Rare Replay isn’t so much about judging each of the 30 individual games included in the bundled collection as it is about marveling at the fact that they’re all present, downloadable in one shot, and cost only 30 bucks. Rare has dug deep into its vault to package all of these games and present them for everyone to revisit in their original form on the Xbox One. Even though big name games like Goldeneye and Donkey Kong Country are missing due to pesky intellectual property legalities, there are more than enough epic entries from video game history included to make the Rare Replay collection a must-own.
After a very snappy opening musical introduction, you’re presented with a chronological timeline of Rare games, all playable in their original resolution—no remastering here—but with controls mapped smartly to the Xbox One controller. Blockbuster titles like Battletoads and Banjo Kazooie certainly headline the show, but nostalgic gems like RC Pro Am and Dig Dug and cult favorites like Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Perfect Dark round out the collection as something meaningful to the Xbox One’s overall offerings. If Microsoft finds the Rare Replay to be a success, it’s reasonable to assume that similar collections from the likes of Capcom and Konami could be greenlit and on sale shortly.
Most of the games in the collection make the translation to modern gaming perfectly. Those that don’t, mostly the oldest of the bunch, suffer from bad controls without options to tweak them. Rare also takes the replay aspect of things literally: the oldest games don’t have save options, but not feature an actual replay mode where you can rewind your screw ups on the fly to try trouble spots over and over. It’s a cheap tactic for purists, but it does make the pitfalls of a bad camera angle or oddball control scheme significantly less frustrating.
There are also achievement stamps in each of the 30 games, recorded so you can see your progress at the outset of initializing each game. We recommend not being in this for the achievements though. The Rare Replay is a cheap ticket for unlimited rides down memory lane and it’s a ride we’ll keep taking until we finally beat Battletoads into a bloody pulp, just like our six-year-old selves did back in the day.