At first glance you might think Conker is another one of those cute characters who you'll be using to hop on enemies heads and collect golden objects like in the typical platformer. But take another glance and you'll find Conker is a totally different breed of platform umm..hero...
Conker: Live & Reloaded is named that way because of its full-on Xbox 'Live' multiplayer and its remade or 'Reloaded' Bad Fur Day single-player platform adventure originally released on the N64. We'll start with the Reloaded single player portion.
Like I just mentioned, the single player section of this game comes in the form of the original game 'Conker's Bad Fur Day' remade for the Xbox and (as you'd expect) sporting vastly improved graphics. The game's storyline is in two parts, you start the game hung over and not knowing the way home. The second part of the story involves the Panther King who, little does Conker know, has a problem with his table and keeps spilling his milk (sounds crazy I know) and the only way to fix it is to use a Squirrel as a replacement table leg. Once you get control of Conker the first area is a nice little typically-Rare tutorial area with a lot of platforms to practice your jumping and an explanation of the giant 'B' icons you might have seen on the floor. These 'B' icons are context-sensitive buttons that'll be giving you the most fun during your travels, once on the buttons, you press B and the game will give you the item you need at that very moment (very handy). The buttons will get you drunk, give you sling shots, and give you weapons and all sorts...
Conker's world will most probably be one of the most bizarre places you'll visit on Xbox. Inhabited by wild and whacky characters, including a large-breasted sunflower, cavemen, mafia weasels, a poo monster, "Death" himself and more. You'll also visit strange levels like a nightclub, poo mound, haunted house and even a World War 2-style beach level, which is so much like the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan that a lot of serious FPS could learn a lesson or two.. The later half of the game you'll think you've seen these levels before, because Rare parodies a few other well-known Hollywood movies too, including The Matrix and Alien.
Conker's: BFD was an 18 when it graced the N64 but on Xbox it has been knocked down to a 16+ age rating, but that doesn't mean the violence or bad language has been toned down. The bad language is done South Park-style with the F and S words bleeped out (but we all know what they’re saying). There is a lot of it so if you don't like that sort of humour involving swear words and rudeness I suggest you look elsewhere. The violence is done with tongue placed firmly in cheek, it doesn't look graphic with guts etc, but there is a lot of blood splashing around, it looks sort of cartoony.
Now let's get to the Live part of Conker: Live and Reloaded. Rare's main focus for this game was the Xbox Live multiplayer mode and while it isn't terrible, it certainly isn't in the top bracket of Live games for me. The game types consist of doing objectives in 2 teams, Squirrels vs Tediz and the maps are split into 2 eras, half the maps are WW2-style and the other half are futuristic. Before the game you'll have to choose your class: Grunt, Sneaker, Air Jockey, Demolisher, Long Ranger and Thermophile, each class has their own weapons and different vehicles. One problem with the multiplayer is the over use of certain classes, sometimes you'll join a game and all everyone is doing is shooting rockets in the ground at each other and you die in one violent hit. Another problem is the over-cluttered HUD (head up display) - when you get five players in front of you all you can see are their nametags popped up all over the screen and you just have to fire blindly into them. Obviously your experiences on Live will change from person to person and game to game but overall I found it kind of disappointing.
Graphically Conker and his world look sublime; we'll start with Conker himself who looks amazingly good, his fur (fluffy tail and all) being the high point, as well as his eyes and animation. Conker isn't the only one to get the fur treatment from the guys at Rare because all of the furry characters have it, and it does add to the overall graphical prowess. The world itself looks great too, swaying grass, loads of colour, excellent lighting and lots of varied characters on screen. Another neat effect is how liquid the water looks and blood splashes on screen and drips in a realistic fashion.
Sound is another top point of Conker, the guys at Rare have always been known for their top notch sound and graphics. The voices are all excellent and very varied from character to character. The music really suits every level with the singing poo part especially funny and good.
Overall, Conker Live and Reloaded isn't the all-conkering (get it?) game I was hoping for, it's probably because I played and loved it years ago on the N64. If you haven't played it before the single player is a real treat, and if you’re desperate for a new Live game you could certainly give this a whirl. If you have played the single player before there’s still enough here with all the graphical upgrades to give you a few weeks’ typical Rare entertainment.