By Sam Coles:
When you think back to the early days of the original PlayStation what games do you think of? Crash Bandicoot, Sypro, how about Rayman? Although this game was not exclusive to the original PlayStation as it came out on the Atari Jaguar first but no one bought the system and the game was more at home on the PS1 with both visuals and audio with the extra storage of CDs. The game is one of my favourite games on the PlayStation, but I forgot how unfair and challenging some of the levels are. Let’s get into more detail.
Rayman begins with a beautiful animation introducing you to the world of Rayman, where a villain with a name that sums up his character Mr Dark causes chaos in the world by stealing the great Protoon which keeps the peace and balance in the world. Rayman must stop Mr Dark by venturing throughout the weird and wonderful world, which starts off safe by having you traverse through a forest to the more bizarre where you have anamorphic musical instruments. The story is a simple set up that all games did back in the 90’s because people didn’t really care that much about stories in video games, it gives you a brief cutscene and then you’re in the game.
Rayman is a 2D platformer in the same vein as Super Mario and I know what you’re thinking why release a 2D game on a system that is capable of 3D games. Well it was early days when it came to developing games in 3D and plus the game’s creator didn’t know how to make a 3D platformer at the time until he made the game’s sequel. The game starts off simple enough letting you get a grasp of the game’s controls then you’re granted the ability to punch which will help you deal with enemies. There is a good sense of progression in this game and it trickles new abilities slowly, where it then proceeds to give you a level to use said ability. This may come across as predictable similar to old Zelda games where you find an item and you have to use it on the boss, but I think it is fitting as it makes you get use to the ability.
Rayman is not perfect because when you get to the later stages the game becomes insanely hard and unfair as there is a slight delay with the controls and the game expects you to have the reflexes of a god. It doesn’t help that there are obstacles that you cannot see coming and you have no way of avoiding them, don’t get me wrong I love this game but later levels are ridiculous and are trial and error where you have to analyse the patterns and that is not fun.
What can I say about the visuals? They’re beautiful! You thought Cuphead did the whole cartoon style, nope Rayman did it 22 years prior and the game still holds up considering its age. Animations are fantastic Ubisoft hired professional cartoonist to draw and animate the enemies and Rayman to give them a unique look. Rayman stands out and that is saying a lot because the background can be a bit busy in some levels with dancing flowers in the forest to pencils falling in Picture City. The game still looks great considering it came out 22 years ago.
Rayman is a great game and is a must have in your collection, the game did start to aggravate me in later levels, but the beautiful visuals, fun gameplay and fantastic soundtrack pulled me through. You can pick this up on PS1 which will play on a PS2 and PS3 or you can get it on PC and Atari Jaguar, but I would not recommend the Jaguar version as the audio is not very good.