cross-posted from: https://lemmy.world/post/12495394
TL;DR This game is still really funny with crude humor that mostly holds up and gameplay that doesn't disappoint. Its showing some age but not enough to get in the way of the fun. If you're a fan of movies from around the year 2001, this is a must play.
An alchoholic squirrel platformer, an absurd scenario adventure, an excessive amount of swear words, a surprising amount of poop, more movie references than you can shake a stick at, and World War 2 are all shoved into a single N64 cartridge. What could go wrong?
This is a departure for Rare into a game targeted at adult audiences after producing family friedly platformers for years. Don't let the cute and cartoonish exterior of this game fool you, you're in for a ride from the moment the game boots up.
The Necessary Background
I think my enjoyment and perspective is relevant to my thoughts about this game so let me explain my biases here. As in previous reviews, this is not an attempt to talk about the game as it was 23 years ago. I'm placing this game in a modern context, especially since I never owned an N64 and wasn't apart of that era. This game is almost as old as I am, so keep that in mind.
The other disclaimer here is that I am not big on movies and tv or pop culture from this era. I'll explain more later about references, but a lot of them flew over my head. It isn't a large problem but again keep this in mind. With that out of the way...
Does the Game Play Itself?
No it doesn't. The gameplay here is fairly minimal coming off of the backs of the two Banjo-Kazooie games. No need to memorize complicated control layouts to progress. The controls here remain nearly the same throughout and lead to a pretty enjoyable, but simple, platforming experience. Most levels are fairly linear but aren't straightforward and require knowing your environment and exploring.
That isn't saying the gameplay doesn't evolve. Most of the moves you have access to come from a pad you stand on to activate. These usually change your interactions with the environment in some way. They give you a slingshot or missile launcher or maybe a bottle of booze for a scarecrow. It takes a lot of the thinking out of the game and lets you sit back and enjoy the adventure.
Previous games from the people at Rare had this feeling of a toolkit platformer where more tools were given to you but the tools you had stayed with you throughout the game. This led to complex controls and more often just meant that moves went underutilized or were shoehorned into levels. I appreciated the restraint shown here and to make use of the tools within each level only when needed.
A Squirrel and the Princess
In regards to the story, there isn't much here beyond a vague scenario given to the player. The characters and levels do a great job of telling a narrative but the core idea of the game is that many different scenarios are stiched together. It leads to a lot of varience in the atmosphere of the game.
Further backing that up is the soundtrack which, as usual, is something Rare did an amazing job with. When you enter an area made of entirely poop in the game, the main thing selling you on the disgust of it is the farts and burps in the music. And yes, I did just say that they are IN the music. I'll let you decide how to feel about that.
Conker's Great Stand Up Routine
This is the part of the discussion that makes or breaks this game for me. Is this game funny? And if so, in what way is it funny?
To answer the first question, it will be pretty subjective to you. I'll characterize the comedy by saying that it is crude and unsophisticated humor for the most part. Most of it holds up well considering comedy from the era and theres only a few things I'd say might cross the line with modern audiences. I thought most of the game was humorous, even if it didn't leave me on the floor crying from laughing.
The absurd scenarios and chracters are refreshing compared to a lot of games that play it more safely nowadays. That said, the references for movies will play into how much you enjoy your time here. For myself, I'd say that I understood a small portion of the references though even reading about them didn't make me think I'd view them the same way today.
For instance, there are short scenes where a movie scene is recreated and similar or exact lines are repeated as a reference. I found these amusing, but not funny per se. It ages similar to parody of anything else though. To give an analogy, it'd be like looking back on an SNL skit making fun of US president George Bush. You'd crack a smile, maybe laugh once or twice, but not like you would have while he was president. That being said, if Terminator, The Matrix, and Starwars are still fresh in your head you'll find this very amusing.
Wrapping Up the Red Squirrel
There isn't too much else to say about this game. Its humorous in a simple way, it looks great and sounds great, and the gameplay is varied and interesting. The game is on the shorter side so its easy to recommend this one. For those who worry about the humor side of it, play the first hour of this one and you'll know quickly if it clicks with you or not.
As a final wrap up, let me thank everyone who has been recommending me this game because I had a good time playing it. Let me know what your experience with this game was if you played it!
Feel free to check out my previous posts for write ups on other Rare games!