Conker: Live and Reloaded review

He's back, he's bad, he's foul-mouthed... We love him

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When one swears inappropriately, starts pissing in public or generally socially misbehaves, do you still laugh? Well, if you're a bloke, of course you do, we're like that... but broadly speaking it's probably a period of your life you left behind at say, the age of 14.

If, on the other hand, the laughing-at-fart-and-knob-jokes stage of your life is very much still in full swing, then have we got a game for you.

Conker Reloaded is one curse-filled adventure in a filthy fantasy world that paints its own airwaves with profanity at every occasion. And if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea then perhaps you'd best just skip a few paragraphs right now.

Because, and this may come as a shock, aside from the surface entertainment value of seeing a genre typically associated with kids morphed into something you definitely won't want them to see, Conker Reloaded doesn't have a great deal going for it.

Reloaded is a remake of N64 classic Conker's Bad Fur Day. It's loosely a platformer/third-person shooter crossbreed with the odd format breaker thrown in for good luck.

And who better to make a shooter/platformer hybrid than Rare, creators of Goldeneye and Mario 64-beating platformer Banjo Kazooie? No one. So why is the game far from perfect?

On the one hand, it's hysterical, but you'll soon realise that, unlike in Stranger's Wrath, most of the comedy happens in cutscenes and not in the game itself.

As for the action, it's generic third-person shooting: a sedate 'fight this formulaic boss, find this item and take it elsewhere' affair. Even those few puzzles are very basic.

It's with a not inconsiderable amount of fear for how you may react that we drop the final bombshell, that Conker as a comedy character is fundamentally just not very funny. At all.

So, Reloaded is no classic, but Conker Live, a second entire game in its own right, is. And, since we've been on a negative slide, we're going to start by getting the bad news out of the way first.

The bad news, then: you only have two-player split-screen available, the frame rate occasionally (and forgivably) drops, and 'bots are only available in split-screen and solo modes.

Now, do us a favour. Take those few moans, wrap them up in a small paper bag and chuck them in the trash. Because, while they're all valid criticisms, they really don't hold much sway against the important facts.

The important facts being these: Conker Live is sublime, sincere, potent, deadly, and utterly thrilling multiplayer gaming. It's excellent.

Conker Live is a joy to play, a social-life-threatening venture into the ever-appealing (and for once, original) world of virtual war, and a game bursting with strategic action the like of which is absent from 95% of online Xbox games.

Rare has done what the critics said they couldn't, delivering a truly belting title on the current-gen hardware. Now do them justice, and buy it.

More info

US censor rating""
UK censor rating"16+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)