Whether you have been a Gamer since the early arcade days, or just started gaming in the last few years, you have surely heard of Rare. Not only have they been creating games for 30 years, but they have created some of the best that the last 30 years have to offer. Rare Replay takes many of Rare’s accomplishments over those past 30 years and ties them together in a beautifully wrapped bundle.
Rare Replay’s presentation is astounding, from the opening musical number, to how all the menus and modes have been turned into gorgeous art galleries with little snippets of history. Rare hit all the genres over the years, and managed to successfully nail each one. From ‘beat em ups’ like Battletoads and fighters like Killer Instinct, to games like Banjo Kazooie and Perfect Dark, which pushed the envelope for how future Platformers and shooters should and would be developed. The best part of this package is that Rare was not only able to include all these beloved titles, multiplayer and all, but they also included some of their classic arcade games that would be extremely hard to track down and play today.
While I had a blast replaying most of these games, there are a few that just don’t hold up. Games like Sabre Wulf, UnderWurld, and Gunfight are fun for a few minutes, but they lose their charm quickly when you realize how shallow the games of yesteryear now feel. Even some of the best games of this collection, such as Jet Force Gemini, take a hit, because not only do the controls not map well to an Xbox One controller, but they just don’t work in the modern era of gaming. Thankfully Rare released a patch shortly after launch that updates the controls for Jet Force Gemini, but I can only hope they do the same for some of their other titles.
One of the coolest features in Rare Replay is in the title itself, the ability to rewind time in any game at any point. Have you ever you ever struggled to complete the hard as nails Turbo Tunnel stage in Battletoads? Of course you have, no one in their right mind was able to complete that stage back in the day, but now with the power of rewinding time, the time has come! While rewinding time may feel like cheating, it’s a nice feature for some of the old classics that can feel too unforgiving at times. Another neat feature is the ability to create save states. While this only works on games prior to the N64 era, it’s nice to be able to save at any point while playing, and quickly get back into the action at any time.
While there are a lot of classic games in this collection, there are quite a few recent games tossed into the mix as well, which include a handful of Xbox 360 games, and a couple of N64 games that were retouched and re-released on the Xbox 360. While it’s nice to see the retouched N64 games in HD with updated controls and a few mechanical tweaks that make them more enjoyable and easier to play, they take longer to load, as the Xbox One has to boot up and run a Xbox 360 emulator in order to play them. The biggest problem is that some of the 360 titles, such as Banjo-Kazooie Nuts and Bolts, seem to have frame rate dips when there are a lot of characters on screen, and also some odd instances of slow downs like the cinematics in Viva Piñata. While these slow downs mainly seem to affect the 360 games, there are a few weird instances with games like Knight Lore, where the frame rate will start chugging out of the blue. For the most part, a huge majority of the games in this collection play just fine, but it kind of boggles my mind that a 30-year-old game can’t run properly on a current gen system.
Besides the gallery of games, there is also a mode called Snapshots, which turns chunks of Rare’s classic games into quick challenges, like scoring a certain number of points in under a minute, or trying to survive for as long as you can in an endless redesigned Turbo Tunnel stage in Battletoads. Completing these challenges earns you stamps that raise your rank. As you rank up, you will unlock bonus feature films, and documentaries where developers talk about what went into creating some of the best games Rare has to offer. My only gripe with this is that I wish these featurettes were unlocked up front, as I will probably never have the time to unlock them all, but would love to watch them, as I am curious to see how some of my favorite childhood games came about.
Even though Rare replay has a couple of hiccups, I think it is a package that all gamers can enjoy. Whether you grew up playing some of these games and are looking for a trip down memory lane, or you are just experiencing some of these masterpieces for the first time, Rare Replay ties its 30 plus years of gaming history into a work of art that is hard not to appreciate.
+30 games for 30 dollars
-Frame rate drops
Getting 30 classic games for only 30 dollars is a deal that you will definitely not want to pass up.
Jason Betthauser is the Senior Producer at The Game Bolt. He enjoys playing through classic games on cold, snowy, Minnesota days, especially if that game is Super Metroid. Follow him on Twitter.