It’s a dangerous thing visiting games from the past. And that was my main thought when I purchased the Rare Replay collection. A wonderful deal (30 games for the price of one!), but having already discovered on XBLA the rose tinted glasses effect with Perfect Dark, did I really want to go through that again?
Initially I thought it was going to be Jet Force Gemini that would have me weeping at time for destroying one of my favourite (and most underrated) N64 games, but it wasn’t. In fact I was actually surprised at how well JFG held up, well, the first half of the game anyway before it fell into the usual Rare “collect everything” trap that befell their latter day Nintendo games. If you’ve actually read the name of this blog post you already know what it is……Conkers: Bad Fur Day.
Strangely I actually played the Xbox remake (Live & Reloaded) and found that it was still playable, with a decent if unremarkable online multiplayer bolted on. The cracks had started to show, but it had yet to fall apart in such a spectacular fashion as found here.
Obviously having a game where its entire, foul mouthed humour is based around movies certainly doesn’t help and makes it all feel a little archaic. The Matrix, Aliens, Saving Private Ryan and more are all parodied here and while I enjoyed the comedy when I was 15. Now that I’m 29 it’s more groan inducing than humorous. Oh look! A sunflower with big breasts! Hilarious.
The Great Mighty Poo song I used to think was quite ingenious, and the scouse dung beetles put a massive grin on my face. But now that I like to think my humour has matured somewhat, everything just left me cold. Maybe new 15 year olds coming to this game courtesy of Rare Replay might have the same feelings that I did back in the day, but chances are they won’t because of my second major problem with the game – the gameplay feels incredibly old hat.
Bad Fur Day bizarrely feels like it’s being played underwater. Conker is slow and ponderous with a strange button delay on everything you do, particularly when it comes to using Conkers tail to float between platforms. The platforming itself has a real floaty feel to it with the added insult of falling short distances resulting in health loss. And the camera, good lord the camera. In a post Mario 64 world there really is no excuse for such an awful camera in a game. I lost count at how many times it would get trapped behind scenery and refuse to follow Conker. In a game where pinpoint platforming is required this is something of a problem.
It almost makes me never want to revisit games of yesteryear for fear they too won’t live up to my memories. While there are certainly the exceptions (many classic Nintendo games will never age dammit!), there are those, mostly the early 3D titles I find where the years haven’t been kind. On the plus side, Viva Pinata is still awesome. So go play that instead.