Review: Rare Replay (Xbox One)
So many games
30 games are included in Rare Replay, so get ready for a lot of gaming. If you don’t have a lot of free time or get anxious about the number of unfinished games in your collection, this title can be downright daunting. If you like upping your gamerscore get ready for over 10,000 points and many hours of gaming. Here are all the games included in the collection, as well as a short description.
Jetpac – A shooter game that happens on one screen. You kill aliens and rebuild and refuel your rocket so that you can head to new levels to fight even more aliens. It feels a bit like something you would play in your browser now.
Atic Atac – A top-down adventure game with random object locations will have you running around in a slight panic while trying to remember where you are in a maze of rooms.
Lunar Jetman – Similar to Jetpac, but you must transport bombs to alien bases in a moon buggy that can only move on smooth terrain.
Sabre Wulf – A jungle maze full of dangers that requires players to collect four pieces of a magic amulet before they can leave, all while evading Wulf.
Underwurlde – The first platformer to appear in the collection, now long falls and clever traps will make your leaving a dungeon maze even more complicated.
Knight Lore – The third game about Sabreman in the same year, you must escape from a dungeon by collecting 14 reagents for a wizard. At night you turn into a werewolf, which gives you a better jump.
Gunfright – An isometric game set in the Wild West about killing wanted men for bounties while trying to avoid being killed by traffic and the dames.
Slalom – A skiing game that makes you balance speed versus control as you try to reach the bottom of the course before time runs out while passing through flag gates.
R.C. Pro-Am – A racing game that set the pace for future games including speed boosts, upgrades to your vehicles and hazards on the road. Various power-ups can help you get out of trouble.
Cobra Triangle – Part boat racing game and part shooter, each new level has its own challenge that involves fighting bosses, saving drowning people from attackers, tossing mines into a safe zone or just destroying everything as you cruise down a river.
Snake Rattle N Roll – It is Snake with a difference as you slither and jump around an isometric world and grow larger by eating little fruit slash pebble things called ‘Nibbley-Pibbleys’. Most exit doors and several pressure plates will require your snake to be a certain weight before you can use them in a race against the level’s countdown timer.
Digger T. Rock – A 2D platformer about finding the exit as well as the switch to activate the exit and being able to travel between the two in less than 60 seconds, while not digging yourself into a sticky situation or being killed by underground creatures.
Solar Jetman – Hop into your spaceship and tow fuel and items out of the depths and to your mothership. If your ship takes too much damage you are left vulnerable and alone in the depths. Each level you visit has new gravity to contend with and your ship suffers the effects of gravity and inertia, making towing objects a challenge.
Battletoads – A side-scrolling brawler with many, many levels revolving around super-fast vehicles trying to get through mazes of fiery death. This game has some of the most frustrating sequences to try beat and will have you making judicious use of the rewind button as the timing is so tight in some of the courses that you have to hit the button to change directions exactly as you are about to pass an obstacle.
R.C. Pro-Am II – Five years later Pro-Am is back with even more levels, better graphics and extra uprades and power-ups. The control and handling is pretty simplistic compared to what racers offer now but there is a lot of fun to be had in hitting acceleration strips.
Battletoads Arcade – This previously arcade only Battletoads game allows up to three people to play as the ‘Toads and beat up a bunch of enemies in a side-scrolling beat-’em-up that is all about kicking butt.
Killer Instinct Gold – If you need a reminder of what Killer Instinct 2 in arcades was all about, you can play this and not lose all your arcade coins to a rather difficult fighting game. If you are any good at it, a few multiplayer modes will let you prove that you are the best combo master.
Blast Corps – Get ready to wipe out buildings and other obstructions before a nuclear missile carrier collides with anything and levels the city. From bulldozers to mechs to tipper trucks which drift through buildings, you need to master a variety of machines if you want to save your city from destruction, by leveling it yourself. (I know it makes no sense at all but hey it is fun.)
Banjo-Kazooie – This 3D platformer loves breaking the fourth wall and is a massive collectathon. Find new tricks to bypass obstacles in the world, puzzle pieces, coins, magic stones and much more as you try rescue Banjo’s sister from the evil witch Gruntilda.
Jet Force Gemini – An third-person shooter with heavy focus on killing aliens while avoiding enemy bullets and attacks. Get ready to explore large worlds with three characters, each with a special strength that will let them bypass hazards that would kill the other two.
Perfect Dark – A stealth shooter has you playing as lead secret agent Joanna Dark. Uncover what the dataDyne corporation is up to and try save the world, if you manage to work out where to go and find your path through an assortment of identical rooms.
Banjo-Tooie – The sequel to Banjo-Kazooie, has larger worlds, multiplayer and a bunch of new moves to help you beat Gruntilda and her sisters. Get prepared to collect a lot more objects as you wind your way towards boss encounters.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day – Conker went on a bender last night and now he is hungover and his girlfriend is probably all sorts of pissed off. But first things first, let’s get rid of that hangover and go save the world from enemies like a massive turd that just won’t flush. [Dawid maybe you would like to write a bit about this one?]
Grabbed by the Ghoulies – A beat-’em-up adventure set inside a scary mansion where getting too scared and failing a QTE will result in you dying from a heart-attack. Prepare to fight a lot of undead and evil imps as you try turn your girlfriend back into a human.
Perfect Dark Zero – The sequel to Perfect Dark shows how Joanna became the perfect agent. This first-person shooter mixes third-person cover-based combat to help give you a view of where your enemies are and help you line up your headshots.
Kameo: Elements of Power – When your family is kidnapped by trolls it is up to you to get them back. As a fairy you don’t have much martial prowess, but thankfully the ability to transform into a host of creatures will help you battle your enemies and solve the puzzles in the environment.
Viva Piñata – A game about creating and managing a beautiful garden paradise full of colourful piñata creatures. The creatures are cute, weird and tend to eat each other before mating, but you will just have to learn how to handle all of this and several other problems if you want your garden to thrive.
Jetpac Refuelled – Jetpac is back, with better graphics and a few special weapons to help you build a rocket ship, refuel it and slowly make your way through 128 levels.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts – Banjo, Kazooie and Gruntilda are captured by the Lord of Games, who says that they are stuck in a bad loop of collectathon games, before leaving Banjo and Kazooie to once more beat Gruntilda in another collectathon game. This time with vehicles that you collect parts for and build your own crazy contraptions.
Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise – The sequel to Viva Piñata offers a lot of the same but in a new garden and with a variety of creatures that you can head into the desert or arctic landscapes to lure into traps to add to your growing crazy menagerie. If you thought looking after one garden was going to keep you busy, play both games at the same time and watch all of your free time disappear.
Nostalgia.dll not found
Did you grow up with a ZX Spectrum? I didn’t. I found it difficult to connect to the older games and only really started enjoying the collection when I reached the games in the ’90s. However, playing Viva Piñata has me (once again) addicted to looking after my little paradise full of crazy creatures full of tasty candy, as well as playing the sequel, which I somehow missed all those years ago. Two gardens to look after? Who thought gaming would reveal my hidden green thumbs and affinity for papier-mâché creatures. That being said some of the titles I never played before had amazing charm. While I couldn’t identify the charm of some of the older games, it generally felt like the central theme that connects various games in the collection. That and a fair amount of fourth wall breaking. Of course some of the games just miss the mark or for several reasons, just didn’t age well at all. Perfect Dark felt more like a chore than anything else with myriad rooms that look identical in a first person-shooter that has very little to do with aiming for yourself.
This game is too difficult!
For the older games, which were made in a completely different time and headspace than now, some of the games are just too challenging or oblique all these years later. When I was younger I had the reflexes and time to memorize and beat the obstacles while riding a fast vehicle in Battletoads. Now that my reflexes are that bit slower, the addition of a rewind button to the older titles is a welcome inclusion. Missed that jump by a small fraction? Rewind to just before the jump. Maybe you got blindsided by an explosion a few metres from the end of the level? Rewind and make sure you dodge the attack. Yes maybe it is cheating but if the game gives you a button to do something, you use it at least a few times, right?
You need a stamp for that
The best part of the collection is the bonus features which are, frustratingly and in typical Banjo-Kazooie style, locked behind a multitude of collectibles. If you want to see all of the behind-the-scenes footage and insights of Rare you have to work for it by earning stamps in the various games. Thankfully the first stamp of each game is often a reward for showing up and you will get a whole bunch of them if you have achievements for the Xbox 360 versions of the games, but if you don’t, expect to jump through a lot of arbitrary hoops to reach this content.
The biggest question I am left wondering is, where are the new games Rare? It is time! Sea of Thieves has a lot resting on its shoulders. The games may be imperfect, but there is a lot of charm here. Just ask Tooie, he will tell you all about how they are nowhere near as prolific as those Italian plumbers.