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Conker: Live & Reloaded: Cracked Nuts

Company: Rare

Conker's Bad Fur Day was one the N64's last great attention grabbers before the system's demise. Under the guiding hand of Rare, which was at the time one of Nintendo's top development studios, the once child-friendly platformer evolved into one of the crudest games at the time. Conker: Live and Reloaded is essentially a remake of the original Conker, only with a completely redone graphics engine and a few added elements to help freshen the game up. These new elements really add new life to the game.

This "new life" can easily be seen in the game's opening level, a spoof on Steven Spielberg's ?Saving Private Ryan?. The level is essentially a remake of the movie's opening scene as Conker, along with a platoon of squirrel allies, storm a beach controlled by the Tediz, a group of evil teddy bears. From the start it's pretty obvious that Conker is no Boy Scout since he's shown up for the battle completely unprepared. The first half of the level has Conker moving from barrier to barrier trying to avoid being shot. Once up the beach, Conker must capture the Tediz base. Of course, this job would be much easier if Conker's comrades, or rather parts of them, weren't lying all over the beach. But, a squirrel?s gotta do what a squirrel?s gotta do.

Once armed, Conker must fight his way through legions of Tediz soldiers and crazy, motivation lacking surgeons. Conker's quest isn't in vain; hidden deep in the stronghold is the Sarge, who nervously awaits his grim fate strapped in the electric chair. In his zeal to rescue his compatriot, Conker ends up pulling the wrong switch -- resulting in more than just singed hair.

Judging from the opening scene, it's clear that Rare is pulling no punches. All of the crude humor and gory details have made it over to the Xbox version. Exploding heads, bodies, violence -- it's all here. Parents, don't let the cute squirrel fool you -- this is no kid's game.

Let's be honest. Conker was a decent title that got most of its props due to its over-the-top antics and sophomoric humor. Some (okay... the Nintendo die-hards) will disagree with me, but in my mind, what really made Conker a worthwhile title were the multiplayer elements. This is where Live & Reloaded's real purpose for being lies.

Live & Reloaded will offer six character types and numerous play modes. Each character type comes with its own special abilities, such as the ability to pilot vehicles or become invisible. Classes will also have class-specific weapons, some with upgrades. For example, grunts are armed with machine guns and serve as your front-line soldiers. Ninjas, on the other hand, will have the ability to sneak around and are proficient in melee combat. You'll also have access to heavy-weapons specialists and even snipers.

Other weapons of war, such as tanks and really, really big guns are also available during matches. All classes will be able to drive a vehicle, although these will be specific to certain classes. The pilot class will be able to fly fighters and bombers (which can be used to rain terror on those below) while heavy gunners can jump into tanks. Stationary weapons are also scattered across the battlefield in the form of terminals, which will let you build machine gun and rocket turrets to use against opponents.

It's been a while in the making, but judging from early impressions, Conker: Live and Reloaded looks like it's worth the wait. The over-the-top antics and lowbrow humor definitely make it one of Live's more unique experiences. Provided Rare can deliver a multiplayer experience on par with what was seen in the N64 version, the Xbox could have another stellar online title.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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