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Friday, July 22, 2005

How Rare can you get?

Current Rareware logoRareware is one of my favorite gaming companies. They have produced some of the best classics that I have ever played. I consistently return to such wonderful games as Goldeneye 007, Jet Force Gemini, and Banjo-Kazooie. However, ever since being bought by Microsoft they have floundered (with the exception of Conker: Live and Reloaded, which was just released).

I suppose I should start with one of their practically-trademarked, er... qualities. Rare is very well known for having no guilt or shame about pushing back the release date. Case in point: Conker: Live and Reloaded came out within the last few weeks, but it was originally an N64 game. That's, what, 5 years ago? The only thing that you can know for sure about Rare's release dates is, well, nothing.
Continue Reading "How Rare can you get?"
Another thing to note: when, I say "Rare" (or "Rareware"), I am referring to the company after it created Donkey Kong Country for SNES. Everything before that is insignificant.

Rareware began as a third-party videogame developer. Eventually, they become devoted to Nintendo. Their main games are for SNES and N64. But sometime in 2002, Nintendo sold the rights to Rareware to Microsoft. About 80 people quit from Rareware at the news, and went to various other companies. Many went to Free Radical Design and created the hit Timesplitters series. For the Xbox, Rare has created a whopping 2 games! Grabbed by Goulies, you can ignore, but Conker is already forming a cult (just check out Old Grandma (warning: language) and see her love of the game).

One thing that has always fascinated me about Rareware is their ability to create some of the most awesome in-game music that I have ever heard. Also amazing is their ability to fit the music perfectly to the surroundings. If you're underwater in Banjo-Kazooie, the music adjusts to a subdued, well... underwater-type music. If you're storming a base in Jet Force Gemini, there will be a dramatic tune going along in the background that you will find yourself humming years later, even though you haven't played in 4 years. The music in the jungles of Donkey Kong Country 3 sounds like a stereotypical Aztec/Mayan music. Etc.

Let's start with the Donkey Kong games Rare created. Nintendo gave them the rights to the monkey in the original classic Donkey Kong. You know, the one that threw barrels at Mario. Rare turned around and made a sweet sidescroller that everyone I know have fallen in love with withing 5 minutes. The well-hidden secrets, the excellent level design, the dynamics involved in killing "baddies," all of these combined to create one heck of an experience. Especially the level design. Nearly every level has something weird about it, be it the rising and lowering water levels, low gravity, or having to escape the saw as it moves up the tree. It was pure gameplay, and still has a cult following.

On the N64, Rare created Banjo-Kazooie (and later, Banjo-Tooie). At first one would think it's just a Super Mario 64 knock-off. And, indeed, it has many of the same elements and movesets that Super Mario 64 has. But the gameplay and humor was equal to (I would say, better than) Super Mario 64's. Banjo, the bear, and Kazooie, the cheeky bird in Banjo's backpack, wander around Grunty's Lair to save Banjo's sister. Their shoddy progress is frequently commented on (in rhyme) by the witch, Gruntilda. Mumbo, a shaman, will change you into various creatures/objects, such as a walrus, a bumblebee, or even a pumpkin. Rareware even works its British humor into the game quite well (though not to the degree of Conker). Characters in the game (especially in Banjo-Tooie) will comment on the fact that it is, indeed, a video game. Also, seeing Kazooie fart an egg out of her butt is always good for a laugh. While these games are sligtly (extreme emphasis) kiddy, the games certainly bring a unique flair to the video gaming world.

Another hit game by Rare is Goldeneye. This game is much like the Halo of the N64 games (to make a bad analogy). It revolutionized how we play shooting games, and was unusually enjoyable. There were 40+ weapons that you could choose from, each with varying power and attributes. You'll probably never hear me say this about any other game, but what I liked most were the cheats. You could activate unlimited ammo, all weapons, and invincibility and then just slaughter hoards of rather dim enemies. It is a shame that Goldeneye: Rogue Agent disgraced the Goldeneye name.

The last classic that I will ramble about is Jet Force Gemini. This was a critically acclaimed game, but it didn't sell as well as it could have. The reason? Crappy controls. This game has one of the worst implemented control scheme I've ever seen. But despite that, it was (and is) still one of my favorites. The music was excellent, the weapons were well-varied, and there were many types of enemies to fight. The other thing about this game is it is long. You will learn to hate tribals, and might find yourself slaughtering the cute, innocent bears by the dozen. Just look at any review on GameFAQs to find out why. You can start here

Rare has created some of my favorite classics to date. The gameplay, the humor, the level design, and the music are the highlights of Rareware. I will be an eternal fan of these games, and am proud to own them. From Donkey Kong Country to the day that Microsoft bought them, Rareware has produce outstanding games. Nintendo (and soon Microsoft) owes a lot to Rare for being, possibly, the best third-party video game developer for so long. If you have an SNES or an N64, and you haven't played any of these games yet, then you should be shamed and banished by people everywhere!

posted by Tyrantmizar at 2:23 PM | TrackBack |


i feel like i wrote this article. everything sed was right. thats just it. and the halo goldenye analogy is exactly right. in my school, in like 3rd grade, if u had an n64, u had goldeneye. and jet force gemini's control scheme was only not retarded on expert controls. and by the way, if u want all these games again, emulation iis teh way to go. except JFG is a bitch to play with a keyboard.

this company made for me maybe one of the beat video game saga, Donkey Kong Country was a real hit in my country, all the kids of me age play this game during several hours.

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