Atari Jaguar

from AEO Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 8

 |||   Jaguar Review - Rayman

 |||   By: Mark "Stingray" Santora

/ | \  GEnie: AEO.4   Delphi: SANTORA


//// In The Beginning...

... there was the 1994 Summer Consumer Electronics show. At that show

a company called UBI Soft showed an early version of a platform game

called Rayman for the Jaguar. It impressed everyone, not just Atari

owners. In fact, it impressed everyone to a point where it was

promptly announced for all other 32+bit platforms following that show.

And while it took a little over a year from that showing to finally

end up in consumer hands, Rayman is now available.

//// What's it about?

As with all platform games, there is a plot to Rayman. Actually, there

is -another- plot to Rayman, but for unknown reasons, UbiSoft went

with the old, "The Great Protoon is an object which provides peace,

harmony, and balance in this world" plot. (Ok, we can see what's

coming up, can't we?) Then there are these creatures, the electroons,

that hovered about the Great Protoon, just as happy as a... electroon,

until the Great Protoon was stolen by Mr. Dark. The electroons, now

seperated from the Great Protoon, were then captured by the bad

creatures and placed in cages around the world. Rayman's object is to

release all the electroons from their cages and recapture the Great

Protoon. It's involved, isn't it? Poor Rayman. Let's see how we can

help him.

//// Playing the Game

Rayman is controlled like any other platformer, left makes him walk

left, right makes him go right.  Are we all following so far? The

buttons are just as simple, "A" sows a seed or races (more on these

later), "B" makes you jump or do the helicopter maneuver, and "C"

throws a fist. (Literally.) However, when you start the game, all you can

do is jump, crawl, and hang on tree vines, you can not punch. After

you clear the first world the Fairy Betilla comes down and gives you

the ability to punch. Nice Fairy.

As in all platform games, with the ability to punch comes the ability

to power it up later for a stronger punch. As you go on in the game

you get the ability to helicopter (that funky yellow thing on Rayman's

head which is supposed to be hair spins), sow a seed (which only works

on the level in which you are given the seed, and race. The option

button cause you to stick your tounge out. I don't think that anyone

really knows why Rayman would ever need to do so, and it is not

listed in the manual.

Another feture is that you can collect jewels along the way. What

they do for you is that occasionally you will see something that looks

like Humpty Dumpty without arms or legs in a top hat. If you have over

10 jewels, you walk over to him and he takes them. In exchange he

sends you off to a secret level where you have to collect a certain

amount of jewels in a certain amount of time.  If you do, you get an

extra life.  Extra lives come in handy. There is also a photographer

with no arms or legs (just like Rayman and everyone else) who is just

standing around sometimes.  If you get your photo snapped by him, if

you die you will restart there instead of at the begginning of the

level. You are also given 5 continues if you lose all of your lives.

The continue screen is very funny - if you say yes then Rayman gets

excited, if you say no he gets depressed, hangs his head, and walks

off the screen.

So, you know what it's about, when it first showed up, and how to play

it.  What's the big deal?  It's a platformer!  Right?  The big deal is

the artwork, the control, the entire game.  The graphics are hand drawn

sprites that easily are comparable to those done at the famous Disney

Studios for their features.  Every character moves in absolute

fluidity.  And there is color - lots and lots of color.  In fact there

are over 65000 colors used in the game consistantly.  It looks great,

but it plays great too.  The control is perfect.  There is just enough

interaction between you and the game to keep it interesting without

getting monotonous.

One of the notable features of the entire game is that both Rayman

and the Bad Guys have no arms or legs. Sure they have hands and feet,

but they're not attached, which could be an asset. It is neat to watch

the animation and see how the feet move without the limbs to support

them. The animation is really that good. I can sit and watch my

brother play just because the animation is so amazing. As for the

bosses, I have only seen two, but they are great - large, colorfull,

and graceful. The bosses are also darned impressive.

The paralax scrolling is impressive beacuse you don't look for it but

it is there. I have seen many people complaining about the amount of

paralax in Rayman and it is just a worthless argument. But to set it

strait, on most levels there are 3 layers of scrolling - the foregound

objects, Rayman scrolling, and background scrolling. However, I have

seen up to five levels of scrolling in the game on the water level.

So to everyone out there who is nitpicking about it, stop complaining

and go play the game! But I digress....

The difficulty level on the game can be a bit on the tough side at

times, but there are also times when it can be too easy. Rayman is

a good blend of the two, although I have only managed to get 27%

through the game. Of course, I haven't been playing the game

consistantly since I got it. I do have a life.... =-)

There are three "slots" for you to save you game in.  Every time you

complete a level you are brough back to the "land select" screen where

you can manuvuer your little Rayman to the "Save Game" icon.  However,

you can not save the same game in three different slots. The game you

are playing will overwrite the current save game information in your

directory.  And as with all Jaguar cartridges (I love being able to

make that distinction now), after 100,000 changes, that's it - no

more. Of course, how many of us actually make 100,000 changes to a


And you will need to save this game because it is long. I mean you

will not finish this within the week of you buying it. Really.

Granted my time has been kinda sparse lately and I'm no great

platformer, but I'm about a quarter of the way through this game and

it feels like I've been playing longer!

As for the sound, well, it's good. I'm sure it could be better, but

hey, there is only so much you can fit on a cartridge. The music is

appropriate to the game and therefore good. The sound fx are also

good. They come right out of an animated show/film. The "ping" as you

pick up the jewels is right on.

//// Conclusion

Rayman is the first Next Generation Jag platformer. Sure, it is only

in two dimentions, but so what? A good 2D platformer is just as

important as 500 3D shoot-em' ups, and this one really shines. The

only drawback was the sound. It just fell short of what I felt was

expected. This game is so good if there was a Rayman CD released with

better music, I'd buy it.

//// Final Ratings

        Title: Rayman                    JagNet: No

       Design: UbiSoft                  Players: 1

 Published by: Ubisoft                Cart Size: 4 Megabyte

       Retail: $69.95               Availablity: Now

 A Summary of Ratings:

              "*" is a whole

              "+" is a half

               5 stars Maximum

 Graphics - *****    Brilliant use of color and animation, that would

                     make Walt Disney proud.

    Audio - ****     Would be adaquate for Disney TV - and hey, that's

                     good tv!

  Control - *****    All Platformers should handle like this.

 Gameplay - *****    It's a long game, it'll take time to finsh and

                     you won't do it quickly.

  Overall - *****    So the sound is just a little short, trust me,

                     you won't be dissapointed.

Pts Stars  AEO Ratings

""" """""  """""""""""

 10 *****  GAMING NIRVANA!!! - You have left reality behind... for good.

  9 ****+  Unbelieveable GAME!! - Your family notices you're often absent.

  8 ****   Fantastic Game!! - You can't get enough playtime in on this.

  7 ***+   Great Game! - Something to show off to friends or 3DOers.

  6 ***    Good game - You find yourself playing this from time to time.

  5 **+    Ho-hum - If there's nothing else to do, you play this.

  4 **     Waste of time - Better to play this than play in traffic.

  3 *+     Sucks - Playing in traffic sounds like more fun.

  2 *      Sucks Badly - You'd rather face an IRS audit than play this.

  1 +      Forget it - ... but you can't; it's so badly done, it haunts you.

  0 -      Burn it - Disallow programmer from ever writing games again.

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