Worst 5 Rare Games

Worst 5 Rare Games - Article

by Noah Glaser, posted on 20 August 2015 / 22,386 Views

Rare Replay recently released for the Xbox One and has been met with widespread acclaim. 30 Rare titles for $30 is a pretty tough deal to beat, and since installing it on my Xbox One I have essentially no-lifed through some of my best - and worst - childhood gaming memories.

While Rare is widely known for its high quality game design and library, not all of the company's releases can or should be considered hits. To follow-up Evan Norris’ Top 10 Rare Games article, I would like to talk about some of Rare's less glorious outings.

Please note that Evan and I are two different people, and we therefore have different opinions; don't be too surprised to see games on both Evan's Top 10 Rare Games list and my own Worst 5 Rare Games list.


5. Battletoads (NES)


Battletoads is really more famous for an epic series of GameStop pranks than for being an actual game of merit. The original Battletoads on the NES can best be described as a game designed to troll players - cheap deaths and inconsistent gameplay plagues the title, making it almost unplayable for most gamers. This fact is best highlighted during the game’s hover bike sequence, which is remarkably asinine.

4. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (Xbox 360)


Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is a perfect example of how to disappoint fans of a storied franchise. The Banjo Kazooie games are widely considered to be some of the best titles ever released on the Nintendo 64, and after Rare’s purchase by Microsoft many wondered how our favorite Bear and Bird heroes would transition into a new generation.

The result, however, was not what most fans were hoping for. Everything that made the original Banjo Kazooie games great was thrown aside in favor of a haphazardly built game that put more emphasis on vehicle construction than actual gameplay. The end-product left a lot to be desired and is the black sheep of an otherwise beloved franchise.  

3. Donkey Kong 64 (N64)


The rap sequence alone is enough to place this game on a 'worst Rare game' list, but Donkey Kong 64's crimes don't end there. More substantially, Donkey Kong 64 is often fairly criticized for its redundant and dull gameplay.

It's also easy to forget that this title was actually released at the height of the 3D platformer genre, which makes Donkey Kong 64's heavy emphasis on collecting items genuinely inexplicable. To this date I do not recall any other game that requires the player to needlessly collect so much stuff just to be completed. First, you must collect a billion yellow bananas, then some red ones, purple, green, rainbow, coins, big coins, and even extra large coins.

2. Solar Jetman (NES)


Solar Jetman is another prime example of Rare’s tendency to make games that are at times unnecessarily difficult. While I enjoy a challenge or two, having to put up with poor game mechanics and cheaply designed deaths crosses the line from enjoyably challenging to frustrating.

In Solar Jetman you're tasked with navigating through narrow caves filled with enemies in order to haul back pieces of your space craft. Simple enough... until you throw in a wonky and inconsistent gravity system. Solar Jetman is so notoriously tough, in fact, that fans worked together to create a password generator that would allow you to skip levels.


 1. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)


My pick for worst Rare game is actually Diddy Kong Racing, which at best is a poor attempt to imitate the success of Mario Kart while laying the groundwork for future Rare releases. Fans of the game often argue that Diddy Kong Racing advanced the kart racing genre, but it should really be remembered for being a sad stab at evolving the genre.

Borderline racist genie aside, Diddy Kong Racing's primary problem is that it actually doesn't improve the standard kart racing formula. Item usage is drastically curtailed, leaving poor track design to fail to pick up the slack. Lacklustre options outside of the three vehicle types further blunt the experience. 

Diddy Kong Racing's most notable contribution to the genre was the addition of a story mode, which was very much welcome, but a by-the-numbers campaign is not enough to distract from how poor the rest of the game is.

The real reason for Diddy Kong Racing's status as a fan favourite is that many of its playable characters went on to live happy gaming lives in other releases, but they did so despite debuting in a lacklustre kart racer which served more as a publicity stepping stone than a serious attempt to create a kart racing legacy.

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Mr Puggsly (on 20 August 2015)

Garbage list is garbage.

Ganoncrotch (on 26 August 2015)

indeed, will take not to not click on "Noah Glaser" clickbait opinions in future.

  • +1
Jumpin (on 20 August 2015)

This list stinks. You should smack yourself in the head for making it.

noahglaser (on 20 August 2015)


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Azzanation (on 20 August 2015)

Not sure what to say, Battletoads, Diddy Kong's Racing and Donkey Kong 64 were all critically acclaimed. Those are some of the greatest games in those genres of all time.

XenatheStrangler (on 20 August 2015)

Their worst is awfully good.

mZuzek (on 20 August 2015)

Well this is going to be controversial. I haven't played many Rare games to have a say, but Star Fox Adventures should be on this list.

noahglaser (on 20 August 2015)

Star Fox Adventures is pretty great if you don't look at it from a star fox perspective

  • -1
mountaindewslave (on 20 August 2015)

heaven's sake, noahglaser just said Star Fox Adventures is 'pretty good'. as a Star Fox game it's terrible, and even as a standalone game with different character models it would be terrible. I would bet a huge amount that you did not actually play the majority of games you're mentioning to completion.

  • +1
QUAKECore89 (on 20 August 2015)

I thought Taboo: The Sixth Sense, Kinect sports(360) & Kinect sports rival(One) are bad rare games? I don't know where to start comment... I respect your list, but.... Really???

SmokedHostage (on 20 August 2015)


Goodnightmoon (on 20 August 2015)

This is a pathetic list, it looks like you know nothing about videogames, absolutely nothing.

noahglaser (on 20 August 2015)

I am sorry that you feel that way

  • -2
Goodnightmoon (on 20 August 2015)

Sorry mate, but that´s the impression this list gives me, I know is only your opinion, but man, there are true big classics there, I only agree with Nuts and Bolts.

  • +2
psychicscubadiver (on 20 August 2015)

Nuts and Bolts should be number one in my opinion. I can understand a couple of the critiques on DK64 and Diddy Kong Racing, but Rare has made worse games that deserve this list more. Just for example, the dozen or so Kinect Sports titles, the 2003 game 'Grabbed by the Ghoulies', various other Xbox shovelware, and Diddy Kong Racing DS.

Netty (on 20 August 2015)

This list is pretty bad. Even if you're sticking to somewhat modern Rareware, there are weaker titles to be found: -Perfect Dark: Zero -Kinect Sports -Mickey's Speedway -Banjo Pilot -It's Mr Pants

noahglaser (on 20 August 2015)

I love Perfect Dark Zero on the whole

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Netty (on 20 August 2015)

Of course you do. It's probably sitting at the top of your "Best 5 Rare Games" list.

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DivinePaladin (on 20 August 2015)

Clickbaity list. Solar Jetman is considered a damn good game, DK64 is wonderful if you're man enough to take on the challenge and not hide away in the "oh it's too much stuff" crowd. Diddy Kong Racing, although I agree with it being on this list, is up there solely to rile up fans. The only one that can really be justified is Nuts and Bolts, and that's a gimme pick.

seinsmeld (on 21 August 2015)

list is PATHETIC. battletoads was so f**n great that even if u died on the 3rd level 500 times, u still couldn't stop playing it because it was so fun. the variety of stages and length of the game is crazy and there still isn't a game that compares to it today!!

noahglaser (on 25 August 2015)

I went back and replayed this game over the weekend. I do want to edit my list and make it higher up. Just terrible. I am on level 11 and it is absurd. Nothing about this game consists of good gameplay. just cheap badly designed garbage

  • -1
mountaindewslave (on 20 August 2015)

to put Diddy Kong Racing on this list is just absurd. it has aged fantastically and has no real problems, fun racing with different vehicles, an interesting main storyline / the mechanics to find the tracks, Easter Eggs the guy writing these 'Rare' articles has got some terrible taste

etking (on 20 August 2015)

Diddy Kong Racing has the best and most challenging single player mode of any Kart game, it does not deserve to be on this list. The multi-player cannot compete with MK64 in any way but the single payer adventure mode is unique and extremely good and has some very tough boss battles.

KLXVER (on 20 August 2015)

I know its just one guys opinion, but are these the only Rare games he`s ever played?

noahglaser (on 20 August 2015)

I have played quite a few actually. I love the original DKC titles and all of the Perfect Darks. I think Banjo, kazooie, conker, viva pinata, and Jet Pac are all great games. And much much more

  • -1
Rogerioandrade (on 20 August 2015)

Fail. Donkey Kong 64 and Diddy Kong Racing are far from being bad games, and far from being among Rare´s worse. And while I do understand the frustation of the author with BAttletoads, that´s another game that is pretty cool, specially considering its age.

ArchangelMadzz (on 20 August 2015)

Describing a game from rare as anything but great grants you a lashing on this site.

Goddbless (on 25 August 2015)

So Kinect Sports Rivals is better than all of these games?

Ganoncrotch (on 26 August 2015)

lol, it would appear so!

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NightDragon83 (on 21 August 2015)

Nostalgia aside, I was actually fine with this list until #1. As far as games made by Rare go, 5-2 are acceptable, but there is no way DKR is anywhere near the worst Rare game ever. The game is superior to MK64 in many respects including visuals, track design, and multiplayer variety.

lukeperryglover (on 21 August 2015)

I love the comments section for this article :P It is true though....some games on this list are the most beloved/well known rare games...

silvergunner (on 21 August 2015)

Out of this list, only Diddy Kong Racing I consider absolutely terrible (the game is near impossible to control and the gameplay hasn't aged well). The list should be that at number 1, Taboo the Sixth Sense at number 2, and the three Kinect Sports games rounding out the list. Battletoads was stupidly difficult and mediocre but by no means bad, Donkey Kong 64 hasn't aged well, Nuts & Bolts changed the formula and drew discontent, and Solar Jetman is too difficult and simplistic to be interesting today. I also found this article interesting in that there were none of Rare's ZX Spectrum games (when they were called "Ultimate Play the Game"), which are antiquated but still fun today. Including them in Rare Replay was a great idea in my opinion.

CaptainExplosion (on 06 December 2015)

Whoever wrote this list should never write another list again.

CaptainExplosion (on 06 December 2015)

Whoever wrote this list should never write another list again.

Johnw1104 (on 26 August 2015)

I always thought Battletoads (the original) was overrated, mout I suspect there's gonna be a few very angry diddy kong racing fans. How could that be the worst?

alabtrosMyster (on 22 August 2015)

That must have been though, because honestly I liked how they looked (rare pushed the tech really well back in the days) but I could never really like one of their games to a degree where it made it anywhere near my favourite list (maybe battle toads would have done it... They got more noticed when they worked with Nintendo because they were on the N64 (mainly) and there was so few games on this system that people had to take whatever was available (compared to the playstation... even the Saturn seems more interesting than the N64 these days).

Rustuv (on 21 August 2015)

Glad to see someone else noticed Diddy Kong Racing and DK64 are overrated crap.

beeje13 (on 21 August 2015)

Very negative to make an article 'worst 5' of a game developer. I'm no fan of Rare games but surely it would have been more appropriate to list a best 5?

Ganoncrotch (on 26 August 2015)

or not write this clickbait stuff at all?

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GhaudePhaede010 (on 21 August 2015)

I am only left to assume thee author of this article has not played many rare titles. Diddy Kong Racing aside (which is absolutely absurd as a number five pick and lunacy as a number one pick), there are other Rare titles that share the same or even have bigger problems than some of the games you have listed. For example, Jet Force Gemini is a pretty solid title, but it is more of a collectathon than Donkey Kong 64 and it forces you to collect all the tribals before moving beyond the midway point of the game. That is a game design 101 no no right there. Or, how about Killer Instinct? While again a solid game, it recieved critically mixed reviews during its time and has aged horribly. Thee unbalanced game play, gimmicks, and sloppy (nonsensical) combo system were all picked apart back at the time. It was a graphical masterpiece for its time but the physics and scrolling stages make the game play awkward at times and detract from thee enjoyment of the title. Talk about doing nothing to advance a genre. Compared to Diddy Kong Racing, Killer Instinct should take all five slots on this list. Now, I am not saying either title is bad, per se. I love both of the games I mentioned. However, I can point out titles that committ bigger fouls than the titles listed and yet they go unmentioned. To say I disagree is an understatement.

jon1138 (on 20 August 2015)

Banjo-Kazooie Nuts&Bolts ??? It's an excellent game. It is just not what fans wanted (they didn't understand Nuts&Bolts was a spin-off and not an actual third episode)

MotherBound (on 20 August 2015)

I agree, nostalgia glasses need to come off