Pros: Clever and hilarious dialogue, constantly breaks the fourth wall.
Cons: Some parts are exceedingly difficult, the "poop" humor may turn off some
In recent years, as some of you know, I have found myself blessed with a significant level of notoriety in Youtube's gaming community. As someone who regularly looks at requests, though, I can assure you that there is not a video game in existence that ever got as many recommendations as Conker's Bad Fur Day.
I'm willing to grant that a large part of the reason for that would be because I'm the kind of person who falls back on toilet humor at every opportunity, and in many ways, Conker is very much "my" kind of game. Unfortunately, thanks to tumultuous developments in life at the time, I missed the "tail" end of Rare's big bang before they were bought out by Microsoft. Conker's was one such casualty.
But it's never too late to go back and see what you missed. I can only give thanks now to those who opened my eyes to the massive Toiletfest that this game has turned out to be thus far.
Generallly speaking, Conker's is your run-of-the-mill 3D platformer game, taking place in an atmosphere of natural levity much like the similar Banjo-Kazooie. It takes you through a surprisingly huge variety of atmospheres along the way, though, from spooky graveyard to hot lava cave to the slimy-green esophagus of a dinosaur.
There are rivers, mountains, a barn, an underwater spaceship-looking place and an entire section of land where it seems like everything is made of poop. Literally. I'm not even kidding, 'cause I know you think I am, like "There's no way they could get away with that in a video game." I thought the same thing even as I was playing it, like this had to be a dream. But nope, they did it. One minute, you're pushing a ball of dookie up the side of a mountain while diahhrea runs down its sides. The next minute, you're fighting a giant monster made of poop by throwing toilet paper at it. Do I even need to get into what the background music sounds like in this area? Maybe it's better if I don't. I will say, though, that the monster made of poop has his own song, and it might just be the most brilliant boss theme I've ever heard in a video game. You can hear it for yourself by looking up "Sloprano" on Youtube.
The "gross" humor doesn't stop there. In other parts of the game, you will find yourself doing everything from helping a pedophile bee have his way with a sunflower (and using her jugs as a springboard just afterward) to pulling it out and taking a whiz on monsters or even innocent bystanders. The stuff they have you do in this game is absolutely unbelievable, I shudder at the thought that I haven't even seen it all. And it's probably good that I haven't, 'cause then I'd be spoiling that too now!
As far as graphics go, Conker himself is an adorable piece of work (I'm a 35-year old guy and I'm saying that crap too). His reactions to various conditions like the presence of money or a full bladder are priceless.
The world that the game takes place in, maybe not quite as "clean" looking as that of Banjo-Kazooie or Tooie. It feels sort of like they may have tried to cram too much into too small of a space on the "overworld", if you can call it that. Once you go into one of the exits, like inside the barn or into the lair of the Great Mighty Poo, places like those feel far more real. They just look like they could not possibly fit inside of the space they are given when you look at them from the outside. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I love magic. Name that movie.
The frame rate has a tendency to go a little choppy at times, and can interfere with the overall gameplay, but it's nowhere near as much of a nightmare as it was in Banjo-Tooie, least not as far as I've seen. Most of the time, it's surprisingly smooth. Other times, like when you first see the introduction with Conker staggering in the door, you might think "Oh man this is gonna be terrible." But nothing in the game has gone as slowly as that particular cut scene, thank goodness!
As I mentioned, gameplay is simple enough. You don't have a lot of moves to learn, just your classic Super Mario 64 set basically. Conker's big gimmick is the use of the "context sensitive" pads. They'll show up as a giant letter B on the ground. Depending on which one Conker stands upon, pressing B will cause him to perform a variety of tasks for whatever suits the moment. Could be throwing knives, whipping out a slingshot, making some Alka Seltzer for an instant sober-up, you just never know.
The dialogue of this game is obscene beyond anything I've ever seen in a video game of this style. I mean sure, I'm no stranger to hearing "Sh##" in between reloads of the AK-47, that's just progress in the video game world for ya, I guess. But you don't typically see it in a game that looks like this. (Then again, we have South Park, so you had to figure.) It's no surprise nor secret that the game is rated M for Mature, and for good reason. Even with the F-bomb bleeped out, this dialogue is still hilariously offensive. What's worse (or better), if you finish the game once and replay it, it doesn't bleep them out the second time.
Honestly, I don't have kids, so I can't make a sound judgment, but if I did, I'd keep this game out of their sight until at least the age of 13. Even that effort would be in vain, though, as I'm sure if they don't hear it in the game, they'll hear it somewhere else. Some might even say that 13 is too young, but by then, I think they're smart enough to know the difference, maybe even to appreciate being trusted with it. You're gonna be trusting them with a car two or three years later anyway.
This is not a terribly long game, many of my fans have told me that it can be completed easily in one sitting of five or six hours without skipping the cut scenes, which are pretty much the game's biggest drawing point. Nowadays, Conker's is right up there with Earthbound in being difficult to find a physical copy. I was able to find my copy on Ebay for around $40, and this was in May of 2011, so I'd say definitely shop around, but don't expect to find it in a used game store, since chances are that copies of the game disappear as fast as lightning, if not bought instantaneously by the people who work there!
All in all, I don't know if it's the most "fun" game I've played (Mario Kart will always be the most "fun" franchise to me) but definitely a clever mockery on our twisted society.