I wouldn’t call myself a retro gamer, although I do appreciate a good retro game. There are, however, a lot of retro games that are just plain crap – despite how lovely they might have seemed with a set nostalgia powered, rose tinted glasses. That’s why I was a little cautious about buying the Rare Replay game collection. Whilst I remember loving games like Jetpac, Battletoads, and Banjo-Kazooie, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’d still love playing them now. Games have advanced considerably since then, in story, in graphics and in length. But I figured I’d give it a go, because seven year old Alec was itching to get his hands on some of the greatest games of his childhood.
If you’re looking for the short answer to the question posed in the title of this article, then I’d definitely say that you should stop being so lazy, and read the whole damned thing. Ha, no. I’m kidding. The answer is an unequivocal YES, the Rare Replay bundle is most definitely worth it. If you’re looking for a slightly more ‘around the bush’ approach, then you should probably read on… I guess.
First off, let’s look at the packaging. Now, by ‘packaging’, I’m not talking about the cover art, or the box itself. No, what I’m talking about is how the multiple titles are packaged inside one game. Rare have hit the nail on the head with this, as they’ve managed to create an enchanting experience, just by jazzing up how their games are displayed. All of the old 360 games are downloaded and installed to your Xbox One’s hard drive – so you can enjoy them without needing to boot up the Rare Replay game itself. But you’ll definitely miss out on the experience if you do it that way. Upon loading up the Rare Replay game, you’ll be greeted with three options. The middle option takes you straight in to a list of the games that you can play, organised alphabetically or by year of release. Each game has its own thumbnail and you can scroll through them in what feels like a retro-cinema. It’s a really pleasant way to choose your games. The other two options give you a choice of watching some behind the scenes videos, made by the guys at Rare, or to play some short ‘Snapshots’ of the various games that they’ve developed over the years. The videos are great, and really interesting for any Rare fan, the Snapshots are even better, though. These are basically mini-challenges for a number of the games in the Rare Replay bundle, such as ‘score 10,000 points in 60 seconds on Battletoads’. It’s a really great way to play some of these classic games in bite-sized chunks, as it brings in a more modern element to them, other than just playing them for the sake of playing them.
Now let’s look at the games themselves. There are a whole host of Rare titles to choose from, including classics like Jetpac, Sabre Wulf, and Battletoads, and some of their modern titles, like Viva Piñata, Kameo and Perfect Dark Zero. With some of the older games, you’re even able to click in the right stick to make it look like you’re playing them on a retro-TV screen. Personally, it made me feel nauseous, but for those who can stand it, it’s a great hit of nostalgia! At the moment, I’m lost in Battletoads Arcade, as it was one of the first Arcade games that I ever really played (alongside Metal Slug and Time Crisis). But I’ve had a go on pretty much all of the games that Rare have offered us, from the well-known (like Banjo-Kazooie), to the slightly lesser popular (like Gunfright). Each game has its own unique style, and its own draw. Some of them are the sorts of game that I might play for half an hour, and others could end up absorbing a day of my time; the list is so varied, and so diverse, that there really is something for everyone. Many of the games are multiplayer, and some of them you can even play on the same controller, so it’s a great party piece too. It would be possible to go through each game, and talk about them individually – but that just sounds super boring, and I’m sure that if you’re interested in this game, you’ve probably already heard of them. So, instead, I’ve popped a link to the game on Amazon, where you can see a full list of the titles ‘here‘.
Each game is beautifully designed, and look pretty much how I remember them. The controls are also smooth, and there’s no lag or glitches that I’ve noticed thus far. For the classic 360 games, your forced to leave the Rare Replay game and launch the 360 game as a separate title, whereas with the older titles you’re just able to play them within the main game. However, all you have to do is hold down the start button, and you’ll be sent straight back to the arcade to pick something else. So the transition between games and the main hub of titles is pretty much seamless.
For me, this is the perfect game, because it combines elements of my childhood with some of my favourite titles over the past few years. I honestly couldn’t think of any better way to relive some wonderful memories, and I can’t even think of how Rare could have made this game any better. I really can’t recommend it enough. Although, (even though I’m kind of stating the obvious, I guess) if you’re not a fan of retro-games, or Rare, this probably isn’t for you.