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Ugh, stop twitching
conker's bad fur day, a review of
games Posted 2001-03-17 04:00:00 by Jim Crawford
The fact that Conker's Bad Fur Day was ever created is fascinating. The first thing I noticed is that "for mature audiences only" is plastered all over the packaging, and it's also the first thing you see when you start up the game. This idea is reiterated in order convince you (or, rather, parents) that, despite cutesy art/sound style of the game, they're not kidding about it. Gore, sexual references and sweary words abound (though "mature" isn't exactly the first word that comes to mind when describing some of the humor).

Conker's low-level game mechanics are adequate, and very similar to those of its predecessors (Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, et al), but the high-level gameplay is much closer to that of a surreal Infocom text adventure -- there is almost no repetition between levels; your goal is different in each, and so is the way you have to go about achieving it. And there's very clearly a storyline. Not a very coherent one, but it's there and it's sharp.

And the game is HARD! This is probably the hardest video game (that I would still consider fair) that I've ever played. As with all the best Rare and Nintendo games, the learning curve is admirably shallow, but by the time you reach chapter seven, your abilities (and your frustration threshhold!) will be severely, uh, tested. Chapter eight is the longest in the game and unbelievably difficult. If you doubt, remember that this is coming from someone who routinely breezes through Super Mario Brothers inside 45 minutes (without warping, of course).

If you still doubt, then, for all I know, Conker will be easy for you.

Technical. The models are as detailed as you'll ever see on the N64, and the textures are as crisp as can be expected. The worlds are, of course, huge. Rare has also licensed The Miles Sound System and made good use of its MP3 decoding routines, so there are voices throughout (why they didn't do this for Perfect Dark rather than just downsampling, I have no idea).

The cut scenes are all very well done. Obligatory derision of full motion video goes here.

The music is excellent. A very wide variety of styles. We finally get to hear some of the team's groove-oriented work (in the Rock Solid dance club, lavaboarding sequence, and Matrix-esque bank heist), and there's still plenty of melody-oriented material to go around. It sounds like much of the music uses loops, now that that much more sound can be put on the cartridge.

This is probably the last really big release for the N64, and you would not do too poorly to make this the last game purchase for the system. Me, I'm still harboring the insane hope of a Super Mario 64 2.

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