Relive history

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
Author and references

Once upon a time there was a software house called Ultimate Play the Game, or simply Ultimate for friends, a house born from the dreams of former arcade cabinets programmers, responsible for authentic masterpieces like Knight Lore. Ultimate is in fact the ancestor of Rare, sharpened the collection in question is dedicated. 30 titles for as many years of honored career, obviously including the aforementioned Knight Lore, but above all the one where everything more or less began, or the timeless Jetpack, here faithfully replicated in emulation in its typical ZX graphic form Spectrum. This is just the tip of the iceberg since, permits permitting, Rare Replay really includes all the major productions of the house, including the Microsoft era and therefore all titles released on Xbox platforms. The arc is truly dizzying: from 1983 to 2008, and is entirely enclosed in about 50 GB that allow the player to access the title they want to relive.

The show must go on

What is immediately striking about Rare Replay is the splendid work carried out during the presentation phase. Usually these are low-investment operations, but for Microsoft and the English company this collection has a special importance and the care taken in the creation of the "client" is commendable, that is the interface that welcomes all the titles, beautifully animated and with a top-of-the-range presentation. Each game has its own special space, characterized by a new arrangement of the soundtrack, technical data and much more, without considering that as we progress in the exploration of the titles we win tickets that allow us to access secret documentaries. In short, many bonuses for what looks like a great opportunity, before the usual collection of games.

And we start immediately with a leap of the heart, reviewing authentic milestones of the Spectrum era, or the platform where Ultimate expressed its qualities at its best: Jetpac, Atic Atac, Gunfright and Knight Lore are present for the appeal., perfectly emulated and enriched with some peculiar characteristics, such as a graphic filter that tries to replicate the cathode ray tube effect of the old televisions. This way it really feels like you are back in the past. It's still. All the games are presented in the original format compensated with a frame - to fill the missing space on the 16: 9 format - made using various illustrations. Unfortunately, there is no way to extend the area to full screen, an option always much debated by purists of video formats, but still quite useless for products that are graphically affected by the weight of the years. Yet, despite the essential realization, Knight Lore has lost very little of its charm, remaining one of the high points of the English house. The isometric shot, the real ace in the hole of the Spectrum productions, is still very fascinating today and it is also possible to admire it in Gunfright, a title that shifts the dynamics into a western setting. Not to mention Jetpac, a product already delivered to history and also present in the remake version, Jetpac Refueled, from 2006.

Rare Replay is a fantastic collection presented with the spirit of big occasions

The Nintendo issue

Unfortunately, the line that divides a stratospheric collection from an excellent one passes in this case from the rights of Nintendo, since it is precisely for the Kyoto house that Rare has signed some of his most important works. The results in Rare Replay are more than interesting, but they have to give up the intellectual properties to which it does not own the rights, such as Donkey Kong and Goldeneye.

We will therefore not find any Donkey Kong Country, and the collection is orphan of the fantastic tie-in of agent 007 released on Nintendo 64. From this platform, however, there are titles that can make a difference, such as Conker's Bad Fur Day, Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie, all revised to take advantage of the superiority of Xbox consoles. The title to have benefited from the best graphic facelift is precisely the one dedicated to Joanna Dark, even if we must consider that it is the same transposition released on Xbox 360 and proposed on Xbox One in upscaling. Could not miss even Grabbed by the Ghoulies, released on the first Xbox, while curiously present is the Nintendo 64 version of Killer Instinct 2, called Killer Instinct Gold. This is in our opinion one of the weakest points of Rare Replay, since Microsoft could have opted for the much more interesting arcade versions, owning the rights to the franchise today. The "arcade perfect" ports of Killer Instinct and Killer Instinct 2 therefore remain the exclusive prerogative of the purchasers of the Xbox One reboot season passes, a move that has a commercial logic, but remains a missed opportunity to give more importance to titles that would have brought an undoubted added value to the collection. Also from the Nintendo era we find excellent titles such as RC Pro-Am (and sequel) and Digger T. Rock, while as expected the anthropomorphic and troublemakers of Battletoads have ample space, also present in the arcade version of 1994, so far only available through emulation.

Xbox One achievements

Rare Replay is a paradise for goal fanatics, presenting 4000 player points, to which are added those, unchanged, of the Xbox 360 titles, which keep them unchanged, exceeding 10.000 player points. To bring home the first goals you just need to start a title, this means winning the first thirty is enough to play, what more do you want?

360 degree rarity

Obviously, the entire team of titles made for Xbox 360 could not be missing, which closes the collection covering the period from 2005 to 2008. Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero, Viva Piñata (with sequel) and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts are all present in complete form and perfectly emulated on Xbox One. Considering that we are talking about productions that are not really old, their inclusion is to be considered more than anything else as a pleasant bonus of Rare Replay. This perspective suggests a certain indulgence in judging the lack of coherence of this set, slightly disconnected from all the rest. The games must be downloaded separately and occupy the largest space of the collection (about 38 GB), they are recognized by the client but can be launched independently. It is obvious that these are the same titles originally released on Xbox 360 and emulated on Xbox One, complete with splash screen and interface of the old Microsoft console. This is also a very interesting opportunity to try the exceptional Xbox One emulator, a truly incredible work by the Redmond house, which can only arouse deep admiration for the result achieved. That said, it is equally difficult to hide a certain bitterness by ascertaining the congenital limits of this operation: all the games reflect the original resolutions, not exactly exciting, managed in upscaling by Xbox One with the inevitable consequences. Titles like Perfect Dark Zero defend themselves in any case still well graphically and, precisely in the case of the prequel of the adventures of Miss Dark, it is also a great opportunity to rediscover a title perhaps underestimated at the release, but valid, original and for sure. verses forerunner - especially for online - of the trends of modern first-person shooters.



Readers (28)


Your vote

Rare Replay is a fantastic collection of old classics presented in the spirit of great occasions, which cannot really be missing in the nostalgic collection. On the content point of view there is very little to judge, the quality of the games is still undeniable today, while on the graphic one it was desirable to expect something more. The part dedicated to the ZX Spectrum has mainly historical value, but titles like Knight Lore and Jetpac still manage to surprise, even if they may not say much to newbies and young gamers. The Xbox 360 library represents more than anything else a pretext to ascertain the potential of the Xbox One emulator, truly incredible. The absence of Nintendo titles is unfortunately felt and some choices, such as that of inserting Killer Instinct Gold, are questionable, but these are details that do not obscure a top-of-the-range package, offered at an advantageous price. A real bargain.


  • Top-of-the-range presentation
  • Many games have stood the test of time
  • Lots of bonuses and surprises
  • Killer Instinct Gold
  • Important Rare titles are missing
  • Graphically, something more could be done
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