Rare Replay is a collection of games that makes sense, Rare has had a rich history where they have created some of the most well loved titles and characters in the gaming world. With their lack of games lately they were at risk of being forgotten, but they weren’t going to let us forget everything they have done for the world of gaming by physically reminding us. For a measly £20, or whatever that equates in your currency, you have 30 great games at your disposal making each less than 70p, that’s less than what a cup of tea from Starbucks costs. This collection spans 30 years of gaming history spanning across a variety of consoles. Obviously some games are better than the others, Grabbed by the Ghoulies’ best part is its name, but on the most part they are all worth playing, with what is like a video game version of Netflix. Now for tedious but necessary list of all the titles.
Atic Atac, Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Battletoads, Battletoads Arcade, Blast Corps, Cobra Triangle, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Digger T. Rock, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Gunfright, Jet Force Gemini, Jetpac, Jetpac Refuelled, Kameo: Elements of Power, Killer Instinct Gold, Knight Lore, Lunar Jetman, Perfect Dark, Perfect Dark Zero, R.C. Pro-Am, R.R. Pro-Am II, Sabre Wulf, Slalom, Snake Rattle N Roll, Solar Jetman, Underwurlde, Viva Pinata and finally Viva Pinata Trouble in Paradise.
Obviously due to horrible licenses issues our beloved Goldeneye was yet again denied for a re-release, and easier to understand license issues left the Donkey Kong Country games out of the list.
In terms of gameplay, unless you want to be still here reading until you’re the only one left at the office and then realise you should have been doing that report your boss wanted by tomorrow instead of spending the day reading reviews, I shan’t go into detail about how every game works. Nor shall I explain the various stories or express how every game had ground-breaking graphics back in the day, instead I will give you a brief descriptions. There are a variety of different genres on offer in this compilation, with platformers, shooters, beat ’em ups and weird car building simulator, to name just a few.
In the collection are some genre defining games. Perfect Dark took what Rare had learned from Goldeneye and continued to develop the world of first person shooters. Banjo and Conker are two of the most iconic 3D platformers which alone are worth the £20 if you have never played them. Battletoads, the beat ’em up is renowned for its intense difficulty, but a lot of the others could have a similar recognition and then there’s Jetpac, the game that started it all. Some of the old games can be a little hard to understand what you are doing at first, with controls also being difficult to get used to. Jet Force Gemini was the only game to get major tweaks to controls as it has been given new updated button layout, so they feel a little more natural to the Xbox controller.
In terms of game collections, normally a company opens the closet with all their old games, grabs a bunch, dust them off and then compiles them on to one disc, Rare Replay goes a little further by adding some new features. What I learned from the collection is that gamers from the 80s were made of stronger stuff than we are today, to help us is one of the biggest inclusions, the ability to rewind the last 10 seconds of gameplay for any game before the Nintendo 64. There are no knock-on effects, nor is there a limit to the amount of times you can do this rewind feature. This allows for everyone to have a shot at completing some of the extremely difficult games, and there are quite a few, without the need of being a gaming God. Another useful addition is on the older games when you want to exit, Rare Replay saves your progress from wherever you are.
For games pre-N64 they have added snapshots which are just challenges beat, this gives the older games more replay value, as its going to need it for some, there are only so many times you can refuel a space ship until you question how high its energy consumption rates must be. Completing milestones gets you stamps which unlock fanboy/girl goodies. When you get past each page of stamps you unlock a new short video to watch which show things like: explaining how some of the games were made, concept art from some of the titles and even a look at some of their games that got the axe. Okay so this isn’t too exciting if you’re general player, but to the fans it is wonderful, learning about how some of the games came about is fascinating and funny.
The games that were released or remastered for the Xbox 360 show us the first glimpse of the Xbox One’s backwards compatibility. When you select them you are taken through the old Xbox load up, which makes it a little slower than when you go on other titles. If you have played the 360 games before and saved the data to the cloud then you are able to pick up where you left off. They have also thought about those cheeky achievement hunters, as combined there is a total of 10,000 gamerscore on offer.
They have improved the framerate so games run smoother; however, on the Xbox 360 ports some of the games drop frame rates dramatically making them very difficult to play in some areas. Let’s just hope this isn’t a sign of things to come with the rest of the Xbox’s backwards compatibility games. These are not the only games to suffer as Blast Corps has a tendency to freeze up every now and then, Rare Replay doesn’t freeze as you can bring up its start menu and exit the game, it can just get annoying at times. Back to positives, you can change the screen on the older games so it looks like the glass globe that TV’s used to have, helping to let old memories flood back.
If you wish to play the games online you will be disappointed to know that only the games that were released on the Xbox 360 have this compatibility. This means for games like Killer Instinct and Battletoads you will need to call your friends over to get the most out of the games. One plus of this is that it adds to the nostalgia to the days where online multiplayer was still but a dream and if you wanted to play together you would have to physically meet up, then again it would still have been nicer for the online option.