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It is hard to believe that it's over four years since Rayman, the attractive 6 million selling 2D side-scrolling platformer, was released to rave reviews. Showing off smooth silky graphics and simple (but hugely enjoyable) game play, it still remains one of the best 2D platform games available on the Playstation.
Hoping for continued success UBI Soft have finally released the long awaited sequel. Now, in his new full 3-D incarnation, Rayman must escape an intergalactic zoo by using the powers of his friends. In a massive switch from leaping across a flat screen from platform to platform Rayman can now investigate a fully three-dimensional world that allows him to go anywhere within the boundaries of each level. But will the transition into a 3D superhero for the 21st century prove to be successful, as the competition out there can be fiercely hot (Spyro, Croc, Gex.)?
The game kicks off with a short movie showing how a horde of ruthless space pirates, led by the scheming Captain Razorbeard, invade Rayman's peaceful world and enslave the population in a vast impenetrable fortress-like ship. Rayman miraculously escapes, and with the help of his trusty aid Globox, he sets out to free his people from the evil pirates. Ultimately, Rayman must battle several huge bosses found in 20 worlds, free his friends to regain all his super-hero powers, reclaim the world's scattered energy (split into 1,001 lums), defeat the pirates, as well as restore peace to the world. Phew!
When the opening cinematic sequences began to roll my worst fears were suddenly put onto red alert. Those ultra smooth visuals from the first game appeared to have been sacrificed for more blocky character graphics. Thankfully, once the real game begins every thing quickly settles down and we are treated to a feast of colorful animation in a bright and interactive world.
Rather than a side-on view the camera now tracks Rayman from above and behind with the shoulder buttons used to look around. He is 'almost' a fine figure of a man. well, he would be had his limbs joined onto his body. To highlight this deformity try leaving him standing around for a moment and eventually Rayman will unscrew his torso and begin bouncing it around like a basketball. As in the original each friend or foe has been well animated and combined with the scenery provide a remarkable visual experience.
In the sound effects department everything is exactly as you would expect. The baddies make big and gruff noises, the suppressed give weak and feeble cries and Rayman sounds too sensible for a disjointed game character. It's all backed by a meaningless tune, which at least doesn't annoy.
The gameplay makes good use of the new 3D environment, while retaining many of the old game's tasks (detail list below). I was pleasantly surprised how many of the original ideas work in this sequel, including Rayman's super punch, grab and swing weapon and of course the helicopter hair.
Rayman 2 is very easy to control. In fact the entire game could be played using only the two analog sticks. This means you can no longer blame 'that stupid control pad' when making your 'umpteenth mistake. The difficulty factor begins very low, making Rayman 2 immediately accessible to all ages, but does increase as the game moves on. Actually, I found more time was spent puzzle solving than dying from ultra-tricky maneuvers.
· Starring Rayman, the award-winning video-game hero who debuted in 1995 in the original Rayman, currently a Greatest Hit for the PlayStation
· Extremely talented hero who develops a whole range of actions: jumping, swimming, loop the loop, scrambling up between two vertical walls, sliding, flying with his helicopter hair, swinging to travel underneath horizontal surfaces, and bouncing on a plum down rivers of lava more!
· Innovative character transportation methods ranging from a floating barrel to a torpedo-missile with legs; and even a water-skiing snake!
· Top-notch gameplay with extra speed and fluidity, real time 3D, suspense, break-neck action and stunts as well as unexpected humour
· Dramatic 3D generated lighting effects that add volume and drama to characters and settings
· Lots of replay value & more than 40 hours of gameplay. Secret routes and hidden worlds mean more chance to rid the universe of pirates
· Unique gaming environments: ominous forests, exposed rock and steep cliffs and pit-falls envelope subterranean chambers lit by magical, almost phosphorescent lighting, providing a fresh look over previous games
· Diverse, intelligent characters who appear at multiple segments of the game and affect the story .
· Breakthrough cinematic sequences add to player clarity and enjoyment while not interfering with game play pace
· Puzzles and unexpected twists to the tale to spur the player on
· Diverse range of enemies to fight with Fight with pirates , spiders, zombie chickens,
· New characters to enhance the depth of gameplay: Bats, monsters, Crabs, Lava, Frogs, Animated mushrooms
Number of Disks: 1
Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 1
Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
Link-cable compatible (max players): No
Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
Other accessories: None
Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes