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 game? 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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