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Retro Recap: Rayman

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It’s time for another edition of Retro Recap! Today’s special is another groundbreaking platformer from the folks over at Ubisoft. It’s Rayman! Released in 1995 for a number of platforms including the PlayStation One and the eponymous Atari Jaguar, Rayman became an instant hit amongst the masses. By hanging, sprinting, punching and gliding his was through various odd looking terrain, Rayman not only captured the cloaked assailant (deceitfully named Mr. Dark), but also our attention for hours on end.

Rayman Loading

It was all about that loading screen!

Our limbless hero found himself in somewhat of an interesting predicament. A great evil had spread over Rayman’s land and in a world of magical fairies and other crazy nonsense; it was down to Rayman to save the day. The Great Protoon, has been stolen by Mr Dark (how long did it take to come up with that?). For those of you who are completely ignorant and unaware of the Great Protoons awesome power, it maintains harmony and peace in the planet. At the very start of the game, Rayman is simply useless. He cannot perform any of the notoriously cool abilities that he does today; also he is in possession of an incredibly hilarious facial expression courtesy of the O button, scaring certain enemies into a crazed frenzy that makes them to run in the opposite direction and more often than not, fall into the local swamp. Nothing to fear, however, our brave adventurer does indeed gain a number of powers rather quickly.

At certain key points during the game, the mystical Betila The Fairy bestows you these powers. Perhaps in a final desperate attempt to salvage the mess that she could not prevent, she zaps Rayman with her fairy magic so Rayman can finally do the meagre tasks that others can do from a young age. The iconic punch ability, not restricted by standard conventions due his armless physique, allows him to chuck that fist as far as his heart wishes (well your heart, Rayman certainly isn’t going to press the appropriate button now is he?).

Rayman also gains the ability to hang of the edge of certain ledges, allowing him to reach higher places or simple to prevent you from accidentally falling off the edge of platforms. One thing that always confused me was why couldn’t Rayman do these things anyway? Surely if you’re taking a massive tumble, the instinctive thing to do is to grab the nearest solid object and cling for dear life? Same goes for punching nasties that approach with malicious intent. I guess Rayman has always been a bit of a simpleton.
Since it went down rather well last week, here are a few fun little facts about Rayman!

  • Rayman actually had his own TV show. It ran for 4 episodes before it was cancelled. Rayman’s voice actor was Billy West, known mainly for his numerous voices, including Fry in the popular series Futurama
  • Rayman is actually the best selling PSOne game in the UK
  • Rayman was originally intended to be a 10 year old boy called Jimmy
  • Mr Dark stole the Great Protoon. Did I already mention that?

Rayman Punching

Wasn’t life simpler when your biggest concern was breaking open cages full of Electoons?

In the immortal words of The Magician:

“Hi Folks! You want to know what’s going on? Let me tell you the story of Rayman…

In Rayman’s world, nature and people live together in peace. The Great Protoon provides and maintains the harmony and balance in the world. Sorry Folks, this apparently can’t last. Do you want to play or what?

… one fateful day, the evil Mister Dark steals the Great Protoon and defeats Betilla the Fairy as she tries to protect it! The Electoons who used to gravitate around it lose their nature stability and scatter all over the world! Troublesome, isn’t it? And untidy, too!

In the now-unbalanced world, strange phenomena begin to occur: freaks and hostile characters appear, capturing every Electoon they can find! The disappearence of the Great Protoon also neutralized all of Betilla the Fairy’s powers, and she needs time to regenerate her energy before she can help in any way…

They definitely need a hero to save them now, don’t you think? Rayman to the rescue! As a guardian of this world, he must free the Electoons, recapture the Great Protoon from its mysterious kidnapper and reassemble them all to restore the world’s harmony But will the bad guys let him do it?… After all, Rayman doesn’t have arms or legs… But don’t panic, neither do the bad guys!”

For a 2 dimensional platformer, Rayman certain was one of the most enjoyable. Even before the platformer successes of Crash Bandicoot, Rayman stood in a league of its own, providing countless hours of fun and frustration. Still to this day being considered quite the difficult game to complete, this title has earned its many accolades, despite its vast number of poor sequels setbacks. For those of you living in the US, Rayman is currently on sale on the PSN store, so if you fancy a challenge in this classic 2D side scroller, why not give it a download? Currently $2.99, or $1.50 for PS Plus users. All of the Rayman titles are on offer now, so you don’t have much of an excuse to play at least one!

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What did you guys think of the first Rayman game? Did you play it much, or was it something you only heard about through friends? Let us know your experiences in the comments section below!

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