Conker's Pocket Tales

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Conker's Pocket Tales
Conker's Pocket Tales.jpg
Developer(s) Rareware
Publisher(s) Rareware
Programmer(s) Richard Brough
Designer(s) Gary Richards, Gareth Jones
Composer(s) Eveline Fischer, Robin Beanland
Release date North America:
June 8, 1999[1]
Europe: August 1999
Australia: 1999
Genre Action-adventure
Age ratings ESRB: Everyone
System Game Boy
Game Boy Color

Conker's Pocket Tales is a Game Boy Color video game starring Conker the Squirrel and the first game in the Conker series. It was released in North America and Europe in 1999. Conker's Pocket Tales was released on a black, dual-format cartridge, so it can also be played on original Game Boy units. If played on a Super Game Boy, a border with colored presents and balloons is shown.

Conker's Pocket Tales is the only game in the franchise made for a family-friendly audience (not including Conker's debut appearance in Diddy Kong Racing). It was created to accompany the release of Twelve Tales: Conker 64 before it was canceled and reworked into a title for mature audiences, Conker's Bad Fur Day. As such, Conker's Pocket Tales is a unique title in the series, and represents an intended direction for the series which has been abandoned.

Although Twelve Tales: Conker 64 was cancelled, some of its content was reused for Conker's Pocket Tales. A lot of the game's soundtrack is 8-bit compositions of Twelve Tales: Conker 64's music.

Story

Evil Acorn bashes Conker's birthday.

The game starts out with Conker and his girlfriend Berri at his birthday party, but as he is about to blow out the candles on his cake, the Evil Acorn bursts out and kidnaps Berri. Conker goes on a journey to rescue her; he has to solve puzzles and find items to assist him. He also receives assistance from various Acorn friends, such as the Forest Guardian.

The ending shows Conker rescuing Berri from the Catacombs and getting every Present back along the way. The Evil Acorn is blasted into outer space from a bomb that he planted in said location, and he vows revenge on Conker. Conker, Berri, and the supporting characters gather together to throw a new birthday party for Conker. The game ends happily, in direct contrast to the ending of Conker's Bad Fur Day.

Gameplay

Conker in the first area, Willow Woods

Conker's Pocket Tales has a similar gameplay style to that of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening.[2] The game is played from a top-down perspective, where Conker explores a large environment in an attempt to recover his stolen Presents. There are a total of 48 Presents, 8 in each level. By collecting every Present in a level and defeating its boss, Conker can continue to the next area. Conker can optionally collect 16 Secret Presents and 24 Invites along the way as well. Collecting Secret Presents does nothing besides increase Conker's rating. There are four Invites in each level, and if Conker collects every Invite in a level, a room is unlocked in the Mysterious Cave.

In addition to standard running and jumping, Conker can perform a stomp attack that can defeat certain enemies. Conker can also dig in patches of soft dirt to come out of a predetermined dirt patch, usually found on the other side of an obstacle. Conker also uses a Slingshot to fire Conkers at enemies or to hit distant switches.

There are two types of puzzles, block puzzles and switch puzzles, both of which are only found in indoor locations. Conker is required to solve them in order to access the next room. Block puzzles are solved by pushing blocks into grooves in the floor, and switch puzzles are solved by stomping on the switches in a certain order.

The layout and some events differ between original Game Boy and Color units. On the Game Boy Color, the game can be saved at any time, but for the original Game Boy saving is only possible at certain save points. Conker's Pocket Tales cannot have a save file for both original and Color units simultaneously. Attempting to play the game between the handhelds will warn the user of a save data erasure. The save data must be erased if the player desires to play the game on another platform. This warning is also included in the game's manual.

Locations

Enemies

Bosses

Sub-games

Conker's Pocket Tales features nine mini-games known as sub-games.[3] The sub-games either involve simple tasks such as target practice or Conker competing against his doppelganger, Honker.

Ratings

Throughout his adventure, Conker earns different ratings, which change depending on how many Presents and Secret Presents he has collected. Whenever Conker attains a new rating, an Acorn Person notifies him of it. In the Game Boy version, Conker is not notified whenever his rating changes, and the only way to check is by saving the game.

Rating Items required
Woodland Weirdo Available from start
Forest Fiend 8 Presents
Hairy Hibernator 16 Presents
Nutty Forager 22 Presents
1 Secret Present
Acorn Aggravator 28 Presents
1 Secret Present
Conker Stomper 32 Presents
2 Secret Presents
Raving Rodent 34 Presents
5 Secret Presents
Crazy Squirrel 39 Presents
6 Secret Presents
Treetop Terror 40 Presents
8 Secret Presents
Mental Mammal 42 Presents
11 Secret Presents
Birthday Bonanza 47 Presents
12 Secret Presents
Whole Shebang 48 Presents
16 Secret Presents

Cover

The originating artwork for Conker's Pocket Tales's box art.

The cover of Conker's Pocket Tales shows Conker aiming with his Slingshot, while there are Evil Acorns, flowers and a Windmill seen around him. This image is slightly altered from official artwork originating from Twelve Tales: Conker 64, which was developed at around the same time as Conker's Pocket Tales.

Differences between versions

Main article: List of Conker's Pocket Tales version differences

There are many differences from when Conker's Pocket Tales is played on Game Boy and Game Boy Color units including some major ones. The story and objectives remain mostly remain the same. A Conker's Pocket Tales save file is only compatible with either the Game Boy or Game Boy Color, depending on which system it was played on. This means that if a Conker's Pocket Tales cartridge is inserted into the other system, the game prompts the player to delete their save file right when the game boots up.

The title screen for the original Game Boy version.
  • In the Game Boy version, the title screen shows Conker's eyes following a butterfly. When played on a Game Boy Color, it just shows the exterior of Conker's House.
  • The Game Boy version has an HUD that displays Conker's Life Bar (represented by Acorns) at the bottom-left and the number of collected Conkers at the bottom-right. Each acorn on the HUD is separated into one-fourths, so collecting four acorns makes a whole acorn on the HUD (similar to Pieces of Heart from The Legend of Zelda series). In the Game Boy Color release, a small icon of either displays at the top when Conker collects either item.
  • Many of the animations in the Game Boy Color version are not on original Game Boy units, especially during opening scenes. The opening scene where Evil Acorn kidnaps Berri had fewer animations in the Game Boy version. The scene of Conker crying as a result is not present on original Game Boys.
  • The pause menu appears on the bottom HUD for Game Boy units. The player can press Select to toggle between the number collected Presents and Invitations to items he has collected, such as a Slingshot. The Game Boy Color has a different Pause menu displayed on another screen.
The progress screen in the Game Boy version
  • On Game Boy units, Conker can save the game by walking into a Save Point, which is a rotating S symbol. These were removed in the Game Boy Color version, because the player can automatically save from the Pause menu by pressing Select.
  • In the Game Boy version, whenever the player resets the game and reopens a save file, it shows a progress screen, which shows the levels that Conker has already accessed and the items that he has collected in each one. Although any of the levels can be selected, as if it were a level select, Conker is always taken to the Save Point where he last saved his progress.
  • In the Game Boy version, the A button allows Conker to dive, whereas the B button increases his speed. The buttons were respectively changed to Select and B when played on the Game Boy Color.
  • In the Game Boy version, an enemy may sometimes release an acorn if defeated.
  • The text in the dialogue screens take up less space in the Game Boy version. Furthermore, the letters are added onscreen one at a time rather than all at once like in the Game Boy Color version.
  • Every map looks different between both versions.
  • In the Game Boy Color version, the Game Over screen shows Conker crying beside a Game Over title. For original units, this is a static background with a book showing Conker crying on the left page and the text "Game Over" on the right page.

Reception

Publication Score
AllGame 3/5
GameBoy Station 4/10
GameRankings 55%
Game Informer 4.5/10
IGN 6/10
Nintendo Power 7.5/10
Planet Game Boy 5/5

Conker's Pocket Tales has received mixed to average reviews from critics. On GameRankings the game has an 55% ranking based on four reviews. AllGame gave the game a score of 3 out of 5, comparing the gameplay to the NES title The Legend of Zelda, while GameBoy Station ranked it lower with a score of 4 out of 10. The critic at Game Informer was mostly negative in the published review, commenting that it was a "dreadful game starring an annoying little squirrel." While the design of the game was deemed "noble and interesting", the gameplay and plot was panned.

Nintendo Power and IGN were more positive in their reviews of Conker's Pocket Tales, with the latter stating that the game is fun but is not a masterpiece. The game was described as being targeted solely at kids, and the gameplay was deemed too simple. The music was described as corny. Despite this, the critic at IGN said that "Conker's Pocket Tales isn't complex, but it is amusing. Rare is constantly making games that have good gameplay, and this is not exempt despite its cliché tone and overdone premise."

In an overwhelmingly popular review from Planet Game Boy magazine on their second issue, the publication praised the game's size and included minigames, stating that Pocket Tales is "a real grower" and that its lengthy lifespan of 20 hours "will fly by".

Gallery

For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Conker's Pocket Tales.

External links

References