Meet the Old Crazy
Poor Rayman never reached the heights of popularity of Mario or Sonic, though one could consider Rayman to be the French equivalent of those two platforming icons. My first run-in with Rayman was an awful Nintendo DS port of Rayman 2: The Great Escape around the system's launch followed by the Nintendo 3DS port of the same game. Apparently, Ubisoft loves to create less than satisfactory ports of Rayman 2. What hooked me on the character, however, was his most recent adventure, a return to form with Rayman Origins. That game made me want to check out Rayman's first game, simply called Rayman. Does it still hold up in the present?
As typical of platformers, the story of Rayman is not anywhere near a harrowing tale of complexity and drama. It is quite basic. The Electoons, a source of power within Rayman's world, have been captured by the main villain of the game, the mysterious Mr. Dark, and placed within cages all around the various levels of the game. Don't you feel the need to get involved and save the day as well as ridding Rayman's realm of Mr. Dark?
Rayman comes across as a simple platformer, but there's some depth to be had. For one, Rayman can only get hit about four times before he dies. Lives are earned through gathering orbs and collecting Rayman idols placed in usually precarious locations. Levels generally consist of an abundance of secret areas, and the levels are split up between sections of huge areas and rooms, sort of like Yoshi's Island or Wario Land.
|Right away you can see how|
striking this title truly is.
|Can you keep up with the action?|
|I ordered eggs, not Rayman.|
As if the bosses weren't tough enough, the actual game is deviously difficult, something you wouldn't expect for a game that you would think would appeal most to children. Levels feature loads of platforming peril and challenges that require quick wits and reactions. One level in particular involves Rayman and a brass instrument-shaped series of enemies which use their ability to blow Rayman away from them. Rayman gains a lot of speed when being blown back, and players must use his momentum to jump over a succession of increasingly smaller vertically-inclined platforms as he gets pushed back and forth. Falling means you must ascend this tower of instruments all over again. To say this part of the game is annoying to play (and it's only the second world!) would be an understatement. Enemies are pretty crafty, too. When they see Rayman is firing one of his fists outward at them, they appropriately duck under them. This can be maddening to the player, but it shows some intelligent AI. Challenge is one thing, but I think for a game that tries to appeal to everyone, Rayman will turn a lot of people off before they even get to the meat and potatoes of the title. It also doesn't help that there is some trial and error to be had here-- especially with a few obnoxious blind jumps.
|That red power-up bestows Rayman with increased health.|
Rayman is a gorgeous 2D game. The vibrant and vivid visuals from characters to the cheery backgrounds speak greatly of the talented artists and the terrific art style the game sports. Rayman and the various other characters in the game animate splendidly, presenting believable movements. Even with all the chaos that occurs on the screen, Rayman rocks a solid framerate at all times. Rayman is indeed a beautiful looking game, and even when you die time and time again, you will appreciate the art the game holds. From sights to sound, the music of the game is pretty catchy and is overwhelmingly good. It isn't the best the series has to offer (no, that accolade belongs to Rayman Origins), but it is pleasant on the ears regardless. Sound effects come across as suitable for each situation. For instance, when Rayman incurs damage, he utters a hiccup-sounding yelp that is pretty adorable. Point being, if it is presentation you are worried about, Rayman will no doubt surprise you.
|One ability allows Rayman to grip these floating rings.|
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]