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Gaming's would-be innovators

What it Tried to Do: Herald a new beginning for the Microsoft-era Rare.

What It Did: Inspire many copies of Goldeneye 007 to be dug out of their closets.

What Went Wrong: Besides Nintendo’s own content, there were few better indicators of quality in the N64 era than a Rare title. So when Microsoft announced its acquisition of the Stamper Brothers’ company, Xbox fanboys rejoiced. The partnership eventually bore fruit in the form of Grabbed by the Ghoulies, a Halloween-themed beat-‘em-up that left plenty of fans scratching their heads: Where was the inventiveness of Blast Corps, the snark of Conker’s Bad Fur Day? Was Ghoulies a devilishly tough kids’ game, or a saccharine-sweet survival horror? Who were the losers here: Microsoft, the once-great Rare, or the gaming public? Ghoulies endowed the new Rare with a stench of mediocrity the company never recovered from: when the Stampers finally left the company, which they had started in the ‘80s, nobody minded much.