Rare Replay is a celebration of the famed development studio that made Donkey Kong Country and Goldeneye. While these two smash hits do not appear on this 30-game compilation, almost everything else in their catalogue is here, from Jet Pac to Viva Pinata 2. And for the price of $30, this appears to be an amazing value on paper. Does the package deliver on its promise?
When you first put the disc in, the system begins to install all of the Xbox 360 games to the hard drive before you can play it. Yes, you can jump in without installing these games, though you won’t have the full experience until you do. One of the odd quirks I found with the Xbox One during this process is that it has a penchant for stalling, so you’re going to have to babysit it for a few hours. I’ve heard that the process can be worse if you already have some of the Xbox 360 games installed if you bought them through the marketplace beforehand, as those versions conflict with the ones on the disc. Once you do get past all of this, you shouldn’t have to worry about it again.
The compilation is comprised of three main sections: Rare Revealed, Snapshots and the Game Gallery. The first includes a series of videos about the company that can be unlocked through play. I’ve only watched the first one so far, but I really enjoyed it, as it really brings a human element to the games we’ve been playing for all of these years. Snapshots contains a series of NES Remix-style mini-game challenges that are enjoyable in short bursts.
Finally, there’s the Game Gallery. Covering almost everything Rare has ever made, this is one of the most comprehensive compilations we’ve ever seen. All of the games are preserved with care, and the older games even have a neat rewind function that can help you get through some tougher moments. The novelty factor is high here, especially when games like Battletoads Arcade are included, which never got a home release till now.
That said, a lot of these games haven’t aged well. Pretty much everything before the NES shows great ambition, though the systems they were made for clearly can’t bring the vision to life in full. In particular, the Zelda-like adventure games such as Atic Atac and Sabre Wulf are clearly aching for more horsepower. Unlike like something as timeless as the original Super Mario Bros., a lot of these games just aren’t fun to play now.
On the other hand, you’re also getting some of Rare’s finest works. Goldeneye and Donkey Kong Country aside, you’re still getting Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie and Viva Pinata. You’re also getting some sleeper hits like Blast Corps, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. For the most part, these are emulated great on the Xbox One. One random thing I did notice in Viva Pinata was some slowdown when my Xbox 360 friends would log in, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker.
Crunching the numbers, $30 for Rare Replay is an insane deal. Even if a lot of these games haven’t held up well, the games that do more than outweigh the cons. You could easily spend $30 on just two of these Xbox 360 games on the marketplace right now, or use that same amount to get 30. On top of all that, the love and care that went into the overall package can’t be ignored. If you grew up with their games, this is a no-brainer. If you’ve somehow missed out on their entire legacy so far, there isn’t a better way to catch up.