Whichever N64 game you want to play, chances are there’s a port, HD update, or Virtual Console release out there somewhere. GoldenEye’s a notable but understandable exception given what must be a minefield of rights issues – published by Nintendo, developed by Microsoft-owned Rare, based on a licence held by Activision, based on a film produced by a company that has since gone bankrupt and is now distributed by Sony – but at a push we have a couple of reasonably good remakes. How am I supposed to play Conker’s Bad Fur Day, though? It’s one of those annoying games that lacks a definitive edition – Persona 3 is another one – only with the frustration compounded by all the legal means being seriously compromised in some way.
What brought this to mind was selling my N64 copy. Given its condition and the fact that it came out quite late in the N64’s life, I made good money on it, but it was a hard sale to make because it’s a tough game to play legally nowadays. I could, of course, have plugged in the old N64, but that would be reliant on my controllers still working and, let’s face it, it’s going to look like shit on a modern TV. Plus, you know, £100.
Nintendo wouldn’t touch the game, so it was published in the UK by THQ and Rare kept the rights. Rare’s still owned by Microsoft, so no Virtual Console release.
Mercifully, then, we have the Microsoft-published Xbox remake, Conker: Live & Reloaded. It’s much prettier and it works on an Xbox 360. Problem solved? Nope. You see, it had its name changed before release from Conker: Live & Uncut, which should set off alarm bells. Compare, for example, the Great Mighty Poo scene on a Nintendo 64 to Microsoft’s adult-friendly shooter box. As someone who won’t watch a film when it’s been cut by seconds, this is completely unacceptable. No shit. Literally.
Microsoft isn’t new at this console game any more, and it’s certainly not averse to publishing adult content in its games. In that case, how about giving Conker the same treatment as Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, which both had excellent, well-received Xbox Live Arcade ports that updated the games and even added functionality that was dropped from the N64 originals? Get me a playable, uncut version of the game – hell, maybe throw in the lovely assets from the Xbox port – and you’ll both redeem yourselves for Live & Reloaded and make me feel much better for having sold out on my original copy.