Conker's Bad Fur Day was released on March 5th, 2001 for the Nintendo 64. Primarily designed by Chris Seavor (who also voiced Conker and the majority of the characters in the game), Bad Fur Day was a major tone change from previous platformers designed by Rare Studios, as it was designed for a mature audience, rather than young children. Many players were especially surprised with the game's mature theme given that the title was released on the N64, a platform that had garnered a reputation for being a more "kid-friendly" system than its rival, the Sony PlayStation.
Rare also used Conker's Bad Fur Day to address many of the critical concerns made against their previous platformers, the Banjo- Kazooie franchise, as well as Donkey Kong 64. Critics argued that the games became overburdened by the player's need to collect too many items, losing the actual focus on tight gameplay and interesting levels in the process. To combat these claims, Conker's Bad Fur Day features no collectible items whatsoever. The game didn't even feature a real attack button. Instead, Conker would use "Context Sensitive" pads scattered throughout the level to instantly acquire the item or thing necessary to progress through the game.
The significant amount of extreme content within the game, including use of severe profanity and violence, along with certain bodily functions, earned it a rating of BBFC 18 in the UK and Mature in the United States. There was some amount of censorship, including the blacking out of particularly gory parts of creatures or moments in the game. The words "Fuck" and "Cock" were censored by bleeps and symbols.
The game is known for its many spoofs of multiple movies that were big around the time of the games release like The Matrix and Saving Private Ryan, as well as classics like A Clockwork Orange, Reservoir Dogs, and The Terminator.
Conker attacks his enemies normally by using a frying pan but also there are some context sensitive areas which will allow Conker to use a special power such as: peeing on flame monsters, attack a big furnace's brass balls with bricks, and more.
At the start of the game, players meet Conker the Squirrel out drinking with his friends who are off to war the following morning. After the festivities, Conker stumbles out of the pub and tries to head home. Come sunrise, however, Conker awakens in a strange field with no recollection of the night's events. Breaking with tradition, the player begins the game with a staggering, hungover Conker, and must talk to a rather strange scarecrow named Birdy before receiving some milk to perk the squirrel up. Conker spends the entirety of the game searching for his home and trying to return to his girlfriend, Berri. Conker meets the Gregg the Grim Reaper, who tells him squirrels can have "as many lives as they can get away with", providing an explanation for the game's lives system; after all, it couldn't break from convention entirely.
The Panther King wants to use Conker as a leg for his table, since one has gone missing. His disgruntled, wheelchair bound scientist, Professor von Kripplespak, meanwhile, begins plotting his revenge against his boss as he is sick of being ordered about so much. Little happens to advance this throughout the course of the game, but near the end, Conker and Berri are reunited and enlisted to work for Don Weaso, the Mafia boss. When the pair arrive at the vault they're instructed to rob, they find Weaso there with the Panther King and Professor von Kripplespak. Berri is shot to death by Weaso and Conker is made ready to be turned into a table leg. However, Professor von Kripplespak reveals there is a xenomorph inside the Panther King, which bursts forth from his chest and kills him. 'Von Kripplespak launches the safe into space, but Conker manages to isolate him within the air lock, launching him into the vacuum of space, allowing Conker to fight the xenomorph alone. As he is about to meet his doom at the hands of the xenomorph, the game "freezes" and Conker is allowed to ask the "programmer" for one thing. He chooses a katana and is transported back to the throne room where he kills his foe and is crowned king, in line with his vision at the start of the game. He would rather have had Berri back, however, and ambles back down to the pub where he gets drunk and stumbles off into the night again.
Conker's journey will take him through a series of bizarre locations and introduce him to a number of weird characters and bosses (most famously the Great Mighty Poo, an opera singing, living pile of excrement with sweetcorn for teeth). There were no real levels so to speak, as the game was essentially one large free-roaming area, with simple tasks to complete rather than the collection of items. The only real collectibles during the game are the wads of cash that Conker must retrieve in order to gain entry to a certain section later on. The locations themselves are well realized, including cold caverns, a clock tower, a prehistoric club, a caveman fighting arena, an enormous toilet bowl, a hill made entirely of shit, a farm, a beehive, a Batula's castle, a warzone and many others.
The game followed a chapter based format, basically becoming "levels," the chapters weren't announced in the game, but they typically followed the levels, which also weren't really announced either (as is, there wasn't a portal that said "level one," things just blended together.) The chapters would also be used to replay areas of the game if they were unlocked from the main menu, eliminating the need to replay the entire game just to relive one moment. The chapters are as follows:
Hung Over: Conker wakes up after wandering off in the wrong direction, waking up hung over in a strange world. He is greeted by a scarecrow named Birdy. This level is more of a tutorial.
Windy: This is the "hub world," and so this chapter is actually considered to be ongoing throughout the adventure, because it shows up oh so many times. The first time, conker is charged with killing a bunch of wasps who have taken away the queen bee's hive.
Barn Boys: This chapter follows Conker as he walks into a farm, comprised of talking blocks that want you to get rid of a mouse, a sexually suggestive flower, suicidal pitchforks, and a Terminator-type hay monster.
Bats Tower: This chapter follows Conker working with Catfish to get some money, along the way, he helps a perverted Cog (with a gay Cog on his other side which takes control when Conker turns him over) who makes him put some ladies on his long pole, additionally, Conker gets to fight a boiler with some large steel balls, and parody jaws with a bulldog fish.
Sloprano: Conker investigates the giant mountain of poo, gets cows to poop through a funnel so dung beetles can make him a dung ball, and fights the infamous Great Mighty Poo.
Uga Buga: Conker convinces weasel guards that he's an elephant, and visits a nice but completely misplaced land of cavemen and dinosaurs, there he gets into private clubs, gets hired by the mafia, and fights in an arena to prove he's got the biggest bones of all.
Spooky: Conker goes downstream during the night time and learns about the scary side of the world, where he helps a vampire get some blood off the weekly villager raid, and gets to fight off more zombies then you'd want to.
It's War: War has broken out between the SHC (Squirrels) and the Tediz. Conker is enlisted, storms their beaches, and takes them all down single-handedly.
Heist: Conker meets Barry again, gets re-hired by the Weasel mafia, and robs a bank all the while spoofing the Matrix.
Conker base mechanics don't differ wildly from Rare's other N64 platformers. Players can use a jump button to get Conker over obstacles, while a second tap of the button will give Conker an increased length of jump by utilising his bushy tail to hover for a few seconds. Camera controls are mapped to the C buttons on the N64 game pad.
What makes Conker's Bad Fur Day interesting, however, is that the above accounts for the majority of Conker's gameplay mechanics. Rather than providing Conker with a slew of unique abilities, mapped to every single button the N64 controller (as in the Banjo-Kazooie games and Donkey Kong 64), Conker features an all purpose "Context Sensitive" button. All throughout the game world in Conker's Bad Fur Day, the player will encounter "B Pads", which ask that they push the button on the controller as a light-bulb appears over Conker's head (B's default action was to attack with his trusty frying pan). If this simple action is performed, Conker will magically pull out the item, vehicle or weapon necessary to progress through the game. The actions performed from the pads differ wildly from each other, but more often than not affect Conker's immediate surroundings. This feature (inspired in no small part by the Context Sensitive A button in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time) put a greater emphasis on performing actions within the gameworld that would have a tangible effect on the area itself, rather than simply the collection of shiny objects that had no real impact within the world but allowed the player to progress (see Banjo's "Note Doors" and Mario 64's Star based progression). The Context Sensitive buttons kept the game focused on story, puzzles and gameplay, a welcome change for fans of the genre convinced that Rare's previous collect-a-thons were responsible for the decline of the 3-D platformer straight after its very rapid rise. It was certainly a new take on the platforming genre, and adult gamers welcomed a more mature (or immature as it may well be) take on the template.
Some notable powerups are:
- Using toilet roll to defeat the Great Might Poo.
- Urinating on angry Rock Men.
- A catapult.
- Activating a trough of prune juice to make cows defecate.
Conker additionally competes in a number of challenges that aren't in line with the rest of the game's style of play. For instance, he has to ride a bull hitting targets, a raptor as it eats cavemen and pilots a hoverboard in a race. He is also transformed into a blood sucking bat in the Vampire's castle.
The game was also notable for its large number of novel and well constructed movie parodies. Players would engage in sequences directly inspired by The Terminator, Reservoir Dogs, The Untouchables, The Wizard of Oz, The Godfather, Eyes Wide Shut, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws, Dracula, Star Wars, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, Alien, Full Metal Jacket, Scarface, The Matrix and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, among other references.
In the multiplayer portion of the game you can play in a variety of modes.
- Tanks - Simple, you have a tank and on the map are various power-ups to kill other tanks easier, and faster. In the center of the map is a can of gas, your objective is to place the can of gas in a bunker to kill everyone who is outside . The exciting part of this mode is that once the gas has been released it becomes one big game of musical chairs to see who can find a bunker to live.
- War - Two bases stand off from one another-one for the Tediz and one for the Squirrels. This mode also features a can of gas in each sides base. The mode plays basically like capture the flag with the same rush-to-get-to-a-safe-zone found in tanks.
- Race - In race you play cavemen who have hoverboards and race over giant lava rivers. This mode features basic racing format with three laps (or a time limit) and various ramps and weapons.
- Heist - In Heist, you play a game like neutral capture the flag, but instead of a flag, the game has a bag of money. The player's objective is to get the bag of money and manage to take it back to your color base to score. This mode manages to be fun with tons of weaponry and a nice large level.
- Raptor - In Raptor you play a caveman who must sneak into a velociraptor nest, steal an egg, and run with the egg back to your base where you drop it in a giant frying pan. The problem here is that you must avoid the angry mother velociraptor. Luckily you are armed with crossbows, throwing knives, and clubs to deal with the raptors.
- Beach - In Beach you can play as either Squirrel Frenchman or Tediz Soldiers. As the Squirrels you must charge the beach avoiding fire from the Tediz and make it to the other side of the map. As the Tediz you must prevent the Squirrels from making it through the map.
- Capture the Flag - Finally the dedicated CTF, this is simple. The sad thing is Rare didn't bother to put any neat spin on this mode as they did with the others. The map is rather small but very frantic.
- Deathmatch - Deathmatch is a basic kill-your-enemies mode. The neat thing about deathmatch is you can play it on seven different maps in the game one from every other mode.
Conker's Bad Fur Day was initially a standard platformer, echoing the likes of Rare's Banjo games and Mario 64. It was called Conker's Quest and later, Twelve Tails: Conker 64. This version was much cuter and "kiddy-oriented", featuring none of the features that truly made Conker stand out from the crowd. Trailers for the game were met with a muted reception at E3, as this would be the third similar Rare franchise on a console already rife with platforming titles to choose from. Rare themselves realized this, and decided to redo the entire experience. Inspired by the cute looking but adult cartoon, South Park, Chris Seavor, the game's producer, thought taking the game to more mature and controversial territory would be an interesting direction to go in. Thus, the team announced they'd be making the Conker's Bad Fur Day we know today, and work on the project began in earnest. Initially, gamers didn't believe Rare's decision, claiming it was an April fool's joke.
In 2004, an Xbox version titled Conker: Live and Reloaded was released. It contained an enhanced (though more heavily censored) version of the original game, plus a whole new online component. It was well liked by the game press, though less adored than the original release, possibly because of the slightly aged nature of the game and the fairly bog-standard shooting of the multiplayer.
The Great Mighty Poo's Song
I am the Great Mighty Poo and I’m going to throw my shit at you.
A huge supply of tish comes from my chocolate starfish.
How about some scat, you little twat?
Do you really think you’ll survive in here?
You don’t seem to know which creek you’re in.
Sweet corn is the only thing that makes it through my rear.
How do you think I keep this lovely grin?
Have some more caviar.
Now I’m really getting rather mad.
You’re like a niggly, tickly, shitty little tag nut.
When I’ve knocked you out with all my bab
I’m going to take your head and ram it up my butt. "Your butt?" (Conker) My butt! "Your butt?" That's right my butt! "Ewww." My buuuuuuutt!
|1) Conker the King
|2) Windy & Co.
|3) Beardy erm, Birdy
|6) The Old Chap
|8) The Uggas
|9) Rock Solid
|10) Don Weazo
|11) Surf Punks
|15) Exit the Beach
|16) Enter the Vertex
|17) Conker the King (Reprise)
The game was supposed to have a much darker ending, Conker was originally at the end of the game in the pub, walk up to a mirror, burst into tears, pull out a gun and aim it at his head. The screen would then fade to black and we would hear a gunshot, so in other words, he committed suicide. However that ending was scrapped as it did not really leave much room for a sequel, so instead we have an ending that is more open. Ironically, when Chris Seavour was asked about a Conker sequel, he said it would focus on the evil Tediz and Conker would have been killed in the first scene.