Without a doubt Rare Replay is one of the most extensive game collections ever put together. While far from complete the game gives you a retrospective that runs from 1983 to 2008 which is as close to a complete history of the video game as we’re likely to ever see in one place. While there are certainly a few titles here you’ll likely play once and never touch again, and others will make for the occasional diversion, there are likely a few titles that will keep you coming back and will make the purchase worthwhile.
The History of Rare
My gaming history goes back to the Atari 2600 and ColecoVision, so I’ve been playing for about as long as home consoles were a thing. What I did not having growing up was a home a computer, so many of Rare’s earliest titles, when the company was called Ultimate Play The Game, were entirely unknown to me. This includes the Sabreman series of games. In these games (Knight Lore, Sabre Wulf, Underwurld) you play as an the character known as Sabreman, exploring caves, temples, and jungles, fighting off monsters and collecting the items needed to progress. These games are extraordinarily difficult and will likely not hold your interest too much unless you’re a completionist looking for collectibles but they are some of the earliest adventure games you’ll ever play.
My earliest memories of Rare games, though I’d be lying if I said I was paying attention to game publishers at the time, were their early NES titles (R.C. Pro-Am, Cobra Triangle, Snake, Rattle ‘n’ Roll). I spent many hours sinking time into these. I was never very good at them mind you, but they were fun nonetheless.
After this you start to get into some interesting places. The insane difficulty of Battletoads is the stuff of legend, but if you’ve never actually played it, you may have absolutely no idea what you’re in for.
However, there’s one thing about Rare Replay which changes everything about every game here. You have the ability to rewind games like you’re playing Prince of Persia. This makes every game on the list significantly different. Now, for the games where your lives are limited you can prevent death from occurring making progressing through some of these games much easier.
The collection also includes the full console Banjo-Kazooie franchise, Killer Instinct Gold, and Perfect Dark, as well as Conker’s Bad Fur Day, some of the greatest games for the Nintendo 64. These games are worth the price of admission alone if you haven’t played any of their various re-releases.
Each game as a collection of internal challenges which earn you stamps when completed. The stamps in turn unlock documentaries on the making of some of the games as well as the history of Rare. These pieces are well put together and collecting all the stamps may be the thing that gets you to give some of the older games a serious try.
The sheer volume of content here is enough to keep you busy for months. For gamers that have been playing for as long as Rare has been working, it’s a trip down memory for lane.For the relatively new, it’s a history lesson on the medium. It’s a collection where everybody will find something to enjoy.