Ladies and Gents, allow me to introduce Rayman. Yes, this weekend I finally lifted my eBay embargo and purchased Rayman 2 for the varicose vein bursting price of 99p. Yep, ninety nine new pence. Lets look at what else you can get for 1p less than a pound, just to highlight the fucking awesomeness of this transaction:
- 9 bags of Space Raiders and 9 penny chews
- 2 and a half copies of The Mirror
- 2 cartons of Sainsbury's Basics UHT skimmed milk
- NOTHING from the local Pound Shop
Anyhow, back to Rayman 2.
Quite simply one of the best platformers I have ever, ever, ever played. Not as good as Mario 64 mind, but still very much in the same ball park. From the sublime visuals, to the massiveness of the quest, to the pure playability - Rayman 2 is superb. It's also rather relaxing - you get to run around, solve simple puzzles, shoot shit with balls of energy and float about using Rayman's helicopter hair. Great fun.
I vaguely recall Rayman on the Atari Jaguar and it was one of only a handfull of games that was actually worth playing on it - for those who are interested, my other games (the word 'games' is used in the loosest possible terms, you understand) consisted of Club Drive, Fever Pitch Soccer and Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy...so you can probably see why Rayman sticks in the mind.
The best thing about Rayman 2 though, is that it was obviously a labour of love on Ubisoft's part. The game is literally stuffed to the rafters with detail. In the early levels, little hornets with massive noses buzz about whilst the toasdstools huddle in groups and stack themselves up to amuse themselves. Run through long grass and a cacophony of butterflies will erupt and scatter into the sky, and if you leave the joypad alone Rayman will pull faces at the camera or play basketball with his body. The graphical style of the game is totally unique on the Dreamcast, being set in a sort of cartoon world that also has some slightly sinister undertones. Like I said - one of the best games I've played on the Dreamcast thus far.
Rayman 2 was released on nearly every format around, including the N64 and PSX, and I also remember that Ubi ran a brilliant advertising campaign for the game in the US press (I admit it...it was me who bought that single copy of EGM back in 2000). It compared a fat guy in a vest called Ray to Rayman...and was smile inducing, rather than tear inducing like the rest of the typical American-style adverts that make up 98% of US mags:
Lastly, I feel a special mention must go to the manual. Every single page is full colour and it appears to have had the same amount of time spent on it - look at the illustrations and stuff accompanying the blurb:
If only all manuals were as well produced as this.
Rayman 2 should be sought out by all platform fans - and even if you rarely give platform adventures a second look (like yours truly), break the habit and give it a spin.
Want more Rayman you nutter? Go here to view every version of every Rayman game ever released, from the 'edutainment' bullshit to the great-looking Japanese version of Rayman 2: