Genre : Action
Release Date: June 21, 2005
The first time I saw Conker: Live & Reloaded was at Microsoft’s pre-E3 conference in 2004. I will remember it for a long time, if for no other reason than I’d never seen a cartoon dog’s head explode before.
Conker is back. It is still gleefully offensive.
The singleplayer portion of our show is a fully remastered version of the infamous Conker’s Bad Fur Day, an N64 platformer that should not, by rights, exist. It starts with Conker, a somewhat generically cartoony squirrel, getting horrifically drunk and passing out in a cornfield in a pool of his own vomit.
It just gets worse from there. In a kinder alternate universe where things like Postal 2 did not exist, Bad Fur Day would be the low watermark for tastelessness in video games today. This is, after all, the game where you kill a feces monster with toilet paper.
The remixed version of Bad Fur Day is, in many ways, identical to the original. They’ve changed up some of the game just to screw with people’s heads, which Conker actually comments on at one point, and they’ve done an amazing job with the graphics. I’m not sure what they did or how, but this looks like some kind of halfway point between a cartoon and live-action. Conker features a full cast of exaggerated animals, who cast the same kind of deep shadows that you see in games like the latest Splinter Cell.
Of course, the real reason to pick up Live & Reloaded is the new online multiplayer game. It’s hard not to think of it as half bloody team deathmatch, half a parody of bloody team deathmatches; of the maps I’ve seen, the ones that aren’t a sendup of World War II games are sendups of Halo or Unreal Tournament.
You can opt to play as either a squirrel or one of the catlike Tediz, both of whom have four separate classes, like Long Ranger or Sky Jockey. You can run around in third-person like a ninny, throwing explosives with reckless abandon, or run to a teleporter and whistle up one of a variety of vehicles. You can grab personnel carriers, aircrafts, giant tanks, ATVs, and several others.
You’ll need them, too, because Live & Reloaded is a bloody, messy game. It’s the first shooter I’ve seen that seems to have been almost deliberately constructed with the typical online gamer in mind. It’s all about filling the air with something dangerous as fast as you possibly can, whether it’s bullets, explosives, missiles, napalm, or acid. When struck, you will see just how much blood and meat the typical cartoon squirrel contains. It’s quite a bit more than you’d think.
This isn’t a game for the weak-stomached or anyone who’s trying to convince someone of the innate maturity of video games, but most of us knew that when we saw the name Conker on this thing. Conker: Live & Reloaded is another deathmatch game from Rare, and it’s our first chance at seeing whether Rare’s still got the Goldeneye touch. Check it out later this month.
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