A Tribute to Rare
I’m finally ready to let it all go. Rare, the powerhouse of video game devs, is just not going to be that anymore. I keep begging for a sequel to Conker’s Bad Fur Day, another Banjo-Kazooie, or anything that brings the company back to the days when their games dominated in terms of style, creativity, and overall enjoyment. Ever since Microsoft purchased Rare in 2002, the company seems to have stalled, and is reduced to producing unfortunate Kinect games.
So let’s honor Rare, and remember it for what it was: a great company that kept me thoroughly entertained throughout my childhood. Here are some of the best games that this once-spectacular company gave us:
It was wonderful. This game had a great story and awesome guns, but exceceed all expectations in the multiplayer. It’s crazy to think that the multiplayer was an afterthought, but it just goes to show you that even Rare's afterthoughts were strokes of genius.
Then they created this game, and I fell in love with first person shooters all over again. Perfect Dark is a masterpiece. Not only that, Joanna Dark is one of the most memorable female protagonists ever. So take all of this, add more excellent multiplayer, and you get another superb game from Rare.
I previously mentioned this one. Banjo-Kazooie is a timeless classic; I know because I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve played this game. There’s just something about collecting those jigsaw pieces that I can’t get enough of. You can download this game now on the Xbox 360, and it’s worth every dollar.
Diddy Kong Racing
In my opinion, this is one of the best racing games of all time. What made this game so accessible was the variety of challenges that Rare provided. You didn’t just race; you had to collect coins, collect keys, drop eggs into a nest and protect them from other players, have boss battle inspired races, etc. If you want a complete racing game, this is the one to choose.
Donkey Kong Country
One of the best series still, Donkey Kong Country is a platformer that promises to challenge and frustrate gamers. It’s not the most difficult to beat, but it does get more difficult with each level you pass. The final boss fight in this original game is also one of the most memorable in video game history. King K. Rool will not go down!
Released in 1987, R.C. Pro-AM used an isometric perspective (meaning you are looking down at the ground basically) that worked surprisingly well. This game featured the ability to shoot missiles and use other traps to impede your opponent’s progress. Like most of Rare's games, this one only got harder with each level passed.
This game is hard; really, really, really hard. I would argue it’s more difficult than Dark Souls or any of that series for that matter. It has a cult following now, and Forbes magazine listed this game as one of the franchises that they would like to have come back from the dead. If you want to pull all your hair out, play Battletoads.
If you’re a big fan of this series, then you have Rare to thank for it. Killer Instinct is one of the original fighting games, dating back to a 1994 release. It was one of the fighting games that I played in the arcades, alongside Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.
Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Last but certainly not least on my list, Conker’s Bad Fur Day was Rare’s most interesting game. It was funny, disturbing, hard, and included a fantastic ending. This game received a lot of heavy criticism for its toilet humor (who could forget the Great Mighty Poo!) but won the hearts of fans everywhere. It also has one of the best multiplayers that I’ve ever played.
Many of the people who worked for Rare during these games have since left the company. Some of them have now created a new studio called Playtonic Games, and are going to release a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie titled Yooka-Laylee. But I just want to thank Rare for making my childhood a memorable and great one, and wish them the best of luck.