Conker's Bad Fur Day – Second Opinion

There isn't much I can add to Brad's review. He nailed all of the key points from the excellent voice acting to the so-called "mature content." I am in total agreement with him on all of these issues, but I think there are a few things that Brad left out that deserve mentioning, or at the very least, further emphasis.

I found the context-sensitive buttons to be severely lacking. It quickly becomes apparent that these buttons are scattered across the landscape as an excuse for Rare to throw all kinds of visual gags at players. Step on one context-sensitive button, and Conker turns himself into an anvil, step on another and he pulls out a slingshot. It goes on and on like this with Conker's actions rarely ever reaching the level of cleverness.

The extensive special effects used in the game result in a beautiful title, but one effect in particular, real-time light-sourcing, has a detrimental effect on the gameplay. With light-sourcing, almost every 3D object casts a realistic shadow on the environment. This can add a high level of realism to the game, but as any veteran of the 3D platform genre knows, shadows serve the ancillary function of showing players where the characters are in relation to the ground. That was how we could leap from platform to platform in 3D worlds—by trying to gauge our landing by where our shadows were cast. With realistic lighting casting realistic shadows, you can wind up jumping with no shadow underneath you at all until you actually land. And with so many jumps in the game, this should have been one of the first things Rare tried to remedy during development.

When it comes to humor, I think I was more shocked than Brad by how pathetic it all was. Ever since E3 2000, I was sure that Nintendo and Rare had a winner here. A game that would finally help get videogames out of under the stigma of being just for kids. I also bought into the overwhelmingly positive feedback the game was receiving from critics and saw that as a good sign of things to come. But like Brad, I found the final product to be almost completely devoid of any intelligence with only fleeting signs of cleverness under a blanket of immature material.

Rare seems to be under the impression that using s--t and f--k in every other sentence makes something mature—or at the very least funny. What it actually does is make Bad Fur Day vulgar—like an interactive segment of the Jerry Springer show. Slick movie take-offs aside, the jokes are little more than tired sight gags, toilet humor and sexual innuendo that is clearly aimed at the lower denominator. This means the 15-year olds who aren't supposed to be playing the game will absolutely love it.

I also need to point out that the multi-player modes, once one of Rare's strengths, comes up way short in Bad Fur Day. Aside from the usual selection of deathmatches, they usually consist of everything we've ever already seen in their platform games since Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, Donkey Kong 64 and Jet Force Gemini. What's worse, Rare added some scenarios that are plucked right out of the levels of the games, but they never feel complete. They are not what I would consider fun, and would always seem to be over before I knew it.

To be quite honest, I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel to Bad Fur Day. I think adult videogames have been long overdue on a Nintendo game console, but I won't let Rare off the hook unless the sequel is both funny and intelligent. I won't accept anymore juvenile content on my videogames hiding under the guise of adult content. Bad Fur Day seems to be the type of squirrel to have many bad days in his future, so we might live to see Rare get it right. Or maybe Nintendo will personally get into the act if Bad Fur Day were to do well. Maybe we'll see a game based on Mario that answers the question of what kind of trouble would Mario find himself in if one day Princess Peach sent him out to buy her a new set of whips and chains. Rating: 4.0 out of 10