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Conker: Live & Reloaded (Xbox) artwork

Conker: Live & Reloaded (Xbox) review

"Conker: Live and Reloaded will be a real treat for those who dug his original N64 outing. I never played it but I was hounded constantly about its hilarious take on adult themes in a cartoon like environment. Due to my uncaring attitude towards the N64, I never experienced the original Conker for myself and for years was barraged by my sixty-four fan friends about how great Conkerís Bad Fur Day was. I wonít lie, placing adult themes and situations in a cartoon world is a rather original conce..."

Conker: Live and Reloaded will be a real treat for those who dug his original N64 outing. I never played it but I was hounded constantly about its hilarious take on adult themes in a cartoon like environment. Due to my uncaring attitude towards the N64, I never experienced the original Conker for myself and for years was barraged by my sixty-four fan friends about how great Conkerís Bad Fur Day was. I wonít lie, placing adult themes and situations in a cartoon world is a rather original concept for a game but when many annoying and basic flaws are hidden behind this apparent gimmick, you realise that Conker: Live and Reloaded isnít exactly Godís gift to the platform genre.

CBFD is a rather silly tale about a squirrel getting absolutely tanked on a night out. He leaves his local pub, completely plastered, and gets lost while stumbling home. After sleeping it off and waking up with the Jesus of hangovers, he has to find his way home through various bizarre environments and situations. These include battling a monstrous piece of poo, pissing on fire monsters and going to war against furry fascists. Yes, these do seem like rather vulgar situations and youíll soon realise that just about every task you do is pretty disgusting and, occasionally funny.

The game is set in a large cartoon world that can be almost freely explored. A handful of key areas are locked at the beginning of the game, for story purposes. You can complete areas in various orders, especially at the start of the adventure. Finishing areas will open up new places and will allow you to proceed further. However, a lot of tedious backtracking through previously completed stages is required to access new areas, which isnít exactly the root of happiness.

Rare have decided to add in a bunch of cretins called Imps to hinder your progress. Youíll find these guys everywhere and they can be a bastard and a half to kill. Conker will pick up a baseball bat (which replaces the frying pan) to use as his primary weapon. However, when in combat mode, the camera seems to zoom in on Conkerís back. This makes it impossible for you to see anything that is behind you if youíre fighting Imps. If you attack an Imp, heíll immediately crouch and smack you with an array of spikes. This makes killing them either very slow process (hit, retreat, hit) or a quick and reckless one. Considering you canít see what is behind you during combat mode, the chances are that another Impíll take you from behind. Thanks for that, Rare! Thanks for creating the most frustrating combat system known to man. I appreciate it.

This awful problem with the camera gets even more tedious when you encounter bosses. As you can imagine, defeating a boss is only plausible if you hit his weak point a number of times. Doing this with the camera from hell makes one rather tricky task feel like a hard days work. For example, the great mighty poo has a great habit of throwing great balls of crap at you. When these come from the behind, itís a little hard to dodge, especially if they hit you when youíre jumping over a gap. Another problem occurs during Buga the nut, a gigantic caveman who claims his boner is the biggest in the land. When the camera is behind Conker, you wonít be able to see Bugaís attacks so by the time you turn around; youíll get hit with his giant club. At first, it wonít bug you but when you realise that itís the cameraís awkward position that is mostly contributing to your demise, it wonít be good for your rage.

A few of Conkerís levels deviate from the platform norm. A racing stage sees you chasing a bunch of cavemen who have mugged you. This leads to a horribly frustrating hover board race in which you have to destroy three cavemen by catching up to them and bonking them with your bat. However, the course you have to navigate through is horribly windy and the hover board is mercilessly fast. This is a horrible combination that leads to death and instant frustration.

Another is the slow and awkward process of underwater swimming. Thankfully, you only have to do it on two occasions but believe me, thatís more than enough. Conker is a lot harder to control in the water for two reasons: his movement is a lot slower and the button configuration is little awkward. The same button to swim also triggers your dive underwater option when you reach the top. So, youíll press the button rapidly to reach the top but youíll immediately dive down again. Dodging obstacles is a real pain due to their speed and Conkerís slowness underwater. Swimming through the path of a rotating fan that spins way too fast for you isnít fun as it often ends in you being sliced in two. Also, most of the water levels are fairly large so it can be hard to find air pockets and easy to get lost.

As you can see, the single player mode has a shit load of problems but the multiplayer game seems to shake off these flaws and produce an enjoyable experience. Of course, itís not going to replace Halo 2 for the ultimate Live game but it does help to kill time. The coolest thing is the class system, which enables you to play as various character types such as flame-throwing grunts to knife wielding sneakers to bazooka blasting giants. This offers a reasonable amount of flexibility and creates a long lasting multiplayer experience that offers you a handful of ways to play. With this and a variety of maps and modes, itís bound to keep you entertained for longer than the one-player mode. However, thatís not entirely a good sign, paying forty quid for a fun Live game and a mediocre single player isnít exactly the deal of the century.

Conkerís visuals have been upgraded to the max, gone is the block residue that plagued the N64 and in its place are lush and fresh visuals. Every little detail is brilliantly brought to life, from the trickling water to Conkerís brilliantly animated fur. Even the huge balls of shit are sleekly animated, as they sit and glisten in the sunlight. Even the supporting cast of Conker, like Imps, Tediz and other background beasties look lovely. It makes a change from the macabre block on block effects that the N64 produced.

At the end of the day though, Conker is a rather mixed bag of garbage and glitter. The single player mode can be hysterically funny (if you like toilet humour) but many basic problems will emerge and ruin the experience. Youíll only play through it once, believe me. After that, the gameís saving grace (the humour) falls rather flat. The additions of new graphics and the Live Mode donít justify the high price tag for such an average game, especially one of this age. Despite this, the Live game is enjoyable, even if you play it offline but canít hold a flame to the likes of Halo. Conker: L & R is nothing but Rareís gift to a small bunch of fans that loved the original. For the rest of us, itís a rather forgettable and irritating experience.

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Community review by goldenvortex (August 25, 2005)

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