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Rare Replay [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Rare is one of those iconic developers and no matter your gaming preferences you've most likely played one, or numerous, of their titles in the past three decades. Rare Replay takes some of the best of their work and bunches them together in a fantastic game collection that is not only worth your money (only $30!) but a fun trip down nostalgia lane.

The Pros: 

+30 games for 30 bucks

+A great selection of Rare games included in the package

+Charming presentation and easy to use menu system

+Battletoads!

The Cons: 

-360 emulation for the 360 titles

-Not all of Rare's classics are included

-Some games haven't aged well

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Rare is one of those special developers. I know for myself, they have a distinctive place in my heart for some of their games and experiences they gave me growing up as a little gamer. It’s not often that a developer gets to stay in business for 3 decades, so the fact that Rare has been able to do this speaks volumes about them as a company.

 

Menu 1

 

For many years they used to be THE prominent developer and although they may not be on that top tier level these days Rare Replay gives a slight snapshot of their varied and interesting gaming history. It is Rare’s 30th anniversary, so they’ve bundled 30 of their favorite self-made titles that spans decades into one collection, all for $30. If you’re unfamiliar with Rare, this is a great collection to see not just how they’ve evolved but how gaming as a whole has. If you’re a fan like myself and many others, it’s a fantastic trip down some wonderful gaming memories if some of the classic games you remember are in this collection. 

 

From the opening credits, you’ll notice right away that even though Rare Replay is a collection of older titles, it’s brimming with charm; another quality Rare is known for in their games. The presentation style is almost like a carnival; complete with curtains, posters, and more. It would have been easy to simply have every game in a drop down list but there’s been some effort put forth to make the collection that much more special, especially for the fans.

 

The menu system is simple and easy to navigate, as you’re shown each game that’s included and its release year which can be sorted in numerous ways based on your preference. Also included is a massive 10,000 achievement score to obtain, unlockable (and incredibly interesting) videos that range from detailed game documentaries to tidbits of information that isn’t widely known, as well as a ‘snapshot’ system that gives you miniature challenges in most of the games.

 

Menu 2

 

So let’s list what 30 games are included in Rare Replay:

 

Jetpac 1983

Lunar Jetman 1983

Atic Atac 1983

Sabre Wulf 1984

Underwurlde 1984

Knight Lore 1984

Gunfright 1985

Slalom 1986

R.C. Pro-Am 1987

Cobra Triangle 1989

Snake Rattle 'n' Roll 1990

Solar Jetman 1990

Digger T. Rock 1990

Battletoads 1991

R.C. Pro-Am II 1992

Battletoads Arcade 1994

Killer Instinct Gold 1996

Blast Corps 1997

Banjo-Kazooie 1998

Jet Force Gemini 1999

Perfect Dark 2000

Banjo-Tooie 2000

Conker's Bad Fur Day 2001

Grabbed by the Ghoulies 2003

Kameo 2005

Perfect Dark Zero 2005

Viva Piñata 2006

Jetpac Refuelled 2006

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise 2008

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts 2008

 

If you grew up playing video games in the ‘80s, ‘90s, or ‘00s there’s most likely a title or two you not only recognize but played for hours and hours on end. It’s impossible to include every game they’ve made, for many reasons, but this list is great snapshot of Rare’s history with only a few (glaring) holes, which I’ll delve into later. If you’ve not played every game in the list, which is very likely, as even I hadn’t before this collection, there are a few fantastic standout titles that I highly recommend you give a try.

 

Battletoads is simply a classic brawler, known for its punishing difficulty and absurdity, Blast Corps was a destruction based puzzle game, Banjo-Kazooie is still one of the best 3D platforming games to this day, and the Viva Pinata titles are a very unique take on a farm-like sim, but with living piñata animals.

 

Battletoads

 

Just going down the list it’s apparent that Rare had an incredible stretch of amazing games in the ‘90s and ‘00s, something that’s easy to forget unless you see them all listed together like this. All of the games are ports of the originals, not HD remakes which is what most re-released these days tend to do. Rare Replay takes these games out of a time capsule and allows you to play them unchanged just as they were when they released, multiplayer (couch only) included.

 

Banjo

 

Going down the list of titles and playing each one, it’s quite interesting to see the evolution of Rare’s development and what games borrowed and utilized mechanics from their previous releases. I’ve apparently been living in a bubble, as I didn’t know there was a Battletoads arcade that even existed, as it’s never been on console before and my local arcades growing up never had it, so that was a pleasant surprise (since I would have spent thousands of quarters on it). There are a few titles though that you’ll probably play once or twice and then never touch again, based on your preferences. I love me some Killer Instinct, but the Killer Instinct Gold that is included is very stripped down and so barebones that there’s no reason I would play this over the version of 1 and 2 I have from the Killer Instinct 2013 release.

 

Cobra Triangle

 

So while Rare Replay is a collection of some of their favorites, I guarantee there would have been a few others included if it was at all (legally) possible. If you ask people what their favorite Rare game ever is I’m sure you’ll get a bunch answering a title that is on the Rare Replay list, but I’m willing to bed (based on demographic asked) that a huge portion would either answer Goldeneye 007 or Donkey Kong Country. Obviously for legal reasons these titles couldn’t be on this collection which is a shame, as they are some of Rare’s best work and a glaring hole in their history but some of their others like Conker’s and Banjo are so good that this collection can stand up even without those omissions.

 

Perfect Dark

 

Aside from a snazzy menu and some unlockables, there are a few other extras included which adds some much appreciated accessibility, like the ability to quickly use save and loads on any of the pre-N64 games. This means you’re able to save anywhere you like and come back to exactly the same spot whenever desire. Better yet, there’s a rewind feature that can be utilized, allowing you reverse a mistake that just happened and try again without any penalty. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, you’ll finally be able to finish the turbo tunnel level in Battletoads. There are other toggles like infinite lives and even a CRT monitor filter which just adds more nostalgia for us older gamers.

 

Atic Atac

 

Snapshots are essentially little snippet challenges for the older games, very reminiscent of how it was done in NES Remix. They are a fun way to add challenge or even focus on one point of a specific game, even if it’s not one of your favorite classics. Each one is also tied to an achievement, so there’s more motivation there to try them out. There’s even a Snapshot Playlist that challenges you to try these trials in rapid succession. My favorite is the Snapshot that tests you to last 60 seconds on an endless Turbo Tunnel level.

 

Once you arrive to the Xbox 360 era of Rare games they instead will boot to an Xbox 360 emulator, pulling you out of the Rare Replay title itself (though the overlaying menu system still works). Because of this there are some minor performance issues here and there. Nothing deal breaking, but definitely noteworthy. As a side note, the 360 titles aren’t actually on the disc and will prompt you to download them once installed. It’s a little bit of a hurdle in the beginning but once finished, Rare Replay makes it convenient to play them and a good price considering some of the titles to purchase on their own are still $10 or higher.

 

Kameo

 

Rare is a wholly unique developer and playing through this collection only affirmed that more so. Their games are varied and unique, most of which have memorable lasting impressions and a ton of charm. Many compilations are lazily thrown together but there’s been some effort put forth to show some of their best work, even without a couple of their most iconic games.

 

Viva Pinata

 

Sure, some of the games haven’t aged well, but there are others like Conker’s Bad Fur Day that is simply timeless and should be experienced by everyone. Playing through 30 years of gaming history is incredible, not only to see how far the gaming medium has progressed, but I was truly surprised with how many happy memories I had replaying some of my favorites once again. Now I get to share these games much easier with my own daughter, hopefully giving her some memories to think back on in years’ time.

Rare Replay
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Rare Ltd.
Platforms: Xbox One
Release Date: August 4th, 2015
Price: $29.99