Conker's Bad Fur Day - Does it hold up?
In 2001, Rare developed a game that would redefine the 3D platformer as we knew it. Conker's Bad Fur Day wasn't a cutesy title geared toward the kiddies; it wasn't your typical Nintendo 64 game; and it certainly wasn't a collection-heavy platformer. No, this was a potty-mouthed game with mature characters and M-rated overtones — a complete departure from both Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64, Rare's other babies. The game came late during the Nintendo 64's life cycle, and it should truly be remembered as a great experience.
Over a decade has passed since the launch of Bad Fur Day, and in that time we've gotten several new consoles, each taking a stab at the 3D platformer genre. As much as it saddens me to say it — and with the exception of the Mario Galaxy games — I think it's a safe bet that Bad Fur Day is easily one of the last great entries in the genre. Thankfully, it remains mostly great to this very day.
You play as Conker, a red squirrel with a cheeky attitude and an affinity for booze. The charming little guy has a bad day at the bar with his buddies, and he ends up lost and hungover. While that's happening, the evil Panther King realizes that his milk stool is missing a leg. The solution: Find a red squirrel to hold up the table. This is a pretty ridiculous plot, but it's so ridiculous that it works. Berri, Conker's girlfriend, soon goes missing, and it's up to you to find her.
The writing in Bad Fur Day is incredibly clever, and when the game isn't making fart jokes and showing off talking flowers with giant breasts, it's delivering some impressive jokes through equally impressive voice acting. That's right, Bad Fur Day features full voice acting from start to finish, and all of it is really good. The game also looks amazing, and while I prefer the art style of Banjo-Kazooie just a tad more, there's no denying how stunning Bad Fur Day looks even to this day. Fun fact: This is one of few Nintendo 64 games to use a 64MB cartridge, and it's very evident. Seriously, the thing is heavier than most other Nintendo 64 carts!
The way Bad Fur Day plays is also pretty unique in that it isn't a collect-a-thon like practically every other game in the genre. Yes, there are items you need to find to progress, such as cash and keys, but the emphasis isn't on these things. Instead, Bad Fur Day features a strand of objectives for you to complete, each one stringing you through the game's story and getting you closer to the goal. Not everything you do is great, but most of it is definitely enjoyable, and with the colorful cast of characters in the game, the end result almost always warrants a chuckle.
You fight a boss made of feces by throwing toilet paper at him; help a horny king bee "pollinate" a busty daisy; and feed a rat cheese until it explodes (rat chunks fly everywhere, and then its mutilated rear end releases one final fart). Bad Fur Day really is a one-of-a-kind 3D platformer, and its dirty humor and brilliant movie references make it that much better. The Matrix, Pulp Fiction, Saving Private Ryan, and A Clockwork Orange are just a few of the iconic spoofs featured in the game, and they're all parodied to perfection.
In case I'm not making myself blatantly clear, I really love this game. I loved it when I played it in eighth grade, years before I should have even been playing M-rated games, and I love it now. (I still remember watching the late-night-only commercial for the game where the blonde chick is slithering around in her bed.) Because I understand the humor more, it's possible that my love for the game has increased. That said, now that I've played more games and have seen what newer console generations have to offer, I'd be lying if I said everything in Bad Fur Day holds up well.
For starters, the game feels a bit sluggish. The way Conker controls isn't as slick as it was back in 2001, and it almost feels as if Rare never managed to one-up Banjo-Kazooie. Additionally, because this is a Nintendo 64 game, there are a few nasty graphical hitches. Lastly, the local multiplayer just isn't as solid as it was when the game first launched. It's still fun when played with friends, no doubt, but it's a bit on the slow side, which makes it especially tough considering the emphasis on third-person shooter gameplay.
But even with these minor quirks, I'd be remiss if I didn't praise Bad Fur Day as one of the greatest Nintendo 64 games of all time, one of the greatest 3D platformers of all time, and quite possibly even one of the greatest games of all time, period. In 2001, this game looked, sounded, and played great. It was also gross, pervy, and hilarious. Here we are 11 years later, and those attributes feel only slightly aged.
The verdict: Conker's Bad Fur Day isn't perfect, and it certainly shows its age as far as gameplay is concerned, but it still holds up for the most part, and it's easily one of the most unique 3D platformers ever created. It's also hilarious and filthy, which is always great.