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One of Nintendo Switch Online's recent additions is a certified Rare banger

One of Nintendo Switch Online's recent additions is a certified Rare banger

One of Rare's best games is available on Nintendo Switch Online, and Xbox Game Pass.

Rare has made some absolute bangers over the years, perhaps too many to count, and while one could argue it’s well past its prime it’s always fun to revisit its extensive library of retro classics.

While you could harp on and on about Banjo Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing or Conker’s Bad Fur Day, there’s one title Rare made that’s always held a special place in my heart, and you can play it right now on Xbox Game Pass via Rare Replay and the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pass.

Check out the trailer for Rare Replay below

What is that game I hear you ask? It’s none other than Blast Corps, an action/puzzle game all about causing as much destruction as possible, all for the right cause of course.

Blast Corps was first released for the Nintendo 64 back in 1997, and was actually the first game Rare released for Nintendo’’s first 3D console. Of course the partnership between the two companies started long before the N64, with the company really making a name for itself with the Donkey Kong Country games.

While there’s not much in the way of story, the objective of the game is simple: escort a nuclear warhead as it moves through several levels, ensuring nothing touches it on the way. The warhead is on a strict set course and won’t stop for anything, and if it suffers so much as a dent it’ll explode, taking you and just about everything around you with it.

In order to prevent this the player must not only escort it through the level, but also demolish anything that’s standing in its way. Hazards to the warhead are highlighted with arrows which turn red when it’s getting a bit too close for comfort. Hopping into the driver’s seat of several vehicles is the key to clearing a path, and once the warhead can travel to its destination without interruptions you're free to either end the level or wreck some optional objects and buildings until the level ends automatically.

Blast Corps-

The vehicles themselves are the highlight of the game, starting off with a humble bulldozer before advancing to missile-firing motorcycles, rocket-powered dune buggies and even colossal mechs which pack some serious Pacific Rim vibes. Most of the time the vehicle you use is picked for you, but there are a few levels that give you a choice before you start and sometimes some of the other vehicles are hidden in the level for you to switch to. As you can probably imagine the mechs are the most fun, with one specialising in dive-bombing buildings and the other levelling them with a giant fist.

Levels are selected from a world map, with more being unlocked as you complete them eventually leading to harder missions being added to the selection. Most of the beginner stages are quite straightforward but as the difficulty increases your problem solving skills are really put to the test. Some levels aren’t as simple as destroying things in a set path and will require you to transport your vehicle from one side of the map to the other with a train, or have you build a bridge for the warhead with a nearby crane.

It can feel incredibly chaotic at times, and while some levels will probably take a few tries it doesn’t impede on the fun as you’re generously awarded for your efforts with bonus levels which I’ll get to later. This is something Blast Corps does exceptionally well, striking the perfect balance between silly fun and stress-inducing mayhem.

Blast Corps-

The main missions are obviously the most stressful, as sometimes the game will crank the speed of the warhead up to 11 just to make you squirm more. Sometimes there’ll even be buildings that your vehicle can’t demolish so you’ll need to find and move bombs which is often easier said than done.

But then the game will throw you a bone every now and then and give you a stupid-fun type of mission. These range from doing laps around a racetrack in the bulldozer or being given a city, a mech and a time limit to flatten as much as you can for points.

The vehicle selection is also incredibly varied, giving the game a lot of replay value as the order in which you play levels will probably be different each time you play. The only one I didn’t like out of the bunch, and I know I’m not alone on this, is Backlash, a dump truck, purely because it’s an absolute pain to use effectively. Most vehicles exhibit their destructive capabilities by ramming into things, firing some sort of projectile, or if you’re using one of the mechs, slamming into things with excessive amounts of force. Backlash requires you to drift and swing the back of the truck into things to destroy them, which is much easier said than done and it leads to some rage-inducing moments. Apart from that one, the vehicles are great fun and once you’ve found your favourites you’ll be gunning for them every chance you get.

Blast Corps-

Blast Corps will take most players around eight hours to beat, but that’s just the main game. Once you’ve wrapped up your playthrough you can either do it all again from the beginning, or stick around in search of collectables or attempt to get a better score on previous levels, which rewards you with some shiny gold medals.

So if you’d like to revisit a game from your past or play it for the very first time, there are two ways to do so. If you’ve got NSO + Expansion Pass for your Nintendo Switch you’ll be able to play it that way via the Nintendo 64 line-up of games. If you’re on Xbox, you can play it as part of the Rare Replay collection, which features 30 games from Rare’s long history as a developer. While it’s often on sale physically and digitally you’ll also be able to play it at no additional cost as part of your Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Blast Corps is well-worth a look by just about any video game fan. Whether you plan on sitting down and playing for a good few hours or just 20ish minutes to pass some time, it’ll be good fun. While I’m still gunning for an official remake of some of Rare’s biggest hits like Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64 and GoldenEye 007, I’d be just as pleased to see Blast Corps get some modern-day love too.

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo

Topics: Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Xbox Game Pass, PC