Rayman 2: The Great Escape is a platform game like Rayman and Mario before it. I'm not that thrilled with platform games, so when this arrived at my home, I was somewhat skeptical. I've now spent many, many hours playing this epic of a game and found that I need to eat my words. Rayman 2 is undoubtedly the best game of its kind, for any platform. This review will show you why.
The original Rayman was a side scrolling adventure with shades of Mario and Jazz Jackrabbit. What set Rayman apart was the very colorful and cute worlds, the characters (which were also cute) and the adorable leg- and armless main character Rayman. He still has no arms or legs (he has hands and feet, however -- don't ask me how they're connected) but he's still as charming as ever and, through his adventures, one just grows to love him more.
The story of Rayman 2 begins with our friend in captivity by those nasty pirates who have overrun his land. With the arrival of Rayman's best buddy Globox, he is given the power to escape and so the journey to free his people begins. The story is truly epic in scope. With over forty levels to go through, all rendered in beautiful 3D graphics, the journey is a very pleasing one.
Rayman has some abilities that will help him in the fight against the pirates. He first has the ability to shoot balls of energy from his disconnected hands. These balls will make enemies eventually disappear. They also become more powerful as time goes on, making it easier to dispatch enemies. This non-violent approach to the game really works well and makes it very appealing for younger players. The second ability Rayman has is to turn his ears into a helicopter when the jump button is pressed twice. This allows him to traverse greater distances than when only jumping.
Throughout his travels, Rayman will run into many friends, old and new. These friends will help him solve the main puzzle of the game, namely, gathering a number of masks necessary in order to wake up a creature needed to stop the pirates. I won't give away any more of the story than that, suffice it to say I'd be spoiling a very enjoyable romp through Rayman's world. The puzzles in the game are both interesting and diverse but never frustrating. This means the player will know that winning is possible if they just keep trying, rather than feeling cheated by an unfair computer.
Rayman 2 is presented in glorious 3D and, in fact, requires a 3D card to run. It means the designers invested serious time in making the 3D-engine graphics look marvelous and it shows. The graphics, for characters, obstacles and scenery, is downright gorgeous. The levels of detail present on everything are also astounding. The music and sound effects are quite pleasant with haunting melodies and triumphant orchestral pieces that sweep you away as you play. The characters' voices are in a very strange dialect but it's also interesting to hear it spoken. Thankfully, all dialogue has subtitles, so there's no confusion at all.
Overall, I'd have to say that Rayman 2: The Great Escape is the best game of its kind (circa 1999). It has plenty of great gameplay, beautiful graphics and oozes charm and atmosphere. If you're interested at all in platform gaming with great character, this should be the one.
Graphics: Bright, colorful, lush graphics depict the adventure in which our character travels.
Sound: Great music and sound effects, as well as voices, really add to the game.
Enjoyment: This game is a blast from beginning to end.
Replay Value: Very linear, but it's fun to play again anyway.
People who downloaded Rayman 2: The Great Escape have also downloaded:
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Rayman, Rayman Forever, Rayman Arena, Tarzan Action Game (a.k.a. Disney's Tarzan), Rayman Raving Rabbids, Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue!, Disney's Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers
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