So, now that I took a look at Rare’s first 3D platformer on the Nintendo 64, Banjo-Kazooie, I also want to take a look at their last (and best), Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Beginning life as yet another cutesy collectathon platformer on a console flooded with them, the similarities to previous titles such as Banjo and Donkey Kong 64 prompted the developers to rework the game to make it something more unique. In doing so, you could say they went a little overboard.
What was once a kid-friendly, cartoony game became a raunchy romp, filled to the brim with sex, violence and poop jokes. But aside from the aesthetic change to an M-rated adventure, Conker is also the purest distillation of the Rare formula. It is the magnum opus of their platformers, bringing forth the highest quality of levels, mechanics and characters that we would ever see from Rare, even to this day.
Before playing the much hyped Yooka-Laylee, I always planned on replaying the classic platformer, Banjo-Kazooie. Released smack in the middle of Rare’s legendary run of games released in the mid-to-late 90s, this game was Rare’s first dip into 3D platformers. After Rare’s initial success with the Donkey Kong Country franchise, their core team began work on a brand new IP for the SNES. Not long after, their ambitions warranted a move over to the new Nintendo 64 system.
However, after Super Mario 64 totally changed the playing field for platformers, Rare was forced to reconsider the direction of their game, and eventually transformed the it into what is now Banjo-Kazooie. While it does indeed owe a lot to Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie goes so ridiculously far above and beyond in some aspects that it truly deserves to be remembered the way it is 20 years later.