5 Reasons to Love (Plus 1 Reason To Dislike) Rare ReplayJune 16, 2015
Amidst all the huge news from E3 about a new Mass Effect game, Fallout 4 using mods on consoles, and Xbox One being backwards compatible, Microsoft announced Rare Replay, a 30 game collection from the Rare library. While many people saw the news and thought “oh, that’s neat”, I gave a Shia LeBeouf-esque standing ovation.
Some may wonder what the big deal is about a random assortment of games from a company that doesn’t have the prestige of Square-Enix or the AAA library of EA or Ubisoft. Well, it wasn’t so long ago that Rare was one of the biggest (if not the biggest) 3rd party gaming developers in the world. While companies like Squaresoft and Nintendo helped bring gaming into the mainstream, Rare picked up the pace in the early and mid-90s by releasing innovative games that literally changed the way we play.
Gamers may point to Halo or Half-Life as games that changed the FPS genre, but if it weren’t for the Rare-developed Goldeneye, we wouldn’t have the type of multiplayer madness we have today with our shooters. And as for platforming, well, Super Mario 64 was our first big foray into 3D with the genre, but games like Banjo-Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day revitalized the way we viewed platformers by really exploring the game’s space.
Rare was a massive part of the N64 era of gaming, and without their games the system truly wouldn’t have been the same. So below I’ve compiled 5 reasons why you should absolutely love this collection of Rare games, as well as one reason it should make you a bit salty.
Seriously, Grab a Friend (or Three)
Out of the 30 games included in Rare Replay, a whopping 21 of those games support multiplayer. One would likely expect that about half or fewer games would have this capability considering the collection ranges from 1983 until 2008, but even Rare’s first major game Jetpac (developed when they were called Ultimate Play the Game) has multiplayer for you and a friend. So you can try out some old classics with a friend (Battletoads, Jet Force Gemini), as well as some newer games (Kameo: Elements of Power, Viva Pinata). It might be time to buy some more controllers and upgrade that sofa.
Experience Old Systems
Rare is a company from across the pond in the UK, and fittingly their first work was done on the Britain’s colorful personal home computer, the ZX Spectrum. Here in North America, you likely didn’t know much about this system unless you were an avid collector, but the Speccy was quite an impressive machine in its time with a library of unique and fun games. Then there are classics like Battletoads that found its way to multiple systems (NES, Amiga, Game Gear, Game Boy, Genesis) and Battletoads Arcade that’s never had a home release before. If you’d like to turn your current gen system into an emulator but don’t want the risks, Rare Replay is the next best thing.
While there are certainly some big names in the Rare Replay lineup, there are also some gaming gems that may have flown under your radar when they came out (or you were too young or not even around when the games were released). However, games like Jet Force Gemini, R.C. Pro-Am, and Viva Piñata are great games that you may have passed on because they weren’t pushed as much or they seemed like they were for kids. But you’d be wrong to thing games like these are just filler. Viva Piñata is an amazingly deep game that’s fun to play alone or with your family, and Jet Force Gemini is a great take on an adventure game that allows you to blast bug-baddies with a variety of cool weapons. Plus, you can’t beat the arcade-y feel of R.C. Pro-Am. Never judge a game before you’ve played it, folks!
Fun for the Whole Family
If you’ve got little ones who need to scratch that gaming itch, but you’re concerned about the violence and language of a lot of today’s games, then Rare Replay is a perfect investment for you. Sure, there are some games that might be too scary or violent for younger gamers (Perfect Dark/Perfect Dark Zero, Killer Instinct Gold), and you definitely don’t want your kids playing Conker’s Bad Fur Day (vulgar little squirrel); still, the rest of the collection is filled with games that gamers or all ages can enjoy, and should if you plan to raise them right. Seriously, every kid should play Banjo-Kazooie at least once in their life.
Rare Replay gives you an amazing value: you get 30 full games with hundreds of hours of gameplay, all for $1 a game. Yup, $30 is all this wonderful collection is going to cost you. If you tried to collect all of these games in their original format, you’d spend hundreds of dollars (and that doesn’t include hunting down the systems to play them on). Rare has done a wonderful thing by making 30 games from their 30 year history available for just $30. Anyone else seeing a pattern with the number 30? No? Just me? Okay then.
I’m very excited about Rare Replay, because it brings back many elements of my childhood and puts them all in one neat little inexpensive package. However, there is one thing I have to gripe about, and that is…
Lack of Crucial Rare Games
While I can rave about the charm of Viva Piñata or the influence that Banjo-Kazooie had on my platforming skills, there are some glaring absences from Rare Replay. For starters, Goldeneye does not make an appearance, and it’s likely due to licensing issues with the James Bond franchise. This is a shame because Goldeneye is lauded for being one of the most exciting and innovative first-person shooters to ever grace a console. Sure it may have aged since 1997, but it doesn’t take away the joy of blowing up a friend with a well-placed proxy mine. Another notable exclusion is Donkey Kong. Obviously Nintendo wasn’t going to allow one of their main franchise characters play on a non-Nintendo console, but it’s still a shame that some of Rare’s best work in the Donkey Kong Country series won’t be in the collection. Heck, even Donkey Kong 64 was fun in its time, but alas we’re left Kong-less and Bond-less.
Do you think that Rare Replay offers a collection worthy of the $30 price tag? Are there any other games from the Rare library that you wish had made it in the lineup? Tell us what you think on Twitter, on Facebook, or in the comments below.
Rare Replay will release for Xbox One on August 4.
[Images via Rare]