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Rare Replay lets you rewind certain games, has documentary clips

Matt Leone has written about games for three decades, focusing on behind-the-scenes coverage of the industry, including books on Final Fantasy 7 and Street Fighter 2.

Microsoft has a simple pitch for its new Rare collection: 30 games for $30 to celebrate Rare’s 30th anniversary.

Following the announcement on Monday, Microsoft held a press event with the game on display, so now we know a bit more about what’s in the package.

I tried out a handful of the 30 games at the event, and all ran smoothly without any obvious issues. For certain older titles there’s an option to add scanlines by clicking in the right analog stick, and on others there’s an option to rewind the games, but for the most part the games remain untouched. So you’ll get online play for the games that had it originally, like Perfect Dark Zero, but you won’t get it added in to older games like Battletoads.

Outside of the games themselves, the collection also includes bonus features split into the categories "Rare Revealed" and "Snapshots."

It looks like a relatively straightforward, extremely affordable package with a few nice bonus features.

In Rare Revealed, you’ll find over an hour of documentary footage covering the studio’s history and the development of key games (the list currently includes Banjo-Kazooie, Battletoads, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Killer Instinct, Viva Pinata, Blast Corps and Jet Force Gemini), along with concept art and a look at unreleased Rare games (some via concept art, some via prototype footage — the list currently includes Sundown, The Fast and the Furriest, Kameo 2, Black Widow and Tailwind).

Snapshots takes a nod from Nintendo’s NES Remix series, and slices Rare’s games into small chunks for players to complete under specific parameters — get X amount of points in 60 seconds, and so on. These seem to work pretty well. The variety of game styles included makes it a bit harder to drop into a game you don’t know than in NES Remix, but the challenges fit the concept well.

All in, it looks like a relatively straightforward, extremely affordable package with a few nice bonus features. It’s unfortunate that, for licensing reasons, there are a handful of Rare’s classic titles missing. While the collection celebrates Rare’s 30th anniversary, it doesn’t include all of the company’s most popular games due to licensing arrangements. Donkey Kong Country and GoldenEye didn’t make the cut, for instance. But many of the big names are here. For the full list of games included, check out our announcement story.

Rare Replay is scheduled for release on August 4.

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