Best Rare Games, Ranked By You 1
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Founded all the way back in 1985, Rare is one of the United Kingdom's most famous developers and has been responsible for some of the best-selling video games of all time.

Spawned from the incredibly successful home computer developer Ultimate Play The Game, Rare found fame as a 'studio for hire' during the NES and Game Boy era, even going as far as to become the first Western third-party studio to be granted access to Nintendo's 8-bit console.

It would later become even closer to the Japanese giant, becoming a second-party studio and developing titles such as Donkey Kong Country, GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark.

In 2002, the Stamper Brothers sold Rare to Microsoft for $375 million, making the company a first-party developer for its Xbox console. Since then, Rare has produced a string of hits, including Perfect Dark Zero, Kinect Sports and – most recently – Sea Of Thieves.

With such a proud heritage behind it, we thought it might be a fun experience to rank all of Rare's games. This has been created based on user votes, and it's a dynamic ranking – so, if you feel your favourite Rare game should be higher, make sure you cast your vote!

Have we missed a game you think should be on this list? Let us know with a comment!

86. Taboo: The Sixth Sense (NES)

Promoted at the time of release as a tarot-based party game for adults rather than children, Taboo: The Sixth Sense is perhaps one of the oddest games in Rare's library. It was rumoured that the game accurately predicted the deaths of some of its players.

85. Hollywood Squares (NES)

Based on the US TV show, Hollywood Squares was also released on PC, C64 and Apple II, although the NES version is the only one to be developed by Rare. The format follows that of the show, making this one another example of Rare taking on unexciting (but highly lucrative) contract work.

84. Sesame Street: ABC (NES)

Like Sesame Street: 123, Sesame Street: ABC repackages two home computer titles – Letter-Go-Round and Ernie's Big Splash – on a single cartridge for console players.

83. Sesame Street: 123 (NES)

Sesame Street: 123 brings together the home computer releases Ernie's Magic Shapes and Astro-Grover in a single package. Lightweight and clearly aimed at young children, this is hardly Rare's finest hour.

82. X The Ball (Arcade)

One of Rare's earliest releases and an example of how the company was willing to experiment with its titles to get a feel for new gameplay genres. Those of you who have played 'spot the ball' competitions in newspapers will get the gist of X The Ball – you're presented with a series of digitized images of football matches and must predict where the ball is. Success earns you physical tickets, which could be used to redeem prizes in participating amusement arcades. X The Ball is hardly Rare's finest hour, and is a title that even some hardcore fans of the company don't know about.

81. Jeopardy! Junior Edition (NES)

As well as Jeopardy! and Jeopardy! 25th Anniversary Edition, Rare also produced this kid-friendly version of Jeopardy!, which features less-demanding questions. These were never going to top a list of 'best Rare games', but they will have lined the company's coffers during the '80s and '90s, for sure.

80. Kinect Sports Rivals (Xbox One)

Kinect Sports Rivals is far from the definite article that was required to show off the difference between Kinect's generations. The fact that Kinect recognises the opening and closing of your hand with startling accuracy in wake racing and rock climbing is an undoubted high point, and shows that the potential for the device is still there in spades. A lack of polish and thought in other areas throws doubt on whether that potential will truly be realised, though. The package as a whole is good enough to not be an embarrassment, but there are far too many times where the interface gets in the way of the entertainment that the generally passable gameplay provides.

79. Beetlejuice (NES)

Released alongside the Game Boy version, Beetlejuice takes inspiration from the kiddy-friendly cartoon series, which is based on the original Hollywood movie. It's a fairly standard platforming affair and one which shows Rare's talent at sticking to a brief and turning it into something pretty playable. Not a solid-gold entry in the company's library, but one that we imagine at least a few kids will have enjoyed back in the day (even if they weren't old enough to have seen the movie).

78. Anticipation (NES)

A party-style digital board game published by Nintendo itself, Anticipation fuses together elements from real-world games like Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit. Four players take turns to move their pieces around the board. It's hardly the most riveting concept, but it shows just how adept Rare was during the NES era when it came to working in multiple genres.

77. Double Dare (NES)

Based on the US TV show of the same name, Double Dare follows the format of the show – two rounds of 10-question trivia and a third round, which features an obstacle course. Another addition from Rare to the 'party game' genre, this is a workmanlike effort, but it's far from essential, even for hardcore fans of the company.

76. A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES)

Not to be confused with the Commodore 64 and IBM PC game released in 1989, this scrolling fighter allows up to four players to explore Elm Street in order to collect Freddy Krueger's bones before disposing of them in the school's furnace. A unique "dream" mechanic means that when your character falls asleep, they are transported to the Dream World, where Freddy becomes even more deadly. While it has its fans, there's no denying that A Nightmare on Elm Street isn't one of Rare's best efforts.

75. Wheel of Fortune (NES)

Like Jeopardy! and Double Dare, Wheel of Fortune is one of the many titles Rare produced in its early years, which is based on a licensed TV property. If you're a fan of the show, then you'll probably find something to enjoy here, but everyone else should give this one a miss.

74. Beetlejuice (GB)

Based on the cartoon series (which, in turn, is based on the Tim Burton movie), Beetlejuice: Horrific Hijinx from the Neitherworld! (to give the game its full title) was released on both the NES and Game Boy, and is a fairly standard licensed platformer.

73. Kinect Sports: Season Two (Xbox 360)

Developed in conjunction with BigPark, Kinect Sports: Season Two adds six new sports – golf, darts, baseball, skiing, tennis, and American football – as well as voice control. While it's an awful lot of fun, the game still struggles against Kinect's shortcomings.

72. Time Lord (NES)

This unique action title sees you racing across time to defeat the Drakkon threat. Aliens have dispatched armies to four different points in human history with the intention of softening up our ancestors so we're easier to vanquish in 2999, so it's your job to visit these time zones and kick some alien arse. Time Lord's concept is certainly interesting, and this helped it stand out from similar titles on the NES.

71. WWF WrestleMania (NES)

Amazingly, this was only the second WWF video game ever produced, and the first to come to the NES. Taking these facts into account, it's easy to see why WWF WrestleMania was such a massive commercial success for Rare and publisher Acclaim; while its mechanics have aged poorly, it still manages to capture the thrill and drama of real-life "sports entertainment", and would result in a flood of other licensed games across practically every format imaginable.

70. High Speed (NES)

Developed with the same game engine as 1990's Pin Bot, High Speed is based on the Williams Electronics pinball title of the same name, which launched in 1986. While it is clearly modelled on the original (and popular) pinball machine, Rare included some gimmicks of its own, including safes to collect and bonus stages.

69. Sabre Wulf (GBA)

A remake of the 1984 action-adventure Sabre Wulf, which was created at the Stamper's previous company, Ultimate Play the Game, this 2004 GBA outing sees you assume the role of Sabreman, an elderly adventurer who seeks to steal the treasure of the titular Sabre Wulf. The CGI visuals have aged pretty badly, but the core of the game remains appealing – especially if you're old enough to remember the ZX Spectrum original.

68. Jeopardy! 25th Anniversary Edition (NES)

Another adaption of the TV quiz show by Rare, this time marking the 25th anniversary of the original Art Fleming version of Jeopardy! It's very much the same kind of deal, and nothing to get overly excited about.

67. Jeopardy! (NES)

One of the most popular quiz shows on US television, Jeopardy! has been the subject of multiple video game adaptions. Rare developed three iterations between 1987 to 1990, of which this is the first. Other iterations have appeared since, but Rare hasn't been involved in any of them. If you're a fan of the show then you might gain some entertainment value from this, but everyone else is advised to avoid.