Looking at the library of N64 games currently available if you're a Nintendo Switch Onlne subscriber at the Expansion Pack tier, we now have access to not one, but two of Rareware's all-time 64-bit classics in the form of Banjo-Kazooie and, now, GoldenEye 007. Just a handful of years ago this might have seemed like a pipedream, but with Banjo and Kazooie's appearance in Smash Bros. Ultimate apparently helping to establish a 'relationship' between Nintendo and Microsoft — the owners of Rare for over 20 years now — having the Twycross developer's work appearing once again on a Nintendo platform isn't such a strange idea anymore.
There's still a suite of games from the developer's golden years that could potentially come to Nintendo Switch Online. Most are available on Xbox as part of the sublime Rare Replay package, and some of them, specifically those featuring Nintendo IP, are perhaps more likely to make an appearance on Switch than others.
So, we thought we'd round up the handsome stragglers and ask you which of them you'd like to see come to NSO in the most ideal of ideal worlds. You'll find a poll at the bottom but first, let's remind ourselves of the candidates from the era when Rare could seemingly do no wrong. We present nine games in chronological release date order, starting with a real Killer...
Killer Instinct Gold (N64)
A port of Killer Instinct 2 from the arcades, Killer Instinct Gold was the second KI to appear on Nintendo platforms (well, third counting the Game Boy port) following the original on Super NES. The N64 didn't get many great fighting games — the legacy of Smash Bros. is far and away the console's greatest contribution to the genre, but platform fighters are very much their own sub-genre these days — and KIG is one of the system's few fighters of note.
The chances of us getting this on NSO seem remote, seeing as the series was revived on Xbox in 2013. Imagine if KI was announced and not, say, DK64? We like a little KIG (we actually quite like saying 'KIG', too), but we don't imagine this will come first in the poll at the bottom of the page.
Blast Corps (N64)
Blast Corps involves clearing a path for a slow-moving truck carrying a malfunctioning nuclear missile to a safe detonation zone - a zone which is blocked by buildings and other structures ripe for destruction. As with many 64-bit titles, its early polygonal visuals are arguably looking a little dogged these days, but don't let its looks put you off. This incredibly silly concept makes for one of most fun games on the N64.
We'd love to see this get some more love on Switch, but it seems unlikely given some of the heavier hitters below. For example...
Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
Diddy Kong Racing did for Mario Kart 64 pretty much what Banjo-Kazooie would do for Super Mario 64; namely, take the template put down by Nintendo and expand on it with colour and creativity to produce far more than a mere homage. DKR expanded the single-player into an adventure and the addition of planes and hovercraft required much larger, more complex circuits to race around. The game also provided the console debuts of Banjo and Conker, both now Microsoft-owned characters.
We saw a remake come to DS in 2007, and given the presence of Diddy, we think this would be a strong 'maybe' for a potential NSO re-release.
Jet Force Gemini (N64)
An underrated entry in the Rareware library, Jet Force Gemini coupled cute design with chunky, gungy third-person blasting in a world-hopping quest to defeat insectoid overlord Mizar. Juno, Vela and trusty good boy Lupus' adventure is not without flaws, but JFG is a surprisingly deep and satisfying one that's worth investigating if you're a Rare fan looking for gems that passed you by around the turn of the millennium.
Gotta be honest, we don't much fancy the chances of this one coming to Switch given the fierce competition.
Donkey Kong 64 (N64)
There are some who blame the collapse of the collectathon 3D platforming craze on Donkey Kong 64, and while it's hard to argue that Rare perhaps went a little too far with the huge number of inconsequential collectable doohickeys, it's a game which turns everything up to eleven and there's something admirable about its unapologetic 'more is more' approach. With five playable Kongs (you know them well), huge worlds and an abundance of minigames (including emulated versions of the original arcade Donkey Kong and Rare's Jetpac), DK64 was one hell of a value proposition back in 1999 and we think it probably deserves re-evaluation after a couple of decades of bashing.
Given that Nintendo owns all the characters in this one — and the fact it came to Wii U Virtual Console — this is a prime(ate) candidate for a little Switch Online love. C'mon Cranky, take it to the fridge.