Conker: Live and Reloaded - Xbox

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Rare Soft. Co.: Microsoft
Publishers: Microsoft Game Studios (GB)
Microsoft (GB/US)
Released: 15 Feb 2006 (GB)
24 Jun 2005 (GB)
21 Jan 2005 (US)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
Connectivity: Xbox Live, Xbox System Link Cable
Accessories: Communicator Headset


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Everybody gasped when Microsoft bought up long-time Nintendo affiliate Rare, whose portfolio inlcuded GoldenEye and the last-gasp N64 masterpiece, the unashamedly profane Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Analysts said that the console market toe-dipping software megalith could never hope to recoup the staggering amount of money paid, even if the developers churned out 10 games a week for the next million years. Even more surprising then, that even with Xbox 360 looming ever bigger on the horizon, Rare has yet to release more than one Xbox title, the coolly-received Grabbed by the Ghoulies.

Now the long-awaited and long-promised Conker Live and Reloaded is finally here. The game comprises two main parts. The Live part does indeed refer to Xbox Live and Rare have created a multiplayer-focused experience following the war between the brave squirrels of Squirrel High Command and the evil and menacing Tediz. This war, that formed the backdrop to Conker’s madcap adventures in Conker’s Bad Fur Day, has now been expanded on fully, with six types of soldier on either side, controllable vehicles, and a dynamic where, via a time machine in a pub basement, the war can be fought in the ‘present day’ or in the future. Players can join the team of their choice and play this quite tactical third-person experience, whether it be on one Xbox with AI goodies and baddies, or against up to 16 players via Live or simply system link. The Squirrel forces consist of ordinary grunts, and experts in demolition, pyrotechnics, sniping, infiltration/close combat and pilots. These characters all have their own bespoke weapons, and differ when found in the future or past, in the Old War and Future War. The Tediz also have as many different characters to choose from, and the vehicles available include five types from planes to tanks. Players will have to communicate and use their special abilities wisely if they and their comrades are to triumph on the battlefield. Missions available for selection feature different scenarios and players can also choose to play either of the past and future campaigns online, where there is a plot progression from one mission to the next.

As much as all this is, it only constitutes the Live part of the title. Reloaded features the original Conker’s Bad Fur Day, re-jigged and beautified to make the most of the console’s powers. All the quirky and humorous gameplay, puzzles and movie references are there, and promised to be ruder than ever before. An attractive enough prospect in itself, particularly for those who never played the original, but packaged with a unique, all-new team shoot-'em-up makes it pretty difficult to resist.