'Rare Replay' Celebrates One Of The Industry's Most Beloved Developers

July 27, 2015

At a time when there are countless news stories about game developers closing their doors on an almost daily basis, three decades is a long time for any studio to survive, much less flourish. Rare is one of the few teams that have successfully weathered the storms of game development, and produced some of the most interesting, and important titles to land on numerous gaming platforms. From the arcades, to a host of home consoles, Rare have made a huge impression on the industry, and in the hearts of gamers. To celebrate their 30th anniversary Microsoft is releasing Rare Replay, a compilation of (most of) their best games from the studio's first three decades.

Developer: Rare
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Founded in 1985 by Tim and Chris Stamper, Rare have been one of the most prolific game developers since their inception, and they have constantly evolved alongside a maturing industry. The studio has seen three notable phases of development; an original beginning, a fruitful partnership with Nintendo, and as an arm of Microsoft. During each phase Rare brought a handful of respectable titles to market, many of which are included in Rare Replay, save for the Nintendo specific releases (arguably some of the studio's best) like Donkey Kong Country and Goldeneye 007.

Rare Replay collects 30 games for 30 years of Rare's development. The titles range from the obscure to blockbuster, and all come complete with that uniquely quirky sensibility that Rare have come to be known for over the years. Picking up the compilation nets you access to such great games as: Jetpac, Atic Atac, Lunar Jetman, Sabre Wulf, Underwurlde, Knight Lore, Gunfright, Slalom, R.C. Pro-Am, Cobra Triangle, Snake Rattle N Roll, Digger T. Rock, Solar Jetman, Battletoads, R.C. Pro-Am II, Battletoads Arcade, Killer Instinct Gold, Blast Corps, Banjo-Kazooie, Jet Force Gemini, Perfect Dark, Banjo-Tooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, Perfect Dark Zero, Kameo: Elements of Power, Viva Piñata, Jetpac Refuelled, Banjo-Kaooie: Nuts & Bolts, and Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise. While some of those titles might be more familiar than others, they're all faithfully reproduced on your Xbox within Rare Replay. The first batch of older games even include added functionality - saving and rewinding - that make some of those punishing classics a little less frustrating. There are also game specific challenges and unlockables if you really want to dig into Replay; go far enough and you might even catch a glimpse at some of Rare's unreleased games.

Since Microsoft purchased Rare back in 2002, they have retained all the rights to Rare's original games, and those are the ones that made it into Rare Replay. In other words, you're going to need an Xbox One if you want to go back in time with this collection.

Whether you like racing remote-controlled cars around an 8-bit track, fighting through space as toads, or even 3D platforming with a bear and a bird, Rare Replay has a little something for you. This release may lean heavily on nostalgia, but given how broad the window of time that these titles cover is, it's fair to assume that there is something in here that's going to be new to you. They also span such a wide swath of gameplay types and storylines that you could enjoy this package for days without replicating the same fundamental experience once. Sure, Replay features some great games, and some not so great games, but as a document of 30 years of work, all of the titles coalesce into a wonderful package that truly highlights the amazing history of this storied developer. In short, Rare Replay sets a new standard for game compilations for the latest generation of consoles, and is well worth spending your time with, whether you've already poured heaps of time into these titles, or it's your first time with Rare.