia, join the army, yet all he wants to do is go home! And you can tell that Rare had fun programming it… Wait until you see the fun they make of themselves towards the end of the game!
Conker’s Bad Fur Day, even with it being released in 2001, was actually one of the first three dimensional games that I ever touched. (I know, I don’t know how I lasted so long either, looking back.) The controls were quite smooth, once you got the hang of it. If nothing else, it completely took advantage of all of the buttons available on the N64 controller, with a lot of angles to deal with. The nice thing about the game is that you didn’t have to go through a lot of menus to get the weapon or ability you needed at that exact moment. (Birdie The Scarecrow, when not telling Conker to **** off, calls it “Context Sensitive”). That was refreshing since you didn’t have to do a lot of fiddling. Could you imagine accidentally picking the Alka-Selter in the first part of the game, and trying to throw it at The Great Mighty Poo instead of toilet paper? Wouldn’t work out too well.
Some people may think that a game like this is nothing but a bunch of trashy toilet humor. And you know something? You’re absolutely correct. This is NOT a game for kids, and it’s NOT a game for sensitive adults, either. You have to have an open mind and a twisted sense of humor (or at least, appreciate twisted sense of humor), in order to enjoy this title. Fortunately for me, 5 years before this, a little show called “South Park” aired on TV for the first time, so I was already tainted.
The game itself however, is really solid. It might have a lot of weirdness and vulgarity to it, but the game itself is still a lot of fun to play. In fact, even today, when I have friends over and we had a few, we all like to put the cartridge in for a good time. Even though the main title is a 1 player game (other than the multiplayer mode which is totally different), even the single player mode is really fun to watch.
While the game received many positive reviews for the graphics and sound, the game sold poorly. Not only was this one of the final games made for the system (it was the first of only eight games released in 2001, with one final game released in August of 2002), it suffered from very limited advertising. The television commercial I mentioned earlier in the review only aired at night during the off hours, in case kids played the previous games that Conker was featured in. However, due to the crazy fun and “cult classic” status that the game achieved, 4 years later, a disaster happened!
In 2005, the game was remade for the original XBox console. Originally called “Conker: Live & Uncut”, during the process of recreating the game, Microsoft Studios heavily censored the game. I mean, HEAVILY. Almost none of it was left intact. Which was weird, since the XBox was a console aimed at teens and adults, and had games like Grand Theft Auto III available. Suddenly, a squirrel with a foul mouth was too risque for the console? It just didn’t make any sense. While the graphics were a refreshing update, and the multiplayer option (again, altered) was successful on XBox Live, if you bought it thinking it was a graphically better completely uncensored game, you’re sadly mistaken.
If you like TV shows like “South Park”, “Crank Yankers”, or even “Family Guy”, you might just want to give this game a shot. (No, not TAKING a shot… Conker drank beer!) Just make sure you do it right, and play the N64 version. You won’t be sorry.