Last month, while drunk on student loans and a trial version of Amazon Prime, I made the incredibly smart decision to purchase Rare Replay for the Xbox One. Growing up in the late 90’s I got to to experience the joy that is adventure platforming games, and Rare churned out some of the absolute greatest. While Super Mario 64 was the godfather of the genre, Banjo-Kazooie (at least in my mind) really fine-tuned the whole experience, and Banjo-Tooie built on that. Back then, Rare was seriously on point when it came to putting out quality games, and even though they had been around since the mid-80’s, it seems like they rose to the top with the Donkey Kong Country games on the Super Nintendo and the previously mentioned games. Then some fuckery happened, Microsoft bought Rare away, and then they just kind of dipped out, popping up every once in awhile to put out a game, most of which were meh at best. (However Viva Piñata was the shit, especially when you blasted WhiteChapel while playing) Needless to say, the opportunity to play some amazing N64-era games, and many others that I never got to try, all for roughly $25 bucks gave me a mega nerd-boner. All this rambling aside, I figured it would be fun to review these games as I played through them, and so I thought I would start with Conker’s Bad Fur Day, a game that I loved back in the day but now makes me think I might need some serious anger therapy. So here we go:
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Originally published back in 2001, Conker’s Bad Fur Day was groundbreaking in a lot of aspects. Though it continued in the vein of Rare’s established adventure platforming genre, it quickly gained pre-release notoriety for being one of the foulest games on the Nintendo 64. This is important because Nintendo was famous for maintaining as clean an image as possible (who else misses the blood that wasn’t in the SNES Mortal Kombat?).Though it sold poorly it was praised by critics and was given a second chance at life years later on the Xbox in the form of Conker: Live & Reloaded. I played both versions and loved them. The story and graphics were crude (one boss battle is honestly a giant, singing pile of shit), hilarious and never failed to make me literally LOL out loud. The gameplay itself was a blast and was constantly changing throughout the game, going from being a simple adventure game to a shooter (Saving Private Ryan-style) and everything else in between!
Well, something changed, and for the very worse. This Xbox One port was so infuriatingly awful that, even though I may be an hour away from beating it, I’ve decided to stop, because I can’t risk putting my controller through the fucking wall (it’s my only one!) The absolute two biggest issues with it are the controls and the camera. Yes, the game came out nearly 15 years ago so I don’t expect them to do a complete redone version, but the amount of times I died due to blind jumps or Conker not doing what I said because of the unresponsiveness in mind-fucking-numbing. Seriously, I don’t mind a challenging game, but when it take an hour to complete a part that should only take ten minutes at best, because Conker won’t pull out his shotgun and aim DESPITE me pressing the buttons to do so, then that’s a problem. This is persistent throughout the entire game. I tried to give it an honest shot at first, due to my love of the original, then I stuck it out so I could see all the humorous cutscenes and gags. But finally, after getting mowed down over and over (and over and over and over, rinse and repeat) by a bear on a giant machine gun who can only be defeated by what should be a fairly simple method but can’t due to shit control recognition, well by then I had enough.
To see whether or not it was a porting issue, I decided to compare it against Banjo-Kazooie, which came out three years before and obviously set the groundwork for how Conker would come to be. It was like night and fucking day. I have since nearly beaten Banjo (for the bajillionth time) and there has been only a few, mild hiccups in the control and graphics department. Based on this, I’m going to assume that either Rare did a shoddy job porting this or that I simply happen to have the only bad copy. That’s not to say the entire experience is awful, because the actual story, cutscenes and jokes are hilarious to this day, which probably says more about me and my level of immaturity than anything.
Final Thoughts: If you can, just go pick up a copy of Conker: Live & Reloaded, it played so, so much better. If unable to do so, (or you’re just too lazy) go to Youtube and watch all the clips. In fact, you can do that here! When it comes down to brass tacks, this port is just not worth the effort, so save yourself some frustrations and go play one of the many other amazing games that Rare put out.