Diddy Kong Racing N64
Image: Damien McFerran / Nintendo Life

Update: Well, there's a turn-up for the books. Nintendo has announced that Jet Force Gemini is coming to the Switch Online Expansion Pack in December. We've got to say, of all Rare's N64 games, we didn't fancy this one's chances — as you'll see below — but we're very happy Switch gamers will be able to access this particular gem.

In honour of the news, we're republishing this article from earlier in the year as a reminder of Rare's remaining N64 jewels that could, potentially, still come to NSO. If you didn't vote in the poll back in January, it's still functioning at the bottom of the page, so feel free to join in — and congratulations to the 5% of Jet Force Gemini lovers out there!

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.

Scrap that, it's coming!

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.

Perfect Dark (N64)

An incredible follow-up to GoldenEye which threw in every idea the developers at Rare could muster (plus a kitchen sink or two), Perfect Dark really stretched the Nintendo 64 hardware and was arguably the most ambitious game on the console. James Bond was never going to be an easy act to follow, but Joanna Dark's noir-ish sci-fi was as good a spiritual sequel as you could hope to have — close to perfect, in fact — and over two decades on, it still stands as a remarkable achievement.

Given how Rare itself published this one, we personally don't see this coming to Switch. A shame, to be sure, and we'd love to be wrong.

Mickey's Speedway USA (N64)

Following on from Mickey's Racing Adventure, the GBC collaboration between Rare, Nintendo, and Disney, there’s a lot about Mickey’s Speedway USA that is curious. Although you get the distinct feeling that Rare was coasting with this licensed title, it says a lot about the studio's sheer talent that it could churn out a game of this quality while simultaneously producing classics like Perfect Dark and Banjo. It undoubtedly lacks the variety and imagination of Diddy Kong Racing, or the character and track design of Mario Kart 64, but technically it shines, showing what was still possible in the year 2000 on the N64.

Do we think this has a hope in heck of coming to Switch? Er, no. But we had to include it as part of Rare's N64 output. Next!

Banjo-Tooie (N64)

Following the James Cameron school of thought for sequels, Banjo-Tooie takes a 'more is more' approach, with larger worlds, a host of minigames, an expanded moveset (including new first-person sections), Mumbo Jumbo as a playable character, bosses, and a multiplayer mode, plus the ability to separate the dynamic duo at certain times. Although it arguably flirts with the sort of excesses that made Donkey Kong 64 feel grindy, it's a big, chewy sequel, and one that holds up very well all these years later — perhaps thanks to a couple of decade's worth of training in the huge and interconnected open worlds of other games.

BT is filled to the brim with the series' trademark brand of cheeky fairytale wonder. With the original already available on Switch, it would be great to complete the set, though perhaps with a boost to the original's patchy frame rate, hmm?

Conker's Bad Fur Day (N64)

Conker's Bad Fur Day stood out proudly from the pack of cutesy platformers as a fouled-mouthed, blood-filled, scatological comedy. We're still a little blindsided that a Nintendo second party put out a game full of swears, to be honest — even the Xbox remake bleeped most of them out. Conker was a technological triumph for the ageing 64-bit system when it launched in 2001, and while the movie parodies are very much of their time and the humour won't hit the spot for everyone, the drunken squirrel still knows how to have a good time.

Given the adult-only nature of Bad Fur Day, we think it's unlikely that Conker will be unzipping on Switch any time soon, but let's just imagine for a second the glory of having the Great Mighty Poo gracing a Nintendo console once more with his stinky presence. Ahh-ahh-arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhh.

Some real gems there — honestly, we'd be happy to see any of them once more on Switch. Some are much more likely than others, but let us know which ones you'd most like to see come to the Switch Online Expansion Pack by voting in the poll below.

Following Banjo and GoldenEye, which Rare N64 game would you most like to see on NSO?

(You can select up to 2 answers)