Rare has been around a long time so it's fitting that a compilation of some of their best games has finally arrived. With thirty games spanning from 1983 to 2008, you know that you're in for one eclectic collection. But, enough with the intro; let's dive in!
Games included in Rare Replay
- Lunar Jetman
- Atic Atac
- Sabre Wulf
- Knight Lore
- R.C. Pro-Am
- Cobra Triangle
- Snake Rattle 'n' Roll
- Solar Jetman
- Digger T. Rock
- R.C. Pro-Am II
- Battletoads Arcade
- Killer Instinct Gold
- Blast Corps
- Jet Force Gemini
- Perfect Dark*
- Conker's Bad Fur Day
- Grabbed by the Ghoulies
- Perfect Dark Zero*
- Viva Pinata*
- Jetpac Refuelled*
- Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise*
- Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts*
* denotes an Xbox 360 game
When you first boot Rare Replay up, you're treated to a lovely musical number that'll turn even the harshest critic's cynicism into excitement of what's to come. Then, you'll naturally explore the beautifully animated menus while listening to live interpretations of the included games' soundtracks. It truly is the best menu system that I've ever flipped through. After discovering what Rare Replay has to offer, you'll be extremely impressed by the amount of content to behold. The most significant bonus is a massive video library of unlockable featurettes, mini behind the scenes documentaries, music, and clips describing concepts and unreleased games. Each game contains a list of milestones to achieve and the older games also include plenty of challenges that offer unique takes on the classics. Finally, another impressive component is how well Xbox 360 games are handled. If you already own the games, you can turn on your 360, sync your saves to the cloud, and continue your progress (achievements and all) when you play them on Rare Replay. They really did think of everything they could do to make this the best possible compilation it could be. Anyway, let's get to the games!
First up, we have seven ZX Spectrum games. Jetpac and Lunar Jetman provide some retro arcade shooting action that holds up quite well nowadays. Jetpac is a basic static shooter where you try to assemble and refuel your ship while avoiding and shooting oncoming enemies and hazards. Lunar Jetman is more complex as it has a much larger scrolling landscape complete with a vehicle to assist you on your quest to bomb alien missile bases. Getting high scores and learning the intricacies of these games is great fun, but the following five games are simply too inaccessible in this day and age. Atic Atac, Sabre Wulf, Underwurlde, Knight Lore, and Gunfright all feature maze-like worlds that are daunting right off the bat. If you really try to overcome their hurdles and get in the groove of discovering how to play, what to do, and where to go then you can have some old-school fun for sure, but I can't imagine too many people caring enough to put in the time and effort to do so. Therefore, these games are only for hardcore retro gamers and existing fans.
Next on the agenda are some classic NES games. The first of these titles is Slalom which has you ski down a hill while avoiding other skiers and trees. It's just as interesting as it sounds. However, Rare stepped up their game when they made the incredible combat racer R.C. Pro-Am. Not only do you get the original and its sequel, you also get to play a water-based spin-off known as Cobra Triangle. If you love racers like Super Sprint then these will definitely give you some good times. Snake Rattle 'n' Roll is a rather interesting 2.5D adventure that plays a lot like Sonic 3D Blast. It can get frustrating, but it's quite rewarding if you have the patience. Solar Jetman (which is a personal favourite of mine) boasts realistic physics-based space exploration where you must battle enemies (and gravity) while trying to bring salvage back to your ship. It may require a great deal of practice, but the payoff is worth the effort. For fans of games like Spelunker, Digger T. Rock puts you in the boots of a cave explorer who finds treasure using his trusty shovel and an array of tools. Other games in the genre have done a better job at making cave exploring fun, but it's nice to see this little known game being included.
To wrap up the old-school portion, there are a few brawlers that'll help you get your rage on. Battletoads is well known for being one of the toughest games around so you can now understand what people are talking about. You'll also experience how addictive it is with its crazy characters, goofy animations, and varied gameplay mechanics. In addition to the original, the previously arcade exclusive version of Battletoads is also included which has much better graphics, more mature content, and just as satisfying gameplay. Finally, Killer Instinct Gold is a Nintendo 64 remake of Killer Instinct 2 and should feel right at home for fans of the series.
Let's move on to the third dimension and discuss some Nintendo 64 games. Blast Corps is a long-lost gem of a game that rewards you for destroying buildings to pave a path for a nuclear missile carrier. It sounds strange, but the gameplay is nothing but pure satisfying chaos. Next, Rare decided to join the 3D platforming craze by releasing Banjo-Kazooie which delighted players back in the day by allowing them to play as two characters as once. Thankfully, it's just as enjoyable now as it was back then. If that's not enough, you also get its direct sequel Banjo-Tooie and the Xbox 360 vehicle-crafting spin-off known as Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Moving on, before we had Earth Defense Force gamers took on hordes of space bugs in the thrilling Jet Force Gemini. It may be a solid third-person shooter, but the controls can get tricky and you have to make sure you complete everything in order to properly finish the game. If you prefer your shooting in first-person then Perfect Dark and its Xbox 360 sequel Perfect Dark Zero are included. They might not have as much nostalgia attached as GoldenEye 007, but they're equally fantastic games (especially the first one). The last Nintendo 64 game is Conker's Bad Fur Day. If you're up for diverse gameplay mechanics and irreverent humour in a 3D platformer then this game is perfect for you.
Last but not least, we have a selection of games from after Rare's transition to Microsoft. To start, the cartoonish horror-themed beat 'em up Grabbed by the Ghoulies is one of my favourite games on this collection. You basically control a boy who tries to rescue his girlfriend from a haunted mansion. Along the way, he battles countless monsters by using found objects and his surprisingly capable fists. Next up, Rare returned to their 3D platformer success by creating Kameo. You play as the titular shapeshifter who must use her powers to take down the evil troll king that her sister released in a fit of jealousy. I just don't understand girls. Anyway, it's a fun adventure that's worth going on. The next games on the agenda saw Rare take an unexpected turn. Viva Pinata and its sequel Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise were their attempts at life simulation games which proved that they could succeed at any genre. However, I find the lack of Viva Pinata: Party Animals questionable since it would have offered more variety to this collection even if it wasn't the best game. Finally, Jetpac Refuelled is a remake of the first featured game and it does a great job of bringing Rare Replay full-circle.
There you have it; thirty games from three decades in one fantastic package. With superb production quality and plenty of extras that'll keep you busy for years to come, picking up a copy of this collection should be mandatory for all Xbox One owners.
- + Masterfully presented with loads of extra content and challenges
- + Tons of titles for any kind of gamer
- + Xbox 360 games carry over perfectly
- - Many of the older games are much too perplexing to pick up and play