If you’re looking for that new game that can hold your attention until the major releases of September and October, look no further than the Xbox One exclusive Rare Replay. You can get a full review in the video here (and you scholar types can read even more information about it afterward in the article below):

Rare Replay is an anniversary collection of 30 games made by Microsoft’s storied UK based developer. Because of the connection to Microsoft, this collection does not include games that feature other companies’ IPs (like Donkey Kong Country) nor does it include IPs licensed by other companies (such as Golden Eye, originally for the Nintendo 64.)

However, despite those exclusions, this collection still delivers a lot of content for a great price. In line with the theme of ‘30’ (30 games for the 30th anniversary) the game itself is only $30 so it ends up costing only a dollar a game, and most of these games are well worth that price. Acquiring an original copy of Conker’s Bad Fur Day is likely to set you back more than that by itself and it’s included in this collection along with great titles like Viva Pinata, Banjo-Kazooie, Killer Instinct Gold, Perfect Dark, R.C. Pro-Am and others spanning three decades.

Right off the bat you can tell this collection is a Rare production because after starting up and installing the game you are treated to a musical number that introduces the collection. The production stars the main characters and villains from each of the games included and is just preposterously goofy. It is ridiculous and frivolous, but that is exactly what why it’s great and fits perfectly alongside games like Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo-Kazooie which are recognized not only for being fun games, but for being humorous and silly.

A lovely sentiment shared between antagonists in Banjo-Kazooie.

A lovely sentiment shared between antagonists in Banjo-Kazooie.

But, before I sing its praises, I will quickly mention the couple games that aren’t so great.

The first half of the collection consists heavily of older games designed for the arcade or for early home consoles like the ZX Spectrum, Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Commodore 64. And while these were comparably good games when they came out, they might not hold up in the eyes of modern gamers who are conditioned to expect tight controls, realistic graphics, and a forgiving learning curve. Also, disappointingly included are the two unwanted sequels from Rare; Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts and Perfect Dark Zero. While it may be technically a good game, Nuts and Bolts took the buddy platforming fun of the first two Banjo-Kazooie games and ruined it entirely by making the threequel (is that a word? I think it is. I’m using it!) a game about assembly and driving cars. And Perfect Dark Zero may be a decent shooting game, possibly even an above average one, it lacked the same heart or sense of fun as the first one. I can’t really explain why, it just isn’t as much fun. And both of those games are unfortunately included in this collection (instead of better titles like Marble Madness, Pirates! or any of the Wizards & Warriors series.)

Additionally, some games that were very good at the time of their original release didn’t hold up as well. Killer Instinct Gold, for example, feels very laggy and clunky when played. And Snake, Rattle & Roll, while still a good game, would have benefited greatly from having the movement controls adjusted to match the movement of the joystick on the Xbox One’s controller but were, instead, left mapped to the four directions of the joystick/D-Pad. So the awkward controls of the original NES game remain just as clunky as they have always been. And while this does preserve the original design of the game a bit, it also makes it more difficult than necessary and some gamers may just find it frustrating instead of fun.

Killer Instinct Gold, FTW!

Killer Instinct Gold, FTW!

But, while those negative points may all seem glaring, they actually make up for only a minuscule percentage of the Rare Replay experience. As I stated, despite having the same awkward control scheme, Snake, Rattle & Roll is still a good game. So are 27 of the other games in the collection. And Perfect Dark Zero and Nuts & Bolts are at least as playable as they’ve always been.

However, to be completely fair, I will actually talk about what the collection itself brings to the table instead of the individual games. Aside from just giving you a bunch of games to play in their original glory, this collection also gives you small challenges (a la NES Remix) called “Snapshots” where you have to play through small snippets of the older games in the collection and accomplish increasingly difficult goals in a time limit or before dying.

And, what’s more, these snapshots not only unlock achievements to earn you some of the possible 10,000 gamerscore points that this collection offers, but you also unlock bonus content like developer diaries, interviews with Rare staff, concept art, a music player, and details about cancelled Rare games that never came to be.

Rare also took care to not only bring the games together in this collection, but they preserved the games as best they could as well. The older console and arcade games like Jetpac and Digger T. Rock are all presented in their original 4:3 aspect ratio with a mocked up arcade marque surrounding the screen. What’s more, they added an option to those old titles to ad some edge warping and slight screen distortion to reproduce the look of the CRT screens the games were traditionally played on. It’s a nice touch that helps add to the nostalgia factor. And all the games that originally had multi-player functionality, be it local or online, have retained that functionality in this collection and on the Xbox One. So if you have a friend or two that you enjoy shooting (in video games only, of course) then you will still be able to have them over for a split-screen match of Perfect Dark. And just like in the good ol’ days, you can accuse them of screen-peeking when they beat you.

Now, I can’t leave out that some of the Nintendo 64 titles have some issues with the controls. They aren’t unplayable, mind you, but being mapped from a single-stick controller to a double-stick controller made some games (Especially Jet Force Gemini) a bit of a pain. Luckily though, at least Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie, and Perfect Dark were all ported to the Xbox 360 successfully before so those versions were the ones included in this collection and therefore, have the controller mapping issues sorted out. Oddly, Conker’s Bad Fur day does not use the Xbox port (Called Conker: Live and Reloaded) so it is also converting the controls from the N64 controller to the newer Xbox One controller as well.

Back in my day, there was no quick-scoping. You had to get headshots the hard way!

Back in my day, there was no quick-scoping. You had to get headshots the hard way!

In summation, this collection is obviously a labor of love from a great game company who loves making good games as much as we all love playing them. If you love Rare’s games as much as I do, you should certainly pick this collection up. And if you somehow haven’t played any of their games then this is the perfect opportunity to make up for all the fun you missed out on in your childhood.

Of course, all of the above only applies if you have an Xbox One. For all of you who decided to buy a PlayStation 4 instead, well… N++ just got released on the PlayStation Network a week or so ago. I guess that’s fun too.

Rare Replay Review
It's a good collection of Rare games that spans multiple genres of games and multiple decades of gaming history. A few of the titles could have been tweaked to make the port a little more playable, and one or two of the games could have been swapped out for some better titles, but overall it will certainly not disappoint if you are a Rare fan.
Ultimate Nostalgia Activated
  • Rare's biggest hits (Banjo-Kazooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Viva Pinata, Perfect Dark, Kameo.)
  • Snapshots add a new element of fun and challenge to the game.
  • The concept art, lost game footage, and interviews are fun to unlock and interesting to go through.
Nostalgia Mode: Off
  • The controls for some of the games could certainly be better.
  • Some of the older games don't hold up well.
  • Lack of Donkey Kong Country is expected but still disappointing.
8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Dean M
YouTube Content Creator

Saying I have an obsession for video games is a bit of an understatement. Like Ash Ketchum my goal is to collect them all! I currently have over 1,600 games spanning more than 40 consoles and almost as many years and I have played all but a very small handful of them (I can't bring myself to open the older sealed games - even if it is the only copy I have of the game.) I like all genres and platforms but RPGs are my favorite and nothing beats the SNES if you want to have a good time while gaming. In my time away from gaming I'm a big fan of the outdoors (a bit of a 180, eh?) and a huge fan of animals. I have a dog, two snakes, and a dove and I love to spend time checking out zoos or volunteering at animal shelters.