Conker's Bad Fur Day
On its surface, Conker's Bad Fur Day is intensely juvenile, full of poo jokes, pop culture references, extreme violence for the sake of comedy, and also some boobs. And you know what? For pure juvenile humor and fun, it's great. You will rarely or never find a game that looks this cutesy but will appeal so completely to the 13-year-old malcontent in your life (I would know), and the juxtaposition of the game's content against its visuals is worth praise in and of itself.
This game is more than just poo jokes, though. It's also full of rather smart humor, a satirical wink at the ills of society, and an ascerbic condemnation of greed for greed's own sake. There will be two distinct impressions of the themes of Conker, and they will depend entirely on how critical an eye the player has. Luckily, it manages to pull off both modes excellently, and the only people who can't enjoy it are bound to be humorless anyway.
But all that's beside the point, isn't it? Conker is funny. Conker is hard. Conker is fun to play. A platformer at heart, Conker's Bad Fur Day marries dozens of different gameplay types together almost effortlessly, from pure platforming to third-person shooting to driving around in a super powerful tank. The game throws new concepts at you over and over, nonstop, right up to the end. It's a testament to the game's design that no part of it is unfun, and the many gameplay modes it presents are well-put together, atmospheric or irreverent where appropriate, and constantly disarming. Your charge up the landing at Normandy (one of the earlier games to do this, I believe) will surprise you, as will the hellish march through the brutal halls of the Tediz base. Racing, shooting, jumping, fighting, hay-baling, all of it comes together in a beautiful but frothy mix that somehow manages to have its own cohesive identity.
And the multiplayer. This game had some of the best multiplayer modes ever, from deathmatch all the way down to the legendary Beach mode. If you can find something more fun than getting together a few friends, having some beers, and playing Beach, then I want to know what you're doing so I can tell you to stop doing it before it kills you.
Conker's Bad Fur Day is incredible, and too-often forgotten in these discussions.
Note: I know that the banner image is from the far inferior Xbox version. I can't find any decent art or screens of the N64 game at 650 pixels or wider to make a proper banner out of. Any help would be appreciated.