Rare Replay Review: A Nostalgic Gaming Pack You Can’t Pass Up

Game Reviews / Gaming / Reviews / Xbox

With backwards compatibility on the way, being able to play older games is definitely on the radar for many long time gamers. There’s always that one game from our past that we just can’t get enough of even though newer games feature better graphics and online multiplayer options. Even though some Rare games are already on the backwards compatibility list for the Xbox One, that hasn’t stopped them from releasing a 30 game pack to celebrate 30 years of the company. The price couldn’t be beat and we checked it out and bring you our Rare Replay review.

As mentioned above, Rare Replay contains 30 games from the past 30 years. We’re not going to review each and every one of them here, but rather take a look at the package as a whole.

The Games

The games in the Rare Replay collection go as far back as 1983 and include:

  • Jetpac (1983)
  • Lunar Jetman (1983)
  • Atic Atac (1983)
  • Sabre Wolf (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 (2005)
  • Viva Piñata (2006)
  • Jetpac Refueled (2007)
  • Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise (2008)
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (2008)

If you’ve been a long time Rare fan, you’ll see quite a few favourites in the list. If you’re new to the Rare collection, you’re in for a treat as these games run the gamut of action, fighting, racing, 3D platformers, and more.

Gameplay

Gameplay does vary as this is a collection but Rare has done a great job of porting these old games – some of them predating consoles altogether – to the latest generation Xbox. Games which were created with a 4:3 aspect ratio play in a windowed format with new background artwork based on the game you are playing. Other games which are part of Microsoft’s backwards compatibility list open flawlessly in the Xbox 360 cloud emulator.

While the ports are decent some of the older games take a bit of getting used to controlling, even with the simpler control schemes. There were a few times where it felt like movement lagged a bit but I’m sure that’s based on the programming of games “back in the day” where paths were assigned to blockier invisible routes as opposed to the more free movement in newer games and games today.

During any of the 30 games you can return to the Rare Replay menu by simply holding down the Menu button until the menu prompt comes up on screen which makes it easy to switch to any of the other games.

Rare has also introduced Snapshots for some of the older games which pit you up against the clock requiring you to score a certain number of points within a specific time frame or finish levels under specific circumstances. These snapshots range from the easier to the more challenging and add a different take on classic games, and at the same time up the replayability factor of the collection.

Graphics

Even though this is an Xbox One collection, don’t expect current-gen graphics. That being said, even though graphics from games developed in the 80s and 90s are obviously dated, the games look and play as if you were playing them the year they were released.

Rare-Replay-Battletoads-screenshot

90s graphics are still 90s graphics – remember when this was awesome?!

Odds & Ends

Rare mentioned that there are over 10,000 achievement points to be earned in the Rare Replay collection, however that is a bit misleading. The actual game itself features 4,000 gamerscore, and the extra 6,000 comes from the games that are backwards compatible for a (presumable) total of 10,000. So if you’ve already maxed out your gamerscore in Perfect Dark Zero, don’t expect to be getting another 1,000 gamerscore for completing the game again. On the flip side, if you’ve transferred your Xbox 360 saves to the cloud then any progress you made on the backwards compatible games on the 360 does carry over to the Xbox One so you can pick up where you left off.

As you progress in each game and gain achievements or finish a snapshot, you earn a stamp. The more stamps you collect, the higher your Rare Replay rank is and as a result you’ll unlock videos which showcase various aspects of Rare’s history from game development to sound design for specific games and more. I’ve been able to watch a few of these so far and they offer a pretty cool behind-the-scenes look at game development from one of the industry’s longest running companies.

Rare-Replay-Menu

Rare Replay offers gaming and a glimpse at the behind the scenes at Rare.

Wrap-Up

Rare Replay is a fantastic trip down memory lane or a great set of games for new gamers. There are enough games in the pack to keep you busy for hours, and you really can’t beat the $1/game price or convenience of launching those Xbox 360 games you might already own that are backwards compatible like Kameo or Banjo-Kazooie without having to insert a disc. The addition of Snapshots also adds replayability to some of the older games and adds some fun challenges to games which might otherwise be a bit stale in this day and age.

***We reviewed a retail copy of Rare Replay which was purchased by the reviewer
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