Rare Replay: Xbox One Review
Platform: Xbox One
Back in the late 1980s, a game called Underwurlde haunted me.
On the ZX Spectrum this title was simply about negotiating a maze, collecting some weapons, timing some jumps and surviving some falls with some creatures annoyingly wafting around you. It was the pinnacle of gaming back then - and it was the stuff of nightmares for me for years, as I never conquered it.
With the release of Rare Replay on the Xbox One, that nightmare is back to haunt me again, thanks to the power of nostalgia.
Collecting together some 30 titles from the Rare developers, Rare Replay is a calculated slice of nostalgia, that will appeal to gamers of yore and potentially some newer recruits. From the likes of Jetpac to the more recent Perfect Dark, this collection is a lovingly curated slice of sentiment masquerading on the pristine next generation console. And that's not to detract from it at all, because it's immensely playable and utterly addictive - all over again.
Not all of the games are as memorable though. Even though the Xbox One has done a great job of making the games shine and is 100% accurate to their originals (even down to the blocking issues that used to plague Underwurlde), not all of them are as good as other titles. Slalom for example is simply a downhill slope skier that looks like someone took the basics of Outrun and put snow on there instead. The good thing though is that for some of the greater frustrations, there is a rewind facility to give you the chance to dial it all back and work on those errors. I'd settle for a continue button at the end of some of the games, but this is a fair start.
Though, it has to be said, if you're curating a collection from the past, the good and the bad need to end up on the release - games from early consoles, games from Nintendo (though not Goldeneye due to various issues) and some Xbox 360 titles all give this collection a sense of completion which is to be applauded to a point.
As you wander through the halls of the game, there's the history of each one, with each title getting details of release, some information on it and a graphic background that makes it feel like you're in a gaming museum and that gives each title its due reverence. Plus collectibles and stickers unlock development scenes and information - a brilliant building up of an archive.
And if you fancy simply diving in to a few challenges from within the game, it's great too - a Snapshot facility means you can tear off bite size challenges and simply try and achieve some goals. It's a clever touch to expand the lifetimes of some of the games and helps you unlock the hefty amount of stickers within the game (some 330 in total).
Granted, there won't be a game on this collection that people don't enjoy - there's pretty much something for everyone, and thanks to impressive recreations, they all play well. Some titles (I'm looking at you Underwurlde) will get played again and others will get barely a once over (Hello, Slalom) - but I can guarantee you one thing; for the price you pay for these titles (around $1 a go), you'd be a hard person not to remotely even give it a try.
Game titles on Rare Replay are as follows - 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, Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise.