Rare Replay: A History Lesson With Battletoads

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In previous generations of consoles, we’ve gotten our fair share of old school compilations, like Namco Museum, Midway Arcade Treasures, and Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection. But this generation, we’ve actually turned to more modern releases for compilations, like Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the forthcoming Uncharted Collection. That said, not everyone has forgotten where their retro roots lie – and that’s where Rare Ltd. comes in.

The studio, which got its start way back in 1985 under the watchful eye of the Stamper brothers, has managed to crank out a number of hits these past three decades, from Goldeneye to the Donkey Kong Country trilogy to the recent Kinect Sports line-up. Next month, it’ll be celebrating its anniversary in style with Rare Replay for Xbox One. So why is it such a big deal?

Well, aside from enjoying everything that the developer has to offer, from the classic ZX Spectrum days to its more current hits on Xbox 360, there are specific games that truly define what makes the studio so unique – and the first place you’ll obviously want to look is Battletoads.

Made in 1989, this amphibian adventure is considered one of the most challenging NES games ever made, mainly due to its near-impossibility level on later stages. You don’t need to look far to find an example of the difficulty. That said, players enjoyed the heck out of the game anyway, with its diverse stage design, outstanding music (pause it and you’ll see what we mean), and excellent co-op support. It even puts the Ninja Turtles arcade port to shame, it’s that good.

Image source: Xbox

With Rare Replay, however, a new factor is introduced – a Battletoads arcade game. Yep, Rare partnered with Electronic Arts in 1994 to produce a much more detailed – not to mention bloodier and darker – tale for the Toads, as they once again did battle with the Dark Queen. That game is included in the collection as well, and certainly makes up for the lack of the epic team-up Battletoads/Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team. Besides, you haven’t lived until you smack a dozen mini-minions with an enormous spiked hammer.

But Rare Replay is more than that. As mentioned above, it’s an interactive history lesson into the studio’s roots, from underappreciated titles like Sabrewulf and Knight Lore to NES favorites like the R.C. Pro Am games and the thrilling Cobra Triangle. There’s also plenty of N64-based love here, including Blast Corps, one of the cult favorites for the console, where you clear a path for a nuclear vehicle by destroying everything ahead of it. With 30 titles on all, there’s a lot of ground to cover – and dare we forget the drunken antics of Conker’s Bad Fur Day? (Go look up ‘Great Mighty Poo’ – we’ll wait.)

Throw in a detailed documentary that looks at the company’s history (‘Rare Revealed’), bonus snapshot challenges and over 10,000 Gamerscore points, and you get one hell of a history lesson. And for $30, no less. Class dismissed, so sayeth the Battletoads.

Rare Replay releases on August 4th.

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