Rare Replay came out earlier this month. It’s a wonderful collection full of great value, intriguing documentaries and enjoyable games. While excellent, not every game holds up well. Fortunately, most of Rare Replay is an absolute blast. Here’s my list of the 5 best games included in Rare Replay.
5: Kameo: Elements of Power
Kameo: Elements of Power launched alongside the Xbox 360. The title has a Rare feel in most aspects. The visuals are vibrant and colorful while the orchestra and the entire score consist of a mixture of catchy and epic moments. Where Kameo: Elements of Power differs from a majority of Rare’s Nintendo 64 era titles is the gameplay. At first glance, the game looks like it will be a familiar experience, but the instant we take control of Kameo, it’s evident that players are in for a treat. The gameplay is slightly unconventional because all of the moves that Kameo and the various elementals she uses are tied to the left and right triggers.
The gameplay is fast-paced and though there is a slight learning curve, the outcome is rewarding. Each elemental brings a new set of abilities and challenges to the game. The puzzles are smart and the gameplay is rewarding and unique. Exploring the badlands is a sight to behold and the amount of enemies on screen at once in that particular area is admirable for a launch game. With a mixture of story content, side-quests, fun gameplay, multiple characters to control, a score attack mode, and multiplayer, Kameo: Elements of Power is one of Rare’s most inspired titles.
4: R.C. Pro-Am 2
The original R.C. Pro-Am is a fantastic game. Diverse tracks, fluid races, an upgrade system, and weapons all made for a fun game. In fact, it’s one of the best retro racing games I have ever played. The sequel improves on every single aspect introduced in the original game. Races are faster and more intense. Unlike the first game, where you upgraded the car by picking power-ups on the track, R.C. Pro-Am 2 allowed players to collect money and upgrade their vehicle in-between races. Finishing in a better position will net you more money, which will allow for better upgrades. There are multiple motors, wheels, guns, and items that can be purchased. Everything about the game was ahead of its time. With progressively harder races, new obstacles to overcome and excellent controls, R.C. Pro-Am 2 still holds up as an excellent racing game.
3: Jet Force Gemini
Originally this game wasn’t even going to be on my list. I spent hours as a kid playing this game. It felt natural and that may have been because I was so used to the Nintendo 64 controller when Jet Force Gemini was originally released. Upon playing Rare Replay, a feeling of disappointment surrounded me and my memories of the game seemed to fade away. It just didn’t hold up. The control scheme didn’t translate well from the Nintendo 64 to the Xbox One. Fortunately, Rare updated the game a few days after launch to include a modern control scheme. Most of the problems that I had experienced went away once I was able to jump with the “A” button instead of using the right stick. Shooting felt more precise and Jet Force Gemini felt like the game I remembered and enjoyed immensely.
Just like other Rare games, Jet Force Gemini was really ambitious for its time. There were 3 playable characters that each had their own unique abilities. You can only change characters after a certain part in the campaign, but once that happens, the game really opens up. You can these characters to traverse previously unreachable areas and find new collectibles. Jet Force Gemini has a lot of planets that players can explore. One of the aspects that the game is known for is the grueling criteria needed to complete the campaign. Besides exploring all of the planets within the game, players must find all of the spaceship parts scattered throughout the worlds and rescue all the tribals in each level. The difficult part was that if you accidentally killed a tribal, the whole level needed to be played again. All the tribals had to be rescued on one run of a level. All of this needs to happen before the final level of the game. While the controls still aren’t perfect after the update, there are a lot of reasons to love Jet Force Gemini.
2: Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise
Rare has a great track record with sequels. Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise is an excellent sequel and one of the best games that the developer has ever made. There are so many appealing aspects about the game. It’s not too difficult and the game is relaxing. Compared to many challenging games on the market, Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise is just so soothing. There are challenges to be completed, new piñatas to be found, and two new areas (Piñarctic and Dessert Desert) with their own set of piñatas to bring to your garden. One of the coolest and most welcome additions in the game is the “Just For Fun Mode.” This mode enables players to play the game without worrying about wasting money. Multiple unlockable items are also available for the player to use. This mode is excellent for people who want to play for an hour or so at a time. There’s no real commitment in the “Just For Fun Mode.” It’s comparable to the sandbox mode in Minecraft.
Speaking of Minecraft, the co-operative mode in Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise features drop-in, drop-out co-op which is a fun time with friends. In the first game, when playing multiplayer, both players would control the same cursor. In Trouble In Paradise, each player has their own cursor and that adds more fun. Playing cooperative with friends or with random people on Xbox Live means that each player could work on a different section of the garden. Viva Piñata: Trouble In Paradise is an overall fantastic game that can be enjoyed alone of with the company of others. It’s cute, fun, deep, cheerful, and another classic from Rare.
Banjo-Kazooie is one of the best platform games ever made. The humor, level design, controls, and characters are all memorable. Banjo-Tooie is often considered the inferior installment, but I actually think that Banjo-Tooie is the better game. Rare took everything great about the original game and upped the ante. Banjo and Kazooie both start with all of the powers that were obtained in their first adventure. In Banjo-Tooie, players can learn how to use different eggs, new abilities and the two characters can even separate. Using Banjo or Kazooie individually brings a different feel to the game. There are also mini-games and first-person shooter sections that change the flow of Banjo-Tooie’s campaign.
Being able to play as Mumbo Jumbo is another cool feature. Mumbo is able to use his powers in order to reach new areas. A new character named Humba Wumba is able to transform the titular bear and bird into a variety of different objects and animals. Unlike the first game, Banjo-Tooie has an extensive hub world that intertwines the in-game areas together. Connecting everything together was a smart move on Rare’s part. Banjo-Tooie’s self-aware humor, deeper gameplay, variety and notable additions make the game slightly more enjoyable than its predecessor.
These are the games that I thought stood out the most in Rare Replay. What are your favorite games included in this collection?