May 14, 2009
The evil robot pirate Razorbeard has destroyed the world’s core and is enslaving the populace. It’s up to our armless, legless, neckless hero, Rayman to stop him. To do so he must travel through a variety of levels collecting pieces of the core (aka lums), beating up on some pirates, and awakening the one person who can banish the evil. This same plot could fit any number of platforming games but the skill with which Ubisoft exectued these events and the enjoyment Rayman provides are heads and shoulders above the competition. Let’s get on with things, shall we? Or as Rayman would say: Op nonk wip gab zabble. Babo wo ney.
Supporting Cast: A large cast of friends is on hand to make Rayman’s journey a bit easier. They infuse the game with a sense of humor and spice things up along the way.
Collectibles: There are at least 50 lums to collect in each level as well as cages to find. These increase your energy bar and add details to the storyline. You don’t need to collect all of them to progress but you will need them if you want to unlock bonus levels. A nice way to give the game some replay value.
Variety: Ill-contented to just have platform jumping for 18 levels, Ubisoft has provided a wide variety to the gameplay: swimming, flying, rocket-barrel-riding, water skiing and more keep the gameplay fresh and exciting.
Graphics: The graphics on the Dreamcast look great. Colors are bright and crisp and the environments are well rendered. The cartoonish color palette fits the feel of the game perfectly.
Sound: The sound effects in Rayman are top notch. Whether it’s the gibberish language or the cries of help from unseen cages, sound makes the world feel truly alive. The soundtrack provides the right mood for the moment and doesn’t get annoying like some old school themes can.
Specifically the lack of. The entire game would have benefited from more bad guys being thrown at our hero, but what’s sorely missed is boss battles. There are only two in the whole game. Weak.
Linear…ness: While you can go back to previous levels to search for more lums, most of the game is Rayman is stuck advancing on a set path. With the exception of a few levels that require more powers, most could be played at any time with the same results. The gameplay would have benefited from a more open world that let players choose their own paths.
Difficulty: I never really felt in danger of dying during Rayman. Most of the enemies are easily dispatched and with the exception of some mistimed jumps you shouldn’t have a problem staying alive.
Nothing: I can’t think of a single thing that feels extraneous in this game. It all works so well together that removing anything would cripple the whole.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape is one of the best platform games ever made. It’s fun from start to finish. I frequently found myself smiling at what occured on screen–something I can’t say happens during most games. It has quirky characters, great controls and a tried and true storyline. The best way I can sum up this game is, they just don’t make ’em like this anymore. Cliche, yes. True, absolutely.