Rare Replay review

We all have fond memories of games that we played when we were younger, and for those of a certain age, I’d wager that some of your favourite games were made by a certain developer who is responsible for this very title, Rare Replay, a celebration of 30 years in the industry. The collection includes games that were launched on the ZX Spectrum way back in 1983 all the way thorough to 2008 on the Xbox 360.


Like most things, there are a few titles that might not hold up to today’s standard of gaming, with mechanics that aren’t as polished and are generally damn hard to play – modern games have certainly made us soft. Rare should be praised for giving particular consideration to this and have added a handy rewind feature for their pre-N64 titles and included a variety of cheats that include infinite lives and time, meaning even the toughest game of yesteryear can be bested.

The collection is incredible and while you might not play through each game’s entirety, there’s certainly something for everyone, and at £20, you really will get your money’s worth. The collection has its own set of achievements to earn, with unique achievements for each of the titles – by chasing these you will earn ‘stamps’ that go toward a new Rare fan level, which will unlock a video from Rare Revealed – an archive of featurettes, making of, concept showcases, and unseen work and music from the studio. The videos are really well put together and make for an enjoyable watch, after which, I had a new-found respect for how the games were made, particularly Rare’s early games.


The vast majority of the games launch directly from the collection, but those that have been released (or rereleased) on Xbox 360, launch independently using the Xbox One’s backwards compatibility feature. Unfortunately, this is the only thing that slightly lets the collection down – launching them isn’t very fluid – with the emulation having to boot up. Should you wish to go back to the collection, you must launch Rare Replay from scratch, it’s not as instant as jumping in and out of the games that are native to the collection. On the plus side, this does mean that you can choose to remove some of the Xbox 360’s larger file sized games.


What I love most about the collection, other than getting to replay the charm and humour of games like Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Banjo Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, is to play some of Rare’s early games from a time when games had to work harder at delivering a playable game. All too often these days games are too focused on the look and sound rather than the core mechanics, for example, Jetpac’s mechanics are wonderful – guide your spaceman around a level to collect parts for his ship before travelling to other planets (levels) where you must fly about and collect fuel to be able to fly on – the balance here wasn’t just in how you navigate the screen, but how you deal with the increasing level of enemies – do you keep them in check or focus on collecting the fuel to get out as quickly as possible? It’s pure and simple, yet challenging and addictive, and this is from a game released back in 1983 on the ZX Spectrum!


If you do find the older games too challenging or are at a loss as to what you are meant to be doing, make sure you check out the game manual, which is launched via the snapped help menu. You could also head into the Snapshot Gallery, bite-sized challenges that double up as tutorials – master these and you should be able to tackle anything that the full game throws at you. Snapshot playlists strings some of these titles together, focusing on a common theme like collecting gems from a selection of the games – and don’t think this will be easy by using the cheats – for the snapshots these are all disabled!


I’ll admit to being a fan of Rare, but I didn’t realise how much of a fan I was until I went back and played through some of their history – sure there are some omissions from the collection, and I feel like their recent Xbox 360 collection has been added without too much thought of tailoring it slightly. I hope that over time we might also see other titles join the collection through DLC – I know I will certainly be picking them all up.

Rare Replay’s main strength is that there is something for everyone; my favourite game on the collection might be your least favourite. There are also several gems that alone would make it worth buying. Sure there are some stinkers, but for every game I might consider to be a stinker, there are bound to be those that hold it in high regard.


Rare Replay is also an absolute hit with my kids; they paid more attention to the tale of Banjo Kazooie and the haunted corridors of Grabbed by the Ghoulies than they did with any of the LEGO games – that alone should be testament enough to pick up Rare Replay.

We bought our own copy of the game to bring you this review

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