From the moment it starts off with a musical number, it’s clear that Rare Replay is made with a lot of love. The menus have a wonderful style, with each game getting it’s own music for its own parts of the menu (including games which don’t have any music in game), all with their own styles with lots of animation happening. There are a load of videos to unlock with behind the scenes looks, talks about cancelled games and also some music from cancelled games.
Each non-widescreen game comes with a lovely border (unique for each game) that you can turn off if you want. Interestingly, Jet Force Gemini has a border, but then fills up the screen when you select widescreen from the in-game options (when you do this in Donkey Kong 64 on Wii U, you just get a squished image). Each game will have its own sets of milestones, which consists of achievements. This gives some goals to aim for in the older score-based games, although some can be a bit grindy. Games that have been previously available on the Xbox 360 (Banjo, Perfect Dark and the 360-era games) will boot up those versions, so the “milestones” are to get a certain number of gamescore.
My only issue with the milestones that require gamerscore is that the number isn’t tailored to each game. I think Rare should have selected a number of achievements and used that as the basis of the gamescore requirement. The 750 score in Perfect Dark Zero, for example, requires a lot of grinding in multiplayer (you can do it in local multiplayer, but it’s still a lot of grinding).
The games that were released before the N64 have a number of extra features. You can turn a CRT filter on to make the games look hideous. That said, the CRT filter is one of the best ones I’ve seen, as it “warps” the screen and has more realistic scanlines. They also feature a rewind mode, allowing you to correct any mistakes, as well as cheats like infinite lives. This allows you to experience some more frustrating games with a bit less exhaustion.
They also have “Snapshots” – 5 challenges which start you off in a particular area, sometimes with some gameplay tweaks. These add some extra life in some games you may never touch. I think it’s a shame that they couldn’t create some of these for anything N64 onwards, but I understand the extra difficulty in doing so.
Below I will link to my reviews of the individual games found in Rare Replay, and possibly a few extra games. The non-Rare Replay games will be marked as (Bonus).