Listmas 2021: Favorite Things in Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Over on our YouTube channel, my playthrough of Rare’s now-classic 3D platformer (and then some), Conker’s Bad Fur Day, recently wrapped up, and the game’s been on my mind since. This is thanks, in part, to the fact that I recently tried out its remake, Conker: Live & Reloaded, which I had never played before. While the remake both played and looked better, the changes made to it didn’t equate to overall better experience. Even so, there’s something special about this virtual adventure. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is integral to Rare’s catalog, and yet, it stands out as a unique experience when compared to its other outings. Putting a bow on my #Listmas lists this year, here are a few of my favorite things about Conker’s Bad Fur Day.


It’s not just a platformer

Rare is known for bring many different game franchises to life, not the least of which (as far as we are concerned, anyway) are the beloved Donkey Kong County and Banjo-Kazooie series. Platforming stands at the heart of both series, as it does in Conker’s Bad Fur Day, but that game is far more than a simple platformer. It’s a platforming game with lots to explore. It’s an adventure game with a good story. It’s a shooter with heavy action. And it’s a puzzle game with decent mechanics. Somehow Rare managed to combine all these elements in a way that’s seamless and makes sense within the context of any moment within the game. Quite brilliant, that is.

Now when was the last time you went LAVA hoverboarding, hmm?

Conker is a fantastic foil

Conker’s Bad Fur Day’s potty-humorous reputation is well-known, and the game makes no apologies for it. (In fact, it doubles-down on that quite literally.) While much of the dialogue in the game is very funny, Conker’s reactions to all the utter silliness are what make the game. I’ve erroneously said to folks that the game is about a “foul-mouthed squirrel,” but Conker never utters a single curse word but once or twice. He is all about thwarting everyone else’s amped-up attitudes. His facial expressions alone (which are better displayed in the original game than the remake) sometimes say all one needs to know about his feelings in a particular situation.  It’s great visual storytelling.

You tell ’em, Conker!

Graphics, graphics, graphics

The graphical goodness of an older game can sometime be hard to convey second-hand through a Let’s Play, and this is definitely true for parts of Conker’s Bad Fur Day. But much like the Banjo-Kazooie series, the graphics of Conker’s Bad Fur Day were amazing for their time, and they still hold up today. Sure, not everything in the game has particularly perfect 3D qualities, and some of the textures look muddy, but there’s still a crisp fluidity to everything moving on screen. This might be minor, but the best example of this is Conker’s tail. In Conker’s Live & Reloaded, Conker was made to look furry, with a big, fuzzy tail to boot. Make sense, right? Well, Rare couldn’t make him “look furry” in the original game, but they still managed to do so by giving him a tail that moved like a squirrel tail should, swaying back and forth, reacting to his movements. The attention given to small details in the game is astounding, and makes the experience of playing it all the more worthwhile.

Wasps really do ruin one’s day, no matter virtual or real.

Have you played Conker’s Bad Fur Day or Conker: Live & Reloaded? If so, share your experiences with the games in the comments!

All images, including lede, were taken by author during Xbox One gameplay of Conker’s Bad Fur Day on Rare Replay (© Rare).

3 Comments Add yours

  1. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    My final Virtual Bastion #Listmas list was something of a blast from the past. Having conquered Rare’s classic and once-controversial game, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Listmas provided the perfect opportunity for me to revisit some of my favorite things about it!

    Like

  2. Matt says:

    It’s a fantastic game, absolutely. I would also highlight the progression, which is – I feel – different from the one seen in most platformers of the day, as the game feels less like a collection of levels / worlds and more like a story that unfolds in different locations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Yes, that’s a really good point. CBFD is not a classic 3D adventure-platformer in the Banjo-Kazooie sense. It’s almost a proto-open world game. It allows for exploration (or, at least, a sense of it) while still providing solid, linear gameplay. It’s a unique blend that makes the game (still) feel like it was somewhat ahead of its time.

      Like

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