Formed in Twincross, Leicestershire in 1985, Rare is a company that you've definitely heard of. Starting off developing games for the ZX Spectrum computer, the company eventually entered into a deal with Nintendo, who they developed exclusively for into the early 2000s.
Having since been acquired by Microsoft and having a lot of their original staff leave the company, Rare still remains beloved by gamers worldwide. Here's just a few of the reasons why.
Battletoads (NES, 1991)
The game that defines the term "Nintendo Hard," Battletoads has remained a favorite of early multiplayer games. With a cast of lovable Ninja Turtles ripoffs and lots of colorful levels to beat monsters up in, the game is still fun despite its often frustrating difficulty. Just prepare yourself for the jet ski level.
The Donkey Kong Country Franchise (SNES, 1994 - 1996)
The first major appearance of the titular giant ape since the arcade days, Rare took what was a simple arcade score-chaser and turned it into one of the most beloved platformer franchises in the history of video games.
Thanks to its then-revolutionary graphics, amazing music by composer David Wise, and tons of secrets and challenges to find, the Donkey Kong Country franchise even continues on to this day, helmed by a different studio since Rare was bought by Microsoft. Their accomplishments manage to transcend their contracts!
Killer Instinct (Arcade/SNES, 1994 - 1995)
During a time when fighting games were booming thanks to series like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, Rare created their own unique take on the genre. More focused on combos than Fatalities or special movies (though it had those too), Killer Instinct remained an arcade staple for some time.
It eventually received a mediocre sequel and a full on remake by another studio in 2013, but people who grew up on 90s video games will always prefer the original. Anyone else remember getting beat senseless by Spinal's teleport combos? 'Cause I sure do.
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Goldeneye 007 (N64, 1997)
If you grew up with a Nintendo 64, you have played this game at some point in your life (or more realistically, you sunk dozens of hours into this game during your childhood). Released as a tie-in to the movie of the same name, Rare's take on James Bond came to define what a first-person shooter, a type of game typically exclusive to PCs, could truly be on a console.
We loved the game's single-player mode, which took place across all the most memorable locations and scenes from the movie, but what really made the game special was its massive 4-player multiplayer mode (which, fun fact, was never intended to be in the game; the developers added it in for fun three weeks before it was due to be shipped). There was nothing like getting a few friends around your TV and shooting each other senseless, all while screaming at that one jerk who picked Oddjob.
Diddy Kong Racing (N64, 1997)
When Mario Kart 64 came out the year before and started a whole new wave of racing games, Rare decided to take everything that was great about the cartoony mascot racer and make it even bigger. The result was Diddy Kong Racing, the most underrated racer on the system.
Taking the colorful locations and cool items of its predecessor, Diddy Kong Racing added in a full-fledged story mode on top of it, with lots of cool hidden goodies and even boss races (that were frustratingly hard). Add in the fact that you could race on hovercrafts and airplanes in addition to just cars, and this was a game that seemed to do it all!
Banjo-Kazooie/Banjo-Tooie (N64, 1998 - 2000)
Taking the formula 3D platformers laid out by Super Mario 64 and making it even bigger (notice a pattern here?), the Banjo series is considered by many to be their favorite of everything Rare made.
The story of a bear and a bird who have to save the world from an evil witch, these two games took players to amazingly colorful and varied worlds. They came complete with tons of stuff to collect, lots of hilarious and memorable characters, and awesome music that we can all still hum today. Let's also not forget the hilarious commercials!
We could go on and on about how great their games are (I mean there's still Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Viva Pinata just to name a few), but the point is, Rare will always have a nostalgic place in the heart of everyone who grew up with 90s video games.
Which is your favorite?