Which game was released on April 6, 2001, very late in the life cycle of the Nintendo 64, for this console? Was developed by Rare and distributed by the former THQ? And was a recommendation in the otherwise striking family-friendly catalog of the N64 games alone with an age recommendation (at that time it wasn't legally binding at the time) of 16 years? Sure, that was Conker's Bad Fur Day!
The development history of the game is special and differs from the development history of most other games, but certainly from all other projects of the British developer studio. Bad Fur Day was originally supposed to appear as "Twelve Tales – Conker 64", but the working title was "Conker's Quest". The squirrel was first introduced as a playable figure in 1997 in Diddy Kong Racing, and again in 1999, Conker's Pocket Tales, a child-friendly, cuddly, lovely and very family-friendly adventure of the series for the Game Boy Color. The same was planned with Conker 64, Rare actually wanted to develop a harmless Jump & Run game for the Nintendo 64. At the first presentation in front of the press, this prototype got its fat off properly.
Also interesting: retro special including video for Super Metroid for the SNES!
The reactions were much more critical than Rare had expected in advance. The main criticism: At that time there were already numerous and therefore more than enough such child-friendly jumping games for the Nintendo 64. This special market appeared saturated and in many places the image of the N64 as a "children's toy" was already tired. But rare would not be rare if one had not accepted this harsh criticism and made something completely unexpected out of it. The game was revised from scratch and then presented again under the title Conker's Bad Fur Day – and the game world was initially shocked!
In the new version, Conker suddenly turned from a cuddly, lovable squirrel into a drinker, who spent the nights in a frenzy with his buddies in pubs, mobbed people, swore and, on top of that, also lied to and neglected his girlfriend. He makes a lot of enemies. The new game contains numerous humorous allusions to the pop culture of the time, including the well-known films and classics Matrix, Saving Private Ryan, Clockwork Orange, Terminator, The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Reservoir Dogs, Bram Stoker's Dracula and many more . But all background stories aside: What is Conker's Bad Fur Day all about?
Source: PC Games
After a night of drinking in the pub, the anti-hero conker wakes up hungover in the middle of nowhere, far away from his home and can't remember anything – his memories have vanished into the delirium of excessive alcohol consumption. He quickly realizes that he has got lost in the drunk. Finding the way back home and curing the hangover there is Conker's goal from now on and therefore your task throughout the game. However, this journey is not an easy one, and this is not only due to the reduced mental performance of the protagonist, who is plagued by the hangover. The evil panther king is after him. He is a passionate milk consumer and spills a glass of his beloved white liquid due to a table leg breaking off a piece of furniture in his royal throne room. The castle doctor, who hurried to help, had a quick solution after this tragic incident: A red squirrel had to be caught to repair the broken table and make it functional again!
Coincidentally, this description of the person needed exactly fits Conker, who is now on the run from the aggressive teddy bear army of the king. These eager soldiers are called "Tediz" and are modeled on the historical Nazis in Germany – the game makes no secret of this, there is even a separate game mode in multiplayer that makes the reference particularly clear, but more on that later. As a result, Conker faces various tasks and obstacles on his desperate journey home that need to be mastered. Conveniently, his alcohol-related hangover seems to vanish fairly quickly and he has a number of skills. This is also urgently necessary because, among other things, he meets a variety of bizarre opponents. From the singing droppings called "Great Mighty Poo" (probably even THE most ingenious scene of the whole game), which is now an icon of modern internet culture, about weeping fire ants, noble catfish and an alcoholic bee king who has left his loved one for a busty sunflower Basically represent everything the confused but creative mind can think of.
The plot is unlikely to win an Oscar and, as usual with games in this category, you somehow still have the label "means to an end". But, and this but is particularly big, it is original down to the smallest detail. The story of Conker's Bad Fur Day truly oozes a flood of "what the hell?" Moments from every crack and pore. From this point of view, the game is something very special, especially with regard to its genre affiliation.
Source: PC Games
In terms of play, Conker's Bad Fur Day is generally best described as a "bouncing game". A little jump & run, a little action-adventure, plus a good amount of ingenious and funny cut scenes, you already have the ingredients for Rares, perhaps the most extraordinary game. Exceptionally well noted due to the history of development, the uniqueness on the Nintendo 64 platform and of course above all because of the crazy, absurd and "below the belt" story. In terms of gameplay, the game turns out to be less exciting, despite borrowing from several genres.
Also interesting: retro special including video for Majora's Mask for the Nintendo 64!
What does that mean specifically? Well, you move Conker freely with an analog stick through the colorful three-dimensional game world, which is divided into different areas. The squirrel, who loves alcohol, can jump and crouch, and also fly through the air for a short time using a rotating tail. The latter ability is practical and important, but this "helicopter" mode can only be used for a short time. Afterwards, Conker falls back onto the ground unchecked and can only let his tail rotate to fly again after jumping off the solid surface again. If the fall happens unexpectedly from a great height, for example when trying to overcome a deep gorge, this inevitably leads to a large loss in Conker's energy. A special feature apart from the usual repertoire and abilities are special events, basically predefined scripts that are activated at specific and previously determined points in the game using the B button and signaled by a light bulb that appears above Conker's head. For this purpose, the possibility of starting such a sequence is also indicated by a large circle with a B button, thereby making it clear. If such a set script is started, anything can happen, depending on where you are.
Source: PC Games
Once you have to pee on a large ball in the disco until it has reached its destination by rotating around its own axis. Another time, you transform yourself into a bat in Dracula's castle to escape the deadly traps in the cold walls. In these scenes, Conker's Bad Fur Day often relies on trial and error. So you do not know in advance what you have to do next, ergo there is a high probability that you will fail the first time you try the task. Maybe a second or third time. At some point, however, you get the hang of it and then create what is required of you. A not atypical game concept in this genre area. Conker's life energy is represented by a maximum of six pieces of chocolate. If you lose part of it, you have to pick up chocolates lying around in the game world to regenerate yourself. His number of lives is also limited, at some point too many deaths lead to game-over. The game explains it by saying that a squirrel has as many lives as it thinks it has. An allusion or modification of the proverbial seven lives of a cat. The same applies here as for the gameplay in general: Originally packaged, but usually core at the core.