Retro gaming, four of a kind: best Rare Ltd games inc, Donkey Kong, Banjo Kazooie & more.

Posted on 30 July 2015
By James Brookfield
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Rare Ltd are one of the most recognised developers in the video game industry and responsible for many critically acclaimed titles, predominantly for Nintendo consoles. This year Rare are celebrating their 30th Anniversary.

To mark this milestone the company are releasing Rare Replay, a collection of thirty games across three decades, exclusively on Xbox One 4 August 2015.

As a result Four of a Kind will examine four of the top games Rare have made. However Goldeneye 007 will not feature on the list as it has previously appeared on ‘Good film-tie ins’.

1. Battletoads (NES)

Originally released in 1991 Battletoads is a beat ‘em up platformer created by Rare founders Tim and Chris Stamper. Despite launching during a period when cpnsoles shifted toward 16-Bit graphics the game is still considered one of the most visually advanced games of its time. The two main appealing aspects of Battletoads are humour and difficulty.

Comedic elements derive from; the main plot, character names (Rash, Zitz and Pimple) and both Rash and Zitz, depending on choice, body parts transforming into gigantic appendages for devastating and comical attacks. The game’s legacy is the aforementioned difficulty due to cruel, unbalanced gameplay.

As a result the game is often cited as the hardest title ever created but despite this the experience is still more than enjoyable.

2. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest (SNES)

The successor to Donkey Kong County, this game saw Diddy Kong become the main character accompanied by Dixie Kong. The plot sees Diddy on a quest to rescue Donkey Kong, who has been captured by Kaptain K. Rool. Although DKC is a fantastic game DKC2 not only maintains all the great elements of the original but improves them.

The graphics are detailed, the worlds vary across eight unique environments, hidden bonus stages created replay value and David Wise’s soundtrack is amazingly good.

Finally gameplay is more diverse than DKC1 as there is a distinction between Diddy and Dixie’s abilities, meaning a better variety and approach to each level.

3. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)

Rather than focusing on Donkey Kong Rare again chose his smaller sidekick, this time for a kart racing game. Diddy Kong Racing not only rivals Mario Kart 64 but in some ways is superior. The main reason for this is the game’s adventure mood.

Rather than providing the player with just a set number of tracks, DKR has a story mode that is; engaging, technical and fun. Across the plot there are five interconnected worlds each containing four tracks. Also the game includes three different vehicle types; kart, plane and hovercraft to further reinforce the variety of gameplay mechanics. David Wise once more composes the music creating another superb soundtrack.

Finally the graphics are colourful, smooth and detailed.

4. Banjo-Kazooie (N64)

If it can be argued Diddy Kong Racing rivalled Mario Kart 64 then it can be further suggested Banjo-Kazooie is a strong competitor to Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64. Banjo-Kazooie is a 3D platformer that showcases Rare’s ability to create innovative, fun ideas. The game features nine open worlds, each containing well crafted level designs involving puzzle solving.

Gameplay is complex but fluid, creating a better experience and more attractive to that of Mario 64. The visuals are detailed, using a lot of textures with each world themed differently but accordingly.

Each game above not only creates a sense of nostalgia but is a strong entry in video gaming history.

It was extremely difficult to compile this week’s Four of a Kind as Rare Ltd have produced greats games. As always feel free to leave a comment discussing some of the games that, unfortunately, did not make the list.

Honourable mentions: Wizards & Warriors, Jetpac, Captain Skyhawk, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble, Killer Instinct Gold, Banjo Tooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Jet Force Gemini, Perfect Dark, and Blast Corps