Video game developers come and go, but certain companies leave a lasting impression and will be remembered for their best creations. Rare was founded in 1985 and made dozens of NES and arcade games, but it wasn’t until the 1994 that the company truly started to gain the recognition they deserved. Thanks to SNES titles like Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct, Rare became one of the leading developers of the decade and fans would eagerly anticipate their new games. Rare’s dominance continued on the Nintendo 64 when they released one of the most influential first-person shooters of all-time, GoldenEye 007.
The N64 era for Rare spawned some the company’s most innovative ideas, and showed that the development team was capable of creating amazing games in a number of different genres. Be it Banjo-Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Killer Instinct, Perfect Dark, or Donkey Kong 64, all of the games amazed with strong gameplay and a memorable cast of characters. When it came time for the Nintendo GameCube, Rare was expected to continue their excellence on Nintendo’s new hardware, but things were not to be. On Sept. 24, 2002, the gaming world was shaken when news broke that Microsoft had acquired Rare for $375 million.
Opinions on Rare’s output for the Xbox brand is widely criticized as the company didn’t seem to release a major franchise for Microsoft. However, that isn’t entirely true. While it is easy to focus on the company’s more recent casual projects, like Kinect Sports, one must not overlook quality Xbox 360 titles like Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts ‘n Bolts and Viva Piñata. Rare may not be the company it once was, but Rare Replay gives longtime fans a chance to fall back in love with some of their favorite games and relive their childhood.
Rare Replay is a celebration of Rare’s thirty year presence in the game industry. Though this collection doesn’t feature all of the company’s games, it does a fine job at assembling many of their best projects. One of the most appealing aspects of this collection is how diverse its 30 game library is. Experiencing titles from the NES era for the first time – like Battletoads, will be a treat for many.
The value and attraction of Rare Replay will vary person to person as it is dependent on your relationship with Rare, their games, and why you like the company.
Many of Rare’s old-style arcade games have aged poorly due to dated gameplay and inferior control mechanics. Titles like Atic Atac, Sabre Wulf, and Gunfright are victims of the times and feel out of place by today’s standards. Now, that isn’t the case with all of Rare’s early projects. Slalom, R.C. Pro-Am, and Cobra Triangle – just to name a few, provide enjoyable gameplay and great challenge. Battletoads: Arcade stands the test of time and is one of the best games found on Rare Replay. Get two friends over and experience one of the best 2D beat ’em ups ever to release.
Odds are in favor that you have played one of Rare’s N64 titles, and many of their best efforts are found in Rare Replay. Sure, GoldenEye 007 isn’t featured here, but with titles like Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Blast Corps, and Killer Instinct: Gold, it’s hard to complain. Of the N64 games, Jet Force Gemini has aged the worst due to its controls. Thankfully, a patch is planned to allow for dual-analog style control. A couple of the N64 games do suffer from minor performance issues. We experienced short stints of slowdown while playing Blast Corps, for example.
Grabbed by the Ghoulies is the only Xbox game found in Rare Replay. Having never played the original, we were interested to try this game out. We haven’t completed the game yet, but have enjoyed the game’s whacky setting and odd characters.
Every game found in Rare Replay has a list of challenges, which will reward you with stamps. Games released prior to 1996 have a feature called SnapShot, which allows you to jump into some of the best moments from Rare’s early titles. Completing a SnapShot challenge will give you a Stamp. These stamps will unlock documentaries, music, and other interesting facts about Rare.
Many of these challenges require patience and dedication, but the payoff is well-worth it for those interested in learning more about Rare.
Rare Replay offers tons of content and software for its asking price. Getting the chance to replay classics from the NES, SNES, and N64 era is a treat for longtime fans. This collection shows that Rare made some of the best games the industry will ever see, and gives hope that they one day return to their former glory.
- Revisiting Classic Rare Games
- Challenges and Stamp Reward System
- Minor performance issues on N64 titles
- Outdated controls on select titles