In recent years, it feels like Rare has taken a backseat in their partnership with Microsoft; releasing a number of lukewarm Kinect enabled titles for the Xbox 360. Most of these are motion based sports or family games that I personally don’t find all that fun. It’s been disappointing to watch a once great company fade over time as a result of their partnership. I was hoping to change all of these feelings when I watched the reveal for their compilation of fantastic games past, “Rare Replay.”

In 2009 I walked out of Toys R Us with the brand new “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection.” I’d been anticipating its release with nostalgic glee. I was once again going to experience a giant part of my childhood with this compilation of classics. A hefty batch of timeless games that set Sega on the top tier of the industry was right here, sitting on one disc, in all its glory! It was a very spoiled moment for many of us who grew up with a library of classics.

Rare Replay is not that game.

Rare Replay is a compilation title for the Xbox One which strives for excellence in its production value, but falls flat in its content. It compiles titles from Rare’s history, ranging from ZX Spectrum games like 1983’s “Jetpac”, to more current Xbox 360 titles like “Viva Piñata.” While there are a handful of great titles to choose from, the game feels much less like “Rare’s best” and more like “What Rare can release.” Here’s what you get for your hard earned 30 bucks:


  • 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 (2006)
  • Viva Piñata (2006)
  • Jetpac Refuelled (2006)
  • Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise (2008)
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (2008)

The first time you launch the game you will be treated to a fantastic musical cutscene not unlike something you might see when you first walk into a theme park. It really is fantastic to watch the classic characters show up in this song and dance intro. From there you are taken to a beautiful, almost vaudevillian showroom for the titles the game has to offer. This is where Rare’s character shines. It’s actually fun to browse through these menus. Seeing the artwork, behind the scenes videos, and reimagined music for the title screen of each game really shows that Rare cares about their stable. They’ve also gone the extra mile to give you some aesthetic to achievement tracking in the form of stamps. Reaching the goals set by the game will reward you with a stamp book that fills up as you play more and more of each game, which, ideally would keep you coming back for more.

The ports have, for the most part, made a solid transition to the Xbox One. A few audio glitches aside, the classic games run flawlessly. They’ve even implemented a handy Rewind feature which will allow you to backtrack whatever classic game to help deal with some of those more frustrating moments (lookin’ at you Battletoads). Achievements from the games that you may have already played will also be there to welcome you upon your first play of a game. As for the controls, they work well enough, albeit for two minor issues. First, Rare’s earlier games simply did not control all that well. The isometric landscape of “Knight Lore” just doesn’t feel that great as a game design choice. Also, the N64 ports like Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Jet Force Gemini felt natural and easy with the three handled pad of Nintendo’s past; but unfortunately they did not make the jump from the Nintendo system’s plastic dusty joystick to the analog controls of the Xbox One with a whole lot of grace.

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My biggest gripe with the game is the content. This is an issue that’s out of the Microsoft partnered company’s hands and ultimately boils down to licensing. Sure they have some great classics, but games like Wizards and Warriors, Goldeneye, and Donkey Kong Country, which are some of Rare’s best, simply aren’t available to them for release. Depending on your opinions of games, you may feel very different about the selection of titles than I do, but the collection left me feeling like the offering Rare put in front of you is not where they used to shine in their heyday of retro gaming. Take it or leave it, I think Rare and Microsoft had the resources to give us more of Rare’s colorful legacy.

Overall, This game could have been something that gave other compilations, or services like Nintendo’s Virtual Console a run for their money; but I feel like it fell short. Should you play it? There are a lot of great offerings in this package, it all depends on how deep your nostalgia for Rare goes.

Side note: The game touts its download size as 11gb, but don’t be fooled. Once you reach the more advanced games of the xbox era and beyond, the game acts only as a shell or launchpad for the remainder of games which are actually their own Xbox Live Arcade titles. You can actually top out at around 50gb if you download the complete collection at one time. Take that into account when you’re considering adding this game to your digital library.

6.0

Good

  • Even at launch, the price point isn't obnoxious

Bad

  • A lot of the games aren't that great, with many showing their age
Published
Categories Xbox One

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