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Rare Replay (Xbox One) Review

A collection of some of the finest games from the British developers vaults.

30 years ago, Tim and Chris Stamper, founders of the game developer ‘Ultimate Play The Game’, sold part of the company to US Gold and formed another company, Rare, in Twycross in Leicestershire.  Since that day, Rare have gone from being independent, to being partially owned by Nintendo to being wholly owned by Microsoft, and have created some fantastic games along the way.  ‘Rare Replay’ is a collection of 30 games from over 30 years of Rare and Ultimate, and is a reminder of just how great Rare can be.

Rare Replay represents a selection of games from Rare and Ultimate Play The Game’s back catalogue.  Starting with 1983’s Jetpac, through the likes of Sabre Wulf, Battletoads, to Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Viva Pinata before concluding with 2008’s Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.  Nearly all of the games are run through emulation or Xbox 360 backwards compatibility.  Banjo-Kazooie, Banjo-Tooie and Perfect Dark are all the ported Xbox Live Arcade versions rather than the Nintendo 64 originals, and Grabbed By The Ghoulies has been remastered to run natively on the Xbox One.  The Xbox 360 games actually take you out of Rare Replay to play as their own separate things, which is a little annoying, perhaps.  And you have to boot Rare Replay back up to play the other games.  Also, with such an extensive history, not everything could be included, and some games like Goldeneye and the Donkey Kong Country series couldn’t be included for obvious reasons.  But there’s still plenty of gems for you to work your way through.

As well as a massive helping of Gamerscore for you to earn, playing through the games earns you a series of stamps which you collect on cards.  Every 6 stamps upgrades your level, and there are over 300 stamps in total to collect.  These stamps will allow you to unlock a series of galleries and videos that have been made with various Rare employees looking back on the companies history and talking about the making of several of their most popular games.  It’s a minor niggle that you actually have to unlock these with stamps, and some of the videos require a lot of them.  But if gives you something to work with.

As well as just being able to straight up play the games, there’s a bunch of ways you can change how you play.  All the games from 1996 and prior have the ability for you to rewind the game as you’re playing and add some modifiers to change how you play the games.  There’s also a ‘Snapshot’ mode, which gives you a short, set challenge to complete, usually within a time or lives limit and with some kind of modifier, such as being invincible, or having a damaged car.  Completing these Snapshots will also earn you extra stamps, and they’re a fun little aside to playing the full games.

There are some minor gripes with collection.  As stated previously, the fact that the Xbox 360 games cause you to exit the main collection and load the disc up again to go back in is a little irritating.  Also, there are some occasional frame rate issues with the backwards compatible games, but they’re nothing major and the games are still perfectly playable.  Not all of the games are classics, but none of them are bad, which is a testament to the quality titles that Rare has put out over the years.  Simply put, with 30 games for less than £20, this is an absolute bargain.  Even with just a handful of the games on offer, it will still be a great deal.  Whether you want to relive some classic titles, or missed out the first time and want to see why Rare have been spoken of so highly in the past, this is a great collection and well worth your time.

Rare Replay is simply a must have collection for Rare fans and those who want to be, and a reminder that Rare were pretty much able to turn their hand to any genre and make something interesting.  There are some absolute classic games in the collection, and even the lesser games are still good.  The slight problems with the Xbox 360 backwards compatible games and the slight disappointment at having to do a lot of work to unlock the ‘Making Of’ videos are niggles, but very minor niggles.  The fact is that this is a fantastic collection with tonnes of content at a frankly bargain price.  You owe it to yourself to check this out.

About Mike Jones

Mike is Brutal Gamer's Indie Editor. He has been playing video games since the early 90s and is fond of racing games, puzzlers and MMOs. Typing /played while in WoW makes him cry, but not enough to stop him playing some more.

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