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‘Rare Replay’ ranked from worst to best

As one of the best deals for video games, “Rare Replay” combines 30 classic Rare Ltd games in one package for $30.

The games included were released from 1983 to 2008. Unfortunately, while some games might have been great in their heyday, they do not hold up well compared to their modern counterparts. However, there is still a lot to enjoy in this package. 

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The following is the games ranked from worst to best:

30. “Knight Lore” (1984)

The player is tasked with exploring a castle in an effort to cure the character’s curse of turning into a werewolf. Despite an interesting premise, this game has extremely slow and clunky controls which make the game dull.

29. “Underwurlde” (1984)

Trapped in an ancient labyrinth, the player must escape by jumping to traverse and avoid monsters. Unfortunately, the jumping is unpredictable and the monsters are too aggressive for this game to be enjoyable.

28. “Lunar Jetman” (1983)

The player is an astronaut destroying alien missiles that threaten Earth. Once a player understands how to play, they will wonder why they spent time figuring it out because the game is too confusing and punishing.

27. “Gunfright” (1985)

Get your revolver ready because “Gunfright” puts players in the boots of an old, western sheriff in town tracking down criminals for money. Despite the cool theme of this retro game, the uncooperative controls and weird game design—such as getting hurt by colliding with innocent women—make this game tedious.

26. “Sabre Wulf” (1984)

Players must explore a jungle, battling monsters along the way, to find an ancient amulet. Gamers defeat monsters with a sword, but its poorly implemented because the player can only attack in front of their avatar, while the monsters can attack the player from all directions. Enemies are so quick the character dies before they can even react.

25. “Solar Jetman” (1990)

In “Solar Jetman,” players must build their spaceship to travel from planet to planet. Controlling the character is unresponsive and lags, making the experience frustrating.

24. “Atic Atac” (1983)

At the start of “Atic Atac” gamers select a class and fight their way through a haunted castle. Hidden keys unlock secret passages and monsters are killed by weapons that bounce off walls. Despite getting lost easily and being able to carry only a few items, this game is surprisingly fun.

23. “Grabbed by the Ghoulies” (2003)

“Grabbed by the Ghoulies” stars protagonist Cooper as he tries to find a way to save his girlfriend and escape a haunted mansion. While sporting cartoon-like graphics, the core gameplay is not very fun or engaging and can ruin the experience.

22. “Digger T. Rock” (1990)

This treasure hunting game features archaeologist Digger, who can dig, jump and fight his way through a series of caves while avoiding traps, insects and skeletons. Overall, it is an amusing old school game.

21. “Jetpac Refueled” (2006)

“Jetpac Refueled” was a recreation of Rare Ltd’s first game called “Jetpac” and plays exactly like the original. While it is a fun throwback, this plays like a game from 1983 without the nostalgic aesthetic.

Today’s games are good but still have some issues. Here are the Rare Ltd games ranked from 20 to 11. 

20. “Slalom” (1986)

Despite being released in 1986, “Slalom” is a shockingly good skiing game making the player weave between obstacles. Another plus is the large amount of tracks available for a game.

19. “Snake Rattle N Roll” (1990)

“Snake Rattle N Roll” is an odd game where the player controls a snake. Their goal is to feed on small pellets and grow the snake as long as long possible, while climbing to the top of a mountain. This game is fun but controlling the snake can be cumbersome.  

18. “Killer Instinct Gold” (1994)

A second installment in the classic fighting game franchise, “Killer Instinct Gold” gives players a group of different fighters to choose from. Unfortunately, the graphics and gameplay do not age well, but this game is still fun.

17. “Kameo: Elements of Power” (2005)

“Kameo: Elements of Power” stars the hero Kameo on a journey to save her family from the Troll King Thorn by transforming into elemental warriors to battle her enemies. “Kameo” is an entertaining and colorful game despite offering nothing inherently special.

16. “Perfect Dark Zero” (2005)

This first-person shooter is the origin story of super spy Joanna Dark. Dark is the heroine of the masterful “Perfect Dark,” which will come up later. This game is not on the level of its predecessor.

15. “Jetpac” (1983)

“Jetpac” was the studio’s first video game, when the company was still named Ultimate Play The Game. In this game an astronaut uses a jetpack to avoid aliens and gather pieces of their ship to assemble it and escape the planet.

14. “R.C. Pro-Am II” (1992)

A sequel to the classic racing game “R.C. Pro-Am,” this game expands the ideas and gameplay from the first game. Some new features include multiplayer and a more robust upgrade system for vehicles.

13. “Cobra Triangle” (1989)

This game is an unexpectedly good vehicular combat game. Gamers control a speed boat that can fire bullets and fly. Various challenges are presented, such as fighting sea monsters and avoiding obstacles.

12. “Battletoads Arcade” (1994)

This arcade game has the player take the role of Zitz, Rash or Pimple — the battle toads — to stop the Dark Queen’s army. The toads fight an assortment of animal-themed enemies in space using punches, kicks and various weapons scattered around the environment.

11. “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” (2008)

A surprising take on the franchise, this game differs from the traditional platforming Banjo-Kazooie formula and turns it into an open-world, vehicle creation game. The changes were controversial at the time, but is an admirable take on the franchise.

10. “R.C. Pro-Am” (1987)

“R.C. Pro-Am” is one of the best racing games of the ‘80s. This game innovated the genre by introducing vehicle upgrades and hazards to avoid on the race track.

9. “Blast Corps” (1997)

Despite having a ridiculous premise of destroying buildings to clear a path for a runaway nuclear weapon carrier, “Blast Corps” is stunningly fun. Using an assortment of different vehicles, players destroy buildings to earn points and unlock new levels.

8. “Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise” (2008)

An example of Rare Ltd flexing its creative muscles is the Viva Piñata games. This game is the second entry in the series and continued the goal of raising pinata-themed animals in a garden in an effort to find rarer animals. To expand upon the original, “Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise” adds two new environments, new mini-games and new species to breed and collect. 

7. “Banjo-Tooie” (2000)

The great sequel to “Banjo-Kazooie,” puts players back into the shoes of Banjo and Kazooie on a quest to save the Isle O’ Hags from their nemesis Gruntilda and her sisters. The duo jump and climb their way through various environments and collect puzzle pieces called Jiggies. This sequel was a worthy addition to this franchise.

6. “Battletoads” (1991)

Regarded as one of the hardest games of all time, “Battletoads” is a side scrolling, beat’em up game. Ironically, this difficulty made it a legend in the gaming industry. The player would fight enemies as one of the three Battletoads on a mission to save their friends from the Dark Queen.

5. “Jet Force Gemini” (1999)

“Jet Force Gemini” is the most underrated game in “Rare Replay.” This fantastic third-person shooter featuring Juno, Vela and Lupus on their journey across planets to defeat the evil, insect-like Mizar and save Earth.

4. “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” (2001)

Staring a foul-mouthed and hungover squirrel named Conker, the game was a different take on the platformer genre. This genre generally was applicable to all ages, but it notched up the maturity level and was full of adult language and sexual references. Despite the change, it surprised everyone with how good of a game it was.

3. “Viva Piñata” (2006)

An underrated game, the original “Viva Piñata” is one of the most unique games Rare Ltd ever made. Like what was mentioned for “Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise,” this is a simulation game where you breed pinata animals in an effort to collect as many as you can. When this game released no one had seen anything like it and many today say it was ahead of its time. 

2. “Perfect Dark” (2000)

“Perfect Dark” is the legendary game introducing secret agent Joanna Dark and was Rare Ltd’s second crack at the first-person shooter genre after the innovative “GoldenEye 007.” This game came with new content and features such as every weapon having two different firing options, a fresh world and storyline to explore, voice acting and a robust AI system for enemies in multiplayer.

1. “Banjo-Kazooie” (1998)

The mascot platformer that Rare Ltd is known for, and the best game in the genre of its time. The player takes control of Banjo and Kazooie on a quest to save Banjo’s sister from the evil witch Gruntilda. Not only was the jumping, exploring and puzzle solving great, but it also plays well to this day.

Grant Meyer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @GrantMeyerDE.

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