A Look at Conker: Live and Reloaded (Xbox)

Conker: Live and Reloaded

The extreme makeover bug has reached gaming circles, as Rare re-released its Nintendo 64 classic “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” with retooled graphics and a new online multiplayer mode for Microsoft’s Xbox console. Renamed “Conker: Live and Reloaded”, the new iteration serves as a great introduction to the stellar platformer title that was overlooked, to some extent, when first introduced in early 2001. Hopefully Xbox owners won’t let Conker’s mischievous hijinks go unnoticed this time around.

Now how did Rare’s trash talking red squirrel get into so much sh*t in the first place? The game kicks off with our lead squirrel drinking with a few friends at what seems to be a local tavern of sorts. Drunk, Conker decides to attempt to find his way home. But things don’t go as planned. Stricken with a massive hangover, our hero unknowingly heads into the wrong direction, and is now forced to complete various zany scenarios (complete with kooky characters) in order to return home.

The game is full of crazy movie parodies from such films as the Terminator, Saving Private Ryan and the Matrix. Gamers will also have to go through some over-the-top scenarios (the cow sequence being one of them) that will either disgust or have you laughing uncontrollably. With that in mind, it’s important to note that Conker Live and Reloaded is for mature audiences only and shouldn’t be played by anyone under the age of 17.

Not only is Conker Live and Reloaded an extremely fun Xbox title, but it is also one of the best looking titles on the system. Our bushy-tailed hero actually looks like a plush doll that one would purchase at a local toy store. Thanks to its lighting and shadowing techniques and high attention to detail, Conker: Live and reloaded is easily comparable to a modern day CGI feature film. Now imagine how Conker would look using Xbox 360 technology!

Conker Live and Reloaded is not all smiles as the game suffers from frequent load times. After playing “Halo 2” which virtually had no load times, I kind of felt a little cheated by having to go through frequent loading screens. And thanks to these reload screens; the game truly lives up to its “Live and Reloaded” moniker. Get it, “re-loading”!

For some reason, it seems like the PR folks behind the title are pushing the Xbox Live portion of Conker: Live and Reloaded as its primary tour-de-force, while promoting the single player portion as somewhat of a bonus. Even if it should be the other way around, this isn’t really a bad thing as the multiplayer gameplay is quite enjoyable.

The Xbox Live portion of the game is an all out 16 player team-based third-person fragfest. The game pits the Squirrels against the evil Tediz in two game scenarios, the Old War and the Future War. A total of six character classes, with specialized weapons, are available (Demolisher, Grunt, Long Ranger, Skyjockey, Sneeker and Thermophile) for your gaming pleasure. Rare also went all the way and included five different vehicles (Mule Bomber, R-Hog, Sky Steed, Toad Jeep and Tankus) that surely help alleviate the mayhem.

Conker: Live and Reloaded is a great action platformer that will definitely keep you glued to your television set for quite some time. The game’s mature humor is what sets this title apart from others. Even if you’ve mastered the N64 version, the graphical enhancements alone make it worth picking-up and playing through the game one more time. The multiplayer portion of Conker: Live and Reloaded definitely stretches the value of the title and will guarantee lots more playing time even after the completion of the single-player adventure (which should take you approximately 15 hours to complete).

Conker: Live and Reloaded is definitely a four star title. Hopefully a sequel is in the works as a new Conker game would surely be a great Xbox 360 title. So if you’re looking for a great Xbox platformer (which is kind of rare these days), then Conker: Live and Reloaded is exactly what the doctor ordered.

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