Even though the Nintendo 64 is my favorite console of all time (mainly for nostalgia, but the library isn’t half-bad either), there are still plenty of games for the plucky retro system that I haven’t played. One of those games is the infamous, lewd, and foul-mouthed Conker’s Bad Fur Day. One of the reasons is obvious – I was way too young to play it when it released in 2000. The other reason is because it’s a fairly uncommon game to find and therefore is a bit expensive, especially in good condition complete-in-box. Recently I had a stroke of luck and found a good copy via a friend who gave me a huge discount and was finally able to play this mature game I’d heard so much about.
Now I wish I could say that I really enjoyed the game, but overall I found it frustrating and a little boring. While the dialogue is hilarious and pokes a lot of fun at gaming conventions, I found the lack of direction frustrating, and the platforming elements wore thin really quick. There simply wasn’t enough variety to keep me interested in each new world for long. Even when Conker goes FPS, those segments didn’t control well at all and the game was less than forgiving as a result (but the cut scenes and movie references are much appreciated and well done). Combine that with the ever-present Nintendo 64 camera issues and you’ve got an experience that leads to a lot of reloads. Fortunately, the game doesn’t take death or lives seriously and you pick up where you last left off when you die and even when it’s “Game Over”, so you’ll have no problem giving a difficult segment another go.
Regardless, the game didn’t live up to the hype. I can see why this might be though – back in 2000 a game with the crude humor and violence of CBFD was likely a bit of a shock, especially on the Nintendo 64. This led to it being ingrained as a barrier-breaking game in many people’s minds. Combine that with the limited number of games still available in the world leading to inflated second-hand prices and you’ve got a recipe for a game with high expectations but will likely fall flat as an average platformer at best. But look at the bright side Conker – you’ll always have Diddy Kong Racing to fall back on…