Conker's Bad Fur Day
|Conker's Bad Fur Day|
|Programmer(s)||Mark Betteridge, Robert Harrison|
|Release date||North America: March 5, 2001|
Europe: April 6, 2001
Australia: May 25, 2001
|Age ratings||ESRB: Mature|
Conker's Bad Fur Day is an infamous Nintendo 64 title starring Conker, and was released in 2001. It was developed and published by Rareware. The game marks a turning point for the Conker franchise, in which the series' demographic was changed for mature audiences. The game had a remake for the Xbox in 2005, titled Conker: Live & Reloaded. Conker's Bad Fur Day was even included on Rare Replay.
Conker's Bad Fur Day was under development for four years. It started out as a completely different title meant for a family-friendly audience, Twelve Tales: Conker 64; it was retooled into its current form because previews were criticized for being both too cute and similar to Rare's earlier platform games. Even as Bad Fur Day it remains visually similar to the company's other 3D platformers, such as Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64.
The story opens with a prologue, similar to the opening of A Clockwork Orange. Conker introduces himself as "king of all the land". He introduces his "bad fur day" and how the events led up to such.
The morning after a night of binge drinking, Conker awakes to find himself in an unfamiliar land with a terrible hangover. Having no other choice, he begins a long journey with the goal of returning home to his girlfriend, Berri. While he is trying to get home, he also must avoid the minions of the evil Panther King, who wishes to use Conker as a side table leg; his right-hand man and the mad-scientist, Professor Von Kriplespac, is tired of being bossed around by the Panther King and plots his vengeance.
Along the way, Conker finds himself in a variety of situations, including having to recover a bee hive from Wayne and the Wankas, confronting an opera-singing pile of feces, being turned into a bat by a vampire, and even getting drafted into a war between the SHC and a Nazi-like race of teddy bears simply known as the Tediz.
While this is occurring, a thug working for Don Weaso, head of the Weasel Mafia, abducts Berri from her home with the intention of using her as an exotic dancer for the Rock Solid club. Don Weaso was later revealed to be working for the Panther King.
Near the end of the game, Berri and Conker are enlisted by Don Weaso to rob a bank. When they get into the vault, they find the Panther King, who has Don Weaso shoot Berri to death and prepares to turn Conker into a side table leg. About this time, Professor von Kriplespac reveals a xenomorph, whom he later calls Heinrich, hiding in the Panther King’s chest; Heinrich then bursts out of the Panther King, killing him. Don Weaso uses this opportunity to escape. The vault then turns into a space ship and launches into space, where Heinrich attempts to kill Conker. Conker then opens an air lock, pulling Von Kriplespac into the vacuum of space to his death.
As Conker is about to be killed by Heinrich in the Mech Suit, everything freezes due to the game locking up, and Conker is allowed to ask the Programmers for whatever he wants (who communicate to Conker with a command line). He gets a Katana, and is transported to the Panther King's throne room. He then decapitates Heinrich, and is crowned king by Franky, the Weasel Guards, Ron and Reg (sort of), Rodent, Marvin, and the Lady Cogs, calling back to the prologue. Conker is unhappy with this result, however, as he does not want to be king, and he forgot to ask the Programmer to bring Berri back to life.
Conker returns to The Cock and Plucker, and drowns his sorrows with some scotch. He then stumbles off into the night again, except he goes the opposite direction back home.
In the single-player mode, the player takes on the role of Conker and plays the game in a free-roaming environment. Conker can Jump while Crouching to gain high vertical distance, as well as jump more than twice his height in any direction. Conker can also spin his tail around quickly like a helicopter for a few seconds, similar to Tails' signature ability in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Rather than give it an official-sounding name, as is the unofficial 'tradition' in the video game business, Conker just calls it the Helicoptery Tail Thing. This allows him to jump a little higher, navigate in the air to accurately land, and slow his descent if he is far up from the ground. After a few seconds, the tail slows down, and he drops and is not able to do it again until he has landed and jumped again. Besides this, he has few other physical powers. He can swim underwater for a while until he runs out of breath, jog indefinitely and not get tired, and is strong enough to push heavy objects, such as the The Big Big Guy's balls.
Conker can eat pieces of Chocolate to regain lost health; his life bar is represented by six-square chocolate bars. In a parody of similar platforms with unexplained floating pickups throughout levels, they were originally created by Professor Von Kriplespac, but he threw them out the castle window when he started a new project. Conker can carry six blocks of chocolate health at maximum capacity. There are two types of chocolate: regenerative chocolate and one-time chocolate. Regenerative chocolate reappears 10 seconds after being eaten. One-time chocolate disappears after eaten, and doesn't reappear until Conker reenters the game world. Chocolate does not protect Conker against falling from up high, being sliced by spinning blades, or being dismembered in the grinder of Count Batula's Mansion. However, it does protect against being hit with a heavy object from above, such as a large dollop of feces from The Great Mighty Poo.
Conker has a limited number of lives. If Conker loses all of his lives the first time, a cutscene shows him in the Underworld where he meets Gregg the Grim Reaper. He explains to Conker about Squirrels' Tails, and each one grants an extra life to Conker.
When a light bulb icon appears over Conker's head, this indicates a context-sensitive moment. These take place in Context Zones, which allow Conker to perform a certain action relating to the scenario. They are usually found on a pad depicting a "B", indicating that the player must press the button while Conker stands on the zone. He usually pulls out a large object from his pocket, a concept known as hammerspace, although sometimes Conker transforms into an Anvil to slam onto the ground. Context-sensitive moments under a beer keg involve Conker drinking lots of beer, making him drunk. In this phase, Conker staggers around but can urinate on Fire Imps and Rock'ards. Most Context Zones lose their purpose after one use, even if they are reusable. Some Context Zones activate while Conker is in mid-air.
The game features a lot of profanity but only censors a few words such as "fuck". Censored words are represented in speech bubbles by flashing red symbols, including skulls, spirals and lightning.
- Hungover: The first chapter serves mostly as a tutorial. Conker starts the chapter completely hungover and enervated. He must deal with a scarecrow called Birdy and later a gargoyle blocking his path.
- Windy: This chapter serves as a sort of overworld; most levels are accessed through Windy. The area receives its name from the large windmill in the center. A large portion of Windy is Poo Mountain, an enormous pile of excrement where the Liverpudlian Dung Beetles live. Other inhabitants of this area include wasps and the queen bee.
- Barn Boys: This chapter is a large barn and the surrounding area. Inside the barn, Conker may find a sentient pitchfork, Frankie, bullied by a paint pot and a paintbrush. Other characters include the Terminator-inspired Haybot, King Bee, and a large-breasted Sunflower.
- Bats Tower: In this chapter, Conker is asked to help a school of blue-blooded Catfish retrieve their fortune from a safe guarded by a Bullfish. Most of the level takes place inside the vast safe. Conker encounters the split-personality Schizoid Cog, the missing Lady Cogs, Fire Imps, and a "bourgeois big-bollocked boiler".
- Sloprano: This chapter takes place inside Poo Mountain. It opens with a cutscene of one of the Liverpudlian Dung Beetle telling Conker about a thing "that just came outta the shite" with "some money up there if you can be arsed gettin it". The stage is mainly a battle between Conker and The Great Mighty Poo, a sentient pile of feces who sings a scatological operetta while flinging poo at Conker. The stage also holds a giant pipe similar to a garbage disposal and ends with Conker bribing a few Weasel Guards to enter a prehistoric world.
- Uga Buga: This chapter is a prehistoric-themed world filled with dinosaurs, cavemen, and stone creatures. The stage is quite vast and includes a nightclub called Rock Solid, a shrine to a dinosaur statue, a lava flow-boarding segment. It ends in an arena reminiscent of the Roman colosseum, where Conker tames a raptor named Fangy to fight Ugas and a giant caveman named Buga the Knut.
- Spooky: This chapter largely takes place inside the house of one of Conker's vampire ancestors, Count Batula. Batula's appearance and actions are directly based on the film Bram Stoker's Dracula. Here Conker is transformed into a bat by his 300-year-old ancestor, and must fetch villagers for nourishment for Count Batula. After Batula dies from overeating, Conker returns to normal, but must fight a sudden influx of zombies with his trusty shotgun to escape.
- It's War: This chapter involves Conker infiltrating and attacking the Tediz, an army of malevolent teddy bears, in a parody of Saving Private Ryan. Conker progresses through the inside of the Tediz base, killing hundreds of the stuffed bears and rescuing Private Rodent. Conker barely manages to get out alive when a psychotic puppet activates self-destruct and destroys the base.
- Heist: The start of this chapter parodies the film The Matrix. Conker and Berri are asked to infiltrate the Feral Reserve Bank. After fighting their way through a recreation of the famous lobby scene, they encounter the Panther King, who is killed by a newborn xenomorph named Heinrich, who is directly based on the aliens from the Alien films.
Conker's Bad Fur Day has a multiplayer option as well, featuring seven different minigames: Beach, Raptor, Heist, Deathmatch, War, Tank, and Race. It also has eight different levels: Total War, Colors, Temple, The Vault, Bunker the beach, a lava racecourse, and a Tank warzone, all except last three worlds playable in Deathmatch mode. The Bunker level is a Deathmatch exclusive. Health is measured with chocolates, just as in the single player mode.
- Beach involves the player controlling either the Frenchies or the Tediz. The Frenchies are trying to reclaim Paris from the Tediz. As the Frenchies, the player must guide a french refugee up through the beach and into a waiting escape vehicle without getting killed by the Tediz. The Tediz fire down on the Frenchies from three different fixed positions located above the escape vehicles, utilizing either a Sniper Rifle, a Rocket Launcher, or a mounted Chain Gun in order to prevent the refugee's evacuation. The Frenchies are unarmed, but can retaliate by setting off a detonator switch, known as the Plunger, which blows up the Tediz who are preventing their escape and gives them a window of time to make the beach run uncontested. Though in any case, as the Sergeant, who has gotten the Frenchies to the beach, warns in the intro cut-scene, within a several seconds, if one of the Frenchies does not get killed by the Tediz or escape, they will be instantly killed by an off-map laser weapon, thus forcing Frenchies to move quickly and not wait too long.
- Raptor involves up to two players playing as remote controlled Fangys who are trying to feed Ugas to a Dino Baby, while the other team plays as the Ugas, who want to steal the Dino Eggs for breakfast.
- Heist involves a parody of Reservoir Dogs in the intro. Four teams (either two per team or one player each, depending on how the game is set up)—Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow—are instructed by Don Weaso to rob the poorly-guarded Feral Reserve Bank. The objective is to retrieve Cash Bag from the center of the level and run with it all the way back to their corresponding vault without being damaged (in which case they lose the bag and it attempts to return to the center).
- War can either be a large-team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag with all of the game's weapons scattered between each level. Each level has two bases, a large field between them, each with multiple access points and places for different tactics. For example, there are sewers where a gas Canister can be planted to kill all unprotected soldiers in the Total War level.
- Tank uses the Class Twenty-Two Tank from the single-player mode. Players all spawn in their own bunker and go around a large canyon with optional, pick-up upgrades and battle to the death. Players have the option of also grabbing a gas canister, much like in Total War, and returning to their bunker where they are protected.
- Race is simply the multiplayer version of a mini game within Single Player. Here, players must go around a volcano with their hover-boards. They can attack other players and, if not careful, crash into walls and die. The first one to make a certain amount of laps, determined before the start of the game, or is the last man standing wins.
- Deathmatch has all of the multiplayer maps available to play in, except for the ones used in Beach, Tank, and Race. In this mode, basically characters simply try to kill any other characters on the field.
The game was announced at E3 1997, under the title Conker's Quest. A year later, in 1998, the game's title was changed to Twelve Tales: Conker 64, and players would be able to control Conker in action-based settings and Berri in strategy-based settings, with the possibility of two player split-screen gameplay. The game was targeted toward a family audience and featured cute characters and colorful settings. However, Rare was influenced by a critical reception of the cuteness, which resulted in a design overhaul. People initially thought the game was cancelled because it was repeatedly delayed and went unmentioned by Rare for almost a year. Rare later clarified that the game was "still being worked on by a full team and with the same level of dedication as when it was first announced."
In 2000, Rareware officially revealed that Twelve Tales was retooled into Conker's Bad Fur Day. Many have incorrectly assumed that their press statement was an April Fools' Joke. According to the developers, "We already had the main character (although he was eventually remodeled) and a good deal of code already written, so the best option seemed to be to change the game's direction. Mature humor was a key element." Several aspects of the game were designed to attract mature audiences. Unlike in Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64, item collecting was mostly discarded and character abilities were simplified with Context-Sensitive Zones. Bad Fur Day relied heavily on cutscenes and features a substantial amount of film parodies. The game only had two elements removed from the final game: a cutscene with Pikachu and a joke at the expense of the Ku Klux Klan.
In 2013, Conker King (Chris Seavor's YouTube account) uploaded a series of YouTube videos featuring gameplay and the developers' commentary on Conker's Bad Fur Day. They originally drew inspiration from their deep analysis of the gameplay and camera mechanics of Super Mario 64. According to them, "We were just copying Mario, weren't we? Which, to this day, is still the best 3D camera." A lot of time and care was spent on system performance optimization, animation details, and audiovisual appeal. For example, to increase the number of simultaneous light sources to four, one programmer spent four months deciphering and rewriting the Nintendo-supplied microcode for the Nintendo 64's Reality Coprocessor, while another microcoded the support for MP3, reverberation, and Dolby Pro Logic surround sound. A developer also spent weeks optimizing the system's ability to display distant backdrops as texture tiles to enhance gameplay navigation and visual appeal.
Conker's Bad Fur Day was first released on 5 March 2001 in North America. Advertisements for the game were featured in adult magazines such as Playboy, and commercials were geared towards an adult audience. As Nintendo was known for its family-friendly games like Mario and Pokémon, the game was the subject of controversy. According to Rare, "Nintendo initially had concerns regarding this issue, because kids might confuse the product as being aimed at them, but I'm sure you'll agree if you've seen the box that Nintendo is making sure nobody makes that mistake." Nintendo of America declined to acknowledge the game in its Nintendo Power magazine and KB Toys, which specialized in toys and video games for children, decided against selling the game. In Europe, the game was published and distributed by THQ because Nintendo of Europe refused to publish it.
Even though Bad Fur Day fared well with critics, it sold worse than expected, in part because of its high cost and late release in the Nintendo 64's lifespan; a year later, the Nintendo 64 was discontinued after the release of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.
After the release of Conker's Bad Fur Day, Rare began development of a direct sequel referred to as Conker's Other Bad Day. Chris Seavor revealed that the game would deal with "Conker's somewhat unsuccessful tenure as King. He spends all the treasured money on beer, parties and hookers. Thrown into prison, Conker is faced with the prospect of execution and the game starts with his escape, ball and chain attached, from the Castle's highest tower." The sequel was cancelled in 2002 after Rare's acquisition by Microsoft, who expressed no interest in a sequel.
Instead a sequel, Conker's Bad Fur Day was ported to the Xbox in 2005 with a new title, Conker: Live & Reloaded. Developers noted the difficulty in porting the game to the Xbox because of the original version's microcoded performance optimizations were deeply customized for the Nintendo 64 hardware. Conker: Live & Reloaded features updated graphics and a multiplayer mode with Xbox Live support. Additionally, some aspects in the single-player mode were adjusted: several obscenities within the voice dialogue that are present in the original were later censored at Microsoft's request, notably the world "shit". The camera control was also refined and improved with a zoom function, and an auto-targeting system was added.
After the release of Live & Reloaded, Rare made another attempt at a Conker sequel, titled Conker: Gettin' Medieval. The game was to be multiplayer focused and did not feature Conker as a main character, as Rare instead hoped to focus on other characters in the series. However, the game was ultimately cancelled.
Conker's Bad Fur Day ultimately received a sequel in a new episodic campaign for the sandbox game Project Spark, titled Conker's Big Reunion. It is set ten years after the events of Bad Fur Day, and Seavor reprised his voice roles. The first episode of the campaign was released in April 2015, but the remaining ones were cancelled the following September.
- Chris Seavor - Every male character (excluding The Great Mighty Poo).
- Louise Ridgeway - Every female character
- Chris Mallow - The Great Mighty Poo
- Idiom "bad fur day" parodies the "bad hair day" in a method of replacing the term "hair" with "fur" within referring to the more specific type of hairy coat of certain animal species, as an adaption used within game's setting of animal anthropomorphism.
- In The Cock and Plucker, Banjo's head can be seen stuffed and mounted on a wall above the fireplace. Kazooie's head can be seen attached to the handle of an umbrella in the closet where the Chapter mode is located.
- The music that plays during "Pisstastic", when Conker is peeing or riding on Mr. Barrel, is the same tune heard in Conker's Pocket Tales for the mini-races and mini-games. Also during the first "It's War" cutscene, the opening jingle is part of the theme used in Conker's Pocket Tales. This theme was also used in Twelve Tales: Conker 64, when Conker rides the rope.
- A cutscene involving Birdy the scarecrow involves the request for Mepsipax which is met with confusion by Conker. Mepsipax is a reference to Pepsi Max, which one of the programmers nicknamed "Beardy" drank often. For obvious copyright and advertisement reasons the soft drink's name had to be changed, thus the term Mepsipax.
- The team that developed Conker's Bad Fur Day is responsible for another cult classic: Killer Instinct. If you allow Conker to sit still long enough he will pull out a Game-boy and begin playing it. The music that plays are all songs from Killer Instinct; Also if you position the camera just so you can see both the bridge level from the game and the game's logo on the cartridge on the Game Boy.
- The game's original ending was going to involve Conker walking up to a mirror in the pub, bursting into tears, pulling out a gun and aiming it at his head. The screen would fade out, and a gunshot would be heard. This ending was dumped because "It didn't spot much for a sequel." This is ironic, because when Chris Seavor was asked about a new Conker game, he said it would focus entirely on the SHC/Tediz war, and Conker would be killed off in the first scene.
- For this subject's image gallery, see Conker's Bad Fur Day/gallery.
- Conker Has a Bad Day - IGN
- Rare on Tooie, Conker - IGN
- Amazon.com: Mature Comic Mischief (Wayback Machine)
- Conker's Bad Fur Day Was Supposed to Include Pokémon and KKK Jokes - Kotaku
- THQ Conkers Europe - IGN
- Conker's Bad Fur Day Review - IGN
- Conker's Bad Fur Day Review - GameSpot
- MundoRare - Conker Commands and Conquers (Wayback Machine)
- Rare opens up about its unreleased Conker game - Destructoid (Wayback Machine)