We remember the Rare videogames catalog under the Microsoft umbrella, a relationship that has not always been as fruitful as expected.
The relationship between Microsoft and Rare, or rather, the fans of the studio and the North American company, has never been easy, and it is that they have always had the feeling that the British team has been wasted. Once synonymous with excellence, Rare earned a well-deserved prestige in the 90s thanks to platform classics such as the Donkey Kong Country franchise or Banjo-Kazooie, but demonstrating an unusual versatility in other genres such as shooter (Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark), beat em up (Battletoads) or even fighting games, such as Killer Instinct. It gave the feeling, surely correct, that there was nothing that Rare could not do, and also in an excellent way.
However, at the end of the same decade, the studio based in the English city of Leicestershire needed to be under the umbrella of a large publisher, due to the unstoppable increase in the production costs of a video game, a situation that, paradoxically, Nintendo he didn’t want to know anything. In that circumstance Microsoft appeared, and in a year 2002 in which it released its first video game console, Xbox, it was done with a team that should be the brand’s standard, and provide this piece of gaming hardware of sufficient quality as to eat ground to the then omnipotent PlayStation 2.
A poorly prolific first stage
The lifespan of the original Xbox wasn’t exactly long, so Rare also didn’t even have time to create a sizable catalog around it. Although it would be another his most famous game for this console, the first was Grabbed by the Ghoulies, a 3D adventure with an extraordinarily diverse reception, obtaining notes in the specialized press that ranged from 90 to 16 on the Gamenow portal, which spoke of he as “a repetitive nap that cannot be decided if it is for children or for adults). Obviously, his average in Metacritic suffered this mixture, staying in an intermediate 66 that obviously was very far from the bar set by Rare. Fortunately, it would take them little time to make up for one of their most memorable games as part of Microsoft Game Studios.
We are talking about Conker: Live & Reloaded, a continuation of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, which appeared on Nintendo 64 in 2001. Despite the appearance of its protagonist, very much in keeping with a few years when pets were back in fashion, it was not about a far less familiar game, but rather the opposite. In fact, the subtitle started out as Live & Uncut, but in the end it did suffer cuts, with Rare applying a self-censorship that, nevertheless, did not take it away from being a game with a very thugish sense of humor, perhaps not as much as the first installment. , but it is enough to qualify as “for adults”. Without being a great game unanimously, it was able to touch the remarkable in general, and what is almost more important, win the hearts of fans of the Xbox brand, who even today, ask Microsoft to rescue this longed for character.